Outside-the-Box Benefits You Didn’t Know You Could Negotiate

If you’re negotiating a job offer in the near future, the first thing on your mind is probably getting the biggest salary you can command. That’s a solid top priority, and you should absolutely go for it. That said, more cash isn’t the only thing to ask for — and if the hiring manager plays hardball, you’ll want some fallback perks to request.

These benefits will add money to your bottom line … or improve your work-life balance to the point where it’s worth taking a little less cash. (Maybe.)

1. More time off

When there’s no more money on the table, ask for time instead. Many companies will pony up an extra week of vacation time to hire a candidate who negotiated for a higher salary.

It makes sense for companies to offer you the time. Even if it seems like it should impact their earnings, the reality is that responsible professionals generally wind up working more before and after to lessen the effect of their absence. From your perspective, more vacation time is an obvious win. Extra time off might mean the difference between using all your PTO to catch up with family and taking a real vacation.

Want to go for broke? Ask about sabbaticals. Some companies give loyal employees a few months off to travel or work on their own projects. Fortune reports that a few organizations offer them to workers who’ve been at the company for as little as six months.

2. The skills that will get you your next job

What’s standing between you and your dream job? Some job experience maybe, but also a few all-important skills. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 61 percent of private-sector employers offer tuition reimbursement. Even if your prospective employer isn’t willing to pay for a whole degree, they might fund a few online classes. Depending on the skill you’re targeting, practical knowledge could boost your future earning power more than a degree.

3. More exercise

Many employers pay for gym memberships for staff, either through their health insurance package or as a separate benefit. But if you play your cards right, you can get more specific and interesting fitness perks.

For instance, some Redditors report getting “Powder Day” or “Fishing Day” clauses written into their contracts, allowing them a day off a year to ski or fish, etc. This is obviously an unusual ask, but if the employer has an outdoorsy bent, it’s worth a try. (Stick to the gym membership for more staid companies.)

4. Less time wasted commuting

How much money do you spend getting back and forth to work? When you make your calculations, remember to include the cost of coffee and lunch and dry cleaning, plus all the other little expenses that you incur by leaving your house to go to work every day.

Now, think about how much you could save if your employer let you work from home a day or two a week. It’s a bonus for them, as well, since telecommuters report being more productive at home than at the office.

5. A better wardrobe

If your prospective employer has a dress code like PayScale’s (“JSS — Jeans, shorts, and sandals welcome!”), you probably don’t need this benefit. If you have to dress up for work, on the other hand, you know how expensive adulting can be. Even decent business casual can run you into some serious money.

Unless, of course, the company gives you a clothing allowance. That’s right: some employers will subsidize your work wardrobe, generally in the form of an annual allowance. This perk seems to be more common in fashion and sales jobs – gigs where personal appearance is especially important.

6. Company-sponsored telecommunications

If your data package rivals your rent, this perk could save you a lot of money. Negotiate for free or subsidized mobile or internet service, and you’ll knock one big item off your personal budget. Like gym memberships, this benefit might already be included in the company’s perks, so it’s a good idea to check.

7. Free access to the company’s product or service

Most employers will cut you a deal on whatever they’re selling, whether it’s an employee discount on clothes at a retailer or free TV at a cable company. It’s always worth it to ask. You might discover that the perk is already baked into your offer.