How to Become a Construction Estimator


World’s population has been significantly increasing for some last years. And to fulfill human living needs, construction contractors are transforming lands into intelligent and innovative cities, loaded with beautiful houses and sky-touching buildings. This trend is not only for the current or next year. However, the construction industry has a bright future in the long run. According to recent research by experts, the construction industry will probably touch $8 trillion by 2030. So, whatever profession you choose, you will have a bright & prosperous future. The most trending profession in the building industry is Construction Estimator. If you are looking for a detailed guide for this profession, this blog post is for you. We will present how you can become a successful construction estimator, including the best institutes for education, challenges you may encounter, and many more. Let’s explore this amazing and beneficial guide.


Table of Content


Who is Construction Estimator?

Building contractors get the assistance of construction cost estimators to attain the estimated expense of an overall construction project. A construction estimator is an expert who utilizes his industry knowledge, experience, and expertise to calculate the budget required for a construction project. Simply put, the experts in the estimating industry cover everything, from understanding the project scope to providing the contractors with precise and accurate estimates. You can also say that they provide construction estimating services to contractors, builders, and constructors.



Make Your Career & as a Construction Estimator!



3 Types of Construction Estimators

When you make up your mind to become a construction estimator, it is mandatory to decide what type of estimator you choose as your profession. There are 3 types of construction estimators and you can select one of them according to your expertise, interest, and knowledge.

  • Client’s Cost Estimator

If you wish to manage only small building projects, such as houses, or blocks, Client Cost Estimator must be your future name. In this sub-field, an estimator develops a bid for a contractor by managing the overall construction budget. He meets the client’s expectations by negotiating costs with suppliers and completing the whole project within reasonable cost. The main objective of these estimators is to create outstanding bids for their clients and win more and more construction projects.

  • Contractor’s Cost Estimator

Contractor’s Cost Estimators help their customers by providing them with a professional bid that can ensure their significant profit out of the construction project. They keep an eye on resources, such as material and labor to decrease the chances of mishaps and ensure smooth working on their building plan. This way, they help their visitors and assist them in increasing their revenue.

  • Engineer’s Cost Estimator

Sometimes, engineers fail to meet the expectations of their clients and here Engineer’s Cost Estimators play a significant role. They assist contractors in scanning locations, considering logistics, and generating plan blueprints. Proficiency in measurements and calculation is too crucial for Engineer’s Cost Estimators.

Skills You Need to Become a Construction Estimator

Skills and expertise are the fundamental demands in every construction field. Whatever the type of estimator you select as your profession, you must be 100% able in your respective field. The following are some common skills that every building estimator must have;


  • Detail oriented
  • Technical abilities
  • Ability to analyze data
  • Strong grip on Maths & Computer
  • Highly organized
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Professional communication
  • Excellent time management


Fundamentals to Become a Construction Estimator

Besides the mentioned expertise and skills, there are also some fundamentals that you must own to beat the industry experts. First and foremost, you should have a solid grip on your major subject and field. You must know how to manage the issues related to cost estimation as a professional home building cost estimator. Moreover, you must have effective alternatives that you can utilize if Plan A does not work. Not only these, but you also need to be a master in Mathematical formulas so that you can solve the queries of your clients promptly.


Nowadays, automated-software are available on the Internet that you can use to apply estimating formulas. However, you need to know the professional way to use these digital resources. Simply put, your basics should be strong if you really want to become a successful estimator. How can you attain all these fundamentals and skills? You can polish yourself in all these capabilities by following this step-by-step guide to becoming a construction estimator.

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Construction Estimator

Education, certification, and experience are necessary for those who see their career in the construction estimation industry. Let’s discover an organized guide to becoming a construction estimator.



Step #1: Get an Education

You must have an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND) for beginning your career as a construction estimator. Likewise, your major should be one of these subjects; Construction Management, Civil or Structural Engineering, or Quantity Surveying. Whatever subject you pick, you will be get trained in the following books.

  • Mathematics
  • Building codes
  • Construction law
  • Building materials
  • Construction methods

Every building contractor searches for an expert estimator who can provide him with the most out of proposals and budget sheets. And all these subjects are beneficial in meeting the expectations of your clients.

