# Calculating the Overhead Rate: A Step-by-Step Guide

Among these costs, you’ll find things such as property taxes that the government might be charging on your manufacturing facility. But they can also include audit and legal fees as well as any insurance policies you have. These financial costs are mostly constant and don’t change so they’re allocated across the entire product inventory. Manufacturing overhead is part of a company’s manufacturing operations, specifically, the costs incurred outside of those related to the cost of direct materials and labor.

• That overhead absorption rate is the manufacturing overhead costs per unit, called the cost driver, which is labor costs, labor hours and machine hours.
• To calculate manufacturing overhead, you have to identify all the overhead expenses (like the three types mentioned above).

The overhead rate is calculated by adding indirect costs and then dividing those costs by a specific measurement. The first thing you have to do is identify the manufacturing overhead costs. Now that you have an estimate for your manufacturing overhead costs, the next step is to determine the manufacturing overhead rate using the equation above. Note that the difference in rates is due solely to dividing fixed overhead by a different number of machine-hours.

Manufacturing overhead costs are the indirect expenses required to keep a company operational. Even though all businesses have some manufacturing overhead costs, not all of them are equal. Variable overhead costs are costs that change as the volume of production changes or the number of services provided changes. Variable overhead costs decrease as production output decreases and increase when production output increases.

All the items in the list above are related to the manufacturing function of the business. These costs exclude variable costs required to manufacture products, such as direct materials and direct labor. The fixed manufacturing overhead volume variance is the difference between the amount of fixed manufacturing overhead budgeted to the amount that was applied to (or absorbed by) the good output.

## How to Calculate Fixed Manufacturing Overhead

While all indirect expenses are overheads, you must be careful while categorizing them. Connie’s Candy used fewer direct labor hours and less variable overhead to produce 1,000 candy boxes (units). Once you have identified your manufacturing expenses, add them up, or multiply the overhead cost per unit by the number of units you manufacture. So if you produce 500 units a month and spend \$50 on each unit in terms of overhead costs, your manufacturing overhead would be around \$25,000.

• Calculating these beforehand can help you plan better and reduce unexpected expenses.
• It also must be included in the cost of goods sold on the income statement.
• Or, you might price them too high, resulting in unsold inventory and a hit to your bottom line.
• According to the flexible budget, the standard number of machine-hours allowed for 11,000 units of production is 22,000 hours.

The other variance computes whether or not actual production was above or below the expected production level. The overhead ratio is a financial ratio that lets the firm know its expenses as a percentage of its income. The operating expenses are incurred daily by any firm, including sub-items such as rent, utilities, maintenance, salaries, wages, depreciation on plant and machinery, etc.

A simple way to assign or allocate the fixed costs is to base it on things such as direct labor hours, machine hours, or pounds of direct material. Accountants realize that this is simplistic; they know that overhead costs are caused by many different factors. Nonetheless, we will assign the fixed manufacturing overhead costs to the aprons by using the direct labor hours. The reason why manufacturing overhead is referred to by indirect costs is that it’s hard to trace them to the product.

## How to Calculate Manufacturing Overhead Costs

Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. the ultimate guide to creating an employee handbook However, something important to note is that each industry has a different definition for overhead, meaning that context must be considered in all cases.

Flexible budgets show the budgeted amount of manufacturing overhead for various levels of output. Overhead expenses are generally fixed costs, meaning they’re incurred whether or not a factory produces a single item or a retail store sells a single product. Fixed costs would include building or office space rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, maintenance, and repair. Unless a cost can be directly attributable to a specific revenue-generating product or service, it will be classified as overhead, or as an indirect expense.