Author Topic: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating  (Read 3159 times)

bradleylsmith

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First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« on: February 23, 2014, 10:42:41 AM »
Hi guys,

I'm 26 and currently self employed as a web developer. I made around $60k last year, and am on pace to make 80 - 90k this year. The increase is largely due to the fact that I hired a guy to help out last year and he's starting to pay off. One of my biggest and best clients is planning on offering me a part time / full time job this coming week. My guess is it will be in the $100,000 - $120,000 range. The job could be remote or we could move to Cali. The cost of living there is much higher, but quality of life would also go up a lot.

I say this because my wife gets really depressed in the MI winters. I also won't work out of home as much there and it will free up the house for her and the kids. I see it as an adventure so for me it would be more fun too.

We have $127,000 of various horrible types of debt, mostly student loans that we pay minimums on of around $1300 / month not including the house.

SO

Here are the options I see:

1. turn down the job
2. could get offered remote position for a year and then move.
3. full time but remote here for slightly less pay.
4. full time with move in end of May.

I've never had a job before, I don't know what questions to ask or how to negotiate...or even what to negotiate for. I believe that this is the right opportunity over my current job, I just need some guidance. It's in Milpitas, CA so anyone in that area that can attest to what I will need to make to pay for everything and have a good savings rate to put towards my debt would be really helpful too.

Thanks!

ZMonet

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 11:04:53 AM »
It sounds like you're doing a decent job of growing your business.  Do you think that you can keep anything like that level of growth up?  Why does the client want to break away from your current relationship?

A lot of variables here, but either continuing the current setup or taking the job and working remotely for awhile would be what I would do (although I'm risk adverse).  How your family feels about the move also needs to be a big factor.  How would you feel if you moved out there and the job and/or location didn't work out?

What would happen to the guy you hired to work for you?

jjandrews

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 11:18:01 AM »
It's very possible to live like a Mustachian in Milpitas. I've had a similar salary for the last five years living in the South Bay and managed to save about 80% of our income when my wife worked and about 60% now that she is back in school. The main price differential for the bay area is real estate - expect to pay about $2k per month or slightly less for a 2br/1ba apartment. And you won't be able to afford a house. But it's a great place to live for five or ten years while you pay down your debt and build up your savings because your salary will be considerably higher here than elsewhere. We will stay here another couple of years and then move somewhere that we can afford a house when we hit FI. There are many ancillary benefits to living in the bay area - loads of smart people which makes working here fun. Oh, and it's 68F and sunny right now, I'm about to go on a bike ride / wine tasting combo in the foothills just south of my apartment.

Sunflower

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 11:35:30 AM »
It's very possible to live like a Mustachian in Milpitas. I've had a similar salary for the last five years living in the South Bay and managed to save about 80% of our income when my wife worked and about 60% now that she is back in school. The main price differential for the bay area is real estate - expect to pay about $2k per month or slightly less for a 2br/1ba apartment. And you won't be able to afford a house. But it's a great place to live for five or ten years while you pay down your debt and build up your savings because your salary will be considerably higher here than elsewhere. We will stay here another couple of years and then move somewhere that we can afford a house when we hit FI. There are many ancillary benefits to living in the bay area - loads of smart people which makes working here fun. Oh, and it's 68F and sunny right now, I'm about to go on a bike ride / wine tasting combo in the foothills just south of my apartment.

Wow, I didn't realize you could find a 2br/1ba for so cheap in Milpitas! If you go a few miles west (Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/Mountain View) then it costs that much for a crappy 1 Br. I'm currently in a low COL area and will be moving up to the southbay in a few weeks. My company gives an automatic 13% COL increase but to keep anywhere near the same style of living (i.e. same distance from work, size apartment, taxes, etc. etc.) 13% is not enough. I'll be moving from living alone in a really nice 700 sq. ft. 1 br apartment (with dishwasher, in unit washer/dryer, pool, gym, covered parking etc.) at $850/month to sharing a 500 sq. ft. studio with none of the above amenities where my HALF of the rent will be $650. The weather is much nicer than in MI and I am always happier on the west coast than anywhere else because of the sunshine but COL is definitely higher and that's something to keep in mind.

KS

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 12:16:44 PM »
+1 to jjandrews, although I agree with Chemistay about the 2br rent estimate being surprising! But Milpitas (or anywhere around there east of the bay) does tend to be more affordable than its counterparts on the other side of the bay where I live, so I can't say I know specifics there. But if your wife can handle midwest weather (and yes it's ridiculously nice out here this weekend, although really I'd love to see some rain at this point) a little longer and there is an option to work remotely at anywhere near the California salary, you should give that option some serious consideration... That would likely give you a chance to sock away more savings and pay down your debt faster, since I suspect your current mortgage is probably quite a bit less than what you would pay in rent for a smaller place out here. But if you're making 100-120k (sounds like your wife stays home with the kids and does not currently work outside the home?) you should be able to live comfortably and build savings living out here too, you may just have to find some areas to cut back to make up for higher housing.

Aside from housing (which is a biggie) I don't think COL is necessarily so much worse out here, but I haven't lived elsewhere in a long time so may just be used to it. I think CA gas is more expensive than most places due to stricter regulations, but if you can work from home sometimes and/or live close to work that might not be a big deal for you. There is quite a bit of sprawl to the Bay Area so it's easy to end up driving more than you might like though if you're not careful.

As to quality of life, yeah it's a pretty nice place to be... watching the news of the latest giant blizzard to hit the rest of the country before heading out for a stroll in a t-shirt is kind of great. Although some people (myself included) do miss having actual seasons sometimes. And we have first crack at all the tasty produce that's grown here, which may not always make it cheaper but it's usually at least fresher and less beat up than the stuff I've seen in stores in other states where it had to be shipped long distances. Mmm, avocados... :)

bradleylsmith

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 01:08:43 PM »
thanks, that really eases my concerns about being able to afford the area. It sounds like even if the offer comes in at 90k, that would be around $75k take home and then student loans come out and we're left with $60k we'll be able to live there. What about if the job falls through in a year? Is it easy to find work there as a web developer / programmer? Are there certain things I should ask in negotiations?

 

JPinDC

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 06:12:26 PM »
See if you can research salaries at the company and competing companies on http://www.glassdoor.com to have more information. They're not going to come out the door with their highest offer, so the most important thing is just to try to negotiate.

Tips that've helped me: Once they've decided they want to hire you, asking for a higher salary is not going to make them rescind the job offer, even if they can't budge on the numbers. It's also good to remember that you can negotiate more than just your salary (ie: vacation time, stock, other benefits, teleworking, etc.).

Check your local library for books on salary negotiation to help build up your confidence on how to approach it. Good luck!

KS

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Re: First real job offer coming soon, need advice on negotiating
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 11:54:53 AM »
What about if the job falls through in a year? Is it easy to find work there as a web developer / programmer?

I'm in a different industry so I can't say from experience, but it's the Silicon Valley, home of about a gazillion tech companies and startups... Assuming you are good at what you do, and barring any kind of major tech bubble burst like the early 2000s, I would think your employment options out here would be pretty decent.