Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Construction Cost Estimators in San Francisco

Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Construction Cost Estimators in San Francisco

Current Environment

Construction Cost Estimators fulfill a crucial role in the construction process. A key responsibility of the cost estimator is to practice foresight and anticipate delays, risks, and/or excessive costs. Construction cost estimators work closely with individuals involved in all other aspects of the construction process, including developers, architects, clients, vendors, and many more. The role of a construction cost estimator should not be underestimated as the overall success of a project can depend on the initial cost estimations. In addition to providing this collection of free hiring guides, Amtec can also help with construction estimator and construction manager recruitment.


The construction industry is quickly enhancing the science of construction project estimating. These enhancements and improvements have been made necessary due to an industry history of losing significant money, in large part due to a lack of proper cooperation between various construction-related positions and lack of appropriate technologies to help with cost estimations and projections. As such, significant changes have been, and are currently being, made to the field.

Will COVID-19 Affect the construction cost estimating Field?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected employment and the job market, however, while construction in some areas has seen a slight slow down, other areas have held steady or seen a slight uptick in activity.

2021 has seen a mix of responses as economies start to open up once again now that the distribution of the vaccine has increased. There is much to be hopeful about. If history is any indication, when the economy improves (as many economists are predicting), there is usually a direct correlation between new construction activity; thus reinforcing the need for Construction Cost Estimators and other Construction Professionals.

How will Recruiting construction cost estimators Help Your Company?

How will Hiring construction cost estimators Help Your Company?

Recruiting and onboarding top Construction Cost Estimators, not only can, but will ensure your company has the expertise and know-how necessary to ensure that your construction projects are completed in the most cost-effective manner. Construction projects are often, if not always, completed with very thin financial margins. Hiring a qualified Construction Cost Estimator can make a significant difference and get your project off to the best start possible.

Construction estimating is a position that requires a high amount of skill and knowledge to be done correctly and accurately. It helps if an estimator has a broad background in the construction industry and can understand the complexity of construction purchasing needs and processes. Attention to even the smallest details provide accurate projections and cost estimates, which can set up a construction project to succeed from the very beginning

construction cost estimator Details


Before we get to exactly how to hire the best Construction Cost Estimators, let’s review some of the details of the job.

  • Prepare detailed cost estimates by analyzing plans and specifications and performing quantity take-offs for select trades. Be technically savvy. Utilizing on-screen takeoff software is a positive.
  • Develop and prepare conceptual estimates with minimal subcontractor assistance using limited preliminary design documents/information.
  • Develop subcontract interest in projects and manage the subcontractor RFP process.
  • Qualify and level subcontractors’ proposals according to project specifics.
  • Itemize trade specific scopes and prepare bid packages.
  • Prepare detailed critical path job schedules.
  • Continually Marketing the company and looking for future opportunities to grow the business.
  • Ability to maintain discretion and confidentiality at all times.
  • Growth/compensation potential for the right candidate.
  • Interact with clients, architects, engineers and Local Jurisdictions to understand and incorporate project
    objectives, schedules, permits, costs, etc.
  • Identify factors affecting costs, such as production time, materials, and labor
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors
  • Calculate, analyze, and adjust estimates
  • Recommend ways to reduce costs
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Maintain records of estimated and actual costs

Looking for another position? View other positions we place in San Francisco, California.


Most positions require a Bachelor’s degree, though candidates with significant experience in the construction industry may be able to use their years of experience to replace the degree. While candidates can complete a degree in Construction Management, a wide variety of degrees (including mathematics, engineering, economics, accounting, etc.) can qualify someone for the role.

US News & World Report ranked the top 3 undergraduate college programs for cost estimating.

Top Schools

  • Arizona State University

  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

  • Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College

Salary Range

construction cost estimators in the U.S.


