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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

  • $49,387

    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 jobs

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Project Estimator Career Paths

Project Estimator
Estimator Estimator Project Manager Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Property Manager General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Estimator Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Senior Project Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Program Director General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Operations Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Estimating Manager Purchasing Manager Program Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Estimating Manager Senior Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Chief Estimator Senior Project Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Self-Employed Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Estimator Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Business Developer Business Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
10 Yearsyrs
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Project Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

81.3%

Female

16.4%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

78.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.9%

German

6.3%

Russian

6.3%

French

3.1%

Malayalam

3.1%

Hindi

3.1%

Xiang

3.1%

Tamil

3.1%
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Project Estimator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.8%

Villanova University

6.9%

Texas A&M University

6.9%

Purdue University

6.9%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.9%

Kansas State University

4.9%

University of Houston

4.9%

Eastern Kentucky University

4.9%

Florida International University

4.9%

University of Miami

4.9%

University of Alabama

3.9%

University of North Florida

3.9%

Ferris State University

3.9%

Arizona State University

3.9%

Texas Tech University

3.9%

California State University - Sacramento

3.9%

University of Utah

3.9%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

3.9%

Baton Rouge Community College

3.9%

Louisiana Tech University

3.9%
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Majors

Business

21.9%

Construction Management

12.6%

Mechanical Engineering

8.3%

Civil Engineering

8.1%

Drafting And Design

5.3%

Architecture

4.7%

Project Management

4.1%

Industrial Technology

3.7%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Computer Science

3.0%

Finance

3.0%

Education

2.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Engineering

2.6%

Marketing

2.6%

Economics

2.4%

Accounting

2.4%

General Studies

2.2%

Management

2.0%

Criminal Justice

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.3%

Other

25.2%

Associate

11.6%

Masters

11.5%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

1.0%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 Sky Materials Corp. NY Sep 03, 2015 $100,000
Project Estimator Willbros United States Holdings, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 26, 2013 $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 Sep 05, 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
Project Estimator FH Martin Constructors Warren, MI Jun 04, 2008 $80,000
Estimator II-Solar Power Projects Sunpower Corporation Richmond, CA Dec 14, 2012 $80,000 -
$100,000
Project Estimator Black & Veatch Corporation Overland Park, KS Dec 14, 2015 $77,397 -
$125,700
Project Estimator Lead Contico Corp Edison, NJ May 07, 2012 $75,000
Project Estimator Lead Contico Corp Edison, NJ Oct 02, 2012 $75,000
Scheduler/Project Controls/Estimator KAL Krishnan Consulting Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Nov 29, 2010 $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

BidProposalsGeneralContractorsProjectScopeProjectManagementConstructionProjectsSafetyCADSubContractorsArchitecturalDrawingsProjectCostFacilityHvacRFICustomerServiceProjectEstimatesNewConstructionBidPackagesCostAnalysisLumpSUMValueEngineering

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Top Project Estimator Skills

  1. Bid Proposals
  2. General Contractors
  3. Project Scope
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed a systematic method which provided consistency for bid proposals and signified a reduction in errors
  • Work directly with general contractors regarding project requirements, scope of work, and proposal reviews.
  • Conduct job site meetings with owners, property managers and subcontractors for project scope of work and special needs.
  • Estimated residential renovations, performed project management on renovations, worked as a carpenter
  • Summer 2013 Determined validity and potential value of various commercial and industrial construction projects by evaluating detailed architectural and civil drawings.

Top Project Estimator Employers