Top 5 Indirect Manufacturing Costs

2 Minute Read

HomeLearning CenterBusiness and MarketingTop 5 Indirect Manufacturing Costs

In every business there are costs that are directly associated with producing a product. These direct costs are items such as direct materials (the gold or gems you are purchasing to make your product), direct labor (the cost of the labor associated with producing the product), and direct overhead costs (such as factory supplies and electricity to operate factory machinery).

All of these costs are used to calculate the cost of goods sold and gross profit. But at the end of the day, you really need to be concerned about how much money you made, which also takes into consideration indirect costs.

Here are the top 5 indirect manufacturing costs to look out for:


This includes water and power costs, which you generally don't have much negotiating power over. But don't forget about your telephone expense. Remember that you can call your provider and request lower rates—and you'd be surprised how quickly they will lower your rate if you just ask.

Office supplies

Try to buy in bulk and shop online for better deals.

Postage and insurance

If you have a UPS or FedEx account, provide it to your suppliers. If your rate is lower than theirs, they can ship to you using your number and get the benefit of volume discount pricing. Also, if you are getting multiple packages from the same vendor on the same day, ask the vendor to consolidate. And make sure you are charging your customers for postage and insurance on the packages you ship to them.

Machinery Maintenance and Repairs

Always perform an annual checkup on all of your machinery to avoid costly repair fees and loss of production time due to equipment breakdown.

Remakes / Returns

There is no way to totally avoid remakes or returns—but you can do a lot to minimize them. To prevent remakes, which are the result of not filling an order to the customer's specifications, monitor their frequency and find out the causes so you can nip any production problems in the bud. Remakes increase production costs and affect your bottom line, so you want to prevent them whenever possible.

If a customer has a return that is not a result of an error on your part, cover yourself for the additional labor. Either charge restocking fees for returns or non-refundable deposits for custom pieces.

Whether you have been manufacturing for a long time, you're a designer just starting out, or you are a retailer looking to start custom manufacturing in-house, you must take care to manage and monitor all costs. Getting a handle on the expense side of your business allows you to increase the other side—the income.

In association with

The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. “More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry,” says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.

Click here to read our latest articles
Click here to get a FREE four-month trial subscription.

You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information provided by this website shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.

The All-In-One Jewelry Making Solution At Your Fingertips

When you join the Ganoksin community, you get the tools you need to take your work to the next level.

Become a Member

Trusted Jewelry Making Information & Techniques

Sign up to receive the latest articles, techniques, and inspirations with our free newsletter.