I work for a company as a contact employee. I sub contract through a staffing company.

I am the senior back end developer on four enterprise level projects. Two of which I am the only person who knows the code well and I have been with the company four years. I was approved for a raise but then didn't get it because of the pandemic.

When I first started the person training me to replace them said "when I was in your position I made {3x what I do}" but I kind of blew it off.

And recently my boss said in a meeting that the half hour meeting with four people was costing the company {8x what I make}, and one of those people was junior to me.

Based on these comments, it seems very much that the contract company is charging 3-5 times what they are paying me. I know they do make a margin, but that seems quite excessive, especially since the only thing they are currently doing is my pay roll. They have been paid for the fact that they found me four years ago.

Based on the fact that I would be very difficult to replace, and that it seems like they are making way more than I do from my work, I want to negotiate a raise from the contracting company. There is already a rate freeze for what the company I am contacted to based on economic problems, so the rate they charge can't change.

Should I mention that I believe I've figured out my rate? And/or my evidence? How would be best to bring it up?

  • In what country are you in? Are you on a special work visa? Have you tried looking for a job with a different employer (without going through an agency)? What's stopping you from doing that? May 12, 2022 at 4:35

3 Answers 3


I say a range, and the company replies. I assume they are not stupid but then I don't like working for stupid companies.

With common sense, this is what can happen: 1. They offer at or near the top end of my range and I sign on the spot. 2. They offer somewhere in the middle of my range, and I wait a bit for better offers. I take a better offer if I get it; if I think the top of the range is too hard to get or takes too long I'll take their offer. 3. They offer at the low end of my range. I'll look elsewhere; I'll only take their offer if things get desperate. 4. They offer below my range - goodbye.

So the higher the offer, the better the chance for them that I take it and that I take it quickly. And they are free to improve their offer.


Just ask for the money you want. If you're talking more than 25%-33%, expect doors to slam in your face pretty quickly. Do not approach this as if you're irreplaceable, because you wouldn't be the first or the last contractor to try that.

They don't care if you know the bill rate.

If you get turned down, it's either you keep getting the rate you're at, accept a lower offered amount, or just find another gig. shrug

  • 25-33% increase? Or percentage of what they charge?
    – kleineg
    May 11, 2022 at 19:54
  • 2
    @kleineg Your Increase. Forget about what they charge. Practice a little gratitude - if you aren't slaving at an Amazon warehouse (smile) or living in a tent on the street, you're doing pretty good, right?
    – Xavier J
    May 11, 2022 at 20:17
  • If you are working on 4 enterprise projects and you are the only one who knows the code then if that is true you are far beyond irreplaceable.
    – Neil Meyer
    May 12, 2022 at 19:37

Your problem is that you don’t know your worth. That might be your billing rate but you don’t know that either.

But it’s pretty easy to find out. Check job postings in your area. Read Glassdoor. Talk to some recruiters. Interview with a couple contracting companies. Talk to any friends or colleagues. It shouldn’t be a mystery, sure as hell not a factor of 3-5 mystery.

Then you know your worth, you ask for it, and you bounce if you don’t get it.

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