Cost-Plus Contract


DEFINITION of 'Cost-Plus Contract'

An agreement to pay a company for a job based on the amount of money used to buy the materials required to complete that job plus an added payment. A cost-plus contract fully reimburses a contractor for the cost of materials and then adds additional money to arrive at the total cost of the job. Cost-plus contracts are commonly used in research and development activities, where it is difficult to determine in advance how much a job should cost. For example, the U.S. government has agreed to cost-plus contracts with military defense companies that are developing new technologies for national defense.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cost-Plus Contract'

Cost overruns are a major concern with cost-plus contracts, since all costs are reimbursed and the additional fee may already be known in advance. However, this problem can be mitigated or avoided if the contract is structured properly. For example, the contract can offer an incentive fee for saving money on materials, or the contract can limit the amount of money that can be spent on materials.

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