How Riva Charges
Riva charges 10% of the negotiated increase we help our clients secure. What does that mean?
In the most typical scenario, a client will come to us with an initial offer – say $100k annual salary. We'll advise them on their negotiation, and then take the difference between the final offer they accept – call it $120k – and the initial offer they received. We then charge 10% of that increase, in this case $2,000 which we allow to be paid in installments: half within 30 days, with the remainder paid out over the following 5 months via Stripe.
For this reason – and because it helps tremendously with the actual negotiation itself – we ask our clients to send us copies of their initial offer letter before we begin or as part of the initial onboarding call, and we ask for a copy of the final accepted offer letter as well.
In the event we're not able to get a hold of a client after helping them with their negotiation, we charge a 2.5% 'ghosting fee' (equal to 2.5% of their total annual compensation) payable in full via the initial Stripe payment method 30 days after the conclusion of their negotiation or the last day we heard from them, whichever comes first. We make every effort to contact clients to ensure we never encounter this situation, and of course clients have the right to dispute the charge by sending us their verified final accepted offer letter.
Of course, every situation is unique – so below are some common scenarios and our approach to payment for each.
When compensation includes non-salary components.
Because we recognize that compensation can be complicated – and because it's often the case that employers find it easier to create packages comprised of multiple different 'currencies' for getting paid (including equity, performance bonuses, signing bonuses, relocation packages and more) – we factor in EVERY piece of monetary compensation into our 'negotiated increase' calculation. For packages paid out over several years, we average out the total compensation as an annual figure. Please note: we're not in the business of second-guessing market valuations, so for equity grants we rely on the latest valuation the company has been given to calculate the value of your comp.
- Example: a client receives an initial offer for $100k in base, plus a $50k signing bonus and $200k in equity (RSUs) vesting over 4 years: $200k total compensation in year 1. After negotiating with Riva, the final offer increases to $140k in base, plus a $60k signing bonus and an unchanged equity package: a $50k increase in year 1. We charge $5k.
Notably, this does NOT include non-financial elements like vacation days, remote flexibility, title, visa or other immigration requirements, etc.; we are happy to help clients with these important considerations as an added bonus to our services, and consider them crucial to securing a final offer that our clients are happy to accept, but we do not factor such components into our fees.
- Example: a client receives an initial offer for $100k in base, plus a $50k signing bonus at a "manager" position. After consulting with their coach, they negotiate a better title – "senior manager" – that comes with a $120k salary but the same signing bonus. We charge $2k.
When compensation includes uncertain / non-fixed elements like bonuses.
For many roles – for example, commission-based salespeople – it's impossible to determine exactly how much the final annual compensation will be until the client is already in the position. In these cases, we use the on-target earnings (OTE) or similar estimates provided by the prospective new employer to calculate our fee, and encourage our clients to reach out to adjust their payments if their earnings fall short of expectations. We're happy to reimburse any over-charges that may emerge after the fact (or to help negotiate for an additional increase as compensation!)
- Example: a client receives an initial offer for $100k in base, plus a 25% individual bonus if they hit their expected sales targets and a 25% company bonus if revenue performs as expected: $150k total compensation. After negotiating with Riva, the final offer increases to $120k in base, plus a $50% individual bonus and a 10% company bonus: $192k target total compensation. We charge $4.2k. After a year, the client hits their individual target, but their team falls short and they don't get the $12k company bonus. The client sends us their pay stub, at which point we refund the $1.2k company bonus component of our fee.
When clients want help negotiating a raise from their current employer.
We love negotiating raises because there are often so many unexpected sources of leverage we can tap – after all, at a bare minimum, companies should be willing to increase pay by the amount it would cost to replace you! In these cases, we simply apply our standard 10% fee to the amount of the raise (i.e., the difference between a client's previous pay and their new salary).
- Example: a client currently earns $100k, but hasn't gotten a raise in 2 years even as inflation has eaten away at their purchasing power. We help the client find multiple competitors in their region offering higher pay for the same position, and guide them in approaching their boss to ask for more without damaging their working relationship. In the end, their boss agrees to make up for the previous two years of delayed raises, and increases their pay to $125k plus a one-time $5k bonus and a promise for a promotion within 6 months. We charge $3k.
When clients engage us prior to receiving the first offer.
We love working with clients as early as possible, because we can often set up conversations in advance to produce optimal outcomes in many cases exceeding what our clients initially believed would be possible from the process. However, such cases do require an additional investment of time on our end, so in these cases we use the client's current salary as the baseline, and calculate the negotiated increase from there. For clients who are currently between roles, we simply take their most recent previous salary and use that as the baseline for our calculations.
- Example: a client currently earns $100k when they engage us, and is considering a few different new companies but doesn't have any firm offers yet. We work with them to create a bidding war between their current employer and a competitor, after the hiring process is complete their new role is paying them $150k – a $50k increase. We charge $5k.
