Cost Estimator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Cost Estimators Career Video



Prepares cost estimates for product manufacturing, construction projects, or services to aid management in bidding on or determining price of product or service. May specialize according to particular service performed or type of product manufactured.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Design/Pre-Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Consults with clients, vendors, personnel in other departments or construction foremen to discuss and formulate estimates and resolve issues.
  • Analyzes blueprints and other documentation to prepare time, cost, materials, and labor estimates.
  • Prepares estimates for use in selecting vendors or subcontractors.
  • Confers with engineers, architects, owners, contractors and subcontractors on changes and adjustments to cost estimates.
  • Prepares estimates used by management for purposes such as planning, organizing, and scheduling work.
  • Prepares cost and expenditure statements and other necessary documentation at regular intervals for the duration of the project.
  • Assesses cost effectiveness of products, projects or services, tracking actual costs relative to bids as the project develops.
  • Sets up cost monitoring and reporting systems and procedures.
  • Conducts special studies to develop and establish standard hour and related cost data or to effect cost reduction.
  • Reviews material and labor requirements to decide whether it is more cost-effective to produce or purchase components.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Crating and Moving Estimator -- Solicits freight or storage business from homeowners and business establishments and estimates packing, crating, moving, and storage costs.
  • Electrical Estimator -- Plans and measures or estimates the project cost of electricity required by a building.
  • Procurement Technician -- Purchases goods and services for a business at a reasonable price that meets the needs and budget of the business.