Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month we’re exploring the role of an Estimator.

Rebecca Eden gives an overview of what the role of an Estimator with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.

So what is an Estimator?

As an estimator, you will work out how much it will cost a company to provide customers with products and services.

You will research the costs of materials, labour, equipment, and transport, and gather quotes from suppliers. You will need to plan a timescale for a project and monitor it to make sure the budget is being kept to. 

You will liaise with clients and others on your team, such as construction managers, planners, and design teams. Clarifying the client’s needs and expectations is vital. 

Throughout all stages of the process, you must adhere to, and assess, safety requirements. This also means assessing the level of risk in a project – both financially and health-wise.

Typical working hours are Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm. Overtime and late nights are likely towards completion of projects and when bid submission deadlines are due.


You will work mostly in an office, with regular site visits. It is rare that you will have to stay a night away from home.

Type of work

You will be working with a range of people so good communication skills are needed. You must also be competent using computers and software packages.

Things to consider

Strong demand
The construction industry is continuing to grow so there are plenty of jobs.

Good progression
With experience, can progress to more senior positions such as project team leader, quality assurance inspector, or contracts manager

Stressful deadlines/target-driven
Meeting deadlines and budgets can be stressful. 

In senior roles, it is possible to earn £60,000.

Potential for knock-backs
Knock-backs are possible in this line of work. This could be due to a project over-running, exceeding a budget or suppliers letting you down. This can be very stressful.

Most people have 5 GCSEs and you will need natural ability in your chosen field

There are no official minimum requirements for the role, however GCSEs/National 5s in science, IT, English, maths and technology at grade C or above, or 4-9 in England will be advantageous. Some estimators study for a degree or HND in a relevant subject, such as construction management, quantity surveying, structural engineering, civil engineering and building surveying.

Another route into this role is through an apprenticeship with an engineering or building firm. You can start by taking a project controls technician advanced apprenticeship. To gain entry onto an apprenticeship you will need 5 GCSEs/National 5s, including maths and English.

To find an apprenticeship near you and for more information, look at Go Construct and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).

Estimator Salary Progression Chart

Salary progression

Starting salaries are typically between £18,000 and £20,000. With experience, estimators can expect to earn up to £35,000. In senior roles, it is possible to earn £60,000.



Top Tip
There is no established career structure; however, it is possible to progress to a partner role in a consultancy. Although many interior designers work for design and architectural companies, some are freelance and many choose to start up their own design companies, either immediately after graduation or once they have gained experience. Working for a smaller company can lead to more responsibility than a larger consultancy. The UK industry has an excellent international reputation so you could work overseas.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.