9 Things You Can Negotiate That Aren’t Salary
One of my favorite shows of all time has to be Breaking Bad. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you have a pulse, you liked the show too. There’s a great scene (not really a spoiler, but skip to the next paragraph if you’re feeling nervous) where Walter is talking to someone about renting an apartment, and he says that he wants to rent out the model room, not just another one of the rooms. He then asks the property manager, “Name one thing in this world that isn’t negotiable.”
That scene has always stuck with me. After all, there are a great many things in this world that are negotiable. We just happen to live in a country where it’s rather taboo to do so over every single product. Can you imagine walking into a grocery store and bartering over how much your loaf of bread is? Or asking your gas station attendant to round down a few bucks because you’ve been such a good customer? No, I didn’t think so.
But fortunately, one of the things that we DO accept as a “negotiation arena” is a job offer. Now, you’ve probably read my success story about how I increased my pay by 25% or so (if you haven’t, check out the piece here). While earning more money is pretty much always a good thing, it’s important that you know that there are some other things that you can negotiate that aren’t necessarily just money.
Here they are:
If your boss, for some reason, is really giving you a hard time about a salary increase, then this would be the next step. Ask if there is some sort of bonus structure in place. The last school I worked at had an AWESOME bonus structure, up to 25% of your salary. The key to this is to make sure that the bonus aligns with whatever it is you’re supposed to achieve. After all, it IS supposed to be an incentive.
Oh, and if your boss looks at you like your nuts for requesting it, you can say something like, ” I understand that you don’t want to put the cart before the horse and pay me before I’ve delivered on ____. Why don’t you feel it’s necessary to reward a job well done, once it’s completed?”
Granted, that’s a risky move. You can soften it up a little bit if you want, especially if you like your boss. But if you’ve been going back and forth for a while, take the fucking gloves off and let him/her have it.
Next up is more time off. This one makes sense, if you think about it. Salaries exists to pay for your time that you give to a certain company. If your boss has decided that he/she can’t give you more money for your time, why not try to spend less time at work for the same amount of money?
Now, I don’t have personal experience with negotiating for time off, but I have the sneaking suspicion that if push came to shove, and my salary was bumping up against what might be an acceptable maximum, that I would be able to swing this.
We live in a digital age people! 1137% of the worlds population spends 35 hours per day on their cell phone! There are more screens than there are atoms in the universe!
Alright, so it’s probably not to that scale yet, but I’m sure you get my point. If you can’t make your boss budge on either more pay, a bonus, or more time off, maybe they can be flexible about how/when you work. I know that on the east coast, there’s definitely a corporate culture around facetime. But on the west coast, I’ve read about some big law offices that really don’t care how you get the work done, as long as it gets done. Which means you can have dinner with your family, even if it means that you have to get back to work from 8-11 at night.
So if they’re not giving an inch on $$$ or time, try to see if they can shift it around for you. It might help you get that whole work/life balance those millennials are so keen on…
This one is really, really hard for employers to argue against. A GREAT thing to negotiate on is your own professional development. The conversations mostly go something like this:
Employee: Hey Boss, I was thinking that it’d be really great to attend this seminar on _____. It would help me achieve ____ and ______, and get me to finish _______ faster.
Boss: Hmmmm, I don’t know, seems expensive.
Employee: I’m sure it seems that way, but isn’t it more expensive to have an employee whose skills aren’t at the industry standard? It’s cheaper to send me than to hire someone new. Besides, don’t you want to have a culture that promotes employees learning?
Boss: Bahh… uhhhh… yeah you’re right…
I’ve never actually had to have the “hard” conversation because I work in education; principals are pretty much always stoked to have an employee that wants to better themselves through professional development. I actually know of another teacher that had to fight tooth and nail to get this. He had 5 different meetings with his bosses, and on the fifth one threw it all down and said, “By not sending me to this, you’re saying you don’t value me as a teacher, you don’t care about my development, and as such you do not care about how these kids perform in high school.”
Yeah. Who’s going to be the douchebag that says “no” to that? I can’t imagine anyone.
This one is kind of tied to professional development, but it’s slightly different. For example (because I’m a teacher and it’s what I have to go off of) I would imagine that it’d be pretty easy to get new equipment or resources for a classroom. I’ve never had to do this (though am I trying for a classroom set of computers), but this has applications outside of education.
