Would the estimator do takeoffs only, or do "the whole package"?
I know a few Estimators who do Lumber Takeoffs for salary only (no bonus / commissions), and a few that do Takeoffs + compile quotes on Commission.
All the Electrical Estimators I know of are also Project Managers, Designers/Engineers and/or Superintendents of Projects, so it's just another task to perform during the day.
This is, and has been, the way I am paid for Takeoffs + compiling quotes and submitting Proposal Documents.
What is risky about this scenario is if the Estimator has minimal experience (or is not a good Estimator), the Company may face all kinds of issues - such as:
* Large amounts of Overhead costs for Non-Productive Labor, from the person spending too much time compiling the quote data,
* Winning Contracts due to an extremely low number (person forgot to include things, or did not know what to takeoff),
* Not getting jobs, due to very high numbers (no way to make up this non-productive labor),
* Lagging other Staff members with excessive tasks, in order to recover from estimation errors, or dramatically assist a non-experienced estimator with that person's tasks.
Don't get me wrong here; just because someone has little or no experience performing estimation tasks, does not mean that a competent person cannot gradually become an estimating Guru!
Also, if you do allocate an Office Staff Person to be an estimator, you might find it favorable to bring up a person in the way that best suits your company (mentor the person).
If your company comes to that point, this person is most likely going to be a "Triple Threat" (Estimator, P.M.. and something else).
If you are looking for someone to do Takeoffs for you, then maybe the better option would be to farm out the takeoff work to someone (or a firm), for a bid price, instead of an hourly wage.
If you use an Estimation Application - such as EBM, then hiring someone to do takeoffs for you + obtain vendor quotes (for things like Gear and Lighting) for a bid price, would be a good option.
That frees you up to compile the Proposal sum + documents, and you may apply amounts & labor according to your favorite methods!
Seriously though, outsourcing estimates would only be effective if you have a bunch of jobs to bid in a short time, or on very large jobs, where the benefits of additional help cuts the takeoff time in half, plus allows for "double checking"
Now that I have thoroughly confused you, does this help with your query?