Cost Estimator Salary

Cost Estimators in the United States can expect wages of $52K per year on average. Total cash earnings of Cost Estimators range from $33K on the low end to $82K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $6K and $5K, respectively. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Cost Estimators survey respondents are men (75 percent). Health benefits are not claimed by all — one in five lack any form of coverage — but a fair number have medical insurance, and more than half have dental, too. Job satisfaction for Cost Estimators is high. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$35,987 - $83,152
(Median)
$36K
$52K
$83K
MEDIAN: $52,131
10%
50%
90%

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$13.64 - $32.01
(Median)
$14
$19
$32
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$35,987 - $83,152  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,101  
Profit Sharing
$101.37 - $5,144  
Commission
$0.00 - $20,273  
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).
)
$33,035 - $82,295  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 862
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$13.64 - $32.01  
   
Overtime
$17.99 - $42.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,101  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $20,273  
Profit Sharing
$101.37 - $5,144  
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).
)
$33,035 - $82,295  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 310
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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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For Cost Estimators, transitioning into a Senior Estimator role — where the average salary $81K per year — is a rare occurrence. A Construction Estimator role is the most common promotion for Cost Estimators moving up the ladder, and pay for the position tends to be around the $52K mark. Another typical, albeit less common, transition for Cost Estimators is a Production Estimator position, where earnings are usually $45K.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Cost Estimator


Cost Estimators seem to require a number of specific skills. 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. It is often found that people who know Blueprints are also skilled in 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 worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $44K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $55K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Cost Estimators make a median salary of $60K. Respondents who boast more than 20 years of experience can't seem to boast paychecks reflecting that extensive experience, though; veteran Cost Estimators report making only $59K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $50,363

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Cost Estimators in Detroit enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 69 percent above the national average. Cost Estimators will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+44 percent), San Diego (+40 percent), Seattle (+38 percent), and Washington (+37 percent). Akron is the lowest-paying area, 11 percent south of the national average.

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Experience Affects Cost Estimator Salaries




National Average
$50,000


Skills That Affect Cost Estimator Salaries


Construction Estimating
up arrow 2%

Project Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$50,000

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%


up arrow 7%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 164 votes.

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 76%
dental benefits
Dental: 63%
medical benefits
Vision: 50%
dental benefits
None: 21%
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