Marginal Cost Formula & Equation

Marginal cost Formula is the increase or decrease in the total cost a business will incur by producing one more unit of a product or serving one more customer. If you plot marginal costs on a graph, you will usually see a U-shaped curve where costs start high but go down as production increases, but then rise again after some point. For example, in most manufacturing endeavors, the marginal costs of production decrease as the volume of output increases because of economies of scale. Costs are lower because you can take advantage of discounts for bulk purchases of raw materials, make full use of machinery, and engage specialized labor.

However, production will reach a point where diseconomies of scale will enter the picture and marginal costs will begin to rise again. Costs may rise because you have to hire more management, buy more equipment, or because you have tapped out your local source of raw materials, causing you to spend more money to obtain the resources.

Marginal Cost FormulaYou can use marginal costs for production decisions. If the price you charge for a product is greater than the marginal cost, then revenue will be greater than the added cost and it makes sense to continue production. However, if the price charged is less than the marginal cost, then you will lose money and production should not expand.

Marginal Cost Formula
Marginal Cost Formula

Marginal Cost Formula Calculus

You can use the following Marginal Cost Calculator.

Change in Total Cost
Change in Quantity
Marginal Cost Formula
Marginal Cost Formula =
Change in Total Cost
Change in Quantity
= 0

Marginal Opportunity Cost Formula

When performing financial analysis, it is important for management to evaluate the price of each good or service being offered to consumers, and marginal cost analysis is one factor to consider.

If the selling price for a product is greater than the marginal cost, then earnings will still be greater than the added cost – a valid reason to continue production. If, however, the price tag is less than the marginal cost, losses will be incurred and therefore additional production should not be pursued – or perhaps prices should be increased. This is an important piece of analysis to consider for business operations.

Marginal Cost Formula & Equation
Marginal Cost Formula & Equation

How To Find Marginal Cost Formula

The Marginal Cost Formula is:

Marginal Cost =  (Change in Costs) / (Change in Quantity)

What is “Change in Costs”?

At each level of production and during each time period, costs of production may increase or decrease, especially when the need arises to produce more or less volume of output. If manufacturing additional units requires hiring one or two additional workers and increases the purchase cost of raw materials, then a change in the overall production cost will result. To determine the change in costs, simply deduct the production costs incurred during the first output run from the production costs in the next batch when output has increased.

What is “Change in Quantity”?

It’s inevitable that the volume of output will increase or decrease with varying levels of production. The quantities involved are usually significant enough to evaluate changes in cost. An increase or decrease in the volume of goods produced translates to costs of goods manufactured (COGM). To determine the changes in quantity, the number of goods made in the first production run is deducted from the volume of output made in the following production run.

Marginal Cost Of Production Formula

Johnson Tires, a public company, consistently manufactures 10,000 units of truck tires each year, incurring production costs of $5 million. However, one year finds the market demand for tires significantly higher, requiring the additional production of units, which prompts management to purchase more raw materials and spare parts, as well as to hire more manpower. This demand results in overall production costs of $7.5 million to produce 15,000 units in that year.  As a financial analyst, you determine that the marginal cost for each additional unit produced is $500 ($2,500,000 / 5,000).

Marginal Cost Formula Economics

Professionals working in a wide range of corporate finance roles calculate the incremental cost of production as part of routine financial analysis.  Accountants working in the valuations group may perform this exercise calculation for a client, while analysts in investment banking may include it as part of the output in their financial model.

How Do You Calculate The Marginal Cost?

To calculate marginal cost, divide the difference in total cost by the difference in output between 2 systems. For example, if the difference in output is 1000 units a year, and the difference in total costs is $4000, then the marginal cost is $4 because 4000 divided by 1000 is 4.

What Is Marginal Cost Example?

Example: For example, the total cost of producing one pen is $5 and the total cost of producing two pens is $9, then the marginal cost of expanding output by one unit is $4 only (9 – 5 = 4).

How Do You Calculate Marginal Benefit And Marginal Cost?

The marginal cost of production measures the change in the total cost of a good that arises from producing one additional unit of that good. The marginal cost (MC) is calculated by dividing the change (Δ) in the total cost (TC) by the change in quantity (Q).