If you’re a programmer, maybe you want a fancy new computer/IDE/desk that’s more ergonomic. If you’re a consultant, maybe you get a license for some real data crunching software as opposed to Excel. If your a salesmen, maybe you ask them to for a budget to buy one sales-related book per month. This requires you to be a little bit creative, and obviously I’m not going to hit on everything. But this is an easy way to get some cool stuff, that you would otherwise have to buy with your own money.
Wait… what? Why would you ask for MORE work if the person across the negotiating table from you?! Well, if I were you, I’d frame the negotiating as asking for more responsibility. ” I want to lead a team to do X”, ” I want to raise this much money for this cause”, “I was do develop ____”, whatever. And why would you do this?
Because it boosts your resume, you sly little devil. And if you’re smart, you can even work in a different/additional job title, which makes you sound like a boss. And if you’re not getting any extra money/bonus/time off/free popcorn/best parking spot, the least your employer can do is make sure you have a bitchin’ job title.
Back when I was working in the commercial real estate office (these were my college days), one of the brokers told me about one of the conferences he attended. It was a conference that existed pretty much for the sole purpose of meeting other brokers, and networking. Sounds like my kind of gig.
The best part?
It was in Las Vegas.
Now, I have quite a bit of experience in Vegas, but I can tell you without a doubt that if I had the opportunity to go there for work, then I would in a heartbeat. Imagine if your only concern for a weekend was to meet as many people as possible in a place that is literally the adult party capital of the world?
Don’t challenge me on that. 🙂
So no, you might not get that salary hike, you might not get that sweet vacation time, but don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunity to meet others in your respective field. You can never underestimate the value of networking…
… and you might even have some fun doing it.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I will say this, though: don’t ask for moving expenses unless you’re actually moving for the job. It was one thing when principals that I used to support at my first job asked for moving expenses reimbursements: some of them were literally traveling across the country to take that job.
But if you’re moving in the same town, I wouldn’t bother asking for them. I know, “You never know…” but if you boss ever finds out that you got paid for moving expenses to simply move across town, then I highly doubt they’ll ever respect you at the negotiating table again.
Stipends for pretty much anything
My girlfriend really lucked out when she negotiated her last contract. She got a “health” stipend, she got a housing stipend, a car stipend, and a whole bunch of others that I can’t even remember right now. And of course, the argument is pretty easy to follow: you want teachers healthy, with a roof over their head, and a way to get to and from work.
Yeah, her school took pretty great care of her.
I’m not saying that you should be able to get all of these things. But I would imagine that if you have a high-stress job that forces you to work 14-18 hours a day, and you have to eat at the office, that it’s not out of the realm of reasonable to ask for a gym stipend. Or if you’re using your car to travel to certain client meetings, maybe a gas stipend (in fact, I can’t imagine any employer NOT doing that). Maybe you do a lot of printing/work at home, and you feel it’s ok to ask for a “home office” stipend.
Color it however you want, and make it apply to your own situation.
9 Things You Can Negotiate That Aren’t Salary – The Wrap Up
It’s hard enough to walk up to the negotiating table and feign confidence. After all, this if your JOB that we’re talking about. But speaking from personal experience, there’s nothing more defeating than leaving the table with the other side having given no concessions in terms of salary. So when the other side won’t budge on how much money they’ll pay you over the course of the year, don’t be afraid to bring up:
- More time off
- Increasing the flexibility in your schedule
- Ask for more training/development
- Ask for more resources to do your job
- Ask for more responsibilities (it’ll help your resume)
- Ask to attend networking events
- Moving expenses
- Literally ask for stipends for pretty much anything (bonus points if it actually relates to you job).
Now it’s your turn! What have you successfully negotiated in the past (only counts if it was something other than salary)? Did it leave you feeling as satisfied as if you had gotten more money? What techniques did you use? Comment below!
For more from The Code To Riches, check out:
- The Seven Steps to Avoid Being a Money Moron
- The 7 Vegetarian Meals That Are Saving My Budget
- How Much Is Half A Million Dollars?
- The 10 Best Finance Books Money Can Buy
- 9 Credit Score Hacks You Must Know
- Why I Never Want To Retire
- The Laziest Way to Riches – Investing In Index Funds
- Budgeting Basics – Allocating $$$ Like A Boss
- Fuck You, Frugality
- Why A Million Budgeting Tips Will Never Be Enough
Keep trying to crack the code,
Paul AndrewsFollow me on social media!