When clients are negotiating multiple offers simultaneously.
This is often a gold mine for clients, and the type of situation in which eye-popping increases are possible (i.e., almost doubling the starting offer in some cases). But making the most of this kind of complex, multi-party negotiation can be time-consuming and intensive, requiring a great deal of care to ensure the process proceeds smoothly and relationships remain healthy. In these instances, we calculate the starting point as the average of the multiple initial offers (or the client's current salary if no new offers have been made when we engage), and the increase is measured as the difference between the final accepted offer and this starting point.
- Example: a client has one offer from company X for $100k, and another from company Y for $120k. We start with the average of the two offers – $110k – and initiate a negotiation process that includes multiple rounds of counter-offers in a bidding war between the two firms. In the end, company X offers the highest amount at $185k – an increase of $85k above their starting point, but just $75k above the average. We charge $7.5k.
When a client gets a job offer that we didn't help them negotiate.
From time to time, we'll have spent hours advising a client to maximize one offer – then out of the blue, they'll find another opportunity that pays more than the offer we'd been working on. Congratulations! That's great news for the client, but it does leave our coaches in a bit of a bind: they invested lots of their time in an initial negotiation process, and thanks to circumstances outside their control they no longer have anything to show for it.
This is a very rare problem (usually clients would still want to negotiate their fresh offer!), but in these instances we do suggest to our clients that they tip their coach directly between $250-500 depending on the amount of work put in before the accepted offer, at their discretion – and we ask that the client speaks with a member of our leadership team to make sure nothing went wrong during the process.
In rare instances, clients may try and keep one offer secret from us in an effort to avoid compensating their coach for their time. We find this typically results in bad outcomes and missed opportunities to maximize earnings for the client, but in these cases we make a call on a case-by-case basis when to consider the situation a case of multiple simultaneous offers or an unexpected, out of the blue windfall for the client – and we appreciate our clients' understanding and flexibility as we try to keep things fair for their coach!
One important exception to this rule: when the 'out-of-the-blue' competing offer comes from a client's current employer, regardless of whether they were directly solicited. This is actually very much an expected part of the negotiations process (in fact, it's often a great tactic for getting more), and any increase at one's current job would be included in our standard 10% fee calculation.
When a client conveniently forgets that we exist after we helped them earn more.
This is our least favorite part of our jobs, but unfortunately it has occurred a handful of times in the past. In these rare instances, we'll work with a client to help try and secure a substantial increase – but rather than being happy with the 90% they keep in year 1, some folks try and avoid paying our coaches for their time and the value they added through the negotiation. Of course, if our service fell short or our advice wasn't helpful, we're happy to work with clients and be flexible on our terms and conditions, including waiving our fee if our services didn't make a difference. But when folks decide to try and ghost us to avoid paying, we reserve the right to charge a fee to help compensate our coaches equal to 2.5% of the latest total compensation package we know about.
The 2.5% ‘ghosting fee’ is payable in full via the initial Stripe payment method 30 days after the conclusion of their negotiation or the last day we heard from them, whichever comes first. And if we aren't able to collect, after 60 days we are authorized to report delinquencies to employers and credit bureaus... though of course, we will make every effort to get in touch to avoid a rare and regrettable situation like this ever arising. Please don't do this!
You understand and agree that we may change any of the terms of the Agreement at any time and without prior notice. If we do this, we will post the changes on the relevant page and will indicate at the top of the page the date the terms were last revised. Revised terms will become effective at the time they are posted to the Website, and any use of the Website or Services after such date indicates your agreement to such revised terms and conditions.
SERVICES. Riva’s coaches are providing advisory and consulting Services to you. The nature and extent of such advisory and consulting Services will be tailored to your individual situation. As such, no specific work product or other documentation is guaranteed, and no minimum number of meetings, phone calls, emails, or other communications between you and your coach are guaranteed. Further, you understand and agree that Riva is providing its Services directly to you and does not act as your agent or representative to your current or prospective employer.
FEES. We have provided above a detailed explanation of the types and amounts of fees we charge for the Services in various situations. By engaging our Services you acknowledge and agree that you have read the above fee and payment terms and conditions. By providing us with your credit card information you hereby grant Riva or its third-party service provider permission to automatically charge your credit card for the fees when due (per above). You are responsible for providing complete and accurate billing and contact information to Riva and notifying Riva of any changes to such information. You will be liable to Riva for all costs incurred by Riva in its collection of any amounts owing which are not paid when due, including collection agencies’ and attorneys’ fees and expenses, regardless of whether a lawsuit is commenced.
Questions? Comments? Unsure of how our payments model applies in your particular situation? Don't hesitate to reach out here or schedule an initial consultation; we'd be happy to discuss the best option for you.