Total construction cost estimators Employed in the U.S.





construction cost estimator Salary Comparison


Nationally, compensation for construction cost estimators ranges between $39,000 for entry-level positions and $111,000 for those with more experience and in higher-level positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 127,000 cost estimators employed in 2019, with about 14% of those positions being women. The ethnic makeup of the field is estimated as 90% white, 8.1% Hispanic or Latino, 3.1% African American, and 5.8% Asian.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for cost estimators in 2019 was $65,250.


The average annual salary for construction cost estimators in California was 80k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $38.27.

For more detailed compensation information for construction cost estimators in San Francisco, download our free compensation/salary report below.

Working in San Francisco

Do construction cost estimators find the beautiful seaside city of San Francisco a good place to live and work? Most people say yes, although some of that is based on good-paying, steady employment. Those with high-paying jobs love the city, and those without struggle financially with the high cost of living.

As the de facto national hub of tech and innovation, jobs in these fields are highly valued and in demand. Companies regularly entice the best candidates with the lure of living in this picturesque and diverse city, and for those top-notch candidates, the salaries are some of the heftiest in the U.S.

Here are a few first-hand comments about the pros and cons of living and working in the City by the Bay.


    • Tech leadership: From startups to established industry leaders,  like Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Salesforce, the city attracts world-class business, capital, and talent from all over the world.
    • 350,000 tech jobs. Between San Francisco and its close neighbor San Jose, 200,000 digital services jobs have been added since 2010, concentrating 11% of the nation’s digital services employment, equalling nearly 350,000 of the nation’s 3.1 million total tech jobs, according to Brookings Institution research.
    • Dog culture. If you have a special, four-legged friend, you will love San Francisco. From dog parks to dog hotels and even dog-friendly workplaces, accommodations for your furry friend are everywhere.
    • Ethnic diversity. A minority-majority city, it boasts an ethnically diverse population and celebrates the culture and history of Chinese-Americans, Latinos, Italians, and more. The LGBTQ+ community is a driving force of this community, and its members and supporters are loud and proud.
    • Beauty and history. The cityscape of San Franciso and its surrounding communities is magnificent, from the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, and historic Fisherman’s Warf, and so many cultural attractions, it’s a great place to spend time.

However, living in this urban paradise comes at a price. The con that stands out the most for San Francisco’s current and wanna-be residents is housing costs, and a few more.


    • Housing: It’s one of the most expensive areas in the world to live. It has a staggering average monthly rent of $3,111. The median home value is a staggering more than $1.3M.
    • The homelessness crisis. San Francisco’s homeless problem is also more visible than it is in other cities and an especially stark contrast with the wealth in the city.
    • Not great for kids. San Francisco, population 865,000, has roughly the same number of dogs as children: 120,000.
    • Weather. Although this is not a con for all, the city is notoriously foggy, creating what some consider bone-chilling cold in the winter.

Current Weather

Not your city? View other cities where we place construction cost estimators.

Demand for construction cost estimators in San Francisco

Demand for construction cost estimators in San Francisco

According to the BLS, the demand for cost estimators is projected to decline 1% from 2019 to 2029 due to the improvements in technology and software which is improving productivity. This may reduce the employment demand, however, the need to estimate and costs and provide projections will always be needed.

Knowledge of building information modeling (BIM) and computer-aided design (CAD) software may improve job prospects, especially for those seeking employment in construction.

The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for construction cost estimators in San Francisco, California below.

How to Hire the Best construction cost estimators

Finding and hiring the best construction cost estimator candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.

The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.

Recruiting Best Practices

The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.

Defining the Position

When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in California. If working in San Francisco is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.

How to Source the Best Candidates

When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.

Characteristics of construction cost estimators

Cost estimators are a vital part of any construction project. While it’s not always possible to prevent things from going wrong in a project, a quality cost estimator will help to limit this by accurately researching materials and costs involved right at the planning stage. Becoming a cost estimator requires a lot of skill, but a rewarding career for someone that thrives by working in a challenging environment.

How to Screen Candidates

You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?

It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.

Free Professional Assessment Questionnaire

An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.

How to Interview Candidates

At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.

Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.

Behavioral Interview Guide

Get the info you need to hire the best construction cost estimators

Free Interview Guide