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Break Even Analysis Chart

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Business Studies

As you might already know, break-even is a level of output at which revenues from sales equal total costs. It is the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs. To conduct the break-even analysis, we can either use a formula or a chart. Now, let's have a look at break-even analysis charts.

What is a break-even chart?

The break-even chart is a method of carrying out a break-even analysis.

There are two methods to carry out the break-even analysis: calculation and break-even chart. To learn more about the numeric way of calculating break-even, take a look at our break-even analysis calculation explanation.

Break-even is the level of output at which revenues from sales equal total costs. It is the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs.

The break-even chart includes four variables: fixed costs, variable costs, total costs, and revenue. Each of them is represented as a line that indicates its value depending on the level of output.

TermDefinitionExample
Fixed costscosts that remain the same regardless of the number of units producedrent, rates
Variable costscosts that rise and fall in direct proportion to the number of units producedraw materials used in production, direct labour
Total costsfixed costs and variable costs added togetherrent and rates, raw materials used in production and direct labour added together
Revenuemoney earned from salescash from sales

Steps of Drawing a Break-Even Analysis Chart

Drawing a break-even chart consists of six steps:

  1. Draw axes.

  2. Draw a line indicating fixed costs.

  3. Draw a line indicating variable costs.

  4. Draw a line indicating total costs.

  5. Draw a line indicating revenue.

  6. Mark the break-even point.

Step 1 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Draw axes

First, we need to draw two axes:

  • Vertical axis - this one will display costs.

  • Horizontal axis - this one will display quantity.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 1 StudySmarterFigure 1. Break-even chart step 1, StudySmarter

Figure 1 illustrates the two axes in the break-even chart (cost and quantity).

Step 2 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Draw a line indicating fixed costs

Now we need to draw a line indicating fixed costs. Since fixed costs remain the same (in the short term), regardless of the number of units produced, this line will be horizontal and parallel to the axis that displays quantity.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 2 StudySmarterFigure 2. Break-even chart step 2, StudySmarter

Figure 2 illustrates a horizontal line indicating fixed costs (FC) which are constant. Depending on its value, the line can be lower or higher on the chart.

Step 3 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Draw a line indicating variable costs

Now we need to draw a line indicating variable costs. Since variable costs rise and fall in direct proportion to the number of units, the line will start at the intersection point of the axes and gradually increase.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 3 StudySmarterFigure 3. Break-even chart step 3, StudySmarter

Figure 3 illustrates a line indicating variable costs (VC). Depending on its value, the line can have a more vertical or horizontal inclination.

Step 4 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Draw a line indicating total costs

Now we need to draw a line indicating total costs. Since total costs include both fixed and variable costs, the line will start at the intersection point of the cost axis and the line indicating fixed costs, and will gradually increase.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 4 StudySmarterFigure 4. Break-even chart step 4, StudySmarter

Figure 4 illustrates a line indicating total costs (TC). Depending on its value, the line can have a more vertical or horizontal inclination.

Step 5 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Draw a line indicating revenue

Now we need to draw a line indicating revenue. Since revenue is directly related to quantity, the line will start at the intersection point of the horizontal and vertical axes and increase gradually.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 5 StudySmarterFigure 5. Break-even chart step 5, StudySmarter

Figure 5 illustrates a line indicating revenue (R). Depending on its value, the line can have a more vertical or horizontal inclination.

Step 6 of drawing a break-even analysis chart: Mark the break-even point

Now we need to mark the break-even point. The break-even point is the intersection point of the total costs and revenues lines.

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even chart step 6 StudySmarterFigure 6. Break-even chart step 6, StudySmarter

Figure 6 illustrates the break-even point (🔴). The break-even point is the quantity (number of units) at a level where total costs and revenue intersect.

Company Z produces chairs. The rental cost of a factory is £12,000 a month and bills are £3,000 a month. The selling price per chair is £1,000. The cost of materials per chair is £500. How many chairs per month does the company have to produce and sell to reach the break-even level of output?

Break Even Analysis Chart Break-even analysis chart example StudySmarterFigure 7. Break-even chart example, StudySmarter

Figure 7 illustrates the break-even chart for the company X where:

R = revenue

TC = total costs

FC = fixed costs

VC = variable costs

🔴 = break-even point

These are the steps we followed drawing the break-even chart for the company X:

  1. First, we drew two axes: a vertical one displaying costs and a horizontal one displaying quantity.
  2. Then we drew a horizontal line indicating fixed costs (FC) that are £15,000. This is because the rental costs of the factory are £12,000 and bills are £3,000. So, £12,000 + £3,000 = £15,000.
  3. Then we drew a line indicating that variable costs (VC) are £500 per unit. This is because the cost of materials per chair is £500. So, the variable cost of one chair is £500, the variable costs of two chairs are £1,000, etc.
  4. Then we drew a line indicating total costs (TC). This line is parallel to the line indicating variable costs. However, it starts at the intersection point of the axis indicating costs and line indicating fixed costs.
  5. Then we drew a line indicating revenue (R) which is £1,000 per unit. This is because the selling price per chair is £1,000.
  6. Finally, we marked the break-even point (🔴) at the intersection point of lines indicating total costs (TC) and revenue (R).

This means that company Z has to produce 30 chairs a month to reach the break-even level.

