An average Cost Estimator in the United States can expect to take home roughly $52K per year. Cash earnings for Cost Estimators — including $8K in bonuses and $10K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $33K to $81K depending on individual performance. Location is the main element affecting pay for this group — the company and tenure are driving factors as well. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Making up 72 percent of those who took the survey, male Cost Estimators greatly outnumber their female counterparts. While somewhere between a fifth and a fourth report receiving no health benefits, a fair number do receive medical coverage, and more than half have dental, as well. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$37,034 - $82,698
(Median)
$37K
$52K
$83K
MEDIAN: $51,898
10%
50%
90%

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$12.51 - $28.40
(Median)
$13
$19
$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$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$37,034 - $82,698  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $8,130  
Profit Sharing
$198.66 - $10,067  
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).
)
$33,105 - $80,845  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 562
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
$12.51 - $28.40  
   
Overtime
$18.76 - $38.69  
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 - $8,130  
   
Commission
$2,517 - $29,799  
Profit Sharing
$198.66 - $10,067  
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).
)
$33,105 - $80,845  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 209
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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 $82K per year. Becoming a Construction Estimator is, more often than not, the most common role that Cost Estimators move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $52K. Another frequent advance is for Cost Estimators to assume a Sales Estimator role; in this role, workers often earn $46K.

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, Data Analysis, Cost Accounting, and Construction Estimating 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.


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $45K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $52K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $57K. Respondents who boast more than two decades on the job don't boast commensurate pay, unfortunately; these veterans see average earnings of only $56K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $50,344

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

For Cost Estimators, Detroit provides a pay rate that is 67 percent greater than the national average. Cost Estimators will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+44 percent), San Diego (+39 percent), New York (+39 percent), and Washington (+38 percent). The lowest-paying market is Denver, which sits 11 percent below the national average.

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Experience Affects Cost Estimator Salaries




National Average
$50,000


Skills That Affect Cost Estimator Salaries



Cost Accounting
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Excel
0%

Construction Estimating
0%

Project Management
0%

National Average
$50,000

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%

Blueprints
up arrow 3%

autodesk autocad
up arrow 3%

up arrow 7%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 95 votes.

Gender

Female
28 %
Male
72 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 75%
dental benefits
Dental: 63%
medical benefits
Vision: 50%
dental benefits
None: 22%
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