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Disadvantages and Advantages of Break-Even Analysis

Updated on July 27, 2016

What Is Break-Even Analysis?

Break-even analysis is the relationship between cost volume and profits at various levels of activity, with an emphasis placed on the break-even point. This point is where the business receives neither a profit nor a loss, when total money received from sales is equal to total money spent to produce the items for sale.

An example of a break-even analysis.
An example of a break-even analysis.

Advantages and Uses

Break-even analysis enables a business organization to:

  1. Measure profit and losses at different levels of production and sales.
  2. Predict the effect of changes in sales prices.
  3. Analyze the relationship between fixed and variable costs.
  4. Predict the effect of cost and efficiency changes on profitability.

Disadvantages

Even with its advantages and uses, there are also several demerits of break-even analysis.

  1. Assumes that sales prices are constant at all levels of output.
  2. Assumes production and sales are the same.
  3. Break even charts may be time consuming to prepare.
  4. It can only apply to a single product or single mix of products.

Formulas

There are two ways to calculate the break-even point, in units and in sales revenue.

  1. The first way is to divide the fixed cost by the contribution per unit. This gives the result in units.
  2. Divide the fixed cost by the contribution-to-sales ratio. This gives the sales revenue.The contribution-to-sales ratio is given by dividing the contribution per unit by the selling price per unit.

Example of a Break-Even Point

ABC Ltd expects to sell 10,000 units at $10 each. The variable cost per unit is $5 and the fixed cost is $15,000 per annum. Calculate the break even point in units and in sale revenue.

  • To calculate the break-even point in units, use the formula-fixed cost divided by the contribution per unit. In this example you would divide $1,000 by contribution (which is the selling price of $10 minus the variable cost per unit of $5). $15,000 divided by $5 is 3000 units
  • To calculate the break-even point in sales revenue, divide the fixed cost by the contribution-to-sales ratio. In this example, $15,000 divided by ($5 divided by $10, or .5). The final answer is $30,000. We know this is the correct answer because when we multiply the break-even point in units by the selling price, we get the same answer.

Creating a Break-Even Chart

Business Example:

Fictional Company
 
Unit selling price:
$36
Unit variable expenses:
$28
Total fixed expenses:
$50,000
Actual sales:
7,000 units

A break-even chart is a graphical representation of the break-even point, profits, losses and margin of safety. Using information from the example above, we will create a chart that shows:

  • fixed cost
  • total revenue line
  • margin of safety
  • loss region
  • total cost line
  • break-even point
  • profit region
  1. Work out the total revenue by multiplying the unit selling price by the actual sales: 36 × 7,000 = 252,000
  2. Work out the total cost by multiplying the unit variable expenses by the number of units sold and adding that to to the fixed expenses: 28 × 7,000 = 196,000 + 50,000 = 246,000
  3. Now set up your chart. Note that when plotting, the first number in brackets is the x (horizontal) axis value and the second digit after the comma is the y (vertical) axis value. For this chart, you will show total unit sales along the x axis in thousands. Along the y axis you will show sales in tens of thousands of dollars, since there were 7,000 units sold and $50,000 in total sales.
  4. Now draw the fixed cost line. Make a dotted line from (0, 50,000) to (7,000, 50,000).
  5. Next you will make the Total Revenue line. Plot a point at (7,000, 252,000) and draw a line from zero to that point. Label the line.
  6. To create the Total Cost line, plot the point (7,000, 246,000) and draw a line from (0, 50,000) to that point. Label the line.
  7. Where the two lines meet is called the Break-Even Point and should to be labeled as such. The region below the break-even point should be labeled the Loss Region. The region above the break-even point should be labeled the Profit Region.
  8. Draw a dotted line from the break-even point to meet the x axis. From where it touches the x axis, to the actual sales, is the Margin of Safety in Units.
  9. To illustrate the margin of safety in dollars, draw a dotted line from the break-even point to the y axis. From where the line touches the y axis, to the total revenue line, is the Margin of Safety in Dollars.

The finished chart showing a break-even analysis for a fictional company.
The finished chart showing a break-even analysis for a fictional company.

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      bleesing tylor 7 weeks ago

      helped on hw to calculate breakeven

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      bob 2 months ago

      helped in my business lesson

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      byabashaija emmanuel 10 months ago

      i have learnt how to plan for a certain company

    • profile image

      GODFREY GASIGWA 11 months ago

      Thanks alot its so interesting and it helps us as students to pass course works

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      rojj 12 months ago

      is very useful for me thank u sooo much

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      hussain 15 months ago

      nice

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 22 months ago from Barbados

      Thanks @kumar

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      anna Bhore 22 months ago

      Thankxx god ... it is useful for writing in the exam like chit

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      jesus 23 months ago

      idc about ur stupid job ur bad

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      kumar 2 years ago

      excellent- u saved my life- i got a job because of this

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 2 years ago from Barbados

      Thanks vybz

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 2 years ago from Barbados

      Thanks vybz

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      vybz 2 years ago

      good stuff

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      Ted Smith 2 years ago

      I really like this break even analysis. It really helps you see how much profit you are making or how much money you are losing. I should do this with my business. I might need to have an accountant help me though. I'm not the best at math.

