How to Calculate Overhead Recovery

Calculator image by Alhazm Salemi from

Overhead recovery rate is the amount of overhead recovered in relation to the direct costs of production. So if the overhead recovery rate is 30 percent, then for every $1 of direct costs, the company will have an additional $0.30 incurred in overhead while operating at normal capacity. This formula is beneficial to determine how much overhead goes into production of a good.

Determine fixed production overhead. This is comprised of items that are an indirect cost to the production of a good, such as manager's wages, which are also fixed in nature. A fixed cost is one that does not change based on changes in output of the product or service. Fixed production overhead must be both fixed and indirect.

Determine direct costs. Direct costs are costs tightly associated with the production of a good. A company can trace a direct cost to actual production of a good or service, such as labor used to produce the good or service or the cost of material used in production.

Divide fixed production overhead by direct costs, which equals the overhead recovery rate. For example, if there was $100 in fixed production overhead costs and $1000 of direct costs, then $100/$1000 equals 0.1, or 10 percent. So for every $1 of direct costs, a company will have $0.10 of fixed production overhead costs.


About the Author

Carter McBride started writing in 2007 with CMBA's IP section. He has written for Bureau of National Affairs, Inc and various websites. He received a CALI Award for The Actual Impact of MasterCard's Initial Public Offering in 2008. McBride is an attorney with a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Connecticut.

Photo Credits