On the other hand, indirect costs like factory rent and supervisors’ salaries are not directly attributable to the production of finished goods and hence are not a part of prime cost. Basically, the prime cost is the total sum of direct costs, which may be fixed or variable. Businesses use prime cost to measure the total cost of production inputs needed to create a given output. Direct labor includes only wages paid to workers who directly contribute to the formation, assembly, or creation of the product.

In this industry, the various food and beverage items that a restaurant uses to build its menu are its raw materials. In some circumstances, both client and contractor use the Prime Cost Contract that the contractor pays for the prime cost plus overhead cost and percentage of profit. However, there is still room for adjustment if there are any depreciation methods fluctuate in price during the construction time. Prime costs are reviewed by operations managers to ensure that the company is maintaining an efficient production process. Management can also use these costs to establish selling prices for their products. Based on the costs, management can calculate the minimum break even selling price.

Example of How to Use Prime Cost

Therefore, the overhead cost is not considered or included as a prime cost. The word prime stems from the Latin word  ‘prôtos’, which means first in existence, or the first in order. Just as prime numbers are indivisible, prime costs refer to the direct costs of raw materials and labor that are essential to manufacturing a product. Prime costs do not include indirect costs, such as allocated factory overhead. Administrative costs are generally not included in the prime cost category. In many businesses, this means that the majority of all costs incurred are not prime costs.

The prime cost per unit is often calculated to determine the production cost of each unit of output so that the organization could fix a minimum price. For example, a commission or bonus awarded to a salesperson who works as an intermediary between the producer and buyer on achieving a goal would also be included as indirect labor cost. Calculating a product’s prime cost is important because it can be used to determine a product’s minimum sales price. If the sales price does not exceed the prime cost, the company will lose money on each unit produced. Businesses in the restaurant industry need to strike a balance between profitability and the need to create unique, mouth-watering meals with high-quality ingredients.

Operations managers also use conversion costs to determine where there may be waste within the manufacturing process. Conversions costs and prime costs can be used together to help calculate the minimum profit needed when determining prices to charge customers. Prime cost is the aggregate of direct material cost, direct labor cost, and direct expenses. It is also known as ‘flat cost,’ ‘first cost,’ or ‘direct cost.’ Once the cost of raw materials has been ascertained, the cost of direct labor and direct expenses is known.

We follow strict ethical journalism practices, which includes presenting unbiased information and citing reliable, attributed resources. The company must sell each bed frame for more than $725 to generate a profit.

Not different from other industries, construction also has prime cost as it requires to have direct material and direct labour in the process. However, in construction, the prime cost is the supply of labour, equipment and material which provide by the contractors and bare by the client. This cost will be excluded from the profit mark up by the supplier or contractor. The indirect manufacturing costs (manufacturing overhead) are not part of the product’s prime cost. Direct labor includes the wages paid to employees who produce finished products.

The conversion cost takes labor and overhead expenses into account, but not the cost of materials. Prime costs are the direct costs involved in production, including raw materials and labor. By contrast, overhead costs refer to costs that are indirectly related to production, which include electricity, rent, or salaries, among others. To calculate the prime cost formula, take the direct raw materials costs and add them to a business’s direct labor costs, both found on the balance sheet.


For example, direct materials include raw materials, supplies, and any other component that becomes part of the finished product. Prime costs are the costs directly incurred to create a product or service. These costs are useful for determining the contribution margin of a product or service, as well as for calculating the absolute minimum price at which a product should be sold. However, since prime costs do not include overhead costs, they are not good for calculating prices that will ensure long-term profitability. These other expenses are considered manufacturing overhead expenses and are included in the calculation of the conversion cost.

Great! The Financial Professional Will Get Back To You Soon.

Prime cost is the manufacturing cost, which consists of both direct material and direct labor. It is the major factor for calculating contribution margin which is present the product’s ability to cover the fixed cost. In some particular occasion, management may use the contribution margin to quickly calculate the minimum selling price.

What does Prime Cost include?

The rental expenses are normally considered as the period cost or overhead cost. However, the rental expenses that the company spends on the warehouse and office could not be considered prime costs. The raw materials include $5,000 in lumber and $1,500 in hardware, so the total cost of raw materials is $6,500. The cost of labor and payroll taxes used directly in the production process are part of prime costs. Labor that is used to service and consult the production of goods is also included in prime costs. Direct labor examples might include assembly line workers, welders, carpenters, glass workers, painters, and cooks.


The furniture maker charges $50 per hour for labor, and the project takes three hours to complete. These are workers who apply their skills, during the manufacturing process, to the raw materials to convert it into finished goods. It consists of the staff that is part of the daily operations during the production of the goods. However, if the cost object is a customer, prime costs can also include the cost of warranty claims, return processing, field servicing, and any staff assigned full time to service that customer. If the cost object is a distribution channel, the prime cost will include the items specified and the direct costs of maintaining the distribution channel, such as marketing expenses.

What Is the Difference Between Prime Costs and Conversion Costs?

If management makes the decision base on this information, it will impact the overall business strategy, such as selling price and so on. An entity incurs various direct and indirect costs to manufacture a product. It is a measure of the resources consumed solely for the production of the product being considered, or the core manufacturing costs. Compared to direct costs, indirect costs are not included in the calculation of prime costs. Businesses exclude indirect costs from the prime cost calculation because they can be tough to quantify and allocate.

Deixe um comentário

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *