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Whether it is at the point of accepting the assignment, or at the renewal stage, it is hugely important that as a contractor you negotiate and agree the correct rate for yourself.

Under selling yourself will only make the contract less fulfilling, don’t lose sight of the value of your own skills, and remember they want you as much as you may want the assignment.

How to successfully negotiate

To be successful before entering into any negotiations, be sure to have decided on your upper and lower limit. You may need to thoroughly research the market rate to be able to determine this. The lower end will most likely be based simply on affordability.

Remember:When selecting a contract assignment you need to factor in the costs of living as well, as the costs of commuting. It’s recommended you also save a small nest egg should there be a gap between this, and your next assignment.

On the other hand the upper limit is probably going to be more of what you can realistically expect to get, based on the particular agency. This is the point at which your research proves to be invaluable, you don’t want to accept a rate to later find out your contractor colleagues doing a similar job are being paid more.

Working with Recruitment Agencies

If your contract is via an agency don’t forget you are negotiating with both parties, even if not directly. The agency is likely to be remunerated by taking a percentage of your hourly/daily rate, trying to get the best deal for yourself will involve ensuring the recruitment agency negotiates the maximum for you from the client as well as you negotiating with the recruiter so you can keep as much of your rate as possible.

Remember:If the recruitment agent is negotiating on your behalf, you need to be clear with the instructions you give them. The recruiter may not know the industry as well as you and may not have an in depth knowledge of your skills. Recruitment consultants are unlikely to have been part of the interview process so may not know how much the client would benefit from your experience, if you do not arm the recruiter with these key pieces of knowledge, they are unlikely to get you the best deal possible.

How to negotiate directly with the end client

Alternatively, you may find yourself negotiating with the client directly. In these cases you should treat this as a business negotiation and not as personal. Make a strong business case as to why you are deserving of a higher rate. A great way to prove your worth as a service provider is to give examples of past work and how it has benefited the organisations you have worked for.

Finally, any negotiations should not only be centred around pay (even though this is probably the factor more important then any other) but take the opportunity to also try to negotiate better terms overall for you, some examples include negotiating more flexible working hours or the option to work from home.