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Become A Construction Estimator

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Working As A Construction Estimator

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $52,305

    Average Salary

What Does A Construction Estimator Do

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Duties

Cost estimators typically do the following:

  • Identify factors affecting costs, such as production time, materials, and labor
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors
  • Calculate, analyze, and adjust estimates 
  • Recommend ways to reduce costs
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Maintain records of estimated and actual costs

Accurately estimating the costs of construction and manufacturing projects is vital to the survival of businesses. Cost estimators provide managers with the information they need in order to submit competitive contract bids or price products appropriately.

Estimators analyze production processes to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs. Their estimates account for many factors, including allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other variables that can increase costs and lower profitability.

In building construction, cost estimators use software to simulate the construction process and evaluate the effects of design choices. They often consult databases to compare the costs of similar projects.

The following are examples of types of cost estimators:

Construction cost estimators prepare estimates for a building project. They may calculate the total cost of building a bridge or commercial shopping center, or they may calculate the cost of just one component, such as the foundation. They identify costs of elements such as raw materials and labor, and they may set a timeline for how long they expect the project to take. Although many work directly for construction firms, some work for contractors and engineering firms.

Manufacturing cost estimators calculate the costs of developing, producing, or redesigning a company’s goods or services. For example, a cost estimator working for a home appliance manufacturer may determine a new dishwasher’s production costs, allowing managers to make production decisions.

Some manufacturing cost estimators work in software development. Many high-technology products require a considerable amount of computer programming, and calculating the costs of software development requires great expertise.

Other workers, such as operations research analysts and construction managers, may also estimate costs in the course of their usual duties.

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How To Become A Construction Estimator

A bachelor’s degree is generally required to become a cost estimator, although some highly experienced construction workers may qualify without a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. A strong background in mathematics is essential.

Construction cost estimators typically need a bachelor’s degree in an industry-related field, such as construction management, building science, or engineering.

Those interested in estimating manufacturing costs typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, business, or finance.

Training

Some newly hired cost estimators may receive on-the-job training, depending on their experience. Training may include learning a company’s cost-estimating software and techniques.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some employers prefer that construction cost estimators, particularly those without a bachelor’s degree, have previous work experience in the construction industry. For example, experienced electricians and plumbers can become construction cost estimators if they have the necessary construction knowledge and math skills.

Candidates interested in becoming cost estimators can also gain experience through internships and cooperative education programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Voluntary certification can show competence and experience in the field. In some instances, employers may require professional certification before hiring.

The following organizations offer a variety of certifications:

  • American Society of Professional Estimators
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International
  • International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association

Estimators must generally have at least 2 years of estimating experience and must pass a written exam to become certified.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Cost estimators consider and evaluate different construction and manufacturing methods and options to determine the most cost-effective solution that meets the required specifications.

Detail oriented. Cost estimators must pay attention to details, as minor changes can significantly affect the overall cost of a project or product.

Math skills. Cost estimators calculate labor, material, and equipment cost estimates for construction projects. They use software, such as spreadsheets and databases, and they need excellent math skills to accurately calculate these estimates.

Time-management skills. Cost estimators often work on fixed deadlines, so they must plan their work in advance and work efficiently and accurately.

Writing skills. Cost estimators write comprehensive reports, which often help managers make production decisions.

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Construction Estimator jobs

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Construction Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

81.2%

Female

16.1%

Unknown

2.7%
Ethnicity

White

79.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

French

12.1%

Arabic

9.1%

Portuguese

6.1%

Japanese

6.1%

Chinese

3.0%

Hawaiian

3.0%

German

3.0%

Hebrew

3.0%

Dakota

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Korean

3.0%
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Construction Estimator Education

