Cost Estimator Salary

An average Cost Estimator in the United States can expect to take home roughly $51K per year. Cash earnings of Cost Estimators — including $6K in bonuses, $5K in profit sharing proceeds, and $29K in commissions near the top of the pay scale — stretch from approximately $33K to approximately $82K depending on individual performance. Location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Cost Estimators claim high levels of job satisfaction. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Cost Estimators who answered the questionnnaire. A fair number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$35,932 - $82,751
(Median)
$36K
$51K
$83K
MEDIAN: $51,393
10%
50%
90%

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$12.86 - $31.24
(Median)
$13
$18
$31
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
$35,932 - $82,751  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,003  
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $5,163  
Commission
$0.00 - $29,087  
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).
)
$32,662 - $81,569  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 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$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$12.86 - $31.24  
   
Overtime
$17.14 - $42.85  
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$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,003  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $29,087  
Profit Sharing
$195.74 - $5,163  
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).
)
$32,662 - $81,569  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 289
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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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While difficult to come across, Cost Estimators do sometimes move on to become Senior Estimators. The average salary for Senior Estimators is $80K annually. When Cost Estimators are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Construction Estimators or Cost Estimating Managers. Those roles pay an additional $2K and $27K, respectively.

Cost Estimator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Cost Estimator


Cost Estimators report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Financial Analysis, Construction Estimating, Project Management, and Microsoft Excel 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.


Cost Estimators do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $44K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $54K. Cost Estimators bring in $59K after working for 10 to 20 years. Cost Estimators who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $60K.

Pay Difference by Location


Detroit offers some of the highest pay in the country for Cost Estimators, 56 percent above the national average. Cost Estimators will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+48 percent), Seattle (+39 percent), Washington (+30 percent), and New York (+24 percent). Fort Worth is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 13 percent.

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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 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%

Blueprints
up arrow 4%

up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 183 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 77% dental benefits Dental: 62%
vision benefits Vision: 48% employee benefits None: 19%
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