Cost estimators calculate how much time and money it will take to complete projects.
Estimators talk to project managers to learn what they want to build or manufacture. They may research costs for projects ranging from construction to computer software. Their goal is to put together an accurate estimate of the cost of a project.
Cost estimators read bid proposals and look at blueprints and drawings. They estimate how long it takes workers to finish tasks. They research pay levels, calculate that cost, and add the cost of insurance and taxes. They check prices for supplies, equipment, and parts. They estimate delays that can arise from bad weather or late deliveries. Estimators use computers and cost estimating software programs to help them estimate project costs.
Cost estimators make a complete list of everything the project will need, including:
Estimators compare vendor prices for supplies and parts. If the parts are expensive, estimators compare the cost of buying them to the cost of making them.
Some estimators work for subcontractors who prepare bid proposals for parts of projects. Other estimators review bids from subcontractors and decide who is offering the best price and service.
Construction estimators visit sites to better estimate costs. They note what services are available at the site. Once the project is underway, they keep track of what the actual costs are against the estimate. If estimates are not accurate, costs may go over budget and projects can be late. They keep records and write reports about the project's progress. They also keep a directory of suppliers, vendors, and contractors used during projects.