Cost Estimator How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

Construction cost estimators gather and interpret data to help them estimate the time, money, labor, and materials needed for buildings, roads, and other projects. Their responsibilities include preparing estimates, recommending ways to save money, and maintaining records. Cost estimators need to have excellent analytical and communication skills.

Sample job description #1

Duties and responsibilities

  • Import plans from customers using company software, RFMS Measure
  • Take off plans in Measure
  • Analyze plan sets for quantities required to bid jobs
  • Compile bid quantities to Excel
  • Communicate with sales team and/or customers regarding pricing and material specifications
  • Generate Change Order requests if necessary before project begins
  • Gather pricing when needed
  • Follow-up on submitted bids
  • Review material usage on jobs
  • Log all job bids; create folders and sub-folders for all jobs
  • Research Materials Data Specification Sheets and installation information

Knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Must have Microsoft Excel spreadsheet knowledge. Can create and maintain spreadsheets.
  • Ability to calculate figures associated with the industry, use measurement tools, ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations. Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public
  • Must be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to work with vendors, customers, and other employees
  • Must excel at working in a team environment
  • This position requires that the person be an organized individual, who is self-motivated, and can work independently
  • Must be able to manage multiple tasks and or priorities and easily adapt to changing situations

Sample job description #2

Specific duties

  • Work with the Insurance industry to manage smooth claim handling, small to large, complex projects in the Property Restoration industry focusing on water, fire, and wind damage
  • Estimators serve as client-facing leaders, overseeing the day-to-day project relationships with Insurance companies
  • Provide accurate and timely estimates and bids to clients
  • Ensure payment information to the customer is presented in a timely fashion
  • Update notes daily on every project you have running in our job management program
  • Coordinate with the Project Manager’s initial project schedules and regularly maintain project schedules for submitting payment schedules
  • Keep track of all projects and bids that are under your guidance
  • Support Business Development activities (provide relevant input at a prospective client meeting, assist in project cost and schedule estimating, etc.)

Technical skills

  • Proficient knowledge of web-based software platforms
  • Utilize phone or tablet to upload documentation of loss with photographs and written descriptions
  • Microsoft Excel and Outlook are required
  • Xactimate experience required

Requirements

  • Must be able to pass a drug test, background check, and have a valid driver’s license
  • Experience in the water and fire restoration industry is a plus, but not required
  • IICRC Certifications Preferred

Sample job description #3

Resposibilities

The Cost Estimator will prepare and or validate project cost estimates at the various stages of the project, will facilitate quantitative risk assessments for cost and schedule, and will actively be involved in project execution reviews.

  • Will be shadowing the Sr Estimator
  • Follow procedures and instructions for preparation and maintenance of project estimates, plans and schedules
  • Equipment Cost Estimates
  • Repairs estimates
  • Participate in Contractor’s cost estimate kick-off meetings to establish required deliverables, including formats and cost estimate review schedules
  • Maintain active engagement with Business Unit estimators during the project approval process and provide support during execution reviews and/or requests for supplemental funding
  • Work with Planning/Scheduling and Cost Control in the development of Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
  • Monitor and review the cost estimate preparation process to ensure that proper methodology is be used
  • Ensure appropriate alignment between cost estimates, project schedules, execution strategies and contracting strategies
  • Facilitate Quantitative Risk Assessments to support the calculation of cost and schedule contingency
  • Estimate escalation cost based on Procurement guidelines and project schedules
  • Provide input to Contract Strategies
  • Facilitate the re-compilation of approved cost estimates to align with project WBSs and Contracting Strategies
  • Assist in the calculation of costs associated with change orders and/or trends
  • Ensure the integrity of and input data to the cost and quantity corporate database
  • Participate in Integrated Reviews during the project stage gate approval process
  • Track the success of all estimates and schedules for budget versus completion accuracy

Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in Construction Management degree preferred
  • Minimum 5 years cost estimating or related experience
  • Needs to know how to estimate man hours when needed.
  • Computer knowledge (Microsoft programs)
  • Domestically and internationally mobile for business travel
  • Ability to work within a diverse cultural environment
  • Demonstrated interpersonal/teambuilding skills
  • Strong written and oral communication skills

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a cost estimator is $73,800 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$73,350$99,250
Los Angeles, California$82,800$112,000
Denver, Colorado$69,000$93,350
Washington, DC$84,050$113,700
Miami, Florida$68,650$92,900
Orlando, Florida$63,350$85,700
Tampa, Florida$63,950$86,550
Atlanta, Georgia$67,100$90,800
Chicago, Illinois$77,150$104,350
Boston, Massachusetts$83,400$112,850
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$66,450$89,950
New York City, New York$87,800$118,800
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$71,500$96,750
Dallas, Texas$69,600$94,200
Houston, Texas$69,300$93,750
Seattle, Washington$80,250$108,634
National Average$62,700$84,850

Sample interview questions

  • When is an example of a time you have correctly estimated a cost, and what methods did you use to achieve this estimation?
  • If you were asked to complete a cost estimation in less time than you were able to, what would be your response?
  • What skills do you believe a cost estimator needs to be successful?
  • How are your communication and calculation skills?
  • What techniques do you use in order to ensure that all aspects of a project have been successfully accounted for in your cost estimation?
  • What is the most complex estimate you have created and were you successful in this estimate?
  • Do you have any experience with estimates reconciliation with clients? How did you resolve this?
  • What experience or certifications do you have that will be relevant to this role?

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