How to secure a rate rise
Negotiating a higher rate can be tricky, with increasingly complex organisations, multiple stakeholders and tiered supply chains all potential obstacles. Below I’ve summarised some key points which might help when the time comes.
Achieving the optimum time to ask for an increase is critical. Ask during your contract and your request is likely to be rejected (why accept a specific rate only to ask for an increase part way through?). Ask 2 days before you’re due to be extended and it’s likely the budget will be set, making it difficult to increase.
Whilst it differs depending on the role you’re in and organisation you work for, I typically find 4 – 6 weeks prior to the end date is the best. This allows your line manager time to build your request into the case to extending the contract.
Who should I ask?
As a general rule, ask the person or organisation who arranged the contract. If you engage with the customer through a recruiter, ask the consultant, if you engage directly ask the internal recruiter or line manager. Ideally the recruiter should be asking you 4 – 6 weeks prior to the end of the contract if you’d like to extend, should an extension be offered. If this doesn’t happen – get them on the phone!
Focus on benefits
When asking for a rate increase, ensure you have appropriate justification. Asking for an increase because petrol has gone up whilst driving around in a 3 litre Porsche is likely to draw the ire of your line manager. Your justification needs to focus on the benefits you have delivered, or are about to deliver. A Project Manager might focus on a project brought in under budget, or a Software Developer on new functionality which saves time. Typically benefits lead to saving time, saving costs or increasing profit.
A word of warning
If you have a particularly niche or sought after skill or the client is dependent upon your services – be extremely careful if asking for a significant increase. Relationships are critical and one of the quickest routes to a swift ending is to be seen as exploiting a client’s weakness for your personal gain.