Negotiation is an art. You can be a jack of all, but being a master of negotiation is a must. Having this skill in the bag of your brain can bring multiple quality contracts your way.
A contractor who doesn't negotiate is like a tiger that doesn't growl—it will get eaten. The best way to get more money is to know your worth and use this knowledge in your negotiations. Here are five strategies for negotiating more money in IT:
Research current rates
It's important to know what your competitors are charging for similar work, as well as what the market rate is for your skill set and location. If you're in a high-demand area like London or Manchester and have a strong network of contacts within the industry, you may be able to charge more than someone who lives in an area with fewer opportunities (and therefore less competition).
You should also consider whether it makes sense for you to charge by project or hourly; some IT contractors prefer one over another because it gives them flexibility when taking on new projects that don't come with a set budget from their clients.
Think in terms of value rather than rate
The first step to negotiating is to understand your value. This means knowing what you bring to the table and how much it's worth.
If a company wants to pay less than your current rate, don't be afraid to ask for more money but do so with an understanding of why they might be willing or able to do so.
In either case, if there are genuine reasons why this company might need or want something from YOU specifically (as opposed to any other qualified person), then use those facts as leverage when asking for a higher salary during negotiations.
Know how to say no, and when to do it
You know your worth. You have a good idea of what you want to achieve in the next few years and how much money that would take.
You have done the math and know exactly how much time you can devote to this project at each phase, so there's no question about whether or not it will fit into your schedule.
Reiterate Your Value
It doesn't matter how much experience you have or how long you've been doing this job—it matters that your clients see the value in what you provide to them. If they don't see it, they won't want to pay as much. So be sure to remind them why they need you around an extra few months or years after your current contract ends.
Listening to other people's views is an important part of negotiation
If you're talking with someone who has a different opinion than your own, don't assume that they're trying to argue with you or disagree with everything you say. Instead, try to understand why they think the way they do—and then see if there's a way that you can find common ground so that both parties can get what they want out of the negotiation.