How to Negotiate a Sign-On Bonus or Increased Salary

••• business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com

When your skills are in high demand, it’s the right time to negotiate a sign-on bonus or salary increase. A sign-on bonus can be tied to not only signing a contract with a certain employer, but with staying at that company for a specific length of time. The sign-on bonus may be paid in installments in your paychecks or all up front. A salary increase is based on not only the time you've spent in your position, but also what you've done for the company. In both cases, negotiating more money from your employer maximizes your earning potential.

Sign-On Bonus

Research how much money people in your position with your level of experience are making. The Bureau of Labor Statistics makes salary and employment information available for almost every field.

Print copies of news releases that deal with current or new contracts that the company has won. Get copies of profit statements and other financial documents that show the financial health of the company.

Find out your entire compensation package before attempting to negotiate a sign-on bonus. They may reduce your yearly salary or benefits plan if you demand a sign-on bonus before you know your compensation.

Produce copies of financial reports and press releases that discuss the company's profits and projects. Explain that, given increased profits or new contracts that will bring in more profits, they should be in a position to give you a sign-on bonus. Explain how you'll be able to help with any new or existing contracts they have that are generating revenue for the company.

Mention anything deficient in their offer. If the salary is less than you expected, point out that it's below the averages you've researched and show print outs of this information for confirmation. If you're making a long-distance move for your job, point out that the cost of moving is very high.

Detail how your education and accomplishments warrant fiduciary recognition. Show specific examples of what makes you a strong candidate for the job they're hiring you to do.

Request the sign-on bonus. You don't have to take the first offer. If you think it is too low, simply ask if they can do better. Thank them either way.

Increased Salary

Research the salaries that people with the same level of experience are making in your field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has salary and professional information available online.

Print out press releases that deal with profits your company is making, copies of your performance evaluations and any documents you have detailing the company's financial health.

Make an appointment to meet with your boss. Before the meeting, determine a percentage that you would like your pay increased.

Create a list of specific tasks you've accomplished in your position. Show measurable results from your job.

Request the raise politely. Explain that you think your contributions merit an increased salary. Let them think it over. Tell them the percentage you want, if they ask.

Show your boss salary comparisons for what people in your position at your experience level make, if there's a disparity that shows you're being under-compensated. Remember not to produce these documents if you're making more money than other people in your position.

Show your boss your performance evaluations. Bring her attention to the most positive comments made by the person who filled out your evaluation. Especially highlight specific comments about your contributions to high-profile projects. The more facts and numbers you can bring to the table about your performance and accomplishments, the better. Saying you're hardworking doesn't have the same impact as saying that you increased profit margins by 5 percent during the last quarter.

Show financial statements that show the company is increasing their profits. If you have news releases that discuss projects you've worked on and their successes, show these as well. Point out that the company is making more money, partially from your hard work. Explain that you want your compensation to increase as the revenue of the company has increased through the work of its employees.

Thank them for their time. They may want to spend some time thinking about it. Wait to hear they're decision for a week before scheduling a follow-up meeting.