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.
Although cost estimators can be found within a variety of industries, most work in the manufacturing sector. Cost estimating is considered a professional position that includes working regular business hours in an office setting. It is a high-pressure job which requires a keen eye for detail; several cost estimators may work on different parts of the same production project at the same time.
Although a college degree is not required to enter this profession, a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, business, or economics is generally preferred for this position. Additionally, previous experience in cost estimating may be required or preferred by employers.
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.