Cost Estimator Salary (United States)

Cost Estimators in the United States usually make around $50,052 annually. Pay begins at $32,166 on the low end and climbs to $81,373 per year near the top. Individual bonuses, profit sharing and commission for Cost Estimators—as high as $5,776, $4,965 and $14,681, respectively—each contribute to the degree of variability within cash compensation, ranging from $35,857 to $82,784. Residency is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Benefits are common in this line of work, with most reporting medical and dental coverage and about half collecting vision insurance. Making up 76 percent of the field, male Cost Estimators greatly outnumber their female counterparts. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
Cost Estimator Salary (?
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.
)
$35,857 - $82,784
(Median)
36K
43K
51K
65K
83K
MEDIAN: $51,257
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Cost Estimator Salary (?
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.
)
$12.64 - $28.97
(Median)
13
18
22
29
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
75%
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
$35,857 - $82,784  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,776  
Profit Sharing
$205.11 - $4,965  
Commission
$0.00 - $14,681  
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).
)
$32,166 - $81,373  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 835
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$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$12.64 - $28.97  
   
Overtime
$17.54 - $41.02  
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$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,776  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $14,681  
Profit Sharing
$205.11 - $4,965  
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).
)
$32,166 - $81,373  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 297
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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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Cost Estimators who transition into Senior Estimators are few and far between, earning an extra $29K per year. Career advancement for Cost Estimators often leads to becoming Construction Estimators or Cost Estimating Managers, where they can earn $1,575 or $27K more per year.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Cost Estimator

Cost Estimators generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Financial Analysis and Construction Estimating are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay by 17 percent and 4 percent respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include AutoCAD, Blueprints, and Microsoft Office. The majority of those who know Blueprints also 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.
Across the entire workforce, experience and pay tend to be weakly linked—those with more experience do not necessarily bring in much higher salaries. Salaries start at $45K, which grows to $55K after five to 10 years. Earnings total $58K after one to two decades. After 20 years in the field, Cost Estimators see their salaries growing more slowly, eventually averaging out to $60K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 19 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 5 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 14 percent. A majority of respondents report one to nine years of experience.

Pay Difference By Location

San Francisco
up arrow 45%
Seattle
up arrow 43%
Washington
up arrow 21%
up arrow 19%
San Diego
up arrow 11%
Chicago
up arrow 9%
up arrow 8%
up arrow 7%
New York
up arrow 2%
Minneapolis
0%
National Average
$50,000
Atlanta
up arrow 7%
Fort Worth
up arrow 8%
Milwaukee
up arrow 8%
Akron
up arrow 10%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Surpassing the national average by 45 percent, Cost Estimators in San Francisco receive some of the highest pay in the country. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like Seattle, Washington, Houston, and San Diego, top-paying markets where Cost Estimators rake in more than the national norm (+43 percent, +21 percent, +19 percent, and +11 percent). Falling short of the national average by 10 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Akron. Workers in Milwaukee and Fort Worth earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (-8 percent and -8 percent).

Related Job Salaries

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 1%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 3%
Blueprints
up arrow 4%
up arrow 6%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 236 votes.

Gender

Female
24%
female alumni
 
Male
76%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 79% dental benefits Dental: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 46% employee benefits None: 19%
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