Do’s and Don’ts of Negotiating a Horse Job Salary

Negotiating is a two-way street.

Negotiating is a two-way street.

Negotiating for good compensation in a horse job is a process not an event. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
Don’ts:
1. Do not expect an  employer to state a salary up front before you have discussed the duties and responsibilities of  the job.
2. Do not expect every  employer to  be ready to state a salary at all.    Some may expect you to be the one to  state an “asking  salary”.
3. Do not state a salary range.    You will be thinking about the  high end, and the  employer will be thinking  about  the  low end.   Start with a single figure.
4. Do not accept a job as an independent contractor or where you are paid cash, unless you are running a business like the vet or farrier does.
5. Do not give ultimatums. (I must have. I won’t do the job without.).   Be ready to discuss everything.
6. Do not assume an employer  can’t afford to hire you.  Perhaps  your abilities will make  the employer’s  operation more profitable and a higher salary  will be  justified.
7. Do not warn employers up front about hot button issues. (My dog or my horses must come  with me.)  Wait until you establish a bit of a relationship to bring these issues up.
8. Do not accept any job that will not pay you enough to meet your basic expenses.
9. Do not make promises you cannot keep.
Do’s:
1. Do be prepared to handle both employers who ask you what salary you want, and employers who have a  stated salary for their position.  Either approach  can be used as  a starting point.
2. Do be prepared to find a win/win solution to compensation.   For long term success, the compensation must be good for both  you and the employer.
3. Do be ready to provide creative ways to get your needs met while taking the employer’s needs into account.   For instance, incentive pay such as commissions or bonuses can be a win/win solution  for  getting more cash.
4. Do be sure your employer will be handling your compensation according to employment laws. i.e. witholding taxes from your check and paying 1/2 of your Social Security.
5. Do be ready to discuss everything.   Give every thought the time it needs.   Be ready to ask for permission to “sleep on things” if you need more time to decide.
6. Do be ready to suggest  ways to  generate more income or save on expenses in your employer’s operation.   (But don’t be pushy and insistent about your methods.)
7. Do be ready to be flexible and creative on benefits.   If your employer cannot provide health insurance, accident insurance can be a very cost effective alternative.
8. Do be ready to live up to the salary you negotiate.   Be a bargain for your employer.   This will increase your job security.
9. Do  remember to ask about your employer’s policy for compensation review.   Ask how  often  the employer  considers raises based  on inflation, merit, and/or increased productivity.
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