A production estimator is a key employee for construction and contracting firms. This is the person who assesses a variety of disparate aspects of projects and determines their costs. The estimator's job is essential because his/her determinations will be used when bids are submitted for construction, remodeling, or renovations. If the figure is too low, the contractor may have trouble getting the difference and have to assume the overrun cost; if the figure is too large, the firm may not secure enough bids to remain operational.
Production estimators are expected to incorporate a variety of factors into their cost projections. They must be mindful of all material costs, for example, and may make multiple estimates and allow clients to choose based on cost. They will also need to account for labor, including projecting the cost of individual workers based on skill and expertise. They will typically work with subcontractors and accept competitive bids to factor into the final production estimate, so excellent communication skills are generally required for the job.
Production estimators must also consider external factors, such as the job site itself and any obstacles it may present. They should always be mindful of building codes and regulations, as remodeling/renovation jobs may require extensive reworking of wiring or plumbing systems beyond the immediate job in order for a property to be in full compliance.
To work as a production estimator, a person must typically have a high school diploma and proficiency in office computer software, as spreadsheets and word processing are essential parts of the job. Most estimators have extensive practical experience in the construction industry, often with supervisory duties. Larger firms may prefer candidates with post-secondary technical school training in a relevant field. Production estimators generally work weekly business hours and split time between office work and field trips.
Production Estimator Tasks
Analyze plans, project documents, and inventory costs to estimate for components, materials, and products.
Communicate with customers, sales and engineers when quotes or prices change.
Create and maintain project cost data, summaries, and reports recommending bid or no-bid.
Investigate cost variances and analyze supplier history and catalogs to recommend vendors.