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Estimators calculate how much it costs to supply products or services to a client before building works can start.

Average salary*




How to become an estimator

There are no set academic entry requirements to train as an estimator, but GCSEs (A*-C) in science, technology, English and maths are useful or their equivalent. An IT qualification is also good to have. 

You could also study for a BTEC HNC, HND in subject areas such as structural engineering, civil engineering or construction. 

An excellent way to start  is by looking for construction apprenticeships with a building or construction engineering firm, then working up. Your employer might want you to take more on-the-job qualifications. These could include an NVQ in Project Control Levels 3 and 4, NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations levels 3 and 4, and Certificate and Diploma in Site Management Level 4.

With a Level 3 NVQ and several years’ experience, you can apply for membership of the Association of Cost Engineers. For further information see the website: www.acoste.org.uk

Many people also take on this role after first  as a craft person, assistant technician or administrator.

What does an estimator do?

  • Weighing up all the information about the building work and deciding exactly how much money it will take to do what the customer wants
  • Researching prices
  • Collecting quotes
  • Checking what the client wants
  • Using computer software
  • Collecting quotes from suppliers and sub-contractors
  • Drawing up bids for work
  • Keeping an eye on projects to make sure costs stay in line with forecasts
  • Drawing up detailed and accurate price lists for everything needed on a construction project
  • Adding up materials prices
  • Working out the costs for hiring heavy or specialist equipment
  • Calculating transport costs, fuel and labour
  • Considering Risk assessment, Health and Safety requirement, Inflation, Exchange rate, and Projected timescale costs.


  • Newly trained estimators can earn in the region of £18,000 - £20,000
  • Trained with experience estimators can earn in the region of £20,000 - £35,000
  • Senior, chartered or master estimators can earn in the region of £35,000 - £40,000

Salaries typically depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and careers options also improve with chartered status.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Check out the latest Estimator vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary. 

Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Estimator Work involves calculating the cost of supplying products or services for clients...
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  • Current role Contracts manager During a construction project, the contracts manager overseas the contracts proc...
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  • Current role Construction manager Construction managers are required to handle the practical side of managing & pl...
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  • Current role Senior manager Working on different construction projects, you'll be responsible for managing y...
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