How to ask for a raise

I’ve spent most of my working life self employed. But now I find myself employed.

When I first took the job they asked me if I would be willing to take less than I was asking for a three month trial period. I agreed. At the three month mark we were in pandemic mode and they were cutting other employee hours - not a good time to ask for a raise.

But it’s coming up on a year now and I feel it’s time. Sooo, how does one ask for a raise? Should I email my boss asking for a set down? Ask in person? And what to say while actually asking. The whole idea seems intimidating.

Background: I’m the maintenance coordinator for a property management company. I manage about 500 properties.

Any input would help, thanks!
(I’ll answer any questions as best as I can - however I’m at work now)

Any research you can do on what comparable positions at other companies are paid would be helpful. You can try to document all of the stuff you do that is above and beyond the call of duty, or how your awesome performance saves them money.

Ask your boss for a sit down meeting because you’d like to have a performance review since it’s coming up on a year. A one-year performance / check-up review is a pretty standard thing. Asking in person is best because if he doesn’t really want to it’s harder for him to put it off than if you email him.

Once you sit down with him, start out friendly with a minute or two of small talk, then ask him what he thinks of your performance so far this year. How positive or negative his assessment is will give you an idea how successful your raise ask is going to be, and will give you some thoughts for how to adjust your talking points.

When it’s your turn, talk up all the great things you’ve done for the company and how you’ve saved them money and gone above and beyond, as @Dewey_Finn said. If your boss had negative points address them without being confrontational, either explain why you respectfully disagree or explain how you will improve, depending on how accurate he was. Explain your plan and vision for how you will improve the company in the coming year.

Finally, mention that you took the job with the expectation you were on a 3-month trial period, which understandably got extended because of the pandemic, and people in your position typically make $X yearly (again, @Dewey_Finn is right, do your research), and you feel you deserve a raise to $X amount (ask for more than you think you’ll be able to get, because your boss will probably compromise on a raise). Don’t be intimidated! If you do a good job for your company you absolutely deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Managing 500 properties sounds like you have your hands full with that job!

soloist has some good advice above. In person is definitely the way to go; it’s much easier to say “no” over email, and much harder for you to make your case.

However, (story follows) don’t think that this will automatically lead to success. I followed more or less this strategy many years ago. I thought I made a very strong case. It was obviously not given any consideration whatsoever, which can be common enough.

The interesting ending to this story is that I had taken on a number of tasks in addition to my usual role. This included (over a number of years) taking on increasing responsibility for the growing computer network (not my area of expertise, nor anyone’s at the organization). It had grown from a few PC’s to 20 networked computers, 10BaseT wiring, printers etc. etc.

When I left, they posted my position, and could not find anyone who had the combination of skills to do my job AND run the computers. So they hired a person at a salary of 30% higher than I had been making (because nobody would apply at the salary I was making - it was well below industry standard), AND they had to hire a full time computer tech who cost MORE than what I was making. The interesting thing is that management never once figured out that perhaps by giving me a 10% raise, they could have saved a butt-load of money. Because they continued to refuse raises to others, and bleed talent until they went out of business. I don’t think they ever figured out why they failed.

I’m surprised they didn’t offer you more money, very short sighted of your former company. I was in a similar position at a former company-- I had become the sysadmin and a one-man IT dept. just sort of by default because I had a knack for it. Things were fine until the Great Recession of '08-'09. Since we were primarily a supplier to auto companies we had a rough couple years and everybody’s salary was cut by 20-25%. I got really tired of making the same salary I made 10 years before and found another job by 2010. In my case, when I gave them my resignation they told me to name my price. But by then it was not just a matter of not being paid enough, I was just not confident in their efforts and decision making in trying to recover from the recession, and my new job was not automotive-related at all. So I moved on.

I was also on the opposite end of a similar negotiation-- I hired a person who seemed very well qualified and personable, and I thought I had really made a good find. Apparently I was right, because she called me and said sorry, her current company gave her a big raise when she gave them her notice, so she decided to stay with them.

You should definitely ask for a sit down and make sure they are available to talk with you. Make a list of the reasons why you deserve the raise. Perhaps look to your responsibilities and add to it or let them know that you are doing more than expected of you. Its all about making your case with your employer so that they see that paying you more is less painful than watching you leave.

Thanks everyone. Good points. Especially solost, I appreciate your thorough response.

One more point – When you’re preparing for the meeting, update your resume. This serves two purposes

  1. It helps you focus on what you’ve accomplished from a different perspective – that of a potential employer. In some ways, the performance review is like an employment interview for the job you have and for the job you want it to evolve into.

  2. If the meeting doesn’t go as you expect, it gives you some comfort to know that your paper is ready to hit the street.

A tip from Ask a Manager Do not tell your employer you need a raise because you can’t manage on your current salary.

Thirded: this is a well-known technique. If they know you can and will resign and take up a higher-paid position elsewhere, then they will have to, at the very least, match that offer.

However, this may depend on the employer. In my story above with the employer who ended up paying far more for a new employee, but didn’t understand why…

A colleague went to this same boss a bit later, and said that if he didn’t get a raise, he could easily find more money elsewhere. Boss said “Terrific, that will be great for you. Your last day is in two weeks. Bye” Trouble is, he didn’t have something already lined up. (Which is what I did when denied a raise; got another job, then quit. It’s tougher the other way around)

By the way, pro-tip: If your company/boss is pulling stupid shit like this with your co-workers, start looking for another job NOW. The company is going to go tits-up fairly soon.

My company doesn’t seem stupid and I’m not unhappy there. I think the problem is mine. I should have at least mentioned the raise at the end of the probation period, even if I was willing to for-go it until after pandemic.

As I stated in the OP, I’m just not used to working in standard environments.

I appreciate all the feedback given so far.

Thought I’d follow up. Thanks to all the advise given here, I asked for and received a substantial raise.



This is exactly what I was going to add. I was a manager in the IT industry for 32 years. It is surprising how many people have asked me for a raise because they just bought a new house and their mortgage payment is higher, just bought a new car, etc., etc. You have to see it from the company’s perspective: Why are you worth more?