By Kim Slowey
Good estimators are worth their weight in gold, but it’s not just about crunching the numbers.
A successful construction project starts with a solid bid, and estimators are key in putting together a thorough and accurate proposal. What do companies today look for in an estimator? Some obvious and not-so-obvious qualities.
Math skills and attention to detail
Many estimators, particularly ones working for subcontractors, spend a lot of time performing quantity takeoffs, which involves tabulating the amount and type of materials required on a project along with the necessary labor. An estimator for a general contractor might also evaluate subcontractor bids by doing takeoffs of their portion of the project.
This provides the basis for bids, and leaving an item out or assigning the wrong value to a unit of material or labor can throw off the numbers enough so that the company loses the job or, worse, is the low bidder on a job that won’t pay enough to cover the bills.
Brian Binke, president and CEO of Detroit-area construction executive search firm The Birmingham Group, said that for hiring managers, nonstarters include a lack of math skills and an eye for detail. “You need someone who can add and doesn’t forget to put a zero at the end of the figure,” he said.