Estimator Job Description

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What is a Estimator?

An estimator is a professional who analyzes and calculates the expected costs and resources required for a particular project or task. They are responsible for estimating the financial aspects of construction projects, manufacturing processes, engineering projects, and other industries. Estimators typically work in industries such as construction, engineering, manufacturing, architecture, infrastructure development, and project management.

What does Estimator do?

An estimator is responsible for assessing and determining the cost of construction projects and providing detailed estimates for materials, labor, and other expenses. On a day-to-day basis, an estimator typically performs the following tasks:

  1. Reviewing project plans and specifications: An estimator carefully examines project documents, including architectural and engineering drawings, to understand project requirements and identify all necessary materials and labor.

  2. Conducting quantity takeoffs: The estimator measures and quantifies the materials required for a project by conducting takeoffs from the drawings. This involves counting and measuring quantities of items such as bricks, concrete, steel, pipes, wiring, etc.

  3. Gathering pricing information: An estimator researches and gathers cost information from suppliers, subcontractors, and industry databases to obtain accurate pricing for materials, equipment, and labor. This information helps in creating cost estimates.

  4. Analyzing project costs: Using the gathered pricing information and the quantity takeoffs, the estimator calculates the total cost of the project. This includes factoring in overhead costs, profit margins, and other expenses to ensure a comprehensive estimate.

  5. Creating estimates and proposals: Utilizing software programs and templates, an estimator develops detailed estimates and proposals outlining the cost breakdown of the project. These documents include itemized lists, unit prices, and any additional terms and conditions.

  6. Collaborating with project team: Estimators often collaborate with project managers, architects, engineers, and subcontractors to discuss project requirements, clarify any uncertainties, and ensure accuracy in the estimates.

  7. Reviewing bid documents: An estimator reviews bid documents received from subcontractors and suppliers, comparing the prices quoted and evaluating their suitability for the project.

  8. Participating in meetings and negotiations: Estimators may participate in meetings or negotiations with clients and subcontractors to discuss and finalize project costs, scope, and terms.

  9. Maintaining records and databases: To ensure accuracy and efficiency, estimators maintain records of estimates, prices, and suppliers in databases or software programs for future reference and to support data analysis.

  10. Continuously updating knowledge: Estimators stay updated on industry trends, building codes, and new materials to ensure accurate and competitive estimates and to improve their expertise in the field.

What skills are needed to be a Estimator?

  • Mathematical Aptitude: Estimators need to have a strong grasp of mathematical concepts and be able to apply them to analyze data and make accurate calculations.
  • Analytical Thinking: Estimators must possess strong analytical skills to analyze project requirements, review specifications, and evaluate costs.
  • Attention to Detail: Estimators should have keen attention to detail to ensure accurate and precise measurement of materials, quantities, and specifications.
  • Technical Knowledge: Estimators need to have a solid understanding of construction methods, materials, equipment, and processes to accurately assess project costs.
  • Computer Literacy: Estimators should be proficient in using estimating software and have a good understanding of spreadsheets and databases to organize and analyze data efficiently.
  • Communication Skills: Estimators must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills to effectively communicate with project managers, suppliers, subcontractors, and other team members.
  • Negotiation Skills: Estimators should have strong negotiation skills to obtain competitive prices and favorable terms from suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Time Management: Estimators need to effectively manage their time and prioritize tasks to meet project deadlines and deliver accurate estimates promptly.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Estimators should be able to identify and resolve potential cost-related issues, evaluate alternatives, and suggest value engineering options to optimize project costs.
  • Industry Knowledge: Estimators should stay updated with industry trends, standards, and best practices to accurately estimate project costs and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Estimator duties and responsibilities

Duties of an Estimator:

  1. Analyze project requirements: Review project plans, specifications, and other documents to understand the scope of work, materials needed, and project constraints.

  2. Prepare cost estimates: Assess the cost of labor, materials, equipment, and other resources required for a project. Use estimating software and historical data to accurately determine project costs.

  3. Create project proposals: Develop detailed proposals that outline the scope, cost breakdown, timelines, and deliverables of a project. Present the proposal to clients or stakeholders for approval.

  4. Manage subcontractor bids: Obtain bids from subcontractors and suppliers for the services and materials needed for a project. Evaluate bids and negotiate contracts with subcontractors to secure competitive pricing.

  5. Collaborate with project teams: Work closely with project managers, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders to ensure accurate and comprehensive estimates. Provide guidance on cost-saving measures and value engineering options.

  6. Track project costs: Monitor project costs and compare them to the estimated budget. Identify and communicate any cost variations or potential risks that may impact the project's financial performance.

  7. Stay updated on industry trends: Keep up with industry trends, advancements in construction technology, and changes in building codes and regulations. Attend seminars, workshops, and conferences to enhance knowledge and skills in estimating practices.

Please note that the number of duties provided may vary depending on the specific requirements of the job and industry.

