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You Should Be Training Your Estimators - Here's Why

There will always be a demand for accurate cost projections. Of course, this is largely dependent on how well-trained and capable your estimators are. By collecting and analyzing data, estimators can help win new business, recommend ways to reduce costs, and ultimately lay the groundwork for a successful project down the line.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall job opportunities for cost estimators are projected to grow 11 percent within the next decade. Truly talented and properly trained estimators, however, might be hard to come by. Like many workers in the industry, estimators’ jobs are sensitive to changing economic conditions. To combat labor shortages, it’s best to retain as much of your in-house estimating expertise as possible.


Why Train Estimators On-Site?

It may surprise you that while a lot of cost estimators have a bachelor’s degree in construction management, engineering, or a related field, a sizeable portion of working estimators do not have academic training in the industry.

In fact, many estimators qualify for jobs due to several years’ worth of professional experience under their belts. That’s why on-the-job training is just as important, if not more than formal education in order to obtain competency in the skills needed for this occupation.


Valuable Training Topics for Estimators

To start, ask yourself simple questions such as: What goals do you want to accomplish? Is this person your next senior estimator, or will they be starting as an apprentice? Does this person need to be computer/tech savvy and willing to adapt to new software?

Whether you’re looking to hire someone new to the industry or train existing employees, all estimators should exhibit the following key skill sets, and if you see any gaps, you might consider some on-site training:

  • Strong knowledge of architectural, structural, and mechanical plans to specifications that include blueprints and proposals as they relate to electrical work

  • Proficient in estimating computer software programs such as Accubid to design or redesign mechanical or electrical devices

  • Problem solver: uses math and analysis to identify issues and resolve them

  • Invested in developing new products to optimize production or improve processes

  • Focuses on improving quality, and achieving cost objectives

  • Uses experience in the field or in the office to identify issues and resolve them


Next, you’ll want to think about how you’re going to train your estimators. Many estimating software companies offer a variety of educational and training opportunities that combine hands-on exercises with traditional, instructor-led classes or virtual courses focusing on MEP software proficiency.

Many firms also offer virtual professional development training designed to teach new or seasoned professionals the basics of contracting and estimating using modern technology.

It pays, in the long run, to mold new and existing employees into the estimator that your company needs in order to achieve success. With a combination of software training and professional development courses, estimators with varying backgrounds are able to maximize their talents and get the most use out of your digital technologies.