Operating Expenses: Definition and Example

Having a clear picture of OpEx, COGS and non-OpEx is crucial to figuring out whether your business is profitable. There is no hard-and-fast rule on the ideal percentage of operating costs relative to revenue.

  • Other ExpensesOther expenses comprise all the non-operating costs incurred for the supporting business operations.
  • Operating expenses are categorized into marketing and administrative expenses.
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  • Besides considering fixed costs, your business will keep a track of its cost structures through cost statements.
  • However, the potato supplier may offer the restaurant chain a price of $0.45 per pound when it buys potatoes in bulk amounts of 200 to 500 pounds.

That’s because operating expenses are not directly linked to the production of goods or services. In the case of an individual, it comprises wages or salaries or other payments.


Generally speaking, a company’s management will seek to maximize profits for the company. Because cutting costs generally seems like an easier and more accessible way of increasing profits, managers will often be quick to choose this method.

It is noteworthy that the same category of an operating expense can be either a fixed cost or a variable cost, depending on the situation. For example, the wage https://simple-accounting.org/ for a full-time office employee is a fixed cost to the company, while the wage for an assembly line factory worker can be identified as a variable cost.

How Do Operating Costs Affect Profit?

Consequently, comparing this expense among companies within the same industry is more meaningful, such that the designation of “high” or “low” expenses should be made within that context. Operating expenses are the costs to a firm of activities not connected directly with the primary activity of the business. They are the expense of carrying on the day- to-day activities that do not involve production or sales. Operating expenses include any expense that is not directly related to the production of goods. The more the operating expenses are, the less cash the business keeps.

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What Is the Difference Between Operating Costs and Startup Costs?

Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. You can try decreasing your COGS by using cheaper labor or materials, but quality may suffer and lead to lost business.

  • It is entirely possible for a company to be running a sound operation and still incur unusual expenses that aren’t likely to recur.
  • Reducing the bottom line of costs may affect the good name of the store while a small increase in prices may be understandable if the quality of goods in store stay the same.
  • Common operating costs in addition to COGS may include rent, equipment, inventory costs, marketing, payroll, insurance, and funds allocated for research and development.
  • As a business owner, you determine the fixed costs via contract agreements or cost schedules.
  • However, fixed costs do not change with the change in the level of production.

On an income statement, in the operating expenses section, sometimes operating expenses will be a single line item that lists the total operating expenses, but often they are broken into categories. At the least, they are broken into Operating Expenses: Definition and Example the major categories of administrative and marketing expenses. Operating expenses include rent and other fixed costs, as well as variable costs for office supplies, or operating activities such as research and development expenses.

Operating Expenses on the Income Statement Explained

An operating expense is any expense related to a company’s core operations. Unlike non-operating expenses, they’re necessary costs for a company to perform its regular daily activities. Examples of operating expenses include rent, insurance, office supplies, repair and maintenance, salary and wages, utilities, and depreciation. Operating expenses vary per company and are influenced by the company’s industry, business model, and other factors.

Operating Expenses: Definition and Example

The scattergraph method is a visual technique for separating the fixed and variable elements of a semi-variable expense in order to estimate and budget future costs. Cost of goods sold is defined as the direct costs attributable to the production of the goods sold in a company. The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.