Breakeven Selling Price

File C5-202
Updated September, 2018

Computing the breakeven selling price for your product is an important calculation when setting your sale price. It tells you the minimum price you can sell your product for and still cover your costs. The breakeven sale price should be computed over a range of production and sale quantities using the formula below. First you need to categorize your costs into the managerial cost categories of fixed and variable. A key concept in this formula is the fixed cost per unit of sales. Because total fixed costs are constant regardless of the volume of production, the fixed cost per unit of production drops as volume increases, as shown below.

Then divided the total fixed cost by the volume of production to calculate the fixed cost per unit of production. Next add the fixed cost per unit to the variable cost per unit to compute a total cost per unit. This is your breakeven sale price. The larger the number of units you produce and sell, the smaller the sale price needed to breakeven, and vice versa. If selling price is set, profits may accrue at high volumes of production but losses occur at low volumes.

Assume that you pick a sale price of \$10. Let’s examine what will happen to profits if you produce and sell a range of different quantities of the product. At sales of 50 units the business generates profits of \$150. However, at sales of 10 units, a loss of \$50 is incurred.

Don Hofstrand, retired extension value added agriculture specialist, agdm@iastate.edu