If you are an auto or diesel technician, negotiating pay for a new job or negotiating a raise can be a tough conversation. How do you sound confident but not overbearing, prepare yourself with the right information, and stand up for what you deserve?

Here are some things to consider as you prepare to ask your shop manager for a raise!

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Stage 1: Planning & Preparing to Ask for a Raise

Know your value and back it up. Gather data on the salaries of other technicians in your area using tools like wrenchway.com/pay to support your request. It’s crucial to reinforce your rationale with numbers whenever possible. Highlight your contributions to the shop and any future work or goals. Don’t hesitate to jot down the gathered data and key points to bring into your meeting.

Get ready to answer the tough questions. When asking for more money, you’re likely to encounter roadblocks. You may be asked questions like, ‘Why should we increase your pay?’ or ‘Do you have another offer from a different shop?’ Be prepared to answer them professionally and honestly.

Practice and organize your ask. Think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Consider writing down your questions and answers, or role-playing with a friend. Be well-prepared and professional when conducting a request like this.

Check your timing. If you’ve been with the company for a while, it might not be the best idea to wait until your yearly review to ask for a raise, as budgets are already in place by then. Instead, plan and ask in advance. On the other hand, if you were just hired, you might want to wait about a year before reevaluating pay. It doesn’t look good if you get hired and then ask for a raise three months later.

Stage 2: Asking Management for a Raise

Discuss in-person, if possible. If you’re currently working at a shop, it’s best to discuss it in person with your direct manager. If you’re not on-site, video conferencing is acceptable, but avoid using email for this question. Email is primarily used when negotiating salary during the hiring process. Follow-up conversations can be done via email, but it’s best to handle any difficult conversations in person. Avoid using texts or direct online messaging, even through professional tools like Microsoft Teams.

Pick a date and time that works for you and them. Your manager is always busy, but so are you. While your manager will let you know when they are free to meet, ensure that it works for you too. Don’t choose a time and day when you’re rushing around, as you might come into the meeting scatterbrained. It’s important to be focused on your request.

Focus on the future. You can briefly state where your pay is at the moment, but then move on. Focus on why you deserve the raise and present the facts.

Keep a positive and kind tone. Keep the conversation positive. Don’t go into the conversation listing your demands in a harsh manner. It is important to watch your phrasing and use friendly language. For example:

  • I enjoy working here.”
  • I feel my scope of work has expanded.”
  • I would like to review my compensation.”

Ask for a specific number, not a range. When asking for a range, a business is more than likely going to aim for the lower end of that range. Therefore, set yourself up correctly and ask for a specific number, such as $58k, instead of saying, “Something in the $55k to $60k range.”

Stage 3: Accept or Deny the Offer

Take your time to respond. While meeting with your manager or during your interview, don’t feel like you have to jump to accept the first offer. Thank them, take time to digest whether the offer meets your needs, review your research, and then respond.

Consider the full package. If the offer isn’t what you thought it was going to be, remember, it isn’t just about the money. Consider the whole offer, including the shop environment and other benefits such as flexible scheduling, the shop’s location in relation to your home, health insurance, tool allowance, etc. Weigh all the benefits together.

Play the field. If your shop doesn’t believe in the market rate you suggested, consider conducting some interviews to find an offer at that rate. Then, armed with the offer, go back to your shop and see if they can match it or offer more. It’s a lot of work, but sometimes you have to play the field.

Listen. Prepare yourself. You might not get exactly what you want from the shop, but it is still important to listen to the other party so you can learn and grow to meet those expectations. If it’s a no, listen to why. The worst thing you can do is accept the “no” without understanding it. For example:

  • Is it a timing thing? → If so, when is a good time?
  • Is it a skill vs. rate situation? → If so, how can you improve?

Be willing to walk away. Walking away is never easy, but it’s important to know when to say no. Know your bottom amount and stick with it.

Keep on trying. Just because your raise or offer was denied this time around doesn’t mean it will get denied next year or even at the next job. Ask what you need to work on to reach that standard, and keep at it.