Cost Estimator

Advise businesses on how much proposed projects will cost.
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Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$34,000 – $96,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Cost Estimators do?

A Cost Estimator is a Consultant for Business Owners and other decision makers within a company. The job of a Cost Estimator is to estimate the costs of starting a new project, expanding a product line, or adding a new facility. Without a Cost Estimator’s input, a business’s only course of action would be to move forward with the expansion and see if it succeeds. That’s a risky proposition. Thanks to you, that risk is significantly reduced.

Typically, you specialize in one type of project, such as expanding a production line or manufacturing a new product. Other common tasks include expanding to a second location, starting a new business, or moving operations overseas.

Your job takes place at the planning stages. With nothing more than an idea, you evaluate the costs of materials, equipment, and labor. Then you factor in any possible delays for the project, such as adverse weather or late supply deliveries. You also consider the current economic market, real estate expenses, tax considerations, and worker benefits and pay.

Once you’ve gathered and calculated all the pertinent costs, you create graphic reports that outline your findings. You might use PowerPoint or computer-aided design (CAD) software to enhance and deliver your report. To succeed in this position, you’ll need to be personable and to be able to work with a variety of personalities. In addition, you need a solid ability to solve problems, a pulse on the market, and strong decision-making skills.

Should I be a Cost Estimator?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Building Estimator, Cost Recovery/Investment Recovery Technician, Environmental Marketing Specialist, Estimator See More

    How to become a Cost Estimator

    Most Cost Estimators have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:akn9ka&chl=|certificate+%2811%25%29|associate%27s+%2814%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2864%25%29|master%27s+%2811%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,64
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