Project Management Q&A: Getting the Best Day Rate

As a Project Management Contractor, what steps can I take to help me maximise my day rate?

As a professional you should always have an idea of what you are worth in the current market if you are going to be effective in tracking down and securing the right kind of opportunities. Having a clear picture of your day rate will certainly make you appear professional when talking to recruiters and potential clients and also help you filter out the relevant opportunities. It should also save the embarrassment of trying to negotiate your rate after an offer is made when everyone thinks it is already agreed.

In my experience it comes down to three things:

  1. Knowing what your market rate is;
  2. Having the confidence and self-belief that you are worth that
  3. Being a great negotiator.

Keep Up To Date With Current Market Conditions

As we have discussed in may blog articles in the Camel, the market rate is going to be changing all the time, impacted by the market, availability of roles, availability of competition, location and demand for your niche skills. So, with that in mind it is important to keep abreast of the market and factor this into your calculations. It is important to remember to think about “your market” when looking to determine where to pitch your rate. You can use job boards, Google and your network to test out and get a feel for what is happening.

Decide What You’re Worth

Once you have an idea around rates you then need to think about negotiating strategy in advance of finding suitable roles. One approach is to set yourself three levels;

  1. Your “get out of bed rate”, this is the minimum rate that you would accept under any circumstances.
  2. Your “target rate”, which represents what you believe your expertise as a PPM practitioner is worth in the current marketplace.
  3. Your “stretch rate”, which represents a realistic upper target that you may achieve if the perfect opportunity comes along.

This exercise should set you up perfectly for the job hunt and the negotiating stance that you may adopt during the process of finding your next role

Building your target and stretch rates will allow you to build a story about why you are worth it; in turn this means you will be looking at roles in your target and enter any negotiation on the front foot with the confidence and self-belief that you are worth the rate that you pitch.

If you have any tips and techniques for job hunting why not share them?


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