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.
What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
Collect historical cost data to estimate costs for current or future products.
Consult with clients, vendors, personnel in other departments, or construction foremen to discuss and formulate estimates and resolve issues.
Prepare estimates used by management for purposes such as planning, organizing, and scheduling work.
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
building and construction
Arts and Humanities
accounting and economics
using math to solve problems
reading work related information
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.