In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that construction estimator jobs would grow 11% by 2026, adding approximately 23,000 new jobs to the industry.
Unlike other roles in construction, estimators are in high demand regardless of market conditions. Even if the market is down, estimators are still required to estimate many potential jobs to increase the likelihood of securing one.
The need for estimators is so great that employers are looking to other industries for professionals with the right transferable skills to move into construction. In a bid to secure talent, estimator salaries are higher than ever too, averaging $100,000, according to our data.
What the role involves
An estimator determines how much to budget for a construction project and how much to bid for it, based on costs associated with time, labor, and materials. In addition, they need to take several variable factors into account, such as allowances for wasted materials, weather conditions that could lead to a postponement, and market shifts that cause supplier delays.
Estimators are hired by construction firms, contractors, and engineering firms to calculate the most competitive contract bids on their behalf and will often use construction simulation software that takes the guesswork out of calculations.
What skills do you need?
While most employers prefer estimators to have at least a bachelor’s degree, it’s still possible to become one without a degree, providing you have several years of construction industry experience. However, there are a number of skills and attributes you need to possess to become a successful estimator, including:
Analytical skills. You must be able to compare, contrast, and evaluate a number of methods and options to identify the most cost-effective project delivery solution.
Math skills. While there are software solutions available to help you obtain accurate cost estimates for labor, materials, and equipment, employers still expect excellent math skills from candidates.
Tech-savvy. Following on from the previous point, you are likely to be working with software tools, such as spreadsheets and databases, which you need to be proficient working with on a day-to-day basis.
Communication skills. Your findings enable managers to make major project decisions, so you need to deliver clear and comprehensive reports.
Detail-oriented. One small mistake in your reporting could have a detrimental effect on the overall cost of a project, so estimators must pay close attention to all details at all times.
Where could a career as an estimator lead?
You can take many career paths as a construction estimator, each offering a plethora of benefits rewards. Here are just two of them:
1. Senior Estimator
Overview: As with the role of estimator, you will be responsible for predicting the cost of a construction project, gathering all data regarding materials, equipment, utilities, and labor. You may also be expected to work alongside architects and other consultants to identify ways to reduce costs without impacting the success of the project, as well as negotiating prices from contractors and suppliers.
Average salary: $100-120k
2. Project Manager
Overview: A project manager in construction oversees the entire project and all of its elements. You will plan and develop a strategy, define the project's goals and timeline, carry out quality control, create labor schedules, review designs, and report progress to stakeholders.
Average salary: $90-110k
Operating in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, PRS USA is actively recruiting outstanding estimators for roles working on a range of high-profile construction projects. For more information about these roles or advice about making the rewarding transition to becoming an estimator, contact Chris McCay on 281.779.4186 or email Chris.McCay@prsjobs.com.