Cost Estimator Salary

Cost Estimators in the United States can expect to earn an average of $51K annually. With some bonuses approaching $6K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $5K, overall incomes of Cost Estimators spread between $33K and $82K depending on individual performance. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Job satisfaction for Cost Estimators is high. Medical benefits are awarded to a strong majority, and a majority earn dental coverage. Making up 76 percent of those who took the survey, male Cost Estimators greatly outnumber their female counterparts. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$35,888 - $83,244
(Median)
$36K
$51K
$83K
MEDIAN: $51,410
10%
50%
90%

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$13.49 - $31.60
(Median)
$13
$18
$32
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$35,888 - $83,244  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,047  
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $5,160  
Commission
$0.00 - $29,087  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$32,790 - $82,117  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 821
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$13.49 - $31.60  
   
Overtime
$16.90 - $43.22  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,047  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $29,087  
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $5,160  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$32,790 - $82,117  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 288
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Job Description for Cost Estimator

Whether the final product is a skyscraper or a tube of toothpaste, most companies need a professional to estimate the production costs for their products. A cost estimator predicts manufacturing price of a product using their analytical and technical skills. Their typical day includes analyzing labor, material, and time requirements for manufacturing proposals or construction blueprints to calculate the costs of production; they may also occasionally visit the site of production. As they are tasked with preparing cost estimates to ensure a projected project can be successfully and efficiently completed, they create cost-estimate reports and often make presentations to other members of the production team. Additionally, a cost estimator normally work alongside other professionals such as designers, architects, contractors, construction managers, and engineers.

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Cost Estimator Tasks

  • Make new cost estimates as project progresses, and discuss changes with engineers, contractors, and clients.
  • Conduct research to determine needs for personnel, machinery, materials, and other factors which affect costs.
  • Produce cost estimates for a project based on project plans and discussions with clients and engineers.
  • Analyze current processes, personnel, and materials to identify methods for reducing costs.

Common Career Paths for Cost Estimator


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Advancing into a Senior Estimator role seems to be a popular career move for Cost Estimators, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $80K per year. Cost Estimators moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Construction Estimators or Cost Estimating Managers. The median paychecks in those roles are $2K higher and $27K higher, respectively.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Cost Estimator


Cost Estimators report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Financial Analysis, Construction Estimating, Project Management, and Microsoft Office are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include AutoCAD and Blueprints. Those familiar with Blueprints also tend to know Microsoft Office and Construction Estimating.

Pay by Experience Level for Cost Estimator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. The average beginner in this position makes around $44K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $54K. Cost Estimators with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $60K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $61K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Cost Estimators in Detroit enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 56 percent above the national average. Cost Estimators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+48 percent), Seattle (+39 percent), Washington (+30 percent), and New York (+27 percent). Trailing the national average by 10 percent, Akron is the market with the smallest paychecks.

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Experience Affects Cost Estimator Salaries




National Average
$50,000


Skills That Affect Cost Estimator Salaries


Construction Estimating
up arrow 4%

Project Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$50,000

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%

Blueprints
up arrow 4%

up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 183 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 63%
vision benefits Vision: 49% employee benefits None: 19%
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