Overhead Rates - a cost added on to the direct costs of production in order to more accurately assess the profitability of each product. Overhead costs are all costs that are not directly related to the production of the good to be sold. These include administrative salaries, the costs of the building or machinery, commissions to salespeople, and many other items.
EX>>>An overall overhead rate can be calculated by dividing overhead (indirect) costs -- for example, rent and utilities -- by direct costs -- for example, labor. If your overhead costs are $30,000 and direct costs are $60,000, your overhead rate is .50. If the typical overhead rate for companies in your industry is 1.3, and your rate is .50, you have a competitive advantage with your lower overhead (30000/60000 = .5 = ...view middle of the document...
A company uses the overhead rate to allocate its indirect costs to products or projects, so that it can price them appropriately to cover all of its costs and thereby generate a long-term profit. If the overhead rate is not included in the cost of a product, then there is a risk that the company will significantly underprice its products or services, and eventually go bankrupt.
The overhead rate can be expressed as a proportion, if both the numerator and denominator are in dollars. For example, ABC Company has total indirect costs of $100,000 and it decides to use the cost of its direct labor as the allocation measure. ABC incurs $50,000 of direct labor costs, so the overhead rate is calculated as:
$100,000 Indirect costs
$50,000 Direct labor
The result is an overhead rate of 2:1, or $2 of overhead for every $1 of direct labor cost incurred.
Alternatively, if the denominator is not in dollars, then the overhead rate is expressed as a cost per allocation unit. For example, ABC Company decides to change its allocation measure to hours of machine time used. ABC has 10,000 hours of machine time usage, so the overhead rate is now calculated as:
$100,000 Indirect costs
10,000 Machine hours
The result is an overhead rate of $10.00 per machine hour.
It is possible to have several overhead rates, where overhead costs are split into different cost pools and then allocated using different allocation measures. For example, fixed benefit costs could be allocated based on the cost of direct labor incurred, while equipment maintenance costs could be allocated based on machine hours used. This approach results in more fine-tuned allocations, but is more time-consuming to compile.
A company with low indirect costs will have a lower overhead rate, which makes it more competitive with other firms that must apply a larger amount of overhead cost to their products and services.