Getting the right rate for the contract - negotiation for IT contractors

Getting the best rate possible will come down to your negotiating technique. It is essential therefore that you use the interview to fully understand the role and its responsibilities to ensure you are negotiating with all the facts to hand.

If a contract offer has been made through an agency don't forget you are negotiating with both parties.

The agent will usually be paid a percentage of your hourly rate. How strong your position is here will be determined by your skills and your interview. Don't forget there are terms other than your hourly rate you can negotiate on – how and where you carry out the work for instance. This is a business negotiation after all.

Negotiating the offer

Before you enter negotiation you need to set out some parameters in your own mind. Having established the market rate for the job you are taking on – you also need to set a lower level cut off point. You therefore need to have a firm grasp on your living/commuting or other day to day expenses to establish this.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum – the sort of rate that would make life decidely more comfortable – don't underestimate yourself here if you have sought after skills. These figures then give you some guidelines to start working with. Assuming you can prove yourself invaluable enough to be offered contract renewals, the agreed starting rate will be the base for all other increases.

It is often a better tactic to let the recruiter name a figure rather than putting yourself at the disadvantage of naming the rate you'd expect.

If you are pushed for this (and part of the recruiter's job is to negotiate) then suggest a salary range based on what you know the market value of the role to be. This leaves room for further negotiation. If you are in a strong position (and by now we know that the company wants to hire you) most recruiters would expect you to aim higher rather than lower so that they can negotiate down to an agreed figure within that. You may need to draw upon justification for that desired higher rate at this point.

You can also use perks and benefits as a further way of increasing the offer if the company has to stick to a lower salary bracket than you'd like.

Further Reading

- Further Reading How to punch above your rate.

- Further Reading Contract rate negotiation: How to negotiate a rate rise.