Low Salary Offer Amount?

Hey folks! So good news, I received a tentative offer at a local company to work as a Front-End Developer/Designer. But I need advice.

The company is a very small company, only about 5-10 employees. They’re willing to work with me to fill in the blanks of things I might not know since this will be my first development job. But when it got to the conversation of compensation, I ended up getting an offer to get almost half of what the average entry level web designer in my area makes. Now I’m sure that some amount of negotiation is expected. But I’ve never been in this type of a situation before. Does anyone have any advice on how to ask for more?

I have a feeling that they think I have basically no coding knowledge and that we will have to start from scratch. And I am a very quick study, so I have no fear about being able to get up to par pretty quick. I understand that since I don’t have experience, it makes sense to make slightly less than the industry standard, but not half as much. I’m coming in knowing far more about design and a good amount more than most CS grads, but being offered far less. I almost feel insulted, which is why I’m having a hard time wording a request for more money, I keep defaulting to getting defensive.

Anyone been here?

Breath… Think of it from the point of view of your prospective employer. They’re basically taking a gamble on you. They don’t know yet what they’re getting. As you said, this is your first web dev job, you don’t have any real-world experience yet. So maybe to minimize their risk, they offered that amount. They’re probably thinking they’re doing you a favor by training you more, and increasing your skills, and paying you a bit of money.

Usually, the first 6 months is a probation period. If you’re not getting the job done, if they’re not getting their money’s worth from you, you may be let go within that first 6 months. That’s what employers usually do.

So what you can do is upsell yourself and convince them you’re worth the money. Tell them, you’ll take their offer on the condition you want a performance review in 3 mos, or 1mo. (if you’re really that confident), and a possible increase in salary depending on your performance review (if it’s good), and how you’ve become a valuable part of their team. If they don’t give you a raise that you think you deserve after that probation period, then ask yourself if you’re prepared to walk away.


Owel (as usual) is giving good advice.

The only questions I’d ask are:

  • Do you have a better job offer?
  • You say it is “half of what the average entry level web designer in my area makes” - is that counting designers with degrees and internships under their belts?
  • Forgive my vulgarity, but what are they offering? Is it something you could live on for the next year?

Look at it this way - some designers are signing up for unpaid internships. Consider this a paid internship. Do it for six months, get paid to learn, work your ass off. If after six months you haven’t convinced them they need you, start looking for other work - with a lot of experience, a better portfolio, and some good references under your belt.

I would love to find an underpaid entry level job. I would love to be able to quite my day job and code full time and build an experience base and a portfolio. Consider yourself lucky.

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Well i ahve been there although in different field (Eletrics/Eletronic Jobs) and been there as an employer and as an employee, I can say to you that it really made me think a employee was pretty motivated when a response like what @owel just told you, and that made me push for him so he could learn better and faster so he could bring more value to the company…

Now in the case i was the employee i tried to give the same response but i guess my handler didn’t liked that much about my answer since it looked like he stopped liking me (lol) and after the 6 months i was working pretty better than every other technician in the company and he fired me anyway, although this was a really big company (multinational) so i would say that if i was in your position i would choose my path depending on the size of the company and to how i ranked my relation with my handler… But i would love an oportunity like yours at the point i am with my life since i am currently unnemployed and with no real professional experience in webdevelopment or webdesign!

Sounds like your boss was insecure, and his incompetence might become obvious with a person like you around. Bad bosses fire good employees and keep the bad ones around, so they look like the cream of the crop.


Often in big companies, bosses (managers) don’t like when people do too much (because they are proving themselfs or just because they like what they are doing, like i was) just because their “friends” are the ones under-producing and it’s not like the company it’s from theirs, they are someone that also has a boss and will not earn more or less if their employers produce more or less, actually if their employees produce less, they will need more people in their team and consequently they will have bigger teams than other managers(bosses) inside the company, making possible for their boss to increase their salary, it’s sad but it’s the reality these days specially in my country… LOL

Now usually in small companies bosses are usually the ones that are the owners of the company or the CEOs and in that case what they want/need is productive people and don’t give a f*** (pardon my french) about their “friends” not being producing as much as a better employer trying to prove himself, and often this leads to keep the good employee and fire the “friend” because they would not have access to the same capital as a bigger company, like i also had to do when i ran a company… xD

If they are going to underpay you, they are a starter job. Think of it as a way to get your foot in the door in the industry. Work hard for them, gather as much experience as you can, but be prepared to move when a better opportunity comes along. I’ve been there twice in development. I got good skills out of those jobs. And don’t feel bad about leaving later on, programming skills are valuable, and they know what they are doing in low-balling you.