What makes a great estimator? Is it just knowledge of the code? Maybe thoroughness and accuracy? Just the ability to sit for long hours at a desk starring at electrical drawings,without going nuts?
You, the owner of the company, brought you where you are right now, your passion drive and dedication is what made you unique. Your personality, integrity and intelligence is why you have built the business to the point you are now ready to hire a Estimator.
Your estimator should possess the same passion that you do! He is first and foremost a salesman, the first look at your company! His manor and passion is what is going to set the tone for the rest of the project. Just because he/she is able to recite code articles and stare endlessly at a computer screen hardly makes them a good estimator!
Integrity, able to speak with intelligence, and their confidence are the type of traits you want to have when speaking with your potential clients. When your estimator shows up on the job are they dressed to represent you and your company? Estimators have to be problem solvers and have the ability to work through complex issues on their own. They have to be able to write a descent scope letter or RFI. They have to have good computer skills, and they had better be great with math.
Depending on the size of your company I suggest that your Estimator should double as your project manager. The Estimator already knows the plans and has built the rapport needed with the client keep this going in and during the project ! This person can not be non assertive, they must be able to stand their ground! If a person can’t look you in the eye when they speak do you think they will be able to when dealing with your clients?
Estimators form relationships with suppliers, vendors, architects or GC's all which bring you business. Having the right drive and personality to form these relationships is key to building your business! If all the suppliers, vendors, architects and GC's like your estimator and trust your estimator guess who the work is going to go to?
Estimators may not like to think of themselves as salesmen but that is exactly what we are and I would be willing to say that most of the successful ones have salesmen personalities. They like people and they believe in their company and its ability to perform on projects. We are able to bring a project in on time and on budget because of our knowledge from the start and our vision to see the project complete!
So as your search for a new estimator goes forward think about whom you want representing your company? Do they possess the same skills that brought you to the place you are now ? Will their skill set and personality bring in the business you need ?
Coleman Construction Services offers Estimating,Project Management and Training services to all 50 states.