hourly pay for Cost Estimators
do Cost Estimators make a lot of money

Cost Estimators

Other names for this job might include Building Construction Estimator, Building Estimator, Construction Estimator, Construction Job Cost Estimator, Contract Analyst, Cost Analyst, Cost Estimator, Cost Recovery/Investment Recovery Technician, Crating and Moving Estimator, Design Consultant

  • $66620
  • 68%
    Job satisfaction
  • Quite Hard
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
OwlGuru Rank


How Much Do Cost Estimators Make In 2018

In this salary guide, you will find out how much do Cost Estimators make.

After reading this, you will be able to make a decision if working as a Cost Estimator will suit your financial goals (e.g: buying a home, BMW or just your target salary goal).

Average salary

Annual salary
$66620 per year
Hourly wage
$32.030 per hour

One of the most popular questions we get from our readers here at OwlGuru is how much do Cost Estimators make per year and what is their hourly wage.

According to BLS, the average annual salary of Cost Estimators is $66620. Their salary can also be as low as $35870 if you’re still a newbie with no experience to over $103250 if you have a ton of experience under your belt.

The typical hourly pay is $32.030 and can range from $17.250 to $49.640 which also depends if you’re a newbie or a professional.

Just like any other job, the salary of A Cost Estimator will vary based on your education and experience level.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.
Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of A Cost Estimator to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank.

This compares the salary of all careers and we give them a rank of A, B, C or D depending on how high or low is their average salary.

After comparing how much do Cost Estimators make with other careers, they have a salary rank of B.

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Salary range

Highest (Top 10%)$49.640$103250
Senior (Top 25%)$38.740$80570
Middle (Mid 50%)$29.710$61790
Junior (Bottom 25%)$22.750$47330
No experience (Bottom 10%)$17.250$35870

Entry-level Cost Estimators who starts out at $47330 can expect to make $61790 after 3-5 years of experience in the field.

The bottom 10% makes less than $17.250 per hour while the top 10% makes over $49.640 per hour.

While the median wage is $61790 per annum or $29.710 per hour.

Depending on who you work for, you might also get overtime pay.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.

