Estimators are in demand if it’s a down market or an up market. If it’s a down market, then they are needed to estimate many projects in an effort to increase the likelihood of landing some of those jobs. If it’s an up market, then they need to be estimating lots of potential jobs just to meet the demand for growth.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that construction estimator jobs will grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations because companies require accurate cost estimates in order to operate profitably. It’s also been estimated that 23,000 new jobs will be added to the industry between 2016 to 2026.

Estimators – What do they do? How much do they get paid?

An estimator is responsible for preparing and submitting bids for buildings, roads, and other construction projects based upon several cost variables including time, labor and materials. Construction firms, contractors and engineering firms all hire estimators to calculate the most competitive contract bids on their behalf. Estimators often use construction simulation software to help take the guesswork out of calculating the costs of specific building projects. Some additional job duties can include:

  • 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

In 2017, the salary for entry level estimators was $60,000. The top 10% of senior estimators earn over $140,000.

How to Become an Estimator

Although there are plenty of construction careers that don’t typically require an advanced degree, most clients do prefer to hire those candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, it’s still possible to become a construction estimator without a degree, as long as you have several years of experience in the construction industry. Some colleges are even offering online options to earn a Construction Estimating Certificate. A majority of construction estimators are required to complete on-the-job training before submitting any bids. Successful candidates for these jobs should have some of the following qualities:

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

Communication skills – Construction estimators write comprehensive reports, which often help managers make production decisions.

Detail oriented – Estimators must pay attention to details because minor changes can greatly affect the overall cost of a project or product.

Math skills – 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 calculate these estimates accurately.

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

Although construction estimator jobs can be stressful due to looming deadlines and intense competition, it can also be a very rewarding career with job security and a great salary.

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