Cost Estimator

Cost estimators collect and analyze data to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor needed to manufacture a product or provide a service. They usually specialize in a particular industry or type of product.

Cost Estimator

Average Hourly Earnings



Bachelor's Degree


  • Develop project plans for the duration of the project
  • Identify and quantify cost factors, such as production time, materials, and labor expenses
  • Travel to jobsites to gather information on materials needed, labor required, and other factors
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors on estimates
  • Consult with industry experts to discuss estimates and resolve issues
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Evaluate a product to recommend ways to make a product more cost effective or profitable

Work Environment

Although cost estimators work mostly in offices, they often visit construction sites and factory floors. Depending on the industry, these visits may involve frequent travel. Stress may result from having to meet deadlines for preparing bids and from the potential for a firm to lose a bid or money if estimates are inaccurate. Cost estimators usually work full time, but some must work overtime to meet deadlines.

Key Traits

Enterprising. Usually requires starting up and carrying out projects. Often involves leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business side.