Construction Estimators: 6 Ways to Find Them During Labor Shortages

September 28, 2020
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To keep your business running smoothly, you need a wide range of professionals who may never get their hands dirty on a job site--such as finance, design, planning, and, of course, estimating--and keeps new projects rolling into your workflow. Operating under numerous titles, they are responsible for calculating the cost of your construction project or services so that you can make a profit on your jobs. This makes finding talented estimators a crucial part of your company's success. However, when the economy is experiencing a labor shortage, it can be difficult to find high-quality construction estimators to fill your company's needs. How do you secure the talent you need to get quality estimates on your projects? Here are six key tips to help you through the process.

What is a Construction Estimator?

Construction estimators are a special breed, with a wide range of skills that help the project owner determine the cost of a project. As projects become more complex, the calculations involved also become more complex, with labor creating an entirely new layer of complications. Large projects can include calculations for the time it will take the crew and materials to reach a specific height in a high-rise building, adjustments for labor costs within a specific area of the city, estimates of potential losses to material damage or theft, and similar items that less-experienced construction estimators fail to take into account. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics expecting construction industry growth of 11% from 2016 to 2026, finding quality construction estimators can be a difficult task.

6 Ways to Find Talented Construction Estimators in a Labor Shortage

  1. Look for solid skills: Quality construction estimators have skills that include gathering historical data to estimate project costs. They must consult with other departments, vendors, construction foremen, and clients to solve any problems that can occur in the process. They also prepare estimates for use by management for their planning, scheduling, and organizational needs. But how do you test for these skills upon hiring?
  2. Make sure that their experience matches your needs: Construction estimators can look at technical documentation and blueprints to determine estimates on time, cost, material, and labor, while working with a wide range of individuals to change and adjust those estimates, such as contractors, owners, vendors, architects, and engineers. Unfortunately, it can take a while on the job to determine how well that experience meshes with your company's needs.
  3. Offer competitive pay: Qualified construction estimators can save your company a significant amount of money while optimizing your worksite operations. Given the scarcity of quality construction estimators, you'll want to make sure you're securing the services of a good one, which averages $68,406 per year according to ZipRecruiter, which can be an expensive gamble for many construction companies.
  4. Consider their qualities: Most construction estimators are strong in analytical skills, have a methodical way of getting the job done, a solid eye for the details, time-management skills that help them meet a range of deadlines, and clear, concise communication skills to help them work with others when preparing reports and estimates. Unfortunately, judging these qualities can be difficult when time is of the essence.
  5. Branch out to find the right candidates: If you can't find the right construction estimators or don't have the time to undertake a proper search, one option to consider is working your networking contacts or contacting a recruiting agency. A few recruiters specialize in construction industry staffing, which can save you some time and effort in finding a candidate, though you'll still need to onboard the candidate you choose.
  6. Hire a construction estimating service: Many companies going through digital transformation realize the importance of developing a lean, agile operation which significantly cuts the extraneous departments in their business so that they can focus on what they do best. This often includes the estimating department, which reduces overhead expenses and ensures an accurate estimate of costs from an experienced professional.
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Finding and retaining the right talent in the construction industry can be a real challenge, and when labor shortages occur due to shifts within the industry or times of high demand, this challenge can become a real problem for your company's bottom line. By finding the right construction estimators for your company's needs, you can better meet future demand for your business' services with quality estimates of cost. 

One option to help you get around the need for hiring someone who may or may not work out for your company is by hiring a construction estimating service like 1build. Why not sign up or take a look at this case study to discover how we'll help you win more projects?

1build provides an easy-to-use integration with construction supplier catalogs and purchasing systems. Get access to millions of construction materials with our API today