      http://www.neelcpa.com

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      tatie mcgee 3 years ago

      thanks buh I nid limitations

    • profile image

      tatie mcgee 3 years ago

      thanks buh I nid limitations

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      moses j 3 years ago

      what is the disadvantage of break even

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      iq 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot .what I have learn here would surely enable me have an A grade in my course

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 3 years ago from Barbados

      thank u very much @ csmiravite-blogs

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      Consolacion Miravite 3 years ago from Philippines

      Breakeven analysis is a fairly easy concept to understand. It is harder to learn in school than to apply it in actual work situations. What this just means is that --- at what level of sales do you need to recoup all your expenses? Say, if your total cost/expenses amounts to $10 and your unit sales price is $2 ----- BEP (Breakeven point) is 5 units. Meaning, after selling 5 units, all incremental sales would be profit.

      This is a big help in business. Especially the small trade stores and outlets that does not have much financial muscle. Good hub!

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      GUD JOB BRO 4 years ago

      BUT THERE IS ANOTHER DISADVANTAGE AND ITS THAT:

      Break even charts are constructed assuming that all goods produced by the firm is actually sold - the graph does not show the possibility that stocks may build up if not all goods are sold

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      zolah 4 years ago

      thanx a lot

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      TAHA 4 years ago

      ITS RUBBISH

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      MTALHAASIF 4 years ago

      Your knowledge is highly appreciated . THANKS A LOT

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      cj 4 years ago

      thank you so much guys didn't know about the limitations of breakeven analysis nd diddnt know that it has some merits and demerits......thank you so much now i understand so much bout da topic

    • profile image

      MOZIEY OBY CHINS 4 years ago

      THANX GUYZ

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      MOZIEY OBY CHINS 4 years ago

      THANX GUYZ

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      mercy 4 years ago

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      merc 4 years ago

      If you don’t believe in magic, I think you are mistaken. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my doubts, too. But then I found upesaspelltemple@yahoo.com I was having money problems, and a good friend of mine referred me to him. I owned a shoping plaza, and I was a little behind on bills. I had already sold half of my stocks and couldn’t afford to lose any more. Otherwise, my business would be residing in the great pasture in the sky, if ya’ know what I’m saying. I was in some real trouble. I needed money and fast. After Upesa cast a money spell on me, I was living easy. I no longer have to worry about my shopping plaza, and I also am increasing my stocks quantity quickly. I couldn't have done it without you I was having money problems, and a good friend of mine referred me to him. I owned a shoping plaza, and I was a little behind on bills. I had already sold half of my stocks and couldn’t afford to lose any more. Otherwise, my business would be residing in the great pasture in the sky, if ya’ know what I’m saying. I was in some real trouble. I needed money and fast. After Upesa cast a money spell on me, I was living easy. I no longer have to worry about my shopping plaza

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 5 years ago from Barbados

      you are welcome!!

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      Rabion 5 years ago

      Thank u for work,it helped me a lot.

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      pep 5 years ago

      thankx alt u've helped me undstnd more abt break even analysis

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 5 years ago from Barbados

      you are most welcome

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      ana 5 years ago

      tanx you made me knw all i wnt to knw concerning d bep and its goin a long way in helping to d my assignment. tanx man kip it up

    • profile image

      ussy 5 years ago

      no ud stufff

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      BizVT34 5 years ago from USA

      Good stuff on break-even. However, I like to pair it with a cash flow forecast. I'v seen many businesses that were break-even go bankrupt because they run out of cash. Here's a 30 Second biz lesson on cash flow https://hubpages.com/business/Cash-Flow-vs-Profit...

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      gabriel mpeza 5 years ago

      thanks 4 the time spent in building our capacity.again thanx a lot.NUR Rwanda

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      rahyan rasool 5 years ago

      i found this really discriptive

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      Nady 5 years ago

      I finally got a job!!! I start tomorrow and it will go for 2 months. What a relief! What's funny - sort of - is that Friday I got rejected for one job and got hired for this one within a half hour of each other. I am so relieved and happy. MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP Dr.(gbocotemple@yahoo.com)!!! Especially for the extra time - very nice and very appreciated...

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      Stanley Relson 5 years ago

      Thankyou very much for the valueable information. i now know that the breakeven point is the point at which the revenue and the cost lines intersects. moreover i now the adventages and the dis adventages that it has.

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      love singh sikarwar 5 years ago

      ii like all these information about breakeven point from love singh sikarwar lucknow, BBA student contect no 07860529428

    • mathslover profile image
      Author

      mathslover 6 years ago from Barbados

      Thanks a lot crystolite i am glad you have taken some knowledge from this hub with you.

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      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      thanks for telling me about Breakeven analysis I now know that is all about calculation and also had advantage and disadvantages.