Payback Period Formula Calculator Excel template


payback period formula

The payback period can help investors decide between different investments that may have a lot of similarities, as they’ll often want to choose the one that will pay back in the shortest amount of time. The payback period is the amount of time it will take to recoup the initial cost of an investment, or to reach its break-even point. Likewise, the proposals considered above might generate greater cash inflows during the later years of the investment project which is ignored if payback period method is used to evaluate investment proposals.

payback period formula

There is $400,000 of investment yet to be paid back at the end of Year 4, and there is $900,000 of cash flow projected for Year 5. The analyst assumes the same monthly amount of cash flow in Year 5, which means that he can estimate final How to attract startups for accounting payback as being just short of 4.5 years. Are you still undecided about investing in new machinery for your manufacturing business? Perhaps you’re torn between two investments and want to know which one can be recouped faster?

Payback Period Example

For instance, Jim’s buffer could break in 20 weeks and need repairs requiring even further investment costs. That’s why a shorter payback period is always preferred over a longer one. The more quickly the company can receive its initial cost in cash, the more acceptable and preferred the investment becomes. Alaskan Lumber is considering the purchase of a band saw that costs $50,000 and which will generate $10,000 per year of net cash flow. Alaskan is also considering the purchase of a conveyor system for $36,000, which will reduce sawmill transport costs by $12,000 per year. The payback method should not be used as the sole criterion for approval of a capital investment.

  • According to payback period analysis, the purchase of machine X is desirable because its payback period is 2.5 years which is shorter than the maximum payback period of the company.
  • Comparing various profitability metrics for all projects is important when making a well-informed decision.
  • As a general rule of thumb, most viable SaaS startups have a CAC payback period of fewer than 12 months.
  • If opening the new stores amounts to an initial investment of $400,000 and the expected cash flows from the stores would be $200,000 each year, then the period would be 2 years.

One of the major characteristics of the payback period is that it ignores the value of money over time. The payback period formula calculates the years it will take to recover the invested funds from the particular business. Looking at the example investment project in the diagram above, the key columns to examine are the annual “cash flow” and “cumulative cash flow” columns. Payback focuses on cash flows and looks at the cumulative cash flow of the investment up to the point at which the original investment has been recouped from the investment cash flows.

Using the Payback Period

The breakeven point is the price or value that an investment or project must rise to cover the initial costs or outlay. Although calculating the payback period is useful in financial and capital budgeting, this metric has applications in other industries. It can be used by homeowners and businesses to calculate the return on energy-efficient technologies such as solar panels and insulation, including maintenance and upgrades. As mentioned above, Payback Period Method neither takes time value of money nor cash flows beyond the payback period into consideration. This means that the terminal or the salvage value would not be considered. Hence, the payback period is not a useful method to measure profitability.

payback period formula

The decision rule using the payback period is to minimize the time taken for the return on investment. Between mutually exclusive projects having similar return, the decision should be to invest in the project having the shortest payback period. Average cash flows represent the money going into and out of the investment.


You can use the payback period in your own life when making large purchase decisions and consider their opportunity cost. Understanding the way that companies calculate their payback period is also helpful to determine their financial viability and whether it makes sense for you to invest in them as part of your portfolio. Prior to calculating the payback period of a particular investment, one might consider what their maximum payback period would be to move forward with the investment. This will help give them some parameters to work with when making investment decisions. If the calculated payback period is less than the desired period, this may be a safer investment.

payback period formula

In closing, by dividing the customer acquisition cost (CAC) by the product of the average new MRR and gross margin, the implied CAC payback period is estimated to be 14 months. Thus, at $250 a week, the buffer will have generated enough income (cash savings) to pay for itself in 40 weeks. If you’re using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. Before you invest thousands in any asset, be sure you calculate your payback period. So it would take two years before opening the new store locations has reached its break-even point and the initial investment has been recovered.

Payback Period Formula in Excel (With Excel Template)

Acting as a simple risk analysis, the payback period formula is easy to understand. It gives a quick overview of how quickly you can expect to recover your initial investment. The payback period also facilitates side-by-side analysis of two competing projects. If one has a longer payback period than the other, it might not be the better option.

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