How To Calculate Project ROI and Why It Matters (With Example)

Actual ROI is the true return on investment generated from a project. This number is typically calculated after a project has concluded, and uses final costs and revenues to determine how much profit a project produced compared to what was estimated.
  1. ROI = (Net profit / cost of investment) x 100.
  2. Net profit = expected revenue – total expenses.

It is prudent to conduct an ROI analysis on specific projects to ascertain which project types yield the highest returns. The figures don’t give a breakdown for upcoming strategic planning if you just look at ROI across all finished projects. However, going through the numbers individually gives you the chance to really delve into which projects were a success while also examining failures and ways to move forward.

Make an assessment of all project costs before beginning the calculation process. Obtain the receipts and create a thorough cost analysis that includes a breakdown for each category. When you want to evaluate various costs to develop strategies for cost-reduction for a higher ROI on future projects, the category breakdown will be helpful.

Costs typically include materials, supplies, labor, overhead costs for employees, fuel, equipment, and contracted services. This varies based on the business and type of project. Simple ROI analyses that focus on a single project’s costs do not account for recurring costs like building leases and capital expenditures. The formula only considers the costs and returns related to that specific project and excludes any other projects.

There are two different ways to calculate return on investment. Both return the same result with a different interpretation. The ROI is frequently presented to investors as a percentage, but business owners and managers need actual profit figures to incorporate into the overall business plan.

For instance, if you invest $5,000 in a project and earn $10,000 once it is finished, you will receive a $5,000 return. To calculate the return, multiply the $5,000 initial investment by $5,000. The result is 1 or 100 percent as a return. A 100 percent return is fantastic in many businesses.

To subtract the total of expenses from the total of profits, use the last row. This will quickly show the project’s return on investment. Tracking expenses and profits during the course of the project benefits from maintaining a running tally. It can reveal areas where you are overspending in real-time. Taking immediate corrective measures can increase the return on investment.

Zach Lazzari is a freelance writer with a wealth of startup and digital marketing experience. He has a varied background and is well-known in the world of digital marketing. Zach manages marketing for numerous clients in the outdoor industry as well as developing and selling numerous successful web properties. He has written business articles for Angling Trade Magazine and numerous corporate partners’ white papers and case studies.

Project Selection – Return on Investment (ROI)

Types of ROI to use for projects

Your choice of ROI depends on the timing of your calculations. For instance, your ROI can be used to forecast performance if a project hasn’t yet been initiated. On the other hand, if the project is already complete, you can use the ROI you calculate to assess the project’s success, learn from errors, and make plans for subsequent endeavors. Applying the following ROI types can help you estimate project costs and assess a project once it is finished.

Anticipated ROI

This kind of ROI, also known as expected ROI, is typically calculated by a financial planner before a team starts working on a project. A project’s potential for profit and other potential outcomes are predicted using anticipated ROI, which combines anticipated costs and revenues. To assess risk and decide whether pursuing a project is worthwhile, managers and executives frequently consult the anticipated ROI.

Actual ROI

Actual ROI, as the name implies, is the true profit a project makes after it is finished. Financial planners can use this ROI to compare a project’s actual profit to their prediction by combining recorded costs and revenue. Businesses can increase profitability over time by making more informed investments by routinely comparing actual ROI to anticipated ROI.

Positive ROI

Positive ROI is a type of actual ROI that describes a successful project. When revenue generated by a project outpaces production costs, financial planners determine that the project is profitable. Project managers can find trends in efficient budgeting by recognizing positive ROI, which they can then apply to future projects.

Negative ROI

When a project’s anticipated costs exceed the amount of revenue it generated, this is known as a negative ROI, in contrast to positive ROI. Financial planners can better manage an organization’s finances by preventing unnecessary costs in future projects by keeping track of negative ROI.

What is return on investment for a project?

Return on investment (ROI) is a technique used in financial planning to assess the worth of a project and forecast its potential performance. Making the right investments with the aid of accurate ROI calculations can help businesses increase their profit margins. Regardless of your position within a company, knowing the ROI for a specific project can help you make wise choices, set priorities, and increase productivity. Here are a few instances of ROI in the workplace:

Executives and management may learn more about the kinds of projects that are successful by demonstrating a project’s return on investment, which could enhance the business’ long-term investment strategy.

Why is a project’s ROI important?

Project ROI is valuable for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the sector you work in, understanding a project’s potential ROI can help you adjust upcoming costs and clearly communicate the financial benefits to stakeholders and upper management. Additional justifications for why calculating your project’s ROI is crucial for success include the following:

How to calculate project ROI

To calculate a projects ROI, consider the formula below:

ROI = (Net profit / cost of investment) x 100

Subtract the anticipated project costs from the anticipated revenue to arrive at your net profit:

Net profit = expected revenue – total expenses

Financial planners frequently break down projects into manageable tasks in order to calculate the total costs, making sure to account for each stage of the process. The price of the materials, the estimated number of hours needed to complete the project, the number of employees required, and their hourly wages are then taken into account. They also take into account the price of purchasing or leasing machinery, software, and buildings.

Total costs are calculated as follows: material costs plus (project hours multiplied by the number of workers and their hourly wages) plus equipment, software, building, and other costs.

Even though it can be difficult to estimate the cost and value of a project before you start working on it, you can make your calculations simpler by making a list of the elements you already know and consulting records of actual ROI of related projects.

Project ROI example

You can use the following example to better comprehend project ROI:

An area used bookstore’s inventory sourcing is handled by Erica. She has the chance to buy 1,000 books from a rival bookstore that is closing down. The books are currently priced at $1 each, but Erica intends to raise their price to $4 each. Since she lacks a car, she intends to spend $50 on a book delivery service. She anticipates spending around four hours, or $50 in wages, choosing the inventory, coordinating the delivery service, cataloguing the new books, and making sure they are stored properly.

Erica performs the calculations below to calculate the project’s anticipated return on investment:

Expected revenue is equal to $1,000 books multiplied by $4 per book, or $4,000.

Total costs equal $1,100 (1,000 books at $1 each plus $50 for delivery and $50 for labor).

She then calculates her potential net profit by deducting the anticipated revenue from the total costs, or cost of investment:

Potential net profit = $4,000 – $1,100 = $3,900

In order to calculate the ROI, she divides the net profit by the total costs, or cost of investment, and multiplies that result by 100:

ROI = ($3,900 / $1,100) x 100 = 354%

Using this calculation, Erica predicts significantly positive ROI. She offers the chance to her manager, who sees the financial advantages and accepts the project.


How do you calculate ROI for projects?

How to calculate ROI
  1. T = time required for the process.
  2. V = Volume or quantity of units, transactions, people, etc. required.
  3. D = Dollars or cost required.
  4. Current = current value.
  5. Project is the value a project will have if it is successful.

What ROI means?

Return on Investment (ROI)

What is a good ROI example?

According to conventional wisdom, a good return on investment (ROI) for an investment in stocks is an annual ROI of about 7% or higher.

What does an ROI of 30% mean?

For instance, a 30% ROI from one store appears better than a 20% ROI from another. The one-year investment is clearly preferable because the 30% may be spread out over three years as opposed to the 20% from just one.

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