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I've been working as a contract editor for the same company for about seven years. About three years ago, they changed the terms of their contract, which is now resulting in a huge pay loss for me (we went from getting royalties on books sold to getting paid per word). Although I did very well the last couple of years, this year I'm making about 1/6 of what I made the previous two years. We were told they can't give us raises due to IRS regulations; because we're contract workers, we have to submit a rate change request and they'll either approve it or not. My recent review was superb. How do I word a letter requesting an increase, and what sort of percentage would be reasonable? I can't really go by industry standards because, honestly, there aren't any.

  • Are you sure you aren't an employee of that company under the guise of a "contract" so that the company can save money by not having to provide benefits and do your tax for you? This can usually have very serious legal ramifications for both parties. – Amelia Mar 13 '14 at 12:53
  • I don't think so, although I do sign a noncompete clause where I can't do this exact same job other places. I do freelance work elsewhere and for other publishers. But you're right, they don't provide any benefits or take care of taxes. – Stash99 Mar 13 '14 at 13:16
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Best way to ask for higher rates is to do just that: ask for a higher rate. Mention you have good reviews and have been a steady reliable worker for many years and request a rate suitable for your quality. Compare it to other work you did to determine what is a good rate. If comparison is not possible, than simply request a rate that you think makes it worth your while.

One note though: be prepared to walk if you do not get a higher rate. If you're not, that seriously undermines your position for negotiations and as soon a they figure it out you will have a very hard time negotiating higher rates.

  • Yes, that is a problem - there's nowhere else to walk to. And they probably know that. But I will ask - you don't ask, you don't get, I suppose. – Stash99 Mar 14 '14 at 11:47
  • Absolutely, it undermines negotiations, it doesn't make them impossible! – user3244085 Mar 14 '14 at 19:27
  • Actually, the alternative is I go freelance full-time, but that's not as reliable. There are always options, but I really like what I do. I just need to make more $$ doing it. And I haven't asked for a raise in 7 years, so I guess it's time! Thank you all for your help! – Stash99 Mar 15 '14 at 22:37
  • Situations, location, industry differ of course, but going freelance full time for me was the best decision I ever made. – user3244085 Mar 15 '14 at 23:00
  • Well, I'm considered a freelancer for this company as well, but it's very steady work as compared to building my own client list - which I've also been doing. Sigh, so many decisions... – Stash99 Mar 16 '14 at 1:03

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