Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular industry or type of product.
Accurately predicting the cost, size, and duration of future construction and manufacturing projects is vital to the survival of businesses. Cost estimators’ calculations give managers or investors this information.
When making calculations, estimators analyze many inputs in order to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs and how profitable it will be. These estimates have to take many factors into account, including allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other factors that can increase costs and lower profitability.
Cost estimators use computer software, including databases, to simulate building construction. Cost estimators often use a computer database with information on the costs of other, similar projects.
General contractors usually hire cost estimators for specific parts of a large construction project, such as estimating the cost of the electrical work or the excavation phase. In such cases, the estimator calculates the cost of the construction phase for which the contractor is responsible, rather than calculating the cost of the entire project. Construction companies will hire cost estimators that calculate the total project cost by analyzing the bids that the subcontractors’ cost estimators prepared.
Some estimators are hired by manufacturers to analyze certain products or processes.