February 26, 2020

Is This Offer Negotiable? Get the PTO, Perks, & Pay You Want!

by Kris Gibson

You get the call. The offer is coming. To your delight, you receive all the information, but you find more than one item that needs fixing.  Now is not the time to worry about the phrase “You have to pick your battles.” Nonsense. You can and should negotiate every aspect of the offer. You won’t be happy and work for the company for a very long time if you don’t get the terms and conditions exactly the way you want.

You Can Negotiate Paid Time Off

Ask for more vacation days or to be grandfathered into a higher tier of service.

  • Any decent offer will include the company’s policy on time off. Often this is outlined in a chart: Years of Service = # Days of PTO. It may look rigid, but it isn’t. Paid Time Offer is the #1 item (after pay) most experienced job seekers negotiate

What to Say: “The amount of annual PTO is important to me. I need X days and don’t want to take a step back. If we can get to that, then I’m excited to accept.”

You Can Negotiate Work @ Home

Work @ home encompasses telecommuting, commuter benefits and set remote login days from your house. According to Forbes, 70% of Americans work at least one day/week at home.  

  • Whether or not the company has a formal policy, you should still ask for the time. Usually, they’ll assign a set day per week or flexibility in any given week of the month.

What to Say: “At least one day working from home a week is huge for me. It reduces my commute time. It gives me flexibility with dependent care. I find it’s the best way to achieve healthy work/life balance.”

You Can Negotiate Flex Scheduling

Life happens. You don’t want to nickel & dime your PTO for every doctor appointment, kids’ school event, or other happenstance items.

  • Ask for the ability to change and/or modify your hours to accommodate commutes, family needs, or other upcoming personal needs.

What to Say: “I’m an early riser. I love to get in by 6:30 or 7 AM each day. A flexible schedule means so much. I’m not stuck in traffic for hours. I can see the kids when they got off the bus. It ensures I’m there for doctor’s appointments or after-school activities.”

You Can Negotiate Workplace Considerations

This can be anything from a standing desk to an ergonomic keyboard.

What to Say: “I have a standing desk and an ergonomic keyboard in my current role. I find it helps avoid a lot of neck and back pain from sitting all day at the office. I’d like to make sure I can have those items in my new position.”

You Can Negotiate A Company-Paid Phone & Laptop

That $100/month cell phone bill would sure be nice to take off your personal checking account.  The same can be said for a better laptop, especially if you will do some work from home.

  • If technology is essential to the function of your role, particularly outside of the office, asking for paid company equipment to use at home is not unreasonable.

What to Say: “Getting on a company cell phone plan will save me money. Plus, a company-issued laptop will make sure the system is exactly like being at my desk. It’s so much easier to do work from home or when I’m meeting with clients.”

You Can Negotiate An Expense Allowance

Sales and leadership positions incur expenses as a part of the business development process. Despite the normality, these terms aren’t usually defined in an offer letter.

  • You should not have to pay for these expenditures out of pocket.
  • Ask for a company credit card.
  • Find out what approved expenses include. If it includes football season tickets, then you’re probably winning in this deal as much as the clients!
  • Note that this can also be travel expenses for you to work outside the office. Examples include car allowances, a gas card, tolls, parking, train passes, etc.

What to Say: “I once had a boss who never set a budget, so I had to ask him to spend $20 in the same way I’d ask to spend $200. For expenses related to developing and maintaining clients including T&E, I’d like to have a monthly allotment set with a company issued credit card to make for easy billing.”

You Can Negotiate Tuition/Continuing Education Costs

Some employers have defined policies for education expenses while others handle it case-by-case.

  • Continuing education should always be company paid.
  • Tuition reimbursement is becoming more common as companies look for ways to gain a competitive advantage to entice college graduates.

What to Say: “I’m going to pursue my CPCU and want to make sure all testing fees are covered.  Additionally, I want to enroll in a MBA program. Would the company help with tuition?”

You Can Negotiate A Severance Package

It may seem odd to think about a resigning before you’ve even started, but you need to protect your future. Layoffs, mergers, acquisitions, and other unforeseen circumstances might impact your employment. Now is the time to negotiate your exit terms.

What to Say: “This is a big move with big responsibilities. I’m excited about the challenge, but also know the future is unpredictable. I will need protections in place should the company sell, close, or restructure. I want a 6 or 12 month severance clause.”


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