Negotiating offer to jump ship for a competing startup

by o_my_dog. Posted on Sep 09, 2020    5    3

I currently lead operations (customer success, support and renewals) for a small enterprise software company. My current employer has 25 FTEs and generates $7 million in annual revenue. I report directly to the CEO, who is the sole decision-maker as this is a bootstrapped company.

My current boss is a micromanager and has made some ethically questionable decisions, so when a larger competitor reached out, I was curious what they had to offer. For context, the competitor is VC funded and has approximately 150 employees and $25 million in ARR. I quickly learned that I am underpaid and overworked for this niche market, as the employee to revenue ratio indicates.

Next week I’ll be receiving an offer from the competitor. This will only be for an individual contributor role (think: technical solution manager) but offers a higher base salary and better benefits. The challenge is I believe the competitor is likely to lowball me (relative the position’s range), despite moving quickly on my candidacy and having very positive feedback throughout.

During this process, I’ve been discussing two different roles at the same level with one offering higher total compensation due to commissions. They’re now trying to say that they want all new hires to start in the lower paid role. I’m not thrilled about this, and the recruiter threw out some salary numbers at the lower end of the range ($125-135k). As I have experience in this specific niche and would be taking a cut in seniority to work for them, I believe I should be an exception to start in the higher paid role and receive the higher end of the salary range ($150k+).

I am very likely to receive a counteroffer from my current boss, as my role is business critical and we’re understaffed as it is. In terms of the comparison between the competitor and my current employer:

Overall compensation: Likely competitor as my current compensation is ~ 25% bonus, which is variable from quarter to quarter and heavily taxed
Benefits: Competitor Title: Current Employer Influence: Current Employer Market share: Competitor Leadership: Competitor Team: Likely current employer because I’m the hiring manager Equity: Not a significant factor Location: Not significant Travel requirements: Similar Workload: Position with the competitor would be significantly less work Signing bonus: Unlikely

How should I approach this? My current employer is less than ideal, but I already have a better title and more influence than I would have at the competitor. I would also need both a promotion (think: VP of Operations) and raise to stay but have a good chance of getting both. (I received a promotion and raise early this year, but both were underwhelming.)

I know I need to ask for a few days to think about the offer and then come back with a counter. How should I approach this with my current employer? If the initial offer is decent, I’m thinking I skip straight to submitting my resignation to get a strong counter while I’m still negotiating the competitor’s offer. (My boss tends to only offer significant incentives when forced.) Thoughts?

Notes: I’m borderline FIRE (financially independent/retire early) but would like to work another 10+ years in tech before pursuing lower paying work that I enjoy more. While I have options aside from these two employers, finding a comparable position outside of this niche would be more difficult.

TL/DR: Receiving an offer from a stronger competitor in the market and will need to negotiate. Also hoping to get a counter from my current employer. Need to get the last, best and final from both quickly in order to make a decision.


illbzo1 1

Take the new job.

DamienColt 1

Be honest and straightforward. You got all figured out, go with your instinct and good luck.

Training_basecamp 2

Common sense. Your sitting there .... you already know the answer and what to do. Go with the new people