# Variable Cost: What It Is and How to Calculate It

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Transportation costs depend on location, packaging, and logistics. Transportation costs include the cost of freight, carriage, shipping, transit insurance, cost of operating the fleet, etc. Similarly, a business offers discounts, sales commissions, and hidden fees to agents and distributors. These expenses fluctuate all the time and are hard to predict. Essentially, if a cost varies depending on the volume of activity, it is a variable cost.

In order to understand how variable costs impact your profit margins, it’s useful to know how fixed costs work. Unlike variable costs, this type of expense stays the same regardless of how much you produce or sell of your products. A variable cost is an ongoing business expense that is subject to change directly based on how much of product is made or sold. If the total volume of goods you produce increases, then the variable costs will increase, too.

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In addition, variable costs are necessary to determine sale targets for a specific profit target. The athletic company also won’t incur some types labor if it doesn’t produce more output. Some positions may be salaried; whether output is 100,000 units or 0 units, certain employees will receive the same amount of compensation.

Variable costs are directly related to the cost of production of goods or services, while fixed costs do not vary with the level of production. Variable costs are commonly designated as COGS, whereas fixed costs are not usually included in COGS. Fluctuations in sales and production levels can affect variable costs if factors such as sales commissions are included in per-unit production costs.

## Is Marginal Cost the Same As Variable Cost?

Variable costs, along with fixed costs, make up the total cost of production. These types of costs include the costs that can change, such as labor and materials. Labor and materials costs can go up or down according to the volume Variable Cost Definition of production. Fixed costs remain constant in total, whereas variable costs change with changes in production volume or activity. The unit cost of a variable cost remains fixed throughout the relevant range of activity.

The credit card processor charges the business a fee of 3% of each amount charged. Therefore, if the business has sales of \$10,000 in the month of June, the business will have a credit card https://kelleysbookkeeping.com/ expense of \$300. If July’s sales are \$30,000 the credit card expense will be \$900. The total credit card expense varies with sales because the fee has a constant rate of 3% of sales.

## Is Salary a Fixed or Variable Cost?

This month, variable costs double, but the revenue only increases by 10%. Because the variable costs increase faster than revenue, you lose money. The above example has explained variable cost, but what about the company’s fixed costs?

Some variable costs go up in direct proportion with business activity. For example, inventory costs often go up in perfect alignment with sales. Variable costs are expenses that go up and down in line with business activity. Watch this short video to quickly understand the main concepts covered in this guide, including what variable costs are, the common types of variable costs, the formula, and break-even analysis. A variable cost is an expense that changes in proportion to production or sales volume.

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