I had final interview where the company said they would like to have me as new colleague. However, they said my salary's suggestion is over their budget because they are small company, but they would try to give me a best offer. They didn't say (or I didn't ask) how much they would offer me. And today, they sent me the draft contract, everything is fine, only the salary not quite, after probation I would get the salary the same amount as my last job.

Now, is it too late or too risky to ask to increase the salary, even just a small increase?

  • Did they advertise a salary range beforehand?
    – HorusKol
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 13:48
  • Unfortunately no, they didn't post the salary range beforehand
    – Ragnarsson
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 13:50
  • 4
    If you know you can make "X" elsewhere, don't consider this particular job for a moment if they can't pay you "X". Note that 99.9% of the time when a company says they "don't have much money" it's simply an excuse, one of many. Don't fall for it. (Small companies usually have MORE cash around to pay programmers than large ones.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:36
  • 3
    You are right in the negotiation phase. Do it and negotiate.
    – Sandra K
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 16:24
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    I would negotiate now. Anecdotally, they tried to play me with that trick once, I stayed my ground, and found out much later on they did it pretty much to anybody to lower their salary and never followed in their promises in that (big) company. I would not move jobs to get a lower salary as a point of honour. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 10:56

6 Answers 6


I think now might be the perfect time to ask because you haven't accepted it yet, so the contract (and salary) is still open for negotiation. It's always worth asking because the worst they can say is "no".

Whether you accept their lower offer or not is down to you.

  • I am just afraid that they would say "no" and don't offer me that job anymore. Could it even happen?
    – Ragnarsson
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 13:50
  • 3
    Anything could happen, some people are just unreasonable. In general it's fairly unlikely, but you're the best judge of the atmosphere of your particular offer. Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 13:52
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    @Ragnarsson It’s just business. Their goal is to get your skills for the least amount of money possible. Your goal is to get as much money from them as possible. If their attitude is to rescind an offer from anyone who dares to try and negotiate, these probably aren’t people you’d want to work for anyway. Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 15:33

To answer your question, yes, there is a small risk involved in asking for a bigger salary, but it is very small if proposed in a non-greedy way, especially if you aren't getting a raise over your current situation. For example:

I'm thrilled that you've offered me this position. Everything seems to fit and honestly it'd be an easy decision if the salary were a little higher: I've noticed with the currently salary I would wind up making the same I make at my current job. Is there anything you can do to help this make a little more sense financially?

Last, I'd like to comment of this part of your situation:

they said my salary's suggestion is over their budget because they are small company

IMO, if a company is already telling you they are small and can't pay much before you've even started working there, then they are likely quite cheap. If you go there, I wouldn't expect to see many financial incentives. Of course, money isn't everything and is just one part of fulfillment at work, but I just want to call that out.


The above answers are very good. However let's look at this a different way. You are an expense. You're looking at this from what the company can do for you (ie. the salary). Instead, show what you can do for them to make the company more profitable. Talk in business terms of how you will add to the bottom line which will justify the larger salary.

  • "Instead, show what you can do for them to make the company more profitable.' - you have already proven what you can do for them potentially when getting the job offer
    – bobo2000
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 11:05

I have worked for a number of and owned a few small businesses. I have rarely heard any of them admit to an potential employee, " we are flush with cash, I just bought a bigger ski boat and we're shopping for a winter home" or anything similar.

We're small and barely squeaking by is the mantra of many if not most small business owners. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. As long as your paycheck is correct and on time none of that is your concern. It's not your company. You didn't take the risk and invest the long hours to create and run it.

The answer to your question depends a lot on where you are located, the type of business it is, how crappy your current work environment is, your background and a number of other factors.

In my experience however, before getting hired is the absolute best time to negotiate. Especially with small companies and especially in areas with limited opportunities or if your work background is less than ideal.

They say they are cash strapped now, guess what when you ask for a raise in whatever amount of time they say they will "revisit" the topic? Very likely they will say they are cash strapped there as well.

Once you are working there, you have inertia in that role at that company. It is less likely you will leave if they refuse a raise or slow play it until you give up.

If you are going to try to negotiate for more, do it before you agree to employment. After you work there, all bets are off and you have much less leverage than you think.

  • With big or small....sound advice. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 10:58

In general you can ask for more before you accept, and arguably you should. In this particular case however,

[...] over their budget because they are small company, but they would try to give me a best offer

In this case you might push for other things that translate to money: More vacation, a faster review cycle, bonus... etc.

They probably won't retract their offer just because someone asked for more money, but you might come off as greedy if you phrase it the wrong way. What constitues a "wrong way" depends on the people you deal with, and perhaps subject to another answer, so I wish good luck to you.


First, find out what a reasonable rate is for your location and position. The the stackoverflow developer salary survey, or check job sites like indeed.com's salary comparison.

Once you know what is reasonable and the offer is way off, ask for a better salary, pointing out that this seems to be the going rate for this job and place. Highlight again how great you are for the company.

When you think about your salary, make sure to include all benefits, like work from home days that may safe you a commute, annually bonuses, and so on.

If the offer is just a bit short of the rate you found, I'd probably not ask for more. You may lose some goodwill when it comes to bonuses or the next round of raises. It's much easier to point at your success throughout the last year and then ask for a raise.

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