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Cost Estimator Salary

Earnings for Cost Estimators in the United States come in at around $51K per year on average. Overall cash earnings of Cost Estimators stretch from $32K near the bottom to $81K on the more lucrative end; these packages can sometimes encompass potential bonuses and profit sharing of almost $5K each, along with commissions approaching $15K in rare cases. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A fair number enjoy medical while the larger part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under one-half. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Cost Estimators who answered the questionnnaire. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
$35,436 - $82,546
(Median)
35K
43K
51K
65K
83K
MEDIAN: $51,285
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$12.87 - $29.80
(Median)
13
18
22
30
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
$35,436 - $82,546  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,211  
Profit Sharing
$202.03 - $5,039  
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).
)
$32,174 - $81,246  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 812
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
$12.87 - $29.80  
   
Overtime
$17.90 - $41.55  
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 - $5,211  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $14,544  
Profit Sharing
$202.03 - $5,039  
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).
)
$32,174 - $81,246  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 295
United States (change)

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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Though hard to find, Cost Estimators sometimes become Senior Estimators. The role averages $80K per year. Construction Estimators or Cost Estimating Managers are common next-step roles for Cost Estimators moving up in their careers; annual pay for Construction Estimators is $2K higher on average, and it's $27K higher for Cost Estimating Managers.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Cost Estimator


Survey results imply that Cost Estimators put a diverse skill set to use. Most notably, skills in Financial Analysis, Construction Estimating, Project Management, and Microsoft Excel are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like AutoCAD and Blueprints. Most people familiar with 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.


The average beginner in this position makes around $45K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $54K. For Cost Estimators, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $59K. People who have worked for 20 years or more actually report earning less than people who are in the middle of their careers; the veterans take home a mere $58K by contrast.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Cost Estimators in San Francisco enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 43 percent above the national average. Cost Estimators will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+43 percent), Washington (+22 percent), Houston (+19 percent), and San Diego (+9 percent). Trailing the national average by 10 percent, Akron is the market with the smallest paychecks. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Atlanta and Tulsa (7 percent less).

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%

AutoCAD
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 222 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 80% dental benefits Dental: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 47% employee benefits None: 19%