Job Costing 101

ERP, Job Costing, Shop Floor - All industries

cost analysis cartoon illustration

In custom manufacturing, every project is unique, making the ability to accurately estimate and manage costs crucial. But, understanding the real costs of a custom job isn’t easy: The complicated nature of custom manufacturing makes it difficult for custom shops to figure out exactly how much a job costs. Yet, without a firm grasp on job cost, determining appropriate pricing is challenging, which can seriously impact profit margins.

Effective job costing not only reveals the true expenses associated with each project and whether it’s profitable but also helps enhance efficiency and cut costs. Precise job costing gives manufacturers extensive and timely insights, enabling them to make more informed decisions regarding production, pricing and process efficiency. 

What is Job Costing?

Job costing is a comprehensive accounting method that tracks the costs associated with a specific job or project. Unlike process costing, which averages costs over a period of time, job costing assigns costs to each individual project. This allows custom manufacturers to have a clear and detailed view of the resources consumed and expenses incurred for every job undertaken in their shop.

Why is Job Costing Important for Custom Manufacturers?

Accurate job costing is vital for custom manufacturers as it determines the actual cost of a job and helps manufacturers set the right price for their customers and improve efficiency. Essentially, job costing boils down to one fundamental question: “Does this job result in financial losses, or is it contributing to overall profits?”

Benefits of Job Costing

Precision in Pricing: Accurate job costing is essential for setting competitive yet profitable prices. Understanding the intricacies of each project ensures that quotes are bas8ed on actual costs, preventing underpricing and potential financial losses.

Resource Allocation: Job costing provides insights into the allocation of resources, including materials, labor and overhead. This information lets manufacturers optimize resource utilization, identify inefficiencies and make informed decisions on staffing, equipment and supply chain management.Profitability Analysis: By associating costs with specific jobs, custom manufacturers can conduct a detailed profitability analysis. This helps identify high-margin projects, understand the factors influencing profitability and make strategic decisions to enhance overall financial performance.

How to Do Job Costing

Identify Direct Costs: Begin by identifying all the direct costs associated with a particular job. This includes materials, labor, and any other expenses directly attributed to the project.

Allocate Indirect Costs: Indirect costs, such as overhead, need to be allocated to specific jobs. Common allocation methods include labor hours, machine hours or square footage, depending on the nature of the custom manufacturing process.

Record and Track: Implement a robust system for recording and tracking costs throughout the project’s lifecycle. This involves capturing data on a real-time or periodic basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Regularly Review and Adjust: Job costing is a repetitive process. Regularly review and adjust cost estimates based on actual expenses and project progress. This allows for better forecasting and continuous improvement in cost estimation accuracy.

Why Custom Manufacturers Need an ERP for Accurate Job Costing

Custom manufacturers need to use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for accurate and efficient job costing. Due to the complex nature of custom manufacturing, the above process of tracking and assigning costs is almost impossible for custom manufacturers without an integrated system. ERPs provide custom manufacturers with total visibility and connectivity, and automatically monitor and analyze in real-time costs associated with individual operations, projects and jobs to provide manufacturers with precise job cost calculations. 

Benefits of Using an ERP for Job Costing:

Centralized Data Management: ERPs provide a centralized platform for managing data related to materials, labor and overhead costs. This ensures that all relevant information is easily accessible, streamlining the job costing process.

Real-Time Tracking: ERP systems enable real-time tracking of expenses, allowing custom manufacturers to monitor costs as they are incurred. This timeliness enhances decision-making by providing up-to-date information.

Integration with Other Business Processes: ERPs seamlessly integrate job costing with other business processes, such as inventory management, order processing and financial accounting. This integration ensures data consistency and accuracy across the organization.

Comprehensive Reporting: ERP systems generate comprehensive reports, offering insights into various aspects of job costing. These reports aid in performance analysis, budgeting, and strategic planning for future projects.


In custom manufacturing, uniqueness defines every project — making precise job costing difficult. But good job costing is critical for custom manufacturers to become more efficient, set the right prices and improve profitability. To learn more about job costing — and how Genius ERP can help — check out Genius ERP Job Costing.

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