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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:
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.
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:
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Cost Estimator
Top Careers After Cost Estimator
Hispanic or Latino11.7%
Black or African American0.9%
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University of Phoenix11.0%
Texas A&M University7.8%
Michigan State University7.1%
University of Arizona6.5%
Old Dominion University5.2%
University of Houston5.2%
San Diego State University4.5%
University of Southern Mississippi3.9%
University of Dayton3.9%
University of Texas at Austin3.9%
University of Central Florida3.9%
Southern New Hampshire University3.9%
Georgia Institute of Technology -3.9%
Lawrence Technological University3.9%
Wayne State University3.2%
University of Toledo3.2%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Vice President-Quantity Surveying and Cost Estimating||WTP America LLC||Los Angeles, CA||Oct 01, 2015||$165,000|
|Senior Cost Estimator||Bethel Servies, Incorporated||Anchorage, AK||Jan 09, 2016||$160,000|
|Senior Cost Estimator||Navillus Tile Inc. DBA Navillus Contracting||New York, NY||Jul 22, 2016||$144,040|
|Cost Estimator||E. Fitzgerald Electric Co||NY||Sep 12, 2015||$138,965|
|Cost Estimator||E. Fitzgerald Electric Co||NY||Jun 29, 2015||$138,965|
|Cost Estimator||J. Phelan Construction Co., Inc.||Huntington, NY||Jun 01, 2016||$136,406|
|Cost Estimator||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Aug 17, 2016||$130,000|
|Data Center Construction Cost Estimator||Facebook, Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||Oct 12, 2015||$126,000|
|Cost Estimator||Safway Atlantic LLC||Carlstadt, NJ||Mar 04, 2015||$125,000|
|Cost Estimator||DGC Capital Contracting Corporation||Mount Vernon, NY||Oct 12, 2015||$115,856|
|Cost Estimator||Judlau Contracting, Inc.||Alexandria, VA||Mar 02, 2015||$105,000|
|Building Information Modelling (BIM) Cost Estimator||Turner & Townsend, Inc.||South San Francisco, CA||Jul 29, 2016||$105,000|
|Cost Estimator||Geomatrix Services, Inc.||Bound Brook, NJ||Mar 17, 2016||$64,584|
|Senior Cost Estimator||Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc.||Auburn Hills, MI||Sep 22, 2016||$63,586 -
|Senior Cost Estimator||Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc.||Novi, MI||Sep 26, 2016||$63,586 -
|Cost Estimator-II||SLR Contracting & Service Company, Inc.||Buffalo, NY||Mar 15, 2016||$63,500|
|Cost Estimator||John Darvish Construction Co.||Ashburn, VA||Sep 15, 2016||$63,000|
|Cost Estimator||Grakon, LLC||Des Moines, WA||Aug 30, 2016||$62,629 -
|Cost Estimator||ESNY Construction Services Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 21, 2016||$62,610|
|Cost Estimator||Hollywood International Regional Center, LLC||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 13, 2016||$62,610|
|Cost Estimator||Thoth Estimating LLC||Weatherford, TX||Jan 02, 2016||$51,834|
|Cost Estimator||VJ Associates of New England, Inc.||Washington, DC||Sep 05, 2015||$51,563|
|Cost Estimator||VJ Associates of New England, Inc.||Needham, MA||Sep 05, 2015||$51,563|
|Cost Estimator||Treviicos Corporation||MA||Sep 23, 2015||$51,563|
|Cost Estimator||ITG International Transports, Inc.||Lynnfield, MA||Sep 03, 2015||$51,563|
|Senior Cost Estimator||Cityrock Countertops, Inc.||Raleigh, NC||Jul 12, 2016||$51,522|
|Project Cost Estimator||Shields, Inc.||Winston-Salem, NC||Sep 22, 2016||$50,960|
|Cost Estimator||Soho Fashion, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Dec 21, 2016||$50,835|
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