Advantages and disadvantages of a break-even chart

Below you will find some advantages and disadvantages of using the break-even chart as a method to carry out the break-even analysis.

Break-Even Analysis Chart: Advantages

  • It is relatively easy to draw.

  • It not only shows the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs but also revenues and costs at different levels of production.

  • It allows for businesses to see the interdependence between fixed, variable and total costs, revenue, and quantity of units.

Break-Even Analysis Chart: Disadvantages

  • It can be more time-consuming to draw a chart than to simply calculate break-even levels of output.

  • A poorly drawn chart can give inaccurate results.

As you can see, to conduct the break-even analysis, we do not necessarily have to calculate it. Instead, we can draw a break-even chart. This is an easy alternative that allows us to see revenues and costs at different levels of production and the interdependence between fixed, variable, and total costs, as well as revenue and quantity of units produced.

Break-even analysis charts - Key takeaways

  • A break-even chart is a method to carry out the break-even analysis.
  • It includes four variables: fixed costs, variable costs, total costs, and revenue.
  • To draw a break-even chart, we need to follow six steps: draw axes; draw a line indicating fixed costs; draw a line indicating variable costs; draw a line indicating total costs; draw a line indicating revenue; mark the break-even point.
  • A break-even chart can be an easy but time-consuming method to carry out break-even analysis.
  • It shows revenues and costs at different levels of production and allows us to see the interdependence between fixed, variable, and total costs, as well as revenue and quantity of units.
  • A poorly drawn chart can give false results.

Break Even Analysis Chart

A break-even chart is a method to carry out the break-even analysis. It includes four variables: fixed costs, variable costs, total costs, and revenue. Each of them is presented as a line that indicates their value depending on the level of output. 


To draw a break-even chart, we need to follow six steps: draw axes, draw a line indicating fixed costs, draw a line indicating variable costs, draw a line indicating total costs, draw a line indicating revenue, and mark the break-even point.


  • It is relatively easy to draw.
  • It not only shows the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs but also revenues and costs at different levels of production.
  • It allows to see the interdependence between fixed, variable and total costs, as well as revenue and quantity of units. 

  • It can be time consuming.
  • A poorly drawn chart can give false results.


No, break-even analyses can also be conducted using a calculation. The formula for the break-even level of output is the following: 

Break-even = Fixed costs / Contribution per unit

Final Break Even Analysis Chart Quiz

Question

What is a break-even chart?

Show answer

Answer

Break-even chart is a method to carry out the break-even analysis.


Show question

Question

What is break-even?

Show answer

Answer

Break-even is a level of output at which revenues from sales equal total costs. It is the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs. 


Show question

Question

What are the four variables in a break-even chart?


Show answer

Answer

fixed costs, variable costs, total costs and revenue


Show question

Question

What are the fixed costs?


Show answer

Answer

costs that remain the same regardless of the number of units produced

Show question

Question

Give an example of a fixed cost.


Show answer

Answer

For example:

  • rent
  • rates

Show question

Question

What are the variable costs?


Show answer

Answer

costs that rise and fall in direct proportion to the number of units produced


Show question

Question

Which of these is a variable cost?

Show answer

Answer

raw materials used in production

Show question

Question

What are the total costs?


Show answer

Answer

fixed costs and variable costs added together


Show question

Question

What is revenue?


Show answer

Answer

money earned from sales

Show question

Question

What are the six steps one should follow to draw a break-even chart?


Show answer

Answer

  • Draw axes
  • Draw a line indicating fixed costs
  • Draw a line indicating variable costs
  • Draw a line indicating total costs
  • Draw a line indicating revenue
  • Mark the break-even point

Show question

Question

Where is the break-even point in a break-even chart?


Show answer

Answer

The break-even point is the intersection point of lines indicating total costs and revenue. 

Show question

Question

A break-even chart consists of two axes. What do they display?


Show answer

Answer

Costs and quantity

Show question

Question

What are the advantages of a break-even chart?


Show answer

Answer

  • It is relatively easy to draw.
  • It not only shows the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to recover its total costs but also revenues and costs at different levels of production.
  • It allows to see the interdependence between fixed, variable and total costs, revenue and quantity of units. 


Show question

Question

What are the disadvantages of a break-even chart?


Show answer

Answer

It can be time consuming.

A poorly drawn chart can give false results.


Show question

Question

Besides a break-even chart, what is the other method to carry out the break-even analysis?


Show answer

Answer

Calculation

Show question

Question

Rent is an example of...

Show answer

Answer

a fixed cost.

Show question

Question

Direct labour is an example of...

Show answer

Answer

a variable cost.

Show question

Question

What does the vertical axis in a break-even analysis chart indicate?

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Answer

Costs

Show question

Question

What does the horizontal axis in a break-even analysis chart indicate?

Show answer

Answer

Quantity

Show question

Question

Break-even analysis chart allows for businesses to see the ___ between fixed, variable and total costs, revenue, and quantity of units. 

Show answer

Answer

interdependence 

Show question

Question

Break-even is the number of units a firm has to produce and sell to...

Show answer

Answer

recover its total costs. 

Show question

Question

The break-even chart includes four variables: fixed costs, variable costs, total costs, and revenue. Each of them is represented as a line that indicates its value depending on... 


Show answer

Answer

the level of output.

Show question

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