I'm working as a software developer (kinda) for a small US company (we have around 10 Employees in the office in California). I'm a foreigner and was working for this company as a freelancer at first, then moved to the full-time remote job and it ended up with they paying for a rent of an office for me where I was allowed to hire 2 junior developers. I registered my own company in my country to manage this. I'm communicating with project managers, developing, leading 2 guys, paying salaries, rents and managing all everyday office needs and so on.

At first, I was getting around $40k per year as a regular freelance developer. After that, when I've got fulltime job I had a raise to $55k per year with 2 weeks of paid vacation. That was before I got all these new responsibilities - real office & a small team.

Now it's been two years since my last raise. And I'm thinking how to get as much as possible from my current position.

I understand that an employee with a similar job would get a much higher compensation in the US. On the other hand that's the point to take me abroad - to save money.

So my main questions are:

Can I ask US-competitive compensation or not and why? What compensation would be competitive? I'm not even sure how to call my position. It seems to be an odd mix of different jobs.

Main concerns:

  • My English's far from perfect
  • My company knows that it would be hard for me to get another job like this
  • My company knows that my current compensation is already very good in my country

Sorry for a long post, thank you in advance.

UPDATE: Thanks to the comments I've understand that my situation is having much more similar with independent contracting than I thought. Although there're differences: I don't have any specific separate project or conditions when my services are ended. Our team are the only developers who's working on a flagship product. So it's not a project-level outsource, It's more like unofficial overseas branch. I treaten myself as a developer way too long. A cause of misunderstanding is a fact that the development still takes much more efforts for me than management and running an Ltd.

closed as too broad by Mister Positive, Jim G., gnat, Cronax, scaaahu Mar 21 '18 at 12:53

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I don't quite understand how you can own a company, with 2 employees, and all 3 of you work for another company as legal employees. Are you paying their salaries or is the company you work for paying their salaries? – Clay07g Mar 19 '18 at 17:51
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    To hire people, rent an office and get money from abroad I have to register a company. I'd get legal problems if I just receive money as an individual. I also need to pay taxes and insurance for employees and so on. As for the money, I've negotiated how much these two new employees costs monthly for my employer. And he just includes this amount into my paycheck. – nev Mar 19 '18 at 18:10
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    To be clear: are you paying rent plus 2 employees out of your $55k? also, it sounds like you are not "full time" but rather a 1099 contractor which is very different. – NotMe Mar 19 '18 at 18:14
  • I probably wasn't clear when I said - I'm working for a company. I'm sort of pseudo self-employed with a single client. – nev Mar 19 '18 at 18:14
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    @scorch You sound like a contractor. And that arrangement is very sketchy. What if your employees have legal protections and rights that you are responsible for in the event you are "fired"? What happens when your contract is up, and you want to disband your company and forced to pay your employees severance? You're not asking for salary increases. You're asking that the company pay your company more. And you need to treat your company like a company, not a team, or you could be headed into serious problems. – Clay07g Mar 19 '18 at 18:17

If I get you right, you're not interested in simple salary negotiation advice. Rather, your situation is as follows:

  • you're working for company X in a country with low IT salaries compared to company X's home country
  • but they provide you with a salary which is way bigger than the salaries in your countries
  • however it still is lower than salaries in country X's home country

So you can say something like your_country_salary < your_salary < company_country_salary more or less.

The first thing to realise is that while practically you are an employee of said company, technically you are a contractor to them. Which means that the 55k they are paying you is the total amount of money they spend on you. Whereas for a regular employee, they'd need to add other taxes which the "employer is supposed to shoulder", health insurance, pension matchings, office space, etc. they don't need to do any of that for you. Depending on the company and location, you could be looking at the total cost of employing somebody to be 1.5x-2x of the gross. So that is definitely a margin which works in your advantage. It's up to you if you use it in a negotiation. But it might make you more at ease that you're not asking for too much and making it not worthwhile to have you.

The other things you mention - the fact that you have a local Ltd they're using to hire other people is a separate matter, but it can be used to your advantage in negotiations. Alongside all the institutional knowledge you've gathered and the projects you've been part of.

  • Thank you very much for an answer. I'll use your points as a basis for negotiation strategy. – nev Mar 20 '18 at 11:45

Disregarding laws and morals, this is a price negotiation. You ask for as much money as you think they might pay you.

Factors include your extensive knowledge of their business, which would take time to replace if they dropped you and hired someone else, and the value to them of the contribution you make (the money it generates for them, not the amount they pay you).

But also consider that if you cost as much as an on shore hire, they are more likely to consider replacing you.

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