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Become A Project Estimator

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Working As A Project 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

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Project 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 Project 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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Project Estimator Career Paths

Project Estimator
Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner/Manager Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager President/Owner Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
11 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Vice President-Project Management
12 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Production Manager Purchasing Manager
Subcontracts Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Superintendent
District Commercial Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Assistant Project Manager Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Operations Manager Operations Project Manager
Senior Operations Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Maintenance Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Office Manager Assistant Controller
Projects Controller
7 Yearsyrs
Owner Facilities Manager Operations Project Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator General Contractor Sales Contractor
Contract Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Senior Project Manager Director Of Construction
Director Construction Services
11 Yearsyrs
Owner Project Superintendent Quality Control Supervisor
Assistant Quality Control Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Owner Project Superintendent
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Plant Engineering Manager Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Superintendent
Land Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Estimator 5.0 years
Chief Estimator 5.0 years
Cost Estimator 3.9 years
Designer/Estimator 3.7 years
Building Estimator 3.4 years
Engineer/Estimator 3.4 years
Estimator 3.3 years
Millwork Estimator 3.0 years
Project Estimator 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Project Estimator
Estimator 15.7%
Owner 3.3%
Internship 3.1%
Manager 2.9%
Foreman 2.9%
Supervisor 2.3%
Top Careers After Project Estimator
Estimator 12.9%
Owner 3.4%
Manager 2.3%
Consultant 2.0%
Principal 1.8%

Do you work as a Project Estimator?

Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$48,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ALLIED ROOFING
Highest Paying City
Daly City, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does a Project Estimator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Project Estimator in the United States is $75,045 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $48,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $116,000.

Real Project Estimator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Project Estimator Safway Atlantic, LLC Carlstadt, NJ Apr 17, 2015 $172,682
Project Estimator Principal Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 15, 2016 $140,000
Senior Project Estimator Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Oct 25, 2010 $110,000
Project Estimator Reidy Contracting Group LLC New York, NY Mar 17, 2014 $107,510
Project Estimator Reidy Contracting Group LLC New York, NY Mar 21, 2014 $107,510
Scheduler/Project Controls/Estimator KAL Krishnan Consulting Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Nov 29, 2010 $102,378
Senior Project Estimator II Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $102,107 -
$111,240
Project Estimator Willbros United States Holdings, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 26, 2013 $100,000
Project Estimator Sky Materials Corp. NY Sep 03, 2015 $100,000
Construction Project Estimator FLBE Inc. Herndon, VA Feb 20, 2015 $97,739
Project Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Sep 23, 2013 $95,000
Project Estimator Richter and Ratner Contracting Corp. New York, NY Jul 15, 2015 $92,000
Project Estimator Kitchell Contractors Del Mar, CA Apr 04, 2016 $90,000
Project Estimator Kitchell Contractors, Inc. of Arizona Phoenix, AZ Sep 25, 2015 $90,000
Project Estimator I CB&I Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $80,534 -
$120,746
Integrated Project Delivery Estimator Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. Irving, TX Nov 07, 2014 $80,230
Estimator II-Solar Power Projects Sunpower Corporation Richmond, CA Dec 14, 2012 $80,000 -
$100,000
Project Estimator FH Martin Constructors Warren, MI Jun 04, 2008 $80,000
Project Estimator Black & Veatch Corporation Overland Park, KS Dec 14, 2015 $77,397 -
$125,700
Scheduler/Project Controls/Estimator KAL Krishnan Consulting Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Nov 29, 2010 $75,000
Project Estimator Lead Contico Corp Edison, NJ Oct 02, 2012 $75,000
Project Estimator Lead Contico Corp Edison, NJ May 07, 2012 $75,000
Infrastructure Project Estimator Keller & Kirkpatrick, Inc. Morris Plains, NJ Sep 06, 2012 $60,882
Project Estimator Homeric Contracting Co., Inc. NY Mar 23, 2012 $60,001
Project Estimator Benchmark Construction Company, Inc. Brownstown, PA Sep 18, 2014 $60,000
Project Estimator Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, LP Houston, TX Aug 09, 2015 $60,000
Project Estimator Minkoff Company Inc. Beltsville, MD Mar 02, 2012 $57,593
Junior Project Estimator Ks Engineers, P.C. Newark, NJ Sep 20, 2012 $56,432
Infrastructure Project Estimator Keller & Kirkpatrick, Inc. Morris Plains, NJ Sep 06, 2012 $56,000

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Top Skills for A Project Estimator

  1. Project Management
  2. Bid Proposals
  3. Subcontractor Bids
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Applied strong construction project management expertise to provide project information to construction companies requiring all relevant projects scope and take-off data.
  • Collected and evaluated data pertaining to project development and reviewed final bid proposals for accuracy and completion.
  • Conduct estimating including quantity take off, acquiring itemized pricing and evaluate subcontractor bids, for competitive biding process.
  • Performed a wide variety of work involving precision planning and estimating of storm damage repair and new construction of residential properties.
  • Calculated and completed quantity take-offs, solicited sub-contractor's bid proposals for high end apartment renovations in various locations in NYC.

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Top 10 Best States for Project Estimators

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Hawaii
  5. Texas
  6. Washington
  7. Oregon
  8. Connecticut
  9. Wyoming
  10. Rhode Island
  • (216 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (677 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (1,452 jobs)
  • (506 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (252 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)

Project Estimator Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,259 Project Estimator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Project Estimator Resume

View Resume Examples

Project Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

76.9%

Female

13.0%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

17.8%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

Chinese

4.2%

Swedish

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

German

2.1%

Hebrew

2.1%

French

2.1%

Greek

2.1%

Carrier

2.1%

Dakota

2.1%

Xiang

2.1%

Russian

2.1%
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Project Estimator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.0%

University of Houston

7.7%

Texas A&M University

7.2%

Arizona State University

6.2%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

5.7%

Purdue University

5.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

5.3%

Florida International University

4.8%

Kansas State University

4.3%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.3%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.3%

Villanova University

3.8%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

3.8%

Southern Polytechnic State University

3.8%

New York University

3.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.3%

Ohio State University

3.3%

San Diego State University

3.3%

Lawrence Technological University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

23.3%

Construction Management

13.4%

Civil Engineering

9.7%

Mechanical Engineering

7.3%

Drafting And Design

5.7%

Architecture

4.2%

Project Management

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Finance

3.2%

Management

3.1%

Computer Science

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.4%

Accounting

2.4%

Engineering

2.3%

Education

2.2%

Marketing

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Economics

2.0%

General Studies

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.0%

Other

23.7%

Associate

13.2%

Masters

10.7%

Certificate

3.8%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.1%
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