Earnings for Cost Estimators in the United States come in at around $53K annually on average. Bonuses, profit sharing, and commission all factor into final incomes for Cost Estimators. Ranging between $34K near the bottom and $81K near the top, total earnings can include up to $8K from bonuses and up to $6K from profit sharing, with a high-performing minority reaping commissions of $30K. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is residence, though the specific employer and tenure have a (lesser) impact as well. Some workers in this field — nearly one-fifth — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a strong majority and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. Making up 75 percent of those who took the survey, male Cost Estimators greatly outnumber their female counterparts. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$37,253 - $84,141
$37K
$53K
$84K
MEDIAN: $52,563
10%
50%
90%

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$13.20 - $27.91
$13
$20
$28
MEDIAN: $19.00
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$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$37,253 - $84,141  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $8,082  
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $5,667  
Commission
$2,517 - $29,799  
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).
)
$33,539 - $81,214  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 577
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
$13.20 - $27.91  
   
Overtime
$18.83 - $39.03  
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 - $8,082  
   
Commission
$2,517 - $29,799  
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $5,667  
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).
)
$33,539 - $81,214  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 222

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Common Career Paths for Cost Estimator


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For Cost Estimators, transitioning into a Senior Estimator role — where the average salary $82K per year — is a rare occurrence. With an annual salary of $52K, Construction Estimator is the most common role for Cost Estimators to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Production Estimator role — which usually pays $46K — is also typical for Cost Estimators, though less common by comparison.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Cost Estimator


Popular Skills for Cost Estimator


Cost Estimators generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, skills in Financial Analysis, Data Analysis, Construction Estimating, and Project Management are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include AutoCAD and Blueprints. Most people 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.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Cost Estimators — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $46K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $54K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Cost Estimators make a median salary of $59K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $60K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $50,900

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

For Cost Estimators, working in the bustling city of Detroit has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Cost Estimators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+43 percent), San Diego (+38 percent), Washington (+36 percent), and Houston (+29 percent). The lowest-paying market is Milwaukee, which sits 14 percent below the national average. On the whole, employers pay 12 percent below the median salary for those in this field in Denver and Akron.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Cost Estimator

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 108 votes.
Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
13%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Cost Estimator Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Cost Estimator Salaries




Microsoft Excel
0%

Project Management
0%

National Average
$51,000





up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 108 votes.

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
13%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 77%
dental benefits
Dental: 62%
vision benefits
Vision: 50%
dental benefits
None: 21%
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