How to Negotiate Your Contract, Like a Boss

Many professionals find the idea of engaging in contract negotiation intimidating. For this reason, many skip it all together and accept what they're offered, or they negotiate very minimally.

 At this point, I have negotiated a few contracts to lend some insight on how to negotiate your contract to get what you want, what is fair and what you deserve. 


To Negotiate like a boss, especially if you're female, will take some mindset changes. Here I've outlined a few ways to successfully Negotiate your contract and get what you want.

1. Say NO

One of the greatest inhibitions in asking for your market value or what you think you're worth is the fear of rejection. Once you can get passed this fear you can move on to the negotiating table. Understand that the real Negotiating doesn't start until someone says no! Never just accept what you're being offered. Quite often contracts are written with wiggle room for that reason.  The goal of negotiating is to reach an agreement with someone whose interest may not necessarily be aligned with yours. In this context the word no is not a negative thing but offers grounds to problem-solve and come to a consensus and an agreement. The alternative is being stuck in a job with individuals who are happy to place their needs above yours. 

2. Ask for More Than What You Want

It's a much better negotiating strategy to ask for more than you actually want or think you will get. Allow each party to say no a couple times before saying yes. People aren't necessarily happy when they get what they want. Think about it: You sit with your potential employer and say " I would like a 10% increase from my previous salary and a corner office" and his/her immediate response is "Sure, no problem!" You will likely suffer from buyers' remorse and wonder if you should have asked for a 20% increase instead. 

3. Be Willing to Walk Away

A lot of negotiating is a mind game. The greatest bargaining advantage goes to the person who is perceived to have the least to lose. Establish your deal breaker or bottom line and be willing to walk away from a deal (or say you will). If you at least act like you're prepared to walk away if your bottom line isn't met then the other party will be more incentivized to meet your requirements. 

4. Get a Lawyer

You have looked over your contract thoroughly but you need a second pair of eyes on it. There may be some legal jargon that you don't understand or have over looked. A lawyer will be able to point some things out to you that you may have missed and can even negotiate on your behalf. In my experience it has been worth the money pay a lawyer to do some of the heavy lifting for you.

I know contract negotiations aren't always easy. You must ensure that you ask the right questions upfront, learn to say no, don't get bullied into signing on to something you will regret later and be willing to walk away. At the end of the day, make sure that you are getting a fair deal.