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Variable Costs Examples, Formula, Guide to Analyzing Costs

By August 12, 2021February 22nd, 2023No Comments


The fixed portion of a semi-variable cost is incurred no matter the activity volume, while the variable portion occurs as a function of the activity volume. Management may analyze different activity levels by manipulating each one to change the variable costs.

The methodology presented above is the high-low method of separating mixed costs. However, this method ignores all data points other than the highest and the lowest activity levels. The highest and the lowest activity points often do not represent the rest of the points, which leads to a possible inaccuracy of the final results. Friends Company can produce from 10,000 to 50,000 valves per year. So, the relevant range for Friends Company is the range of normal activity from 10,000 to 50,000 units. Within this relevant range all fixed costs, such as rent, equipment depreciation, and administrative salaries remain constant.

Mixed Cost Formula

For example, you sign a lease with a flat rate of $1,000 per month and pay an additional 10 percent based on your gross sales. For example the cost of providing X-ray services to patients is a mixed cost. There are substantial fixed costs for equipment depreciation and for salaries for radiologist and technicians, but there are also variable costs for X-ray film, power and supplies. Maintenance costs of machineries and plants are also mixed costs. Semi-variable costs have features of both fixed costs and variable costs.

Some of the expenses are variable since the total amount will increase when more miles are driven and will decrease when fewer miles are driven. The variable expenses include gas, oil, tires, and some depreciation. Some times the high and low levels of activity don’t coincide with the high and low amounts of cost. For example, the period that has the highest level of activity may not have the highest amount of cost.


On the other hand, the component will go up or down depending on the level of activity. The fixed component will relatively stay the same whatever the level of activity is. This is because the level of activity hasn’t reached a point where you have to incur a variable cost. The total cost of the phone plan would be equal to the fixed component of $50.

Is the mixed cost of activity for which cost behavior patterns are likely to be accurate. The variable, fixed, and mixed costs identified for Bikes Unlimited will only be accurate within a certain range of activity. Once the firm goes outside that range, cost estimates are not necessarily accurate and often must be reevaluated and recalculated. Let’s say an employee needs to work overtime as a result of increased sales. Because the overtime wages are due to a rise in sales, they are variable.

Mixed Cost Defined

If the company pays time and half, the 41st hour variable cost is the one half rate amount. Separating mixed costs is one of the vital work that the management of the business organization must perform. The business managers may use different methods for separating the mixed cost. The mixed cost has to be separated into the fixed or variable costs. Business managers need to know that what proportion of fixed and variable costs are included in mixed costs. It is required so that the business managers can easily prepare business budgets and also conduct other business planning. Costs incurred by businesses consist of fixed and variable costs.

volume of activity

If this is not there, then the company’s management would also not be able to make the correct decision for the future.

Methods for Separating Mixed Costs Definition

In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 60 percent responded that they found the “variable and fixed costs” metric very useful. It is more than likely that one of the variable costs in our formula has a fixed element and a variable element. The printer says that the first 500 forms are a flat $30 but any batches of 500 after the first 500 are a marginal $17 per set contingent that they are printed as one large batch. Notice how the first 500 forms are fixed and the variable relates to next sets of 500 each. This is an example of mixed costs within one of the groupings of costs. Very similar to the cell phone bill I used in my Introduction above. Think about the mixed costs of operations; mixed costs are the combination of fixed and variable.

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