Just like Goldilocks had a choice between porridge that was too hot, too cold and just right, you too have a choice between three different IT consulting rates: low, fair and high. Each individual has their own personal preference for the type of consulting rate they take on, one that relates back to their skill set and their desired lifestyle. So how do you know which IT consulting rate is the right one for you? This guide will help you understand the three different types of technical market rates and discuss the realities of each one.
Goldilocks’ bears had a choice. So do you.
1. A Fair Rate:
This rate accurately reflects your value to the company. You need to ask yourself, “Am I really an intermediate skills level or am I just at a junior level?” This sort of critical self-evaluation is difficult, no doubt about it, but it also has its perks. If you shoot for this rate, you will likely be contracted for an extended period of time and there will be little stress in your life. Stable employment and little stress? Sounds good to me!
2. A Low Rate:
You’re probably wondering, “Why in the world would I ever take a low consulting rate?” It’s a valid question. While a low IT consulting rate may not accurately reflect your value to the company, it does have its perks. For example, need to move to Seattle to follow a spouse’s job? If so, a local company may be willing to deal with the time zone challenges if you bill at a lower rate. If you want a flexible schedule (because you’ve decided to sail around the world in 80 days or want the summers off with your kids), then a lower rate may allow these things to happen.
3. A High Rate:
Ah, the ideal. Getting paid lots of money, more than you think you’re worth. Why wouldn’t you shoot for this? Well, for one, IT contracts with higher than average market rates will usually come with a higher degree of volatility – anything from 18 hour work days (yuck!) to traveling constantly. While this may be the perfect fit for some, a high rate route is always more stressful and, as a result, may not suit certain personalities and lifestyles.
The best thing to do when considering rate negotiation is to be honest with yourself. Know your skill set. Know the kind of lifestyle you want to live. Considering these two aspects will allow you to negotiate the right rate.
Thanks to 22Lauren for use of their respective photographs.