Cost Estimator Job Description

Cost Estimator Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a cost estimator. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a cost estimator.


Who is a Cost Estimator?

A cost estimator is someone who gathers and analyzes data to estimate or ascertain how much material, money, and time, that it will require to provide a service, manufacture a product, or construct a building. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry. Examples of things that can be estimated are electronics, cars, ships, aircraft, software, system, government, programs, and manufacturing facilities. It is highly paramount to accurately estimate the cost of construction and manufacturing projects because it is vital to the survival of the business. Cost estimators provide managers or owners of businesses with the information they need to submit competitive contracts request or prices to products as expected.

Employment of cost estimators is predicted to show little or no change from 2020 to 2030. Though cost estimators have limited employment growth about 17,800 job openings are projected each year or over the decade. Most of the job demand arises from the fact that some workers resign from the workforce or retire while others transfer to a different geographical location.

Estimators analyze production processes to ascertain how much money, time, and labor, a project or service needs. Their estimates cover many things such as allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other factors that can bring about an increment in costs and lower profits.

There is a high demand for cost estimators around the globe as companies are always in search of cost-effective products and accurate cost projections. By collecting and analyzing data, a cost estimator will determine if a product is more cost-effective to produce or to purchase. This makes companies maximize high profitability with accurate projections and they are never at loss. Cost estimators highly assist the management of a company in price determination or bidding.

A cost estimator will consult vendors, clients, and construction foremen to formulate estimates.  This has to do with analyzing blueprints, or reading and assessing to give accurate estimates for labor, time, cost, and material. When making their calculations, they also identify factors that cause shipping delays, allowances for wasted materials, bad weather conditions, and other factors that can increase the cost. Throughout a project, the cost estimator observes any changes that may take place in expenditure and scheduling, and provide documentation to keep them updated on emerging trends in the project undertaken.

Building construction cost estimators use software to simulate the construction process and evaluate the price of various design choices. They often check their records and databases to compare the cost of similar projects. Cost estimators usually work full-time. At times, overtime is necessary to prepare bids and meet deadlines.


Cost estimators are grouped into two:

Construction cost estimators: this group of cost estimators or determine determines construction work of all kinds. For instance; estimating the cost to build a bridge, a shopping Centre and a high-rise building apartment. Cost estimators identify the cost of all the following: raw materials, length of the building, and labor. They also estimate how long they expect the project to take or the duration. Many cost estimators work for construction firms, contractors, or engineering firms.

Manufacturing Cost Estimators: This caliber of cost estimator calculate the expenses of redesigning a company’s product or services, and developing and producing goods and services such as vehicles or software systems. For example, a cost estimator working for a home appliance manufacturer may determine bathroom shower production costs and help managers in making the appropriate decisions.


Cost Estimator Job Description

Below are the cost estimator job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a cost estimator job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

 A cost estimator will do the following:

  • Obtain material pricing and gather all the essential information necessary to create and submit proposals to clients.
  • Review blueprints and product specifications to accurately determine the number of materials needed.
  • Evaluate a product’s cost-efficiency and profitability
  • Discuss with clients, engineers, architects, and contractors on estimates
  • Meet industry specialists in other to settle issues and discuss estimates
  • Recommend strategies to make a product more cost-effective and profitable
  • Develop a plan for the time of  a project
  • Use computer software to input data and calculate estimates
  • Collaborate with the marketing or sales teams to prepare estimates, bargain, attract and bid for clients.
  • Maintain records of estimated actual costs
  • Checking records of database and their records to compare the similar cost
  • Bid for subcontractor proposal and help with contract negotiation



If you are considering having a career as a cost estimator, you will need to do the following:

A bachelor’s degree is not a requirement to become a cost estimator but most employe candidates that have a bachelor’s degree. You can get a bachelor’s degree in any discipline of your choice but preferably study a course that is related to the industry in which you will work. For instance, if your dream is to become a manufacturing cost estimator; you can get a degree in engineering, but if you want to work as a construction cost estimator, you can get a degree in construction management. A degree in statistics, physical sciences can also go for engineering cost estimation but if you want to venture into the business world; you can consider accounting, finance, or economics. A strong background in mathematics will be highly beneficial to you as a cost estimator.

In addition, most employers don’t want to hire a novice so gather some experience through an internship to make you qualified for the job. Acquiring certificates like the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association (ICEAA) will make you a professional.


Essential Skills

As a cost estimator having a bachelor’s degree in a related field is not enough there are some core skills you need to have to become successful in the job and they are:

Mathematics Skills: this skill is a core skill because cost estimators calculate labor, material, and equipment cost estimates for projects. They use software like spreadsheets and databases. They need mathematics skills to calculate these estimates.

