What is Break-even Point and How to calculate it

What is Break-even Point and How to calculate it

Updated : 15th, July 2023

Want to know how many sales do you need to make to recover your investment? Read all about Break-even Point and how to calculate it and what benefits you would get

#1 What is Break-Even Point?

Break-even point is the point where we calculate how many sales is needed to cover all the expenses that has been done, meaning Total revenue = Total expenses, It is the point where you archive zero profit or loss. It is a crucial metric for businesses to determine the minimum amount of revenue they need to generate in order to cover their expenses and become profitable.

To make it more clear let's take an example of a business which they invested a total of $3000 from start to a point of production. Using the Break-even point calculation they found that they  need to make 3000 unites of sales in order to cover back their total investment. see the image below :

What is Break-Even Point?
What is Break-Even Point?

Using this calculation you can get better idea about

  1. How long would it take?
  2. How much effort would you need?
  3. How much would it cost?

to start making profits from your business. 

#2 Why do you need to calculate break-even point in your business?

Calculating the break-even point is important for businesses for several reasons :

  1. Firstly, it helps businesses set their pricing strategy by understanding the minimum price they need to charge to cover their costs.
  2. Secondly, it helps businesses identify their target sales volume, which can inform their marketing and sales strategy.
  3. Finally, it helps businesses assess the feasibility of new projects or investments by estimating the revenue needed to break-even.

How to calculate Break-even point Step by Step Guide

  1. Step 1 : Determine fixed costs

    Determine fixed costs

    Fixed costs are expenses that do not change with the level of production or sales. These may include rent, salaries, insurance, etc.

  2. Step 2 : Determine Variable Costs per Unit

    Determine Variable Costs per Unit

    Variable costs per unit are the expenses that change based on the amount of goods or services produced. These costs include things like materials, labor, and other costs that changes with production amount.

    For example, let's say a company produces 1,000 units of a product and incurs $2,000 in direct material costs, $1,000 in direct labor costs, and $500 in variable overhead costs, the variable cost per unit would be:

    Variable cost per unit = (Total variable costs) / (Number of units produced)

    Variable cost per unit = ($2,000 + $1,000 + $500) / 1,000 units

    Variable cost per unit = $3.50 per unit

  3. Step 3 : Determine selling price per unit

    Determine selling price per unit

    This is the price at which a product or service is sold.

    If you need to determine the price of a single product:

    Price = (Cost per unit + Desired Profit margin)

    For example, let's say you are selling a new type of coffee mug. Here's how you can use this formula to determine the price per unit:

    1. Calculate your cost per unit: Let's say the cost to produce one coffee mug is $5.
    2. Determine your desired profit per unit: Let's say you want to make a profit of $2 per mug.
    3. Research your competition: Let's say similar coffee mugs are priced between $8 and $12.
    4. Consider your target market: Let's say your target market values high-quality and unique designs.

    Using the formula above, you can calculate the price per unit of your coffee mug:

    Price per unit = ($5 + $2)

    Price per unit = $7 per coffee mug

    Based on your research and target market, you decide to price your coffee mug at $10 per unit, which is competitive and provides a healthy profit margin for your business.

  4. Step 4 : Step 4 : Calculate break-even point

    Step 4 : Calculate break-even point

    Now that we have all the data we need, use the following formula to calculate break-even point:

    Break-even point (units) = Fixed Costs / (Price - Variable Cost per Unit)

    For example, if a business has fixed costs of $10,000, variable costs per unit of $5, and sells a product for $20, the break-even point can be calculated as follows:

    Break-even point (units) = $10,000 / ($20 - $5) = 667 units

    Also have a look at how to calculate Combined Break-Even point

#4 Importance of Break-even Analysis in decision-making

Break-even analysis is a valuable tool for businesses to make informed decisions. It helps businesses assess the financial impact of different decisions, such as changing prices or increasing production volume. By understanding their break-even point, businesses can set realistic goals, allocate resources effectively, and identify areas for improvement.

If you are planning to start a new business and want to get an idea about when you can recover your invetment, this calculation just gives you that!

