job order costing

A pre- overhead rate is the rate used to apply manufacturing overhead to work-in-process inventory. The pre-determined overhead rate is calculated before the period begins. The first step is to estimate the amount of the activity base that will be required to support operations in the upcoming period. The second step is to estimate the total manufacturing cost at that level of activity. The third step is to compute the predetermined overhead rate by dividing the estimated total manufacturing overhead costs by the estimated total amount of cost driver or activity base. Common activity bases used in the calculation include direct labor costs, direct labor hours, or machine hours.

These are predetermined overhead rate costs such as administrative expenses, selling and marketing costs and production expenses. Calculating your monthly or yearly manufacturing overhead can help you improve your company’s financial plan and find ways to budget for such expenses. Companies with effective strategies to calculate and plan for manufacturing overhead costs tend to be more prepared for business emergencies than businesses that never consider overhead expenses.

Examples of Predetermined Overhead Rate

Calculate the predetermined overhead rate of GHJ Ltd if the required machine hours for next year’s production is estimated to be 10,000 hours. Estimated total manufacturing overhead costs divided by estimated total units in the allocation base. The rate is determined by dividing the fixed overhead cost by the estimated number of direct labor hours.


Larger organizations employ different allocation bases for determining the predetermined overhead rate in each production department. However, in recent years the manufacturing operations have started to use machine hours more predominantly as the allocation base. For example, overhead costs may be applied at a set rate based on the number of machine hours or labor hours required for the product. These positions include factory supervisors, factory maintenance workers and factory cleaning crews, to name a few. Common in the manufacturing industry, the predetermined overhead rate for machine hours is a production overhead cost.

Relevance and Uses of Predetermined Overhead Rate Formula

After going to its terms and conditions of the bidding, it stated the bid would be based on the overhead rate percentage. Therefore, the one with the lower shall be awarded the auction winner since this project would involve more overheads. Calculate the expected cost for Utilities when production is 5,000 units.

  • To calculate manufacturing overhead, you have to identify all the overhead expenses .
  • The overhead cost per unit from Figure 6.4 is combined with the direct material and direct labor costs as shown in Figure 6.3 to compute the total cost per unit as shown in Figure 6.5.
  • While categorizing the direct and overhead costs, remember that some items cannot be attributed to a specific category.
  • Divide the total overhead cost by the total labor cost for the month and multiply by 100 to express it as a percentage.
  • Large companies will typically have a predetermined overhead rate for each production department.
  • To calculate your allocated manufacturing overhead, start by determining the allocation base, which works like a unit of measurement.

This calculation will give you a basic figure for financial planning. The equation for the overhead rate is overhead costs divided by direct costs or whatever you're measuring. Direct costs typically are direct labor, direct machine costs, or direct material costs—all expressed in dollar amounts. Each one of these is also known as an "activity driver" or "allocation measure."

Formula to Calculate Predetermined Overhead Rate

The formula for the predetermined overhead rate is purely based on estimates. Hence, the overhead incurred in the actual production process will differ from this estimate. Setting pricing The price a company charges its customers is often decided or negotiated based on cost of manufacturing. A predetermined overhead rate can help estimate those costs so the company can determine an accurate price that still allows them to earn a profit.

How do you calculate overhead rate and multiplier?

Your Overhead Multiplier gives you a number to multiply your employees' hourly rate by to cover all of your overhead costs. To calculate your Overhead Multiplier, divide the Total Overhead Cost by your Total Direct Labor Cost.

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