Do you know your break-even point?

All medical, health & wellness business owners need to be aware of their break-even point — that is, the number of patients or clients they need to sell in order to cover their operating costs.

Once you’ve reached your break-even point, it’s time to celebrate: your practice is no longer in the red, and you are officially earning a profit.

This article will show you how to calculate your break-even point so you can make wise business decisions that support greater growth.

Why your break-even point matters

Medical, health & wellness entrepreneurs who attempt to run a business without knowing whether or when they’ll be profitable probably won’t be in business long.

Knowing your break-even point comes in handy whenever you’re making plans to invest in your company’s growth, or making a decision that will have an impact on profits (i.e. a cost-benefit analysis).

Another key advantage of knowing exactly how much you have to earn to start generating profits is improved accuracy of your budgets and forecasts.

What are your fixed costs?

The first step to calculating your break-even point is to list the predictable, ongoing monthly expenses required to run your business.

Examples of fixed costs include:

  • Rented or leased office space
  • Rented or leased retail space
  • Employee salaries
  • Office expenses
  • Insurance
  • Utilities (e.g. heat, electricity, phone service, internet)

Do the best you can to include the most accurate numbers on your break-even spreadsheet – and be sure to add an additional 10% to cover unforeseen miscellaneous expenses.

List your variable costs

You’ll also want to take into account the business expenses that vary from month to month. In order to be as precise as possible, calculate an average monthly cost by tracking your variable expenses over a two to three month period.

Examples of items you’ll want to include monthly estimates for are:

  • Medical supplies
  • Payroll
  • Diagnostic tests

Based on your fixed and variable monthly costs, you can now determine how much you need to sell in order to reach your break-even point.

Try this simple break-even formula

To find the break-even point for the service you offer, enter the following numbers in the formula below:

  1. your company’s fixed overhead costs
  2. the average income per patient visit
  3. the average variable cost per patient

Fixed costs ÷ (average income per patient – average variable costs per patient)

As an example, let’s calculate the break-even point for a doctor’s office.

Fixed overhead expenses: $10,000
Average office visit price: $300
Average variable cost per patient: $100

$10,000/($300 – $100)
$10,000/($200) = 50 patients per month

According to this calculation, the doctor would need to see 50 patients per month to break even and start earning a profit.

In order to improve profitability, the doctor may decide to cut expenses, raise rates, or try to sell new or additional services.

Final thoughts

To ensure you’re always making business decisions based on the most accurate, up to date info, make it a habit to update your break-even analysis each quarter.

Now that you know your company’s break-even point, what will you do to increase your small business’s profitability today?

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