A somewhat more sophisticated approach to cost-based pricing is the break-even analysis. The information required for the formula for break-even analysis is available from the accounting records in most firms. The break- even price is the price that will produce enough revenue to cover all costs at a given level of production. Total cost can be divided into fixed and variable (total cost = fixed cost + variable cost). Recall that fixed cost does not change as the level of production goes up or down. The rent paid for the building to house the operation might be an example. No cost is fixed in the long run, but in the short run, many expenses cannot realistically be changed. Variable cost does change as production is increased or decreased. For example, the cost of raw material to make the product will vary with production.
A second shortcoming of break-even analysis is it assumes that variable costs are constant. However, wages will increase with overtime and shipping discounts will be obtained. Third, break-even assumes that all costs can be neatly categorized as fixed or variable. Where advertising expenses are entered, break-even analysis will have a significant impact on the resulting break-even price and volume.