What is a Cost Estimator?

If you’re interested in becoming a cost estimator, you should know the ins and outs of the job and the steps that you’ll need to take to work in construction management. Unlike many professionals in industry-related management roles which require a bachelor’s degree, cost estimators don’t necessarily need to have a college degree. This is what makes estimating within the construction field a very interesting option for construction professionals who no longer want to work in a hands-on role. Here’s what you need to know about the role:

What is the General Role of Cost Estimators?

In a general sense, cost estimators will collect pertinent information and then analyze the data in the effort to estimate how much money, time, construction materials, and workforce labor will be required to complete a construction process or to complete manufacturing a product. While estimators most commonly work in construction, there is a need for estimators in the manufacturing and the service-oriented industries as well.

What Daily Duties Do Estimators Perform?

What you’ll do in your role depends on the industry that you’re working in. A professional within the construction field will prepare building estimates, road construction estimates, and more. Depending on the project, the estimator may estimate how much it will cost to complete the entire project or a single component of the project. They will also project a timeline for how long a project will take to complete.

Manufacturing cost estimators will estimate the cost to produce a certain product to ensure that production managers can make production decisions. They will assess the cost to develop the new product design, the cost to produce it, and how much it would cost to redesign a product that has already gone into production.

In total, all cost estimators will do each of these tasks:

  • Calculate and analyze estimates to determine if they need to be modified
  • Collaboration with internal and external clients
  • Recommending ways to reduce overall project costs
  • Read technical documents so that estimates can be completed
  • Identifying factors that could affect costs
  • Preparation of bids
  • Maintaining records

How Do You Become a Cost Estimator?

If you’re an analytical professional who is skilled at math and time-management, you may be a good fit to work in cost estimation. While many employers do prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in construction management or another field of engineering, business, or finance the undergraduate degree isn’t a required.

To land yourself the job, it’s best to get your feet wet in construction or manufacturing so that you can get familiar with how the industry works. Once promoted or hired to the estimator role, most employers will offer new hires on-the-job training so they will know how to use CAD or BIM software programs.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job outlook will grow by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026. This estimation is higher than growth reported in many other fields. If you’re looking for a role where you can be more analytical, get as much experience as you can and consider applying to enter a bachelor’s degree program. With the right level of experience and possibly education, you can work as a cost estimator in either industry.