Highest paying industries

Industry nameHourly wageAnnual salary
Oil and Gas Extraction50.12104250
Natural Gas Distribution46.8797490
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite)46.6397000
Wired Telecommunications Carriers42.8989210
Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries40.5884410
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences40.5684370
Scientific Research and Development Services40.0983380
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing39.982990
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil39.5282200
Engineering Services39.3881910
Pipeline Transportation39.3281780
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing38.8480790
Support Activities for Mining38.5680190
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services38.5280130
Waste Treatment and Disposal38.3879820
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation38.3179680
Transportation Equipment Manufacturing37.6778360
Business Support Services36.8176560
Computer Systems Design and Related Services36.7576440
Nondepository Credit Intermediation36.5476010
Water, Sewage and Other Systems36.3575600
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services36.3475590
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals36.2275350
Testing Laboratories36.0775030
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution36.0675010
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing3674880
Iron and Steel Mills and Ferroalloy Manufacturing35.8474550
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities35.8374520
Management of Companies and Enterprises35.1773150
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing35.0772940
Outpatient Care Centers34.8272420
Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction34.872380
Communications Equipment Manufacturing34.7972360
Software Publishers34.7872350
Ship and Boat Building34.6372030
State government, including schools and hospitals34.5971950
Electronic and Precision Equipment Repair and Maintenance34.5671890
Educational Services, Local government owned34.471550
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Local government owned34.471550
Elementary and Secondary Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)34.3971530
Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers34.3871510
Railroad Rolling Stock Manufacturing34.3571450
Freight Transportation Arrangement34.3571450
Hospitals, Privately owned34.3371420
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Privately owned34.3371420
Waste Collection34.3271390
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing34.3271380
Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction34.2971330
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction34.1671060
Ambulatory Health Care Services33.9970690
Federal, State, and Local Government33.9270550
Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service33.9270550
Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service33.970510
Scheduled Air Transportation33.8670430
Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)33.8370360
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)33.8370360
Air Transportation33.8270340
Waste Management and Remediation Services33.7370160
Mining (except Oil and Gas)33.7170130
Nonmetallic Mineral Mining and Quarrying33.7170130
Nonresidential Building Construction33.7170110
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services33.6569990
Utility System Construction33.5669810
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, State government owned33.4369530
Land Subdivision33.3269310
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing33.3169280
Educational Services, State government owned33.3169270
Remediation and Other Waste Management Services33.2869220
Local government, including schools and hospitals33.1869020
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals33.1468920
Offices of Real Estate Agents and Brokers3368650
Employment Services33.0168650
Educational Services (including private, state, and local government schools)3368640
Water Transportation32.9568540
Deep Sea, Coastal, and Great Lakes Water Transportation32.9568540
Other Insurance Related Activities32.9168450
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)32.7968200
Power and Communication Line and Related Structures Construction32.7968190
Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities32.6567910
Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations32.3967370
Electrical Contractors and Other Wiring Installation Contractors32.2767120
Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Rental and Leasing32.2267010
Exterminating and Pest Control Services32.1966940
Building Equipment Contractors32.1466840
Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors32.0566660
Rental and Leasing Services31.9766510
Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations31.8966330
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing31.8366210
Construction of Buildings31.8166170
Educational Services, Privately owned31.866130
Support Activities for Transportation31.7466010
Other Building Equipment Contractors31.7265990
Chemical Manufacturing31.7165950
Publishing Industries (except Internet)31.6165750
Boiler, Tank, and Shipping Container Manufacturing31.4665430
Drywall and Insulation Contractors31.3365180
Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing31.3365180
Warehousing and Storage31.2965090
Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment (except Automotive and Electronic) Repair and Maintenance31.2965090
Finance and Insurance31.2765040
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Privately owned31.264910
Electrical Equipment Manufacturing31.1764840
Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers31.164700
Miscellaneous Store Retailers31.0964670
Office Administrative Services31.0764630
All industries30.9364340
All industries, private ownership only30.9264300
Specialty Trade Contractors30.8664200
Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers30.8664180
Nonferrous Metal (except Aluminum) Production and Processing30.8564160
Commercial and Service Industry Machinery Manufacturing30.8364120
General Freight Trucking30.8264100
Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing30.7563950
Insurance Carriers and Related Activities30.7363920
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing30.6963830
Other Support Services30.6763790
Food Manufacturing30.5463510
Health Care and Social Assistance (including private, state, and local government hospitals)30.4463310
Other Specialty Trade Contractors30.463230
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing30.3863200
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages30.3763170
Industrial Machinery Manufacturing30.3463100
Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing30.2963010
Machinery Manufacturing30.2662940
Roofing Contractors30.1162620
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing30.162610
Lessors of Real Estate30.0762540
Forging and Stamping3062410
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers29.9262240
Poured Concrete Foundation and Structure Contractors29.9162220
Building Finishing Contractors29.962190
Transportation and Warehousing29.8562090
Hardware, and Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers29.8462060