Institutes Offering Construction Estimator Certification in the US


Physical Courses Online Courses
  • Arizona State University
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Louisiana State University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Drexel University
  • Clemson University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Roger Williams University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Illinois State University
  • San Diego State University
  • American Society of Professional Estimators
  • Miami Dade College
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Anne Arundel Community College

Step #2: Apprenticeship; Learn & Earn

Only cramming, understanding subjects, or passing exams is not enough in this field. You must be efficient in implementing your techniques and methods. And you can practically apply your knowledge via apprenticeship that describes earning while you learn. Whatever job you start as a beginner, the organization will pay you for your tasks or duties. Second, the firm will also train you in practical work and enhance your expertise. Additionally, you can apply for an apprenticeship anytime after the age of 16. As your learning goes side by side, you only need to work for 30 hours per week. This step will boost your personality as a successful construction estimator.



Look for Opportunities Ready to Learn & Earn Problem Solving Ability 
Communication Skills Working & Learning in the Construction Industry  Diligent to Work
Controlling Self-emotions Staying Careful & Protective  Collaboration with Team


Step #4: Start Working

Once you have entered the construction estimating field, and completed your education and initial training, apply for a reputable job in a well-known construction estimation company. Here, you can get the advantage of your past working experience based on the quality of your learning and practice. If you are really good at all essential subjects and expertise, you can grab the job of the estimator on your first attempt. Otherwise, you will have to start a job from a lower rank and work harder to increase your rank in the company.

Step #5: Get Certificates

Wherever you do initial practice or work as an estimator, you must apply for certificates to enrich your worth in the construction industry. The certificates you earn give proof of your abilities, knowledge, and expertise and you can use them to expand your client’s circle. Furthermore, big companies mostly welcome estimators having authentic certificates. Here, you can see the list of organizations that provide certificates along with their requirements.


Requirements American Society of Professional Estimators Association of Advancement of Cost Engineering Society of Cost Estimating & Analysis
Experience 5 8 7
Exam x x
Skills x x
Workshops x x


Step #6: Pursue Your Master’s Degree

When you decide to sit on the seat of senior building estimator, graduation is not enough. You must pursue your Master’s degree in the same field so that you can see your field in more depth. A Master’s degree can surprisingly give a boost to your knowledge and expertise. It will take only 2 years and then you can achieve more than your expectations.



Help Builders by Assisting Them with the Reliable Estimates!


The Options of Job You Can Do After Becoming a Construction Estimator

When an estimator pursues his Master’s degree, he selects a special subject in estimation, such as MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing), Concrete, Flooring, Metal, Waterproofing, etc. If you wish to offer MEP Estimating Services, a Master’s degree in MEP Estimation is good for you. Similarly, structural estimators can calculate the exact budget required to prepare the ground for construction and other ground & structure-related activities.



What Will Be Your Core Responsibilities as a Construction Estimator?

Before you become an estimator, it is mandatory to understand the core responsibilities of professional estimators. Following is the extensive list of roles that expert estimators play in calculating a budget for a construction project;

  • Gathering initial construction plans in the form of documents, including drawings, blueprints, site specifications, ground measurements, etc.
  • Scanning these documents to understand the requirements of a construction project and the expectations of the clients
  • Arranging the best quality and pocket-friendly construction resources, including building materials, labor, machinery, tools, etc.
  • Maintaining the directory of firms and businesses
  • Requesting quotes from multiple vendors, negotiating rates, and closing the deals
  • Calculating the overall project construction cost and creating a detailed budget sheet while setting the timeline for each task
  • Drafting all the construction expenses including, material, machinery, and labor
  • Arranging a meeting with the client to discuss the whole construction plan and budget required for it
  • Creating a connection between different stakeholders involved in building a project
  • Identifying potential risks and mitigating them with effective techniques
  • Ensuring the safety and the long-term use of materials used in construction project

Your Expected Earning as a Construction Estimator

Like other fields, income increases with the increase of experience in the construction industry. You can evaluate an estimator’s earnings in the following table;


Fresh Estimators

Trained & Experienced Estimators Senior, Chartered & Master Estimators
£18,000 – £20,000 £20,000 – £35,000 £35,000 – £40,000

Is the Job of Construction Estimator Difficult?

Construction estimating job is difficult as you can experience numerous challenges while working on a building project. High concentration and in-detail discussion are essential to meet the expectations of contractors and builders. The major mistakes that you can make during calculating the cost of a building project include;

  • Ignoring Labor Costs
  • Not Reviewing Your Work
  • Not Conducting a Site Visit
  • Making Uneducated Guesses
  • Measuring Inaccurate Takeoffs
  • Not Reviewing Subcontractor Estimates
  • Miscalculating Materials & Supplies Costs
  • Failing to Assess Risks & Creating Contingencies

Common Challenges You May Experience as a Construction Estimator

  • Primary Challenges

The most common challenge that all estimators experience is the tight boundaries of budget and timelines. Many contractors or clients come with unique requirements, and an estimator has to meet their expectations while fulfilling their all demands and conditions. To handle this, you must be an expert in your industry so you can adjust things accordingly

  • Reworks & Other Issues

Once an estimator has done a construction estimate, it is not the end of his task. Modification and alterations constantly occur in the material, quality, quantity, procurement, and rates. These changes demand reworks and adjustments that can be only done by expert estimators. Besides revolutions, sometimes, estimators take alternative ways due to sudden mishaps in the construction project.

