## What is the Cost Estimate?

Cost Estimate is the preliminary stage for any project, operation, or program wherein a reasonable calculation of all the project costs is done and, therefore, involves precise judgment, experience and accuracy.

##### Table of contents

### Explanation

- Cost Estimation is often done by separate individuals trained to estimate costs accurately. It is a challenge considering the ever-changing economic environment. If a project is significant, then companies need to pass the Tender. Once the Tender is accepted, the particular company gets the project and starts working.
- So to pass the Tender, the company will have to estimate all the costs related to the project. If the project is going to take a long time, then the company will have to determine the inflation and other changes that may occur. So the cost estimation for big projects is complicated and needs to be performed accurately.

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### Characteristics

- There are several ways by which cost estimates can be prepared. The most important characteristic is the preparation of cost estimates. Companies often use models to precisely estimate the cost.
- Quality is directly proportional to cost, so options for different deliveries involving different costs are set up. So the project manager has to choose the quality he wants, considering the cost.
- The budget for the overall project or operation is set. Since the scariest thing is the capital, acceptance of a project depends on the budget set for the project.
- Another essential characteristic is keeping the whole operation within the budget mentioned.

### Types of Cost Estimate

The three most important types of cost estimate are:

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#### #1 – Historical Estimating

So when a method is being set up using historical cost, it is not so accurate but can be used during the initial stage of a project. It doesn’t involve lots of judgment. So it is quick and not so accurate. Under this similar past, projects are being searched, and costs are adjusted considering inflation and other economic changes.

#### #2 – Parametric Estimating

Parametric estimation is an estimation done based on parameters. So recent ongoing projects are taken, and it is used as a parameter. Say a similar project is being constructed somewhere, and the cost per square foot of the project is known. So multiplying the total space you will create in your project can help you get the total cost. This process helps to get costs more accurately as it is recent, and all current Economic factors are external, environmental factors that influence business performance, such as interest rates, inflation, unemployment, and economic growth, among others.read moreeconomic factorsEconomic FactorsEconomic factors are external, environmental factors that influence business performance, such as interest rates, inflation, unemployment, and economic growth, among others.read more are already incorporated.

#### #3 – Bottom-Up Estimating

This process is hugely time-consuming but accurate. It involves a thorough analysis of all the labor and raw materials included in the project. So granular cost estimation is done first, and then after adding everything, you get the total cost.

### Methods of Cost Estimate

#### #1 – Least Square Regression

Least Square regressionLeast Square RegressionVBA square root is an excel math/trig function that returns the entered number's square root. The terminology used for this square root function is SQRT. For instance, the user can determine the square root of 70 as 8.366602 using this VBA function.read more of statistics is used to find the best fit line for variable and fixed costs. So this method helps to build a model which shows that for a particular production level, this much should be the variable cost, and this much should be theFixed Cost refers to the cost or expense that is not affected by any decrease or increase in the number of units produced or sold over a short-term horizon. It is the type of cost which is not dependent on the business activity.read more Fixed CostFixed CostFixed Cost refers to the cost or expense that is not affected by any decrease or increase in the number of units produced or sold over a short-term horizon. It is the type of cost which is not dependent on the business activity.read more. So once a model is set, this method becomes easy as new data can be incorporated easily.

#### #2 – High-Low Method

High Low methodHigh Low MethodThe high-low method is used to separate fixed and variable cost elements from the historical cost mixture of fixed and variable costs. Fixed cost = highest activity cost – (variable cost per unit * highest activity units)read more shows you the highest and lowest level of cost that you may incur. So it doesn’t throw the possibility of the cost that lies in the middle. This method is generally easy to compute and helps to have a preliminary idea regarding the cost.

#### #3 – Statistical Modelling

This method is the most sophisticated. It involves estimating several economic factors that may lead to a change in cost estimation. Statistical models are extremely accurate as several factors are considered to set up costs. These models are costly to set up, making it difficult for small businesses to build statistical models.

### Process

Optimally how much productivity can be obtained given a certain amount of cost is the main objective of Cost Estimation. This process can involve determining the total cost required to accomplish a project in a given time. It is not an accurate measure; it is an approximation. Correct estimation of labor and raw material cost is also required.

### Importance

Cost Estimation is the most critical step for project management. Without proper estimation, it will be complicated to make a budget for the project. Incorrect estimation may lead to losses. A project’s IRRIRRInternal rate of return (IRR) is the discount rate that sets the net present value of all future cash flow from a project to zero. It compares and selects the best project, wherein a project with an IRR over and above the minimum acceptable return (hurdle rate) is selected.read more and profitabilityProfitabilityProfitability refers to a company's ability to generate revenue and maximize profit above its expenditure and operational costs. It is measured using specific ratios such as gross profit margin, EBITDA, and net profit margin. It aids investors in analyzing the company's performance.read more are decided based on the cost that is estimated. So inaccurate estimation of the cost may lead to acceptance of a wrong project or rejection of a profitable project.

### Cost Estimate vs. Budget

Cost Estimation is the preliminary stage, so the cost is first projected, then the budget is fixed accordingly. The budget is decided based on the cost that is estimated. So the budget is the total money allocated for a particular project. The budget can be set more than the cost to be safe in case of an incorrect cost projection.

### Advantages

- It helps in deciding how much funds and resources are needed to carry out a particular project. Without cost estimation, it will be challenging to decide on a budget.
- It helps to teach discipline in project handling. Once a project manager knows the cost estimation, he will not spend unnecessarily and will try to finish the project within the estimate.
- Cost estimation breakup helps stakeholders to challenge in case of discrepancies. So if they feel that the estimation is wrong or manipulated, they may not provide funds.

### Disadvantages

- Inaccurate estimates may lead to acceptance of wrong projects which will lead to capital erosion for the firm
- Projections are always risky as they involve events that have not occurred yet. So depending too much on the estimation and not keeping a haircut may lead to the failure of projects.

### Conclusion

This step is the most crucial step for any project or operation of a businessOperation Of A BusinessBusiness operations refer to all those activities that the employees undertake within an organizational setup daily to produce goods and services for accomplishing the company's goals like profit generation.read more. Proper estimation helps a firm to accept positive NPVNPVNet Present Value (NPV) estimates the profitability of a project and is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over the project’s time period. If the difference is positive, the project is profitable; otherwise, it is not.read more projects, which adds value to the firm. A trained person must be appointed to carry out the cost estimation. Several third parties sell data for accurate cost estimation. So different resources must be used to make projections accurate.

### Recommended Articles

This article has been a guide to What is Cost Estimate & its Definition. Here we discuss the methods of the cost estimate, types, and process along with characteristics, importance, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about it from the following articles –