Estimators plan an essential role in any construction company, as it is up to them to have the analytical foresight to assess all costs associated with each project, ranging from material to labor. Without them, a construction company would fail, thanks to unexpected expenses and unearned bids. Successful Estimators help construction companies earn jobs from clients with fair, accurate bids that grow their business as a whole.
With this type of responsibility, it’s no wonder this role is perfect for analytical people who love (and are good at) mathematics. In addition to this natural knack, a few skills serve Estimators well:
- Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, as Estimators must be precise in every action.
- Strategic thinking, as Estimators must hypothesize and prepare for on-the-job errors and weather delays.
- Superior planning skills, as it’s an Estimator’s job to accurately determine project needs.
These skills are put to great use in an Estimator’s career. They make a big difference for the business as it’s their job to ensure every project stays on-budget by:
- Estimating costs of materials, labor, and equipment.
- Planning probable costs of subcontractors based on contract bids, quotations, and specifications.
- Establishing cost monitoring and reporting systems.
- Preparing cost and expenditure statements.
- Forecasting regularly.
Aside from the technical tasks in an Estimator’s day, excellent communication skills are key to his or her success. They keep every project moving forward by:
- Preparing an active directory of suppliers and contractors.
- Acting as a liaison between engineers, architects, owners, and contractors to make adjustments to cost estimates.
- Coordinating progress schedules.
These natural skills help Estimators complete daily tasks, but education and experience help them do great work. For those still in high school, take as many math classes as possible, including algebra and geometry. If available, take drafting or blueprint reading courses. After graduating, most Estimators take courses in construction and engineering technology. Completing a four-year degree is not required, but it will help you advance quicker. Consider earning a degree in construction engineering or construction management.
No matter the formal education you receive, in the end, experience is the best way to earn a role as an Estimator. Any miscalculation can greatly impact the project and the company as a whole. That’s why three to five years of construction management work is typically required. Many learn the ropes on the job, working their way up in the construction industry to foremen or superintendents before moving into an Estimator role.
No matter what route you take to become an Estimator, it will help you earn even higher positions. With their expertise in and familiarity with the plans, specifications, and materials of a construction job, Estimators are well-prepared to become Project Managers or Owners of their very own construction company.
If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about what it takes to be an Estimator, contact us. We are here to help you on your journey to your career in construction.