Whole-life cost

Whole-life cost is the complete cost associated with the ownership of an asset over its entire life. These costs can include the following:

  • Purchase cost
  • Installation costs
  • Operating costs
  • Maintenance costs
  • Financing costs
  • Environmental costs
  • Social costs
  • Disposal costs

The entire set of whole-life costs must be considered by a financial analyst when deciding whether to acquire an asset. Otherwise, the calculated return on investment will be too high. The costs incurred near the beginning of an asset ownership period are relatively easy to acquire. Those costs incurred later in the life of the asset must be estimated.