Electrical estimators are an important, but often unsung, part of any significant construction project. Large commercial or residential projects require accurate cost estimates to stay on budget, and project planners usually make initial purchasing decisions with these estimates as their starting point. Because accurate estimates are so crucial to successful projects, there is a huge demand within the building industry for highly skilled estimators of all types. The relative complexity of a building's electrical system combined with the high cost of electrical installation makes electrical estimators particularly vital to these projects.
If you are currently working as an electrician, then becoming an estimator is a natural career move. Below you will find some of the details of this exciting career path as well as the requirements that you will need to get started.
Understanding the Role of an Electrical Estimator
If you have been working as an electrician, then you already understand a large part of what an electrical estimator does. Whenever you arrive at a job site, you naturally estimate how much time, money, and materials will be required to complete the work. These same skills carry over to the typical workday of an estimator. As an estimator, you will be working with both project stakeholders and other members of the planning team to estimate accurately the labor, equipment, and time needed to complete the electrical side of a construction project.
The Skills Necessary for the Job
Most electrical estimators begin their careers as working electricians. This early experience is vital since so much of the job relies on having a natural intuition for how a building's electrical components fit together. As an estimator, you will primarily be working with buildings that are still in the planning phase. Since your role comes so early in the project, you will need the ability to understand how plans on paper will translate into physical installations in practice. More importantly, you will need to be able to recognize how jobsite electricians will implement these plans so that you can accurately estimate labor costs and time.
Although not all estimators begin as electricians, working as one will give you an insight into these aspects of the job that other estimators may be lacking. While excellent time management and organization skills are also necessary, the added intuition that comes with real-world experience is invaluable.
The Benefits of Becoming an Estimator
If you think you're ready to take this next step in your career, then you will likely find that working as an estimator is highly rewarding. Your skills will be useful both as an independent contractor or as an employee working as part of a larger team, providing you with a great deal of flexibility in your future career options. Likewise, estimators are needed on projects ranging from towering skyscrapers to smaller residential developments. Even better, estimators have a pay range that generally far exceeds the median US salary, making this a highly lucrative career option as well.