is a gateway website full of good information and tools to compare regional differences in salaries. Searching by stone fabrication as occupation returns some interesting results. is a gateway website full of good information and tools to compare regional differences in salaries. Searching by stone fabrication as occupation returns some interesting results.

The New Year (which is just a few short weeks away) is always a time of hopes, dreams and more importantly, resolutions. Exercise more, spend more time with family, weigh less, get a better job, stop smoking, move to a better neighborhood, take more vacations, improve yourself, make more money, learn a new skill, go back to school, save more money, etc. The resolutions fly through your head so fast, it’s easy to lose track.

If your resolutions include making more money, congratulations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a raise to help build a better life for you and your family. Once you make the decision to ask for a raise, do some homework. Do some online research to determine what sort of pay rate your job calls for with your experience, in your geographical area. The “in your geographical area” part is important. A person in Buffalo, New York, doing the same job may make more, but the cost of living is much higher than if you live in Dawson, Nebraska. Experience is