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How to Negotiate a Job Offer With a Small Company

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When you get a job offer, it's certainly cause for a little celebration -- but the road to employment hasn't ended just yet. You'll need to consider that offer carefully, and if your offer is from a small company, you'll have different considerations than you would with a large company. You should never say yes to a job offer right away, suggests Business Insider, but instead take some time to consider whether all the signs point to a deal that will work well for you, then go back to the company leaders and present a written counter-offer in a friendly yet professional manner.

Salary Concerns

Naturally, the biggest factor in the equation is going to be your salary. Smaller companies tend to pay less than larger companies, though that's not always the case. The best way to know if you've gotten a fair offer is to research what others in similar positions -- in similar-sized companies -- are getting. Check out online job postings in your area or ask colleagues to share their salary range. Counter-offer with a salary that is closer to the range of other people in your line of work. If you find that the offer is more than the average, great -- but since smaller companies tend to have fewer resources, it could be the other way around. If the company is not willing to negotiate on salary, you may get some satisfaction by negotiating other elements of your employment.


Beyond your salary, your benefits package is probably the second-most important factor to consider when negotiating the offer. The company may not be able to negotiate its health coverage, but it may be able to offer you other perks. Ask for a gym membership, moving expenses or child care coverage. The leaders of a smaller business may already have personal connections with other small business leaders in the area who can work a deal for employees. Another factor to consider: in a small business you're going to be working closely with the staff, which can mean a more intimate working relationship. Gauging the leaders' willingness to accommodate the perks related to work-life balance can give you a clearer picture of whether the company will be a good fit.

Job Description

While working for that small company may mean fewer resources, it can also mean you write your own ticket and have more control over the direction your career takes. Smaller companies often rely on workers to take on multiple roles and don't tend to pigeonhole employees into one job, as larger companies might do. During your negotiations, ask about writing your own job description to include aspects of your work that you haven't yet been able to explore. Also inquire about advancement. Some smaller companies invest in employees in the hopes of bringing them on for the long haul; others are owner-operated and have little opportunity for growth. If you're aiming for a future management role and company leaders indicate you could get there, see if you can get a promise in writing.

Working Conditions

In keeping with their trend toward more streamlined processes, large companies often have set working hours and working conditions. In a smaller company this can be more flexible, meaning you could strive for your ideal working conditions as part of your negotiation. Leaders at smaller companies may be willing to offer you a more flexible schedule, including condensing your hours into fewer days per week or allowing you to choose your in-office time. You could also ask for a part-time work-from-home arrangement to allow you to attend to the needs of your family.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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