Cost Estimators

If you like collecting information and converting it into meaningful analysis as data, then this career option in the field of finance may fascinate you; read to explore if career as Cost Estimator is the right fit for you. Cost Estimators are involved in the construction and manufacturing industries and play a vital role in evaluating methods to construct some of the industry’s most challenging projects. Using detailed construction analysis cost estimators help business owners and managers put together competitive bids for contracts, projects and products by forecasting the costs, scope and timeline involved.

The following are the two primary types of cost estimators:

  • Construction cost estimators estimate construction work. Construction managers also may spend considerable time estimating costs.
  • Manufacturing cost estimators calculate the costs of developing, producing, or redesigning a company’s goods and services.
  • Operations research, production control, cost, and price analysts who work for government agencies may do significant amounts of cost estimating in the course of their usual duties.
Some manufacturing cost estimators work in software development. Many high-technology products require a considerable amount of computer programming, and the costs of software development are difficult to calculate. 

Role of Cost Estimators

Determine a project’s cost, scope and duration,
Collects and analyzes available data on applicable factors,
May visit a construction site to gather information
Read blueprints and technical documents to prepare estimates
Collaborate with engineers, architects, owners, and contractors on estimates
Use sophisticated computer software to calculate estimates
Prepare complete bids,
Manage and control a project’s costs, and track actual costs as the project proceeds.
Develop project plans for the duration of the project

Skills of Cost Estimators

Analytical skills: Accurately evaluating detailed specifications is crucial to a cost estimator’s success thus should have excellent analytic skills.
Strong oral and written communication skills: Cost estimators must have good speaking skills because they often discuss complex product information with other industry specialists.
Critical-thinking skills: Cost estimators must identify the strengths and weaknesses of potential strategies as information critical to a product’s cost is not always straightforward, so estimators must devise creative ways to assess it.
Technical skills: Detailed knowledge of industry processes, they should be able to use sophisticated computer programs to calculate equations and handle large databases.
Time-management skills: Cost estimators often work on fixed deadlines, they must plan their work in advance and do their tasks efficiently and accurately.

Work Schedules

Cost estimators usually work in office environments, and 40 hours per week is typical. At times, overtime may be required, especially when bids are due. In some industries, travel is required to visit job sites, manufacturing facilities and subcontractor locations.

Some reported job titles:

 Estimator, Cost Estimator, Estimator Project Manager, Project Manager, Construction Estimator, Cost Analyst, Design Consultant, Operations Manager, Sales Engineer

Estimator’s Career Path

Junior Estimator
Lead/Senior Estimator
Chief Estimator

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