Direct Cost

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What is a 'Direct Cost'

A direct cost is a price that can be completely attributed to the production of specific goods or services. Direct costs refer to materials, labor and expenses related to the production of a product. Other costs, such as depreciation or administrative expenses, are more difficult to assign to a specific product, and therefore are considered indirect costs.

BREAKING DOWN 'Direct Cost'

For example, the cost of meat in a hamburger can be attributed directly to the cost of manufacturing that product, as could the cost of packaging materials and preservatives. These are considered variable costs that are inconsistent and change amounts often. An indirect cost, such as the hamburger manufacturer's legal fees and staffing, is anything that is not a direct cost.

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