  • Market Problems

Construction industry never stops. There is a continuous flow in the building markets. The rates of construction materials and labor fluctuate on a daily basis. You can check the structural steel forecast in the following graph;

Well, these fluctuations demand estimators to stay connected with the market and update themselves regularly. Any delay in the recent update can cause a completely inaccurate estimate. And keeping yourself updated with the market trends is a challenging task. Constant connection with the market is crucial for each estimator.



Helpful Tools & Software for Construction Estimators

To overcome all these challenges and difficulties, estimators have a solution; tools and software. There are unlimited software and tools available on the internet that assist estimators in calculating accurate and on-point construction estimates. All of the software and tools are different from each other and provide unique features and qualities. The most common software are mentioned in the table below with some features;


Features STACK ProEst Clear Estimates
Price/year $2,499 $5,000 $708
Free Trial Yes No Yes
Uniqueness Strong takeoff features Price includes unlimited users Excellent user experience

Tips to Become Successful Construction Estimators

  • Use Tools & Software

Besides the mentioned software, there are many other also that help estimators in ensuring the accuracy of their construction estimates. If you want to become a leading estimator, you must take advantage of these software and tools. They will increase the probability of your correct estimates that will further assist contractors to win more & more bids.

  • Maintain Good Communication

Second strategy that you can implement as a proficient estimator is maintaining good communication between you and your clients. This approach can significantly reduce the chances of miscommunication that can cause big issues in the near future. Moreover, communication can enable both parties to stay updated at each step of construction estimation. And you can also make changes on the spot without disturbing the complete construction budget.

  • Adopt New Estimating Techniques

With the advancements in the construction industry, budget estimating techniques also develop. Every new estimation method has modern and beneficial features that a layman cannot even imagine before its launch. For an estimator, they are like a well-cooked dish. The inventors launch new techniques with a complete guide, and you have to only follow their steps to adopt them and make your estimates more dependable. The trending estimating techniques include top-down estimation comparative estimation, bottom-up estimation, three-point estimation, and parametric estimation.

You should also explore How to Grow Your Construction Business in 2023? It will help you get success as a construction estimator in your town.

Final Thoughts

Construction estimators are experts who can precisely and accurately calculate the cost of a construction project. Whether the contractor is dealing with a simple and small construction project or a big or complex building project, professional estimators can calculate the complete budget while considering all essential construction elements. They use their knowledge, experience, and skills to hit the construction budget on point. If you want to become an estimator, you must follow a proper path to fulfill your dreams. You can start with an undergraduate degree and reach the highest rank with experience, a master’s degree, certifications, and expertise. On your way, you can experience various challenges but you can also beat them with critical thinking and technical steps, which are the primary demands to become an estimator. So, take the first step towards your destination and shine among the leading estimators in the US. Lastly, if you want to read more blog posts, stay connected with Nedes Estimating or visit our blog page.




Following are the skills you need to be a construction estimator;

  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Technical expertise
  • Well-communication
  • Accurate budget calculation

The best degree to become a construction estimator is a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. You can choose construction management, structural planning, building science, or any other field according to your taste and interest.

The duties of an estimator include;

  • Negotiating with suppliers & arranging reasonable labor
  • Measuring the construction material and other resources
  • Finding high-quality and cost-effective building essentials
  • Communicating with all parties involved in the building project
  • Calculating the overall construction cost and creating valuable bids
  • Identifying the areas where even little mistakes can cause major damage
  • Mitigating the potential errors and cutting down the probabilities of money and time wastage.

When start working on a construction project, construction estimators determine the scope of the targeted project. Scope of work for an estimator means considering the size and the dimensions of the area, creating initial drawings for better understanding, estimating a rough budget, and calculating the overall construction cost. It is essential to consider all these factors so that you can hit the construction expense on point.

Construction estimators work in companies that provide services in the construction zone. It might be residential, commercial, or industrial. More deeply, a company can offer different estimating services, including electrical, structural, mechanical, plumbing flooring, etc. Some estimators also work as freelancers and do remote jobs for their valuable clients.