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.