#5 Tips to lower Break-even Point

Lowering the break-even point can help a company become more financially stable and profitable. Here are some tips that can help lower a company's break-even point:

  1. Reduce fixed costs:

    Fixed costs are expenses that do not change with the level of production or sales. By reducing fixed costs, a company can lower its break-even point.
  2. Increase efficiency:

    By increasing production efficiency or reducing waste, a company can reduce its variable costs per unit, which can lower its break-even point.
  3. Increase selling price:

    If a company can increase the selling price of its products or services without significantly affecting demand, it can increase its revenue and lower its break-even point.
  4. Increase sales volume:

    By increasing sales volume, a company can spread its fixed costs over a larger number of units, which can lower its break-even point.
  5. Improve marketing and sales strategies:

    By improving its marketing and sales strategies, a company can increase its sales volume and revenue, which can lower its break-even point.
  6. Negotiate with suppliers:

    By negotiating better prices with suppliers, a company can lower its variable costs per unit, which can lower its break-even point.
  7. Consider outsourcing:

    Outsourcing certain functions, such as production or customer service, can help reduce fixed costs and lower the break-even point.

#6 Common Misconceptions About break-even analysis

There are several misconceptions about break-even analysis that should be addressed.

  • One common misconception is that break-even analysis only applies to manufacturing businesses. In fact, break-even analysis can be used by any type of business that sells a product or service.
  • Another misconception is that break-even analysis provides a definitive answer to business decisions. In reality, break-even analysis is just one factor that should be considered in the decision-making process.
  • Another misconception is Break-even point doesn't change over time, this is wrong it changes over time. here is why

Key Factors affects Break-even Point That can affect a company's Break-even Point

There are several factors that can affect a company's break-even point, including: 

  • Competition
  • Pricing strategy
  • Cost structure
  • Market conditions

For example, if a competitor lowers their prices, a business may need to adjust their pricing strategy or reduce their costs to remain competitive.

#8 Limitations of Break-even Analysis

Break-even analysis has some limitations that should be considered. For example:

  • It assumes that all units are sold at the same price and that variable costs are constant per unit.
  • Break-even analysis does not take into account the time value of money, which can impact long-term investments.


Calculating the break-even point is an essential part of financial planning for businesses. By understanding their break-even point, businesses can make informed decisions, set realistic goals, and allocate resources effectively. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations and misconceptions of break-even analysis, and to use it as one tool in the decision-making process.

Some of the images used in this article are Designed by Freepik


  • John Smith

    This article really clarified the concept of the break-even point for me. I've always struggled with understanding it, but the step-by-step guide was super helpful!

  • Lily@90s

    Yo, that example with the coffee mug was lit! Made things so much clearer. Thanks for breaking it down like that.

  • Robert_Jr

    I think the article should also touch on how external factors, like economic downturns, can affect the break-even point. Just a thought.

  • Isabella_!23

    I've read a few articles on this topic, and this one is by far the most comprehensive. The tips to lower the break-even point were especially useful for my startup.

  • Mike O'Donnell

    Great article, but I think it would be beneficial to include some real-life case studies to see how businesses have used this analysis in practice.

  • Sophia#GenZ

    Wait, so if my fixed costs are super high, does that mean it'll take ages for me to break even? That's kinda scary to think about.

  • Daniel K.

    I appreciate the detailed breakdown. However, I found a few typos in the article. Might want to fix those for better credibility.

  • Emma^_^

    I'm planning to start my own business soon, and this guide is just what I needed. The misconceptions section was an eye-opener!

  • WilliamT78

    I've always wondered how businesses determine their pricing strategy. This article shed light on that. Kudos to the author!

  • Olivia$Techie

    Does anyone know of any software or tools that can help automate this calculation? Would be super helpful for my e-commerce site.

Related Categories

Starting a Business

Is this Article useful?:

Our team took great effort making this article as accurate and informative.

We would love to hear what you think about it or anything you would like to share that would add value to other fellow readers

Leave a comment