The “Rodney Dangerfields” of Construction?

No Respect! ranks ‘Construction Estimators’ in position #54 of their Top 100 Best Jobs (November, 2010 issue).  Puts them right in the middle of the pack, right?

Then, they also break it down into segments that reflect the research by “Quality of life ratings”:

  • Personal Satisfaction:  B
  • Job Security: B
  • Future growth:  B
  • Benefit to society:  C
  • Low stress:  C
  • Flexibility:  B

Now, if you actually KNOW any estimators, you may agree that the ‘Low stress’ C-grade has to be the result of some statistical outlier high on life (or something) that arced that bell curve! writer Tom Zind described estimators as the “Rodney Dangerfields” of the industry. No respect, right? But as the economy and construction industry recover, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates (pun intended) that the estimating job market will increase by 36%! Looks like estimators might finally find some industry love… cigar

So, who is this under appreciated work monger, the estimator? First of all, this profession requires a super-set of talent and a concert of left/right brain critical thinking: they need crazy math skills (geometry and trigonometry), visualization skills (takeoffs, modeling, BIM, etc.), professional charisma (ability to sell it internally AND externally), and intuition (the feel for the project, learning on the fly). They need to have a good bid-to-win ratio; they know the industry and market conditions (commodity fluctuations); and they have culled a private knowledgebase of legal/accounting resources (contract criteria, local taxes, etc.) – in addition to standard local and national labor and equipment libraries.

Some of the biggest challenges facing estimators:

  1. Finding gaps in an estimate BEFORE construction begins
  2. Reconciling disparate parts of the bid coming from different divisions or trades into a single-voiced, unified estimate
  3. Communicate effectively in the field and the office, and acting as a liaison of understanding between the two
  4. Using traditional construction principles with emerging technologies, software and devices

Estimators are perpetually sourcing any tools that give them an edge to produce bids faster and more accurately. Fortunately, there are many great estimating software solutions based on the industry and vertical needs – from small residential to huge capital projects. The issue is really, which parts and pieces integrate with the financial software. That’s where an expert in software solutions becomes critical. Will the estimating module integrate two-ways with scheduling, and push to the project management piece, which sends job costs to the ERP solution?

Give Ledgerwood Associates a call or click below – we are absolute experts in Sage’s suite of accounting and estimating products.

Tell ‘em Rodney sent you!