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Cost Estimator Salary

Cost Estimators in the United States pull down an average of $52K annually. In the world of Cost Estimators, total cash compensation can vary between $32K and $81K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $6K and $5K, respectively. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Job satisfaction for Cost Estimators is high. Medical benefits are awarded to a strong majority, and more than half earn dental coverage. Male Cost Estimators are far more common among survey respondents than their female counterparts, who typically comprise less than one-third of the field. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$35,575 - $82,288
(Median)
$36K
$52K
$82K
MEDIAN: $51,561
10%
50%
90%

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$12.82 - $30.03
(Median)
$13
$18
$30
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
$35,575 - $82,288  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,918  
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $5,076  
Commission
$0.00 - $14,544  
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).
)
$32,320 - $81,201  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 813
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
$12.82 - $30.03  
   
Overtime
$17.45 - $41.80  
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 - $5,918  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $14,544  
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $5,076  
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).
)
$32,320 - $81,201  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 291

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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 move on to become Senior Estimators may enjoy significant pay raises, as Senior Estimators get paid an average of $80K per year. Career advancement for the typical Cost Estimator often leads to becoming a Construction Estimator or a Cost Estimating Manager; median salaries in these positions are $2K higher and $27K higher, respectively.

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. Most notably, skills in Financial Analysis, Construction Estimating, Project Management, and Microsoft Excel 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.


Cost Estimators with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $45K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $54K. On average, Cost Estimators make $59K following one to two decades on the job. Cost Estimators with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $60K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Cost Estimators, busy Detroit offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 55 percent above the national average. Cost Estimators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+43 percent), Seattle (+39 percent), Washington (+31 percent), and Houston (+16 percent). The lowest-paying market is Fort Worth, which sits 13 percent below the national average.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

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 5%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 203 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 62%
vision benefits Vision: 48% employee benefits None: 20%