Schools

Columbia University

11.5%

Arizona State University

8.2%

Lawrence Technological University

6.6%

University of Florida

4.9%

San Jose State University

4.9%

University of Kentucky

4.9%

Texas State University

4.9%

Auburn University

4.9%

Boise State University

4.9%

Pennsylvania State University

4.9%

University of Phoenix

4.9%

Florida International University

4.9%

California State University - Sacramento

4.9%

Ball State University

4.9%

University of Alabama

3.3%

Western Carolina University

3.3%

Central Connecticut State University

3.3%

Georgia Southern University

3.3%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.3%

Utah Valley University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

16.3%

Construction Management

15.2%

Civil Engineering

13.2%

Architecture

6.2%

Accounting

5.4%

Drafting And Design

4.7%

Real Estate

4.3%

Engineering

3.5%

Project Management

3.1%

Management

3.1%

Finance

3.1%

Construction Engineering Technologies

3.1%

Education

2.7%

Psychology

2.7%

Civil Engineering Technologies

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering

2.3%

Marketing

2.3%

Industrial Technology

1.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Electrical Engineering

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.3%

Other

23.2%

Masters

12.5%

Associate

10.9%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

2.0%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.8%
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Real Construction Estimator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Construction Estimator Us Tech Construction Corporation NY Nov 20, 2015 $130,000
Construction Estimator Us Tech Construction Corporation NY Sep 01, 2015 $130,000
SR. Commercial Construction Estimator DPR Construction, A General Partnership Redwood City, CA Nov 23, 2016 $110,000
Construction Estimator HDG Consulting Inc. NY Oct 01, 2011 $109,000
Construction Estimator Rivco Construction LLC New York, NY Oct 18, 2015 $100,000
Solar Construction Estimator Sunpower Corporation Richmond, CA Oct 01, 2015 $96,255
Solar Construction Estimator Sunpower Corporation Richmond, CA Oct 21, 2014 $93,000
Construction Estimator Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 10, 2015 $91,476
Construction Estimator MCSS, Inc. Holmdel, NJ Dec 22, 2014 $89,710
Estimator III, Construction Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Sep 19, 2015 $87,734 -
$104,832
SR. Commercial Construction Estimator DPR Construction, A General Partnership Redwood City, CA Apr 06, 2015 $87,027 -
$110,000
Pre-Construction Estimator Woolems, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Nov 14, 2012 $85,956
Construction Estimator Americon Construction Inc. New York, NY Jan 04, 2016 $85,000
Construction Estimator Century 21 Construction Corporation Clifton, NJ Feb 08, 2013 $70,000
Estimator, Construction Dharam Lally and Smith New York, NY Sep 01, 2013 $70,000
International Constructor Estimator B.L. Harbert International, LLC Birmingham, AL Sep 23, 2015 $68,141
International Construction Estimator B.L. Harbert International L.L.C. Birmingham, AL Jul 03, 2016 $68,141
Pre-Construction Estimator Woolems, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL May 23, 2012 $67,000
Construction Estimator ABC&Ny Construction, Inc. New York, NY Nov 03, 2014 $66,784
Senior Construction Estimator King Rose of Ny, Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $66,477
Construction Estimator Bauer Foundation Corp Odessa, FL Oct 19, 2015 $59,000
Construction Estimator Ray Weiner LLC Bridgeport, CT Oct 04, 2011 $58,531
Construction Estimator Lease Crutcher Lewis Seattle, WA Sep 13, 2014 $57,980 -
$67,000
Construction Estimator Lease Crutcher Lewis Wa LLC Seattle, WA Sep 17, 2014 $57,980 -
$67,000
Construction Estimator Lease Crutcher Lewis Wa LLC Seattle, WA Sep 17, 2015 $57,980 -
$71,500
Heavy Construction Estimator Zachry Construction Corporation Grand Prairie, TX Mar 08, 2016 $57,783
Heavy Construction Estimator Zachry Construction Corporation Grand Prairie, TX Jun 08, 2016 $57,783
Construction Estimator King Rose of Ny, Inc. New York, NY Oct 28, 2016 $56,500

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Top Skills for A Construction Estimator

SubcontractorBidsConstructionProjectsProjectManagementArchitecturalPlansOwnersNewConstructionGeneralContractorsBidProposalsConstructionCostConstructionEstimatesSafetyCADRFIValueEngineeringXactimateCostAnalysisBidDocumentRequirementsResidentialProjectsHotelsJobCost

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Top Construction Estimator Skills

  1. Subcontractor Bids
  2. Construction Projects
  3. Project Management
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintain subcontractor contacts and solicit subcontractor bids.
  • Managed general construction projects and remodeling projects.
  • Field crew and project management Construction estimating Transportation
  • Meet with home or business owners and photo document and scope the damages as necessary to compile a detailed estimate.
  • Received architectural commercial drawings of projects at different levels of design, new construction or renovation of existing structures.

Top Construction Estimator Employers