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How Much Does a Construction Estimator Make?

Construction estimators help ensure that a building is safe, looks great and makes a profit. They do this by researching, estimating and determining the materials that are needed to complete a project.

They work for residential, commercial and industrial construction companies and major electrical, mechanical and trade contractors. They may also be self-employed.


Construction estimators make a salary that varies widely depending on their qualifications, experience and location. The highest paying jobs are found in civil engineering and heavy construction, while salaries for estimators in building specific industries such as residential, commercial and educational buildings are lower.

A construction estimator’s job duties include calculating the cost of building projects, including materials, labor and equipment required for each phase. They work closely with architects and engineers to create estimates for their clients’ construction projects.

They may also need to update their estimates based on new costs or project tasks that arise during the construction process. They use software and comps for items like labor and materials and sometimes visit the site of their projects to collect information or gain quotes.

These workers typically need a bachelor’s degree in construction management, civil engineering, or a related field. They are also expected to have strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

The average construction estimator salary is $76,271 per year. This includes a base salary and bonus compensation.

A Construction Estimator can make more money than this if they have more experience, a higher level of education, and good management skills. Getting promoted to a senior or chief estimateor can also increase their pay.

Salary expectations for these professionals vary by the industry in which they work, but many construction estimators find their careers in large or mid-sized engineering and construction firms. They often work in offices, but they may need to travel occasionally to visit construction sites or factory assembly lines.

The job of a construction estimator is a challenging one that requires extensive knowledge of the construction industry and a keen understanding of the costs involved in building. Their expertise helps ensure that a project remains on budget and within schedule, while also preventing unexpected expenses and delays.

If you are interested in this career, you can start by completing a degree course or earning a certification in construction estimating. This will give you the knowledge and skills to start a career in this field, and it is also a great way to showcase your skills on your resume.

Work environment

Estimators use a variety of skills to create construction estimates. These include strong math and computer skills. They also need a strong attention to detail and the ability to complete tasks quickly.

They work closely with engineers to determine project requirements, estimating metrics, and forecasting for construction projects. They also coordinate with suppliers and third-party vendors to negotiate pricing contracts for high-quality materials according to budget limitations.

These professionals are also involved in preconstruction, which is the stage before construction begins where they estimate the cost and quantity of materials and equipment needed for a building project. They do this by examining building plans and specifications and collecting information on what materials will be used to construct the building.

To be an estimator, you usually need a degree in a related field. This can be in mathematics, civil engineering or construction science. However, some estimators have degrees in other fields that are relevant to the industry, such as finance or economics.

You can start in this career as a surveying assistant and train to become an estimator. This is typically a two-year course, although some employers may offer training in a short time.

As a construction estimator, your responsibilities are to develop detailed material and labor costs for mechanical and plumbing systems using conceptual estimating, historical data, and engineering concepts. You are responsible for helping to win business by providing accurate and complete estimates of materials for plumbing and HVAC commercial construction projects.

The most important aspect of this job is being able to accurately analyze different manufacturing and construction methods. This helps you determine which option is the most cost-effective for a specific project.

It is also important for you to be able to communicate effectively with other professionals, including contractors and construction managers. You will be presenting your findings and recommending solutions to management to help achieve project goals.

You need to be a self-starter and have excellent communication skills to excel as a construction estimator. You also need to be able to prioritize your workload to meet deadlines, and you should be willing to work in a fast-paced environment. You will need to have at least fifteen years estimating experience, and you should be proficient in the Microsoft Office suite.

Education and training

As a construction estimator, you use your knowledge of construction materials, labor, and equipment to calculate the cost of a project before it begins. Your work involves visiting job sites, meeting with contractors and vendors, and analyzing construction plans and blueprints. You also spend time in the office, where you prepare proposals and estimates for construction projects.

A bachelor’s degree in an engineering, science, or math-related field is typically required for this job. Experience in the construction industry or construction management is also helpful.

Many construction companies offer on-the-job training or certification programs for entry-level estimators. These programs are designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this career. They can be very effective and can help you to find an entry-level job quickly.

The training can be done at your company or through an external program. You can also join professional organizations and LinkedIn groups to find job shadowing and internship opportunities.

Another option is to earn a Construction Estimator Certificate from an accredited online college. These courses are taught by active industry professionals and provide you with the practical skills you need to become an expert cost estimator.

These courses teach you everything you need to know about estimating and bidding, including essential construction math, blueprint reading, preparing bids, and managing construction costs. Classes are available on a variety of topics and are scheduled around your work schedule, so you can complete the course at your own pace.

A certificate from an accredited online university can save you both time and money. Most classes have weekly assignments that you can complete at your own pace. You can even take courses online from anywhere in the world, so you don’t have to worry about traveling or being unable to attend class.

In addition to a certificate, you can also gain specialized knowledge by pursuing a master’s degree in construction cost estimation. This will allow you to advance your career, and it will likely increase your salary.

If you are interested in learning how to estimate construction projects, consider enrolling in the Construction Estimator Certificate program at South Dakota State University. This 100% online course is approved by the College of Engineering, which means that you can earn three professional development units (PDUs) for each course.

Job outlook

Construction estimators are an important part of the building process. It is their job to make sure that a project is within budget and that it is completed on time. They create estimates for all materials that will be used on a building, including labor costs and equipment prices.

They use this information to create a cost estimate that will be submitted to the owner for approval before work begins. They often have to travel to the site to gather information and review blueprints before preparing the estimate.

A construction estimating career can be very rewarding. It involves working closely with a variety of people, including architects and engineers, as well as the owners and contractors of the building projects that you are estimating.

It requires excellent communication skills as you discuss the details of your work with various parties. You must ask thoughtful questions so that you can assure that all the needs of the project are covered and that the project is delivered on schedule.

You also need to be able to understand and interpret drawings and specifications, as well as read blueprints, to ensure that you are estimating the correct material prices. Your skill in these areas can help you earn a higher pay rate.

Your salary will depend on many factors, including your level of education and experience in the industry. You can expect to earn a base wage of around PS20,000 for new estimators, rising to PS35,000 or more for senior, chartered or master estimators.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment outlook for construction estimators is positive. Vacancies have increased 4.32 percent nationwide since 2004, and the number of positions is expected to increase 0.27 percent per year through 2029.

The most common path into this career is through an apprenticeship with a building or engineering firm. You would typically start off as an assistant to an estimator, gaining experience and getting your foot in the door. This can lead to a promotion, and eventually, becoming an estimator yourself.

Some estimators choose to go on to become professional quantity surveyors, and work their way up to senior, chief or project manager roles. Other estimators choose to move into other aspects of the construction process, such as managing quality assurance inspectors or preparing contracts.