Do You Know How To Negotiate Your Day Rate?

I know, its hard to have to negotiate money. As artists, most of us would rather just do the job and have someone else negotiate the money. However, the hard reality is this; agents only want to take on established artists. So this means you are going to have to do the negotiating until your career is at a level where an agent will take you on.

I think most of us don’t want to negotiate money because there are so many emotional attachments we carry with it. According to, ” There are four emotionally charged reasons that this happens:

* You don’t believe you deserve it.
* You don’t believe other people think you deserve it.
* You know you deserve more, but not how much more.
* You know precisely how much more you deserve, but you don’t know how to get it.”

I think as women this is particularly true (whether we want to admit it or not). I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be sweet and accommodating. This a great notion for the 1950’s housewife, but it serves no purpose in the business world. Growing up, I don’t know how many times I avoided the opportunity to make a better deal because I just didn’t want to create conflict. I just wanted to make my purchase and get out of there. It didn’t matter if I could have gotten my item for less as long as I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of haggling. But why? Why do we undermine ourselves? I think in competitive job market we mostly do it because of the fear centered around not getting the work. What if we over-bid for the job? If anything, I think we mostly of grossly underbid. This might happen for a number of reasons starting with not knowing what your rate should be, and not putting a value on your time.

Good negotiation happens when you know what you are worth and you are willing to walk away based on principle. Negotiation isn’t just about a dollar amount. It’s putting a value on how much time it will take you to drive to the job, how many people you will have to prep, how much product is being used out of your kit, how much time they are giving you to prep each of the talent, what the talent you are working along side you is being paid, and ultimately how beat up will feel at the end of the day. It’s not about how much you are asking or put some mascara or hairspray on someone. It’s about how much your time and expertise is worth. So do your homework. Know what the going rate is for your area, level of experience, and the medium you are working in. Then you have to know if your time, effort, and financial investment is worth what they are offering you. If it’s not, then be prepared to take a stand and walk away. CNN advises:

1. Don’t look at a deal as an either/or proposition
2. Know what you can part with — then part with it hard
3. Figure out the other side’s timetable. Then use it
4. Show people that you understand their position
5. Stifle your emotions
6. Don’t believe everything, but don’t call anyone a liar
7. Devise a backup plan that you could live with

I think that is great advice from a well respected resource. The day we all know what are worth, is the day we all get paid a fair wage. Just ask yourself, “What is that producer or actor being paid for their time?” It’s probably more than what you are getting.

For more career advice go to and watch industry interviews on HMA Network TV. Or watch our virtual classroom video on rate negotiation

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick


January 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist.

One Comment

  1. Rachelle replied:

    good article, good points

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