Top Pointers on  Negotiating Contracting Rates

Top Pointers on Negotiating Contracting Rates

Posted on:

IT Contracting Advice

During the process of negotiations with regards to your contract and pay, you should expect to receive a rate that is both fair to your expectations and realistic with regards to factors such as experience and location. Contract rates are often more attractive than the corresponding permanent job’s equivalent, so naturally it’s no surprise that money is largely the motive for some people choosing this work option. 

With this in mind, naturally you are going to want to push for a higher rate as much as possible while negotiating, but this must also be within reason, so as not to scare off any revised offers.


Here are some simple and effective tips to negotiating a fair contract pay rate:
IT contracting negotiation rates

  1. Determine your salary expectations

    Before any job interview, you should have a decent idea of what you seek to earn and have a range that allows you to make the money you desire, but always leave some room for negotiations. 

    For example: Say your range is e.g €400 - €500 euro per day, the lower rate should cover your salary, overheads, and allow you to be happy/comfortable in your job. The higher rate then allows for a little more room, should the job have a higher budget  and you sit a good interview. 

    Furthermore, different jobs have different levels of difficulty. So perhaps your expectations will vary depending on how much you enjoy doing that job. All in all, giving your recruiter a range will give you an opportunity to negotiate and will ensure you’re happy. 


  2. Know your value and market

    Having an awareness of what is going on around you in the market will help greatly when negotiating contract rates and will shed light on the demand for certain specialised candidates and skill sets as well, as they vary across industries. If you are in the IT space for example, your skillset is in higher demand, and hence you can expect a higher contract pay rate. 

    Furthermore, having a niche or rare skill set within the IT industry (such as cyber security skills)  can lead to an even higher demand for your profile. Continuous market evaluations and upskilling helps you stay refreshed and competitive within the market. 

    Keeping in touch with past colleagues and friends who are in your industry and line of work is also a great way to gather information on what’s going on in the contracting industry and gage your worth. 

    It’s also vital that you research the location you are going to be working in when deciding on a new job, and also account for that in your salary expectations. You can expect a higher contract pay rate in cities, due to the higher cost of living in urban areas, taxes and what the demand is for services.The cost of living differs hugely between Dublin and Roscommon, for example. 


  3. Negotiating the contract daily rate with the client

    Your rate may differ from company to company, depending on the type of role it is and what responsibilities you will maintain.  A Program Manager earning €500 per day might take a small pay cut for a less demanding  Project Management role. On the flip side of that, others might expect more money in this instance as they could complete the tasks with more accuracy and in theory better simply because they’re very experienced  at it, and can offer a quick turnaround and work off tight constraints.These are all pointers that could be made when negotiating. 

    If you are actively interviewing, then hopefully you should have a couple of options at the end of your job search, all things going to plan. This should also help get an idea of what the market is paying for your skillset. 

    If you have a couple of offers on the table, then these can be used, in a respectful way as a negotiation tool. At the end of the day if you have two similar roles on the table and one is paying more, then it’s worth seeing if the other company would be willing to match the offer, that way you can make an informed decision based on all possibilities. 

    Starting with a higher rate can also be a good negotiation tactic, as there are often a few push backs when it comes to finalising rates. If you start at €550, you can expect some pushback, and should allow for this to come down as far as €500, perhaps. Leaving a bit of wiggle room for negotiation will give you a better chance of securing the role that’s right for you. If €550 is the lowest you can accept, then go in at €600, with the expectation that this may drop to around €550.


There are several steps you should consider when negotiating your contract pay rate and  whilst money shouldn’t be the only motivator for a job, let’s face it, it helps! Simply knowing your market and what people of similar profile are earning is a great starting point if you’re a contractor, or looking to get into the world of contracting for the first time. 

Pay within contracting can be up to 30% more than the corresponding permanent equivalent, but it’s important to note that this is largely due to the lack of holiday pay and benefits in this type of work. That being said, it’s a great opportunity to stick your head down and make some good earnings in a short period of time. So, if you want any more tips around this, feel free to call Lee on 019 017 826.

Latest Insights

Are You Creating Diverse and Inclusive Job Descriptions?

Are You Creating Diverse and Inclusive Job Descriptions?