Cost Estimators Career Video
Description: Prepare cost estimates for product manufacturing, construction projects, or services to aid management in bidding on or determining price of product or service. May specialize according to particular service performed or type of product manufactured.
For every great product that’s been made, from the tiny cameras in smartphones to the Golden Gate Bridge, the close scrutiny of a cost estimator helped make sure it could be built. Cost estimators estimate the time, money, materials, and labor needed to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. Because of the detailed knowledge they gain through continual data collection and analysis, cost estimators usually specialize in a particular product or industry. Construction cost estimators calculate total costs of building major projects such as a shopping center, or sports arena, or the cost of one element, such as a building foundation. Besides accounting for raw materials and labor costs, estimators factor in bad weather, shipping delays, and other variables that affect a project’s costs and timeline. Manufacturing estimators calculate the costs of producing or redesigning products, such as a dishwasher, or new software. Though estimators mostly work in offices, they may need to visit construction sites and factory floors to gather information. They typically work for engineering or construction firms, and frequently collaborate with teams of engineers and architects as well as with clients and contractors. A bachelor’s degree is generally required, although highly experienced construction workers may qualify without a degree. Strong math and analytical skills, and detail orientation are essential.