Simply put, it is the length of time an investment reaches a breakeven point. It also means that if you wanted to pay back your initial investment by 20 years, it would take about 7.3 years (365 divided by 24). You can use the payback period to compare and prioritize different projects.

- By aggregating them all together, you can skew the calculation and get a misleading measurement.
- For example, if it takes five years to recover the cost of an investment, the payback period is five years.
- Most broadly speaking, the higher the IRR, the more desirable the investment opportunity is.
- Once the cost of the investment is covered, then the customer’s payment can go toward the company’s growth.
- And when they do, inspire them to stay by reinforcing the benefits of your product and/or offering incentives to stay.
- The table indicates that the real payback period is located somewhere between Year 4 and Year 5.

Cash outflows include any fees or charges that are subtracted from the balance. Sometimes, the pandemic can make it longer to regain the investments made due to circumstances, and the payback period framework leaves out such a scenario. You can use the Payback Period calculator below to quickly estimate the time needed to get a return on investment by entering the required numbers. A speedy return may not always be the priority of a business because long-term investments are also rewarded in many ways. Moreover, it helps to recognize which product or project is the most efficient to regain the investment at the earliest possible. Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account.

## How payback period relates to other SaaS metrics

The discounted payback period is the procedure used to determine the profitability of a certain project or an investment. By calculating discounted payback period, you learn how many years it will take to earn profit from the initial investment. IRR or internal rate of return is a financial metric used to determine the profitability of certain business investments. Most broadly speaking, the higher the IRR, the more desirable the investment opportunity is. IRR is calculated using the same formula as the net present value (NPV).

We’re going to dive deep on how to calculate and reduce longer payback periods so you can maximize efficiency and growth in your SaaS company. Perhaps the simplest method for evaluating the feasibility of undertaking a potential investment or project, the payback period is a fundamental capital budgeting tool in corporate finance. According to payback method, machine Y is more desirable than machine X because it has a shorter payback period than machine X. The answer is found by dividing $200,000 by $100,000, which is two years.

## Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Advisory services provided by Carbon Collective Investment LLC (“Carbon Collective”), an SEC-registered investment adviser. Looking at the best-performing companies in this cohort gives us clues as to how they have created a low payback period.

For example, if solar panels cost $5,000 to install and the savings are $100 each month, it would take 4.2 years to reach the payback period. In most cases, this is a pretty good payback period as experts say it can take as much as years for residential homeowners in the United States to break even on their investment. For example, if you have three possible investments, one will pay back your initial investment in 5 years, while the other two take 15 and 25 years, respectively. Then, it would make sense to choose the one that will pay back in five years because that helps you get a return on your money sooner.

## How do you break down the variables used to calculate payback period?

One of the most important concepts every corporate financial analyst must learn is how to value different investments or operational projects to determine the most profitable project or investment to undertake. One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period. Payback period is the amount of time it takes to break even on an investment. The appropriate timeframe for an investment will vary depending on the type of project or investment and the expectations of those undertaking it.

You could argue that the whole purpose of measuring payback period is to find the optimum CAC. A high CAC will worsen the payback period (as it takes longer to pay off the investment), and vice versa. Critics of the payback period metric will level a range of charges at its door. Here we look at some of them, and how to adjust your calculations accordingly. In the example above, the customer pays back their CAC over time, but the time to payback CAC exceeds one year.

## Payback Period Calculator

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 payback as being just short of 4.5 years. A higher payback period means it will take longer for a company to cover its initial investment. All else being equal, it’s usually better for a company to have a lower payback period as this typically represents a less risky investment. The quicker a company can recoup its initial investment, the less exposure the company has to a potential loss on the endeavor. The payback period disregards the time value of money and is determined by counting the number of years it takes to recover the funds invested.

Payback period means the period of time that a project requires to recover the money invested in it. The Payback Period formula is a tool that can be incredibly useful for companies in projecting the financial risk of a project. In examining the results, you should be looking for the shortest possible payback period. Clearly putting your prices up is one way to increase revenue and cut the payback period. It may be more palatable to change the terms of a subscription as a way to bring committed revenue in sooner. Or you could incentivize customers to pay for more of their subscription upfront.

## Payback Period Analysis

In other words, it is the number of years the project remains unprofitable. For instance, let’s say you own a retail company and are considering a proposed growth strategy that involves opening up new store locations in the hopes of benefiting from the expanded geographic reach. Each company will internally have its own set of standards for the timing criteria related to accepting (or declining) a project, but the industry that the company operates within also plays a critical role. Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia.