How to Prepare the Instrument Cost Estimate?

Estimating the cost of instruments in the design stage is a complex process that involves a combination of market research, understanding the design requirements, and other factors.

Instrument Cost Estimate

The procedure outlined below may help you in this process:

  1. Define the Project Scope: This involves identifying the types of instruments needed for the project, the quantities required, and the function of each instrument.

  2. Preliminary Cost Estimation: You can then use historical data and current market prices to estimate the cost of each instrument. Be sure to consider the cost of installation, calibration, and maintenance in addition to the purchase price.

  3. Vendor Quotes: For a more accurate estimate, you can reach out to vendors for quotes. This is particularly useful for large, specialized, or custom instruments.

  4. Indirect Costs: In addition to the direct costs of the instruments, there are other costs to consider. These might include the costs of design and engineering, project management, training, spare parts, transportation, and any necessary site preparation.

  5. Contingency: It is also advisable to add a contingency to your estimate to cover unexpected costs. The exact percentage can vary, but a contingency of 10% to 20% is common in many industries.

  6. Total Cost of Ownership: Beyond the purchase price of the instruments, consider the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, repair, and replacement costs over the life of the instrument.

  7. Update Your Estimate: Cost estimation is an iterative process. As the project progresses and you gain a better understanding of what’s involved, you should periodically review and update your cost estimate.


Here’s an example on how to perform a rough cost estimation:

  • Suppose we need to procure 50 flow meters for a project. From historical data, we know that a flow meter costs roughly $2000 (including purchase, installation, and initial calibration).

  • The direct cost would be 50 (quantity) * $2000 = $100,000

  • The indirect costs such as engineering, project management, etc. might come around 20% of the direct costs. So, $100,000 * 20% = $20,000

  • Adding a contingency of 10% on the total would be ($100,000 + $20,000) * 10% = $12,000

  • Thus, the preliminary estimated cost would be $100,000 (direct costs) + $20,000 (indirect costs) + $12,000 (contingency) = $132,000.

Note: The prices and percentages given are just for illustration and may vary greatly depending on the actual scenario.

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