  • Listening, Communication, and Verbal Skills: You will need to communicate effectively, vividly with various clients about a proposal or estimates. Communication is very important because if your clients you; it will spell doom for you.
  • Technical Skills: detailed knowledge of industry procedures and materials is paramount to cost estimators. In addition, they should also know how to use computer applications or programs to calculate equations and handle large databases and spreadsheets.
  • Time- Management Skills: you should be able to handle multiple tasks and cost estimates at the required time so that projects can be timely and be on a
  • Critical Thinking: you will need to think critically and make the right decisions in your career as a cost estimator. This skill is a requisite you must apply when working with clients
  • Detail Oriented: Projects plans involve a very large degree of information; you must help clients to understand a project by breaking it down bit by bit for them because cost estimating mistakes can be very costly.
  • Active Learning: a cost estimator must understand the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision–making. A cost estimator must have very high learning adaptability because new trends may emerge while working in the field.
  • Analytical Skills: you must be able to analyze the rudiments of a project or project requirements to estimate the cost of each project. This analysis must be accurate because the wrong analysis can spell doom for your career as a cost estimator.
  • Management of Financial Resources: a cost estimator must be very good at determining how money should be spent and being accountable for any expenditure. The inability to manage every aspect of finance as expected can spell doom for your career as a cost estimator.
  • Leadership Skills: a cost estimator must possess leadership skills because he/she is expected to teach others how to estimate a project. Leadership skills are very requisite because it helps you carry clients and other parties along.
  • Management of Material Resources: Obtaining and seeing to the fact that, facilities and materials are utilized as appropriate is very essential. A cost estimator should know how to manage resources because he/she may give account for all the resources used.


How to Become a Cost Estimator

  • Acquire a Bachelor Degree in a related field

To become a cost estimator, you don’t need a university degree but most employers prefer someone that has passed through the university system. You can acquire a degree in the following courses: building construction, engineering, statistics, economics, accounting, architecture, and physical sciences.

  • Acquire a Post-graduate degree in a Related Discipline

If you are considering a career as a cost estimator and you did not study any course related to it, you can acquire a post-graduate diploma in related such as financial accounting, economics that is if you want to specialize as a business cost estimator. You can also go for courses like engineering and statistics.

  • Training

A degree may not just be enough to get the job, training is also very essential. Get training under a professional or an employer and do not work independently until the employer who hires you trains you to estimate a project.

  • Experience

Most employers don’t want to hire a novice but they will love to hire candidates who have already worked in the industry in which they sought a job as cost estimators. You can get this experience by enrolling for an internship in an organization that specializes in cost estimation.

  • Get a Certification

Although certification is not mandatory some employers will only hire job candidates who are professionally certified. Certification may vary from one country to another; for instance, you can acquire the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) if you are in America. Other certifications you can acquire are the Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International (AACE) and the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association(ICEAA).

All these associations require candidates to write exams and pass before they are issued certificates.


Where to Work as a Cost Estimator

There are various places a cost Estimator can work and they are:

  • Construction Site

A cost estimator may work in a construction site or building site and he/she will help clients in bidding for materials and services. The construction cost estimator is highly lucrative as their services are in high demand globally because a lot of construction projects are emerging and some are ongoing around the globe.

  • Companies: most companies hire cost estimators when they want to embark on a project to have accurate estimates and services. The company can be a printing press or electrical company or any other company may demand the service of a cost estimator.
  • Government Projects: Most Cost Estimators can work for government projects and give an accurate estimate of cost, materials, and resources needed for the project. This will help the government to be able to draft an appropriate budget that will cover the cost of a project.
  • Home Working: People can hire cost estimators to help them determine the duration, cost, and materials of a personal project.
  • Office Setting
  • Factory Assembly


Cost Estimator Salary

The salary of a cost estimator varies across the globe and here are a few countries below:

  • In the United States, a cost estimator earns $69267 per year United The average annual pay for a senior cost estimator in the United States is $105,525 a year. This implies $50.73 per hour which is equivalent to $2,029 per week or $8,794 per month. Cost Estimator’s salaries currently range from $84,000 to $111,000 and with top earners making $162,000 annually across the United States. The average pay range for a Senior Cost Estimator varies greatly as much as $27,000 which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and a high increase in pay which depends solely on skill level, location, and years of experience.
  • In Nigeria, the salary of a Construction Estimator is typically around 194,000NGN per month. Salaries range from 89,100NGN (lowest) to 308,000NGN (highest). This average monthly salary includes housing, transport, and other essential benefits. Construction Estimator’s salary in Nigeria varies based on experience, skills, gender, or location.
  • In the United Kingdom, the salary of a newly trained cost estimator is around 20,000pounds. Experienced Cost Estimators can earn between 25,000pounds and 35,000pounds. Senior Cost estimators can earn 67,000pounds.


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