Qualifications required to be Estimator

The qualifications required for an Estimator may vary depending on the specific industry and company. However, some common qualifications and skills often sought after for this role include:

  1. Education: A bachelor's degree in engineering, construction management, or a related field is typically preferred. However, some companies may consider candidates with equivalent work experience or relevant certifications.

  2. Industry Knowledge: Deep understanding of the industry you'll be estimating for, whether it is construction, manufacturing, or any other field. This includes being familiar with relevant materials, processes, and cost factors.

  3. Estimating Experience: Previous experience in estimating, including creating accurate cost estimates, reading blueprints, and performing takeoffs. This demonstrates your ability to assess project requirements and cost implications.

  4. Analytical and mathematical skills: Estimators need strong analytical skills to assess, calculate, and compare costs accurately. Good mathematical skills are necessary for performing calculations related to labor, materials, and overhead costs.

  5. Attention to Detail: Estimators must pay close attention to detail to ensure accurate and precise estimates. Any oversight or error in estimating costs can have significant consequences for a project's success.

  6. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are essential for working collaboratively with clients, suppliers, subcontractors, and internal teams. This includes the ability to present estimates clearly and persuasively.

  7. Computer Skills: Proficiency in using estimating software, spreadsheets, and other relevant tools is important for creating and managing accurate estimates efficiently.

  8. Time Management: Estimators often work on multiple projects simultaneously. Good time management skills are necessary for prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines.

  9. Negotiation Skills: Estimators may be involved in negotiating prices and contracts with suppliers and subcontractors. The ability to negotiate effectively can help ensure cost-effective solutions for the company.

  10. Professionalism: An estimator should possess a professional demeanor, be able to work independently, and be trustworthy. This includes maintaining confidentiality, acting ethically, and adhering to company policies and procedures.

It's important to note that specific qualifications may vary depending on the company's requirements, so it's advisable to review job postings and reach out to potential employers for further information.

Estimator Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for a diligent Estimator to prepare accurate estimates for projects by gathering information and analyzing important metrics. Your will provide knowledge of cost and benefits that support profitable business decisions.

The ideal candidate will have excellent numerical skills and an analytical mindset. You must also be thorough and apt in managing relationships with key persons.

The goal is to provide detailed reports so the company can make informed decisions that will enhance its profitability and growth.


  • Understand the project/program and its requirements
  • Determine key variables for cost and other estimates
  • Gather first-hand information from sites, warehouses or other venues
  • Conduct research to obtain data on labor costs, materials, production times etc.
  • Use software for data analysis, forecasting and budgeting
  • Obtain and review offers and quotes by subcontractors or vendors
  • Perform risk analysis
  • Create and submit estimate reports or bids to appropriate persons (project managers, clients, bidding competitions etc.)
  • Build relationships with key vendors (subcontractors, suppliers, engineers etc.)
  • Provide consultation on planning (schedules, manpower needs etc.)


  • Proven experience as estimator or similar position
  • Familiarity with financial and project management principles
  • In depth knowledge of research and data analysis methods and estimation formulas
  • Exquisite math and IT ability with an analytical mindset
  • Proficient in relevant software (Timberline, HCSS HeavyBid)
  • Outstanding communication and negotiation abilities
  • Thoroughness and reliability
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • BSc/BA in engineering, construction science or relevant discipline
  • Certified Professional Estimator (CPE) will be an asset

What are some qualities of a good Estimator?

A good Estimator possesses a combination of technical expertise, analytical skills, and attention to detail that allows them to accurately assess the cost and feasibility of a given project. They have a deep understanding of construction materials, methods, and industry standards, enabling them to evaluate the quantity and quality of resources required for a project. A strong mathematical aptitude and proficiency in relevant software applications are essential for accurately computing costs, taking into consideration labor, equipment, materials, and other factors.

A good estimator also possesses excellent problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. They are able to analyze complex situations, identify potential issues, and propose creative solutions. Effective communication skills are crucial as well, as estimators need to collaborate with various stakeholders such as project managers, subcontractors, and suppliers to gather and verify necessary information.

Moreover, a good estimator is highly organized and detail-oriented, ensuring that all project documents, drawings, and specifications are thoroughly reviewed and considered in their estimations. They are also capable of managing multiple projects simultaneously, prioritizing tasks, and meeting deadlines. Finally, a strong work ethic and a commitment to delivering accurate and reliable estimates are vital traits for a successful estimator.

What are the salary expectations of Estimator?

The salary expectations of an estimator can vary depending on several factors such as the location, industry, level of experience, and the company's size. On average, an estimator can expect to earn around $55,000 to $85,000 per year. However, highly experienced and senior-level estimators can earn salaries exceeding $100,000 per year. Additionally, estimators who work in high-demand industries such as construction or engineering may have higher salary ranges.

Who does Estimator report to?

An Estimator typically reports to the Project Manager or the Director of Estimating. They work closely with various departments such as the engineering team, construction team, procurement team, and subcontractors/vendors. They also collaborate with architects, clients, and other stakeholders to gather the necessary information and prepare accurate cost estimates for projects.

Last Updated 26 Sep, 2023

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