How to negotiate telecommuting salary?
May 2, 2008 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently living on the East Coast and considering taking a job based out of California. Because it's a job that doesn't require me to be on-site, I will have the option either to relocate or to telecommute. I intend to pursue the latter, which leads me to my question: how do I negotiate my salary? If I were doing comparable work for a local company here in my city on the East Coast, I would be making around $50,000. However, if I were living where the company is based in California (where the cost of living is much higher), I would expect to make something more like $60,000. Should I negotiate a salary based on my location or the company's?
posted by just another other to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I would say $50,000 + cost of working from home (like electricity, office supplies, Broadband, etc...)
posted by WizKid at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2008

No matter the salary, you might also consider negotiating that they pay for X number of trips to the CA office per year. It's best to get that agreed to up front or you may find that they are expecting you to pay for visits on your own dime or something equally ridiculous.

Also consider that since they are not paying for your relocation that might give you a bit more wiggle room.
posted by cabingirl at 9:11 AM on May 2, 2008

Cabingirl's advice is good. My advice is: negotiate for as much as you can get. In my opinion, $50,000 is too low a salary to relocate, and depending upon the location in California, $60,000 will only support a modest lifestyle. Remember, gas is approaching $4 a gallon now and there isn't very good public transportation unless your job is next to Union Station in LA, and you get a place located by the nearest-in Metrolink stop. There are no "express trains" and the only trains stop at every-single-place-along-the-line in all directions - i.e. 3 hr trips each way.
posted by ASterling at 9:14 AM on May 2, 2008

Thanks for the suggestions so far, everyone. The location ... should I pick the relocate option ... would be Temecula, CA.
posted by just another other at 10:26 AM on May 2, 2008

You should get as much as they would pay for someone working locally. What if you decide to take a promotion and/or move on-site? You would not want to start working from a lower base salary.

And certainly if they want you out there for a few meetings a year, they would pay for that. You might also have to sign up with the more expensive out of network insurance plan, so factor that cost in.
posted by mikepop at 10:27 AM on May 2, 2008

I'd start negotiating at $60K. I spent the last year working remotely on the east coast for a Silicon Valley company. They didn't pay me any less than they would have paid somebody out there.

And really, is the cost of living in LA *that" different than a east coast city? If you lived in rural KY it be one thing, but Boston or DC or where ever isn't that much cheaper than the LA area.
posted by COD at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2008

FWIW, Temecula is not an urban area. It's maybe 1.5 hours out of LA. It's suburban, but with farms nearby. Property prices aren't too bad and it's possible to live close to work. Downside, it's as hot as Hades in the summer.
posted by mausburger at 11:29 AM on May 6, 2008

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