💰 salary negotiation for web developers

Getting paid what you are worth and deserve doesn’t just happen.

It’s up to you to get it.

None of us are born negotiators.

It takes practice.

Fact is, we could all earn more if we were better salary negotiators.

Take me, for instance.

For my first several jobs, I was so freaking desperate to get the job and get paid, I just took what they offered and thanked them.

I felt like “moving up” was good enough.

But it wasn’t. It led to misunderstandings and disappointments on my end.

Such as:

“When can I use my health insurance?”

…never. There were no benefits. True story 😭

Or for my first job working for a consultancy, it went something like this:

“How much do you need, Joel?”

“$75 an hour would be awesome.”

long pause…

“Look, I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that cough cough too low cough cough number and ask again. How much do you need, Joel?”

“$125 an hour would be great.”

We “negotiated” to $100, but that very nice hiring manager probably added almost a quarter of a million dollars to my bank account over the course of that job.

Here’s the deal: It is always a negotiation. When you’re applying, interviewing, and taking an offer from a company, it’s a business transaction. You’re entering a contract to provide your services in exchange for compensation.

Now, compensation comes in many forms. There’s the salary you take home in your paycheck. There are benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement savings, general perks, and PTO. You can negotiate to work remotely or have WFH days. If you work for a larger public firm, compensation often comes in the form of stock options and stock grants.

Remember this: They need you.

You bring value to the business, and you should be fairly compensated for it. If they’re hiring smart, the value you bring is a significant multiple of what they’re going to pay you.

But we — the talent — are at a disadvantage.

When you’re negotiating compensation for a new position, you’re participating in an activity that the hiring manager has done several times. Across the table from you is an expert. An individual, a team of people, that practices salary negotiation on a daily basis.

They’re pros at it.

Are you?

Probably not, not right now, and that’s totally fine. I’m not either! But we can both get better — and we should.

I sat down with my friend Josh Doody to talk about salary negotiation. He’s a bonafide expert and helps developers like you and me maximize our compensation for the work we do.

Josh shares winning tactics like:

  • Don’t disclose your current or expected salary.
  • Set your minimum acceptable offer before you get a job offer.
  • Always negotiate your starting salary by counter offering.
  • Deliver your counter offer via email if possible.
  • Keep negotiating until you’ve maximized your base salary and benefits.
  • Why don’t they teach this in school??

Follow this advice, and you could earn tens of thousands more per year. (Maybe even $50,000 more.)

Which — are you sitting down? — you deserve.

It’s a mental shift. Instead of thinking “I don’t really need more than $X to live,” you should be thinking “I bring $XX in value to the company” and basing your compensation on that. If it’s more money than you know what to do with — first of all, good for you. And second of all, you have the opportunity to save or use that additional compensation to help people in need. Win-win? I think so. I know so.

There’s always room to negotiate. And it’s a helluva lot easier to negotiate before you have the job than after.

Josh and I talked about his advice, our negotiation (and lack thereof) experiences, and a whole lot more in this podcast about salary negotiation.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

And don’t ever take that first offer. 😄

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