Operating Cost

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DEFINITION of 'Operating Cost'

Expenses associated with administering a business on a day to day basis. Operating costs include both fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs, such as overhead, remain the same regardless of the number of products produced; variable costs, such as materials, can vary according to how much product is produced.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Operating Cost'

Businesses have to keep track of both operating costs and costs associated with non-operating activities, such as interest expenses on a loan. Both costs are accounted for differently in a company's books, allowing analysts to see how costs are associated with revenue-generating activities and whether or not the business can be run more efficiently.

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