Salary Negotiation Tips: Negotiating Salary and Benefits

Many compensation packages can be increased by negotiating for benefits.


The Ten Commandments of Salary Negotiation (Part 6): Salary expert Jack Chapman offers 10 lessons on salary negotiation in the vein of the Ten Commandments.

Geri doubled her salary by negotiating a perk.

The job, as advertised, paid $50,000 to be a full-time librarian. In 40 hours a week, the librarian hire was expected to keep the law library at a corporate office functioning from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Her job was to see that the corporate patrons got the information and guidance they needed all 66 hours a week with some weekend hours. Two clerical employees helped out, 40 hours each, and they covered the 26 hours the main librarian was not there.

Geri, a client whom I advised and whose real name I will withhold, claimed that she could upgrade the two clerical staff member’s capabilities so that they could give much better service all 66 hours the library was open. She claimed she could develop their skills to the point where the three of them could meet the firm’s requirements and Geri would only be needed 20 hours a week. This effectively doubled her hourly rate by negotiating a perk: time off.

Many compensation packages can be substantially increased by negotiating benefits like Geri’s.

Here’s a starter list of possible benefits and perks: medical and dental coverage, disability and life insurance, wellness days, training, deferred compensation, tuition reimbursement, paid holidays, vacation, general education, specific training, certification reimbursement, paid sick leave, child day care, 401(k) contributions. In addition, there’s gym, health club or fitness membership; transportation, travel per diem, laptop, cell phone, Internet access and company car; casual dress, flextime and corporate housing. Consider also stock options, stock grants and profit-sharing. You could negotiate for first-class travel and, for attendance at conventions, comp time off around conventions and other long-hour days. See if you can land office (vs. cubicle) space, administrative assistants and certain software to make your job easier. And potential benefits having to do with if relocation have at least 10 components alone.

Remember that money decisions are best made in the cool climate of logic and impartiality. Give yourself time to think. When you’ve finished your salary negotiations, put all your enthusiasm back in gear and say, “This sounds terrific! I think we have a match here. I’ll get back to you as soon as you need to know. When do you need to know?”

Read other installments in this series:
Part 1: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Speak Too Soon
Part 2: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Regret Salary Disclosure
Part 3: Salary Negotiation Tips: Let the Employer Make the First Salary Offer
Part 4: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Agree
Part 5: Salary Negotiation Tips: Know How Much Money You’re Worth
Part 6: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Covet Thine Own Benefits and Perks
Part 7: Salary Negotiation Tips: This Is the Job Thou Coveteth
Part 8: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Worry about Earthly Economy
Part 9: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of Thy Salary in Vain
Part 10: Salary Negotiation Tips: Honor Thy Wealth and Prosperity