Resin, Synthetic Rubber, and Artificial Synthetic Fibers and Filaments Manufacturing29.7761910
Real Estate29.6861740
Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing29.6661690
Facilities Support Services29.6661690
Sector 56- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services29.6461650
Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors29.6361630
Machine Shops29.6261600
Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing29.5861530
Primary Metal Manufacturing29.3761090
Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing29.3661080
Investigation and Security Services29.3561060
Security Systems Services29.3561060
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors29.3561040
Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing29.3461030
Turned Product and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing29.3361010
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing29.2660860
Residential Building Construction29.2460810
Paper and Paper Product Merchant Wholesalers29.2360810
Insurance Carriers29.2360810
Household Appliances and Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers29.2360800
Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers29.2360790
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing29.1460620
Cement and Concrete Product Manufacturing29.1460610
Apparel Manufacturing29.0860480
Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing29.0860480
Ventilation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing29.0860480
Masonry Contractors29.0760470
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services28.7559800
Architectural and Structural Metals Manufacturing28.7359750
Clay Product and Refractory Manufacturing28.5159300
Hardware Manufacturing28.3258910
Coating, Engraving, Heat Treating, and Allied Activities28.2858830
Activities Related to Real Estate28.2658790
Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing28.2158670
Motor Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers28.1458530
Administrative and Support Services28.1258500
Miscellaneous Manufacturing28.0558350
Wholesale Trade28.0358310
Automobile Dealers28.0158270
Other Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing27.8857990
Glass and Glass Product Manufacturing27.8457900
Truck Transportation27.8257870
Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers27.8257860
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods27.7857780
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods27.7357680
Grocery and Related Product Merchant Wholesalers27.7157650
Building Material and Supplies Dealers27.6757560
Metal and Mineral (except Petroleum) Merchant Wholesalers27.6457480
Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers27.5657330
Nonstore Retailers27.5557310
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing27.5157210
Support Activities for Air Transportation27.557190
Retail Trade27.3556900
Steel Product Manufacturing from Purchased Steel27.3356850
Paint, Coating, and Adhesive Manufacturing27.3156810
Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills27.3156800
Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing27.1556470
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services27.0956350
Other Services (except Federal, State, and Local Government)27.0756300
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers27.0456250
Repair and Maintenance27.0156180
Food and Beverage Stores26.9256000
Grocery Stores26.9256000
Other Wood Product Manufacturing26.8655880
Paper Manufacturing26.8755880
Converted Paper Product Manufacturing26.8255790
Cutlery and Handtool Manufacturing26.7755690
Office Furniture (including Fixtures) Manufacturing26.7855690
Textile Furnishings Mills26.7755670
Automotive Body, Paint, Interior, and Glass Repair26.7555650
Electric Lighting Equipment Manufacturing26.7555640
Other Furniture Related Product Manufacturing26.7255590
Automotive Repair and Maintenance26.755540
Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair and Maintenance26.6455410
Other Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing26.6455400
Spring and Wire Product Manufacturing26.4655030
Other Motor Vehicle Dealers26.4254960
Specialized Design Services26.4254960
Printing and Related Support Activities26.3654830
Wood Product Manufacturing26.2954690
Specialized Freight Trucking26.1354340
Plastics Product Manufacturing26.1154300
Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers26.0854250
Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing25.9754010
Landscaping Services25.8453750
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing25.8253710
Textile Product Mills25.5653150
Services to Buildings and Dwellings25.3252660
Household and Institutional Furniture Manufacturing25.2852580
Furniture and Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers24.9351850
Household and Institutional Furniture and Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturing24.951800
Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance24.8951770
Lumber and Other Construction Materials Merchant Wholesalers24.8751720
Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Countertop Manufacturing24.7451460
Rubber Product Manufacturing24.7351430
Furniture Stores24.6751300
Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores24.5951150
Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores24.0550030
Home Furnishings Stores24.0349990
Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing23.9949900
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services23.6949280
Other Textile Product Mills23.348470
Direct Insurance (except Life, Health, and Medical) Carriers22.8547520
Social Assistance22.747220
Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores22.346380

Not all industries pay the same for Cost Estimators.

One of the easiest way to increase your salary is to change industries and find a higher paying one.

Highest paying states


Another simple way to boost your pay as A Cost Estimator is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like AK doesn’t mean you will make more overall. This is because the expenses at AK may be 2x higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to the BLS, the highest paid / most successful Cost Estimators are in the states of AK, DC, CT, NY and NJ. The average salary in AK is $88380.

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Rank: B
Salary: $71230

They analyze and manage risk management issues by identifying, measuring, and making decisions on operational or enterprise risks for an organization.
Rank: B+
Salary: $76830

They analyze product delivery or supply chain processes to identify or recommend changes. May manage route activity including invoicing, electronic bills, and shipment tracing.
Rank: C+
Salary: $64730

They purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.
Rank: A
Salary: $93180

They plan, direct, or coordinate purchasing, warehousing, distribution, forecasting, customer service, or planning services. Manage logistics personnel and logistics systems and direct daily operations.
Rank: B+
Salary: $68700

They research market conditions in local, regional, or national areas, or gather information to determine potential sales of a product or service, or create a marketing campaign. May gather information on competitors, prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution.

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