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  • Writer's picturePeter Wesley

How to Calculate Your Breakeven Point: A Guide for Trade Contractors

The maths is simple - the impact is huge

Understanding your breakeven point is crucial for the financial health of your trade contracting business. It's not just about covering your overhead costs - it's about knowing exactly how much revenue you need to generate before you start making a profit. Let's dive into how to calculate this important metric.

What is the Breakeven Point?

The breakeven point is the level of revenue at which your total costs (both fixed and variable) are equal to your total sales. At this point, you're neither making a profit nor incurring a loss. Think of it as the baseline your business needs to reach before it can start generating profit.

The Formula

The basic formula for calculating your breakeven point is:

Breakeven Point = Fixed Costs / Gross Profit Margin

Let's break this down:

  1. Fixed Costs: These are your overhead expenses that remain constant regardless of your sales volume. Examples include rent, insurance, salaries, and equipment leases.

  2. Gross Profit Margin: This is the percentage of each sale that remains after accounting for the direct costs of providing your service (materials, labor, etc.). It's calculated as:

  3. Gross Profit Margin = (Sales - Variable Costs) / Sales

Step-by-Step Calculation

  1. Calculate your total fixed costs for the month.

  2. Determine your average gross profit margin.

  3. Divide your fixed costs by your gross profit margin.


Let's say your trade contracting business has:

  • Monthly fixed costs: $10,000

  • Average gross profit margin: 40% (0.40)

Breakeven Point = $10,000 / 0.40 = $25,000

This means your business needs to generate $25,000 in monthly revenue to break even.

Why It Matters

Knowing your breakeven point allows you to:

  • Set realistic revenue targets

  • Make informed decisions about pricing and expenses

  • Understand how changes in costs or pricing affect your profitability

  • Plan for slow periods or expansion

Beyond Breakeven

Once you know your breakeven point, you can use it to set profit goals. For example, if you want to make a $5,000 profit:

Target Revenue = Breakeven Point + Desired Profit / Gross Profit Margin

= $25,000 + ($5,000 / 0.40) = $37,500

Regular Recalculation

Your breakeven point isn't static. As your business grows or market conditions change, so will your costs and margins. Make it a habit to recalculate your breakeven point regularly - at least quarterly, if not monthly.

By mastering this calculation, you'll gain a powerful tool for steering your trade contracting business towards sustainable profitability. Remember, it's not just about working hard - it's about working smart and understanding your numbers.

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