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Negotiating Your Rate

Brie writes in:

Would you consider trying to negotiate a higher pay rate for a full-time PA gig?

The backstory: I’m interviewing with a prod. co here in NYC — they’re offering $150 a day (which is pretty good by any standard for a PA) but I’ve got 1 year+ of Assistant experience, 4 years of working of experience in total. I was wondering if it would be sensible to ask for a higher rate. This higher rate would also cover my commuting expenses and health benefits (assuming the company does not provide a stipend/access to healthcare which are big ifs).

With those in mind, I was thinking of asking for $185-200 a day rate, and GLADLY settling with those #s or $175 a day. Wondering what you think? Would this make sense or would it make sense to negotiate a rate increase after 3 or 6 months? Curious to hear your thoughts.

Honestly, one year of experience is still basically entry level. I wouldn’t push it until after a year on the job.

One of the worst ways to sour a relationship with your employer is to ask for too much too soon. First, prove yourself invaluable, then ask for a paycheck that reflects that. I’d say you should be working for someone about a year before you ask for a raise.

“But TAPA,” you might say, “Unlike Brie, I’m a freelance PA. I never work for anyone for over a year.”

That’s very true. But if you work for the same coordinator on three lengthy projects (say, four weeks or more), it’s okay to ask for a raise on the fourth one.

Once you’ve been out in the real world for two years, then you’re in a position to say to a new employer that you’d like a little more than their initial offer. Point to your long list of credits, and assure them that you’re not some greenie they’ll have to train on the job. You are worth more than a kid fresh out of film school, because you can anticipate needs, prevent problems before they even start, and make a mean cup of coffee.

Just make sure that’s all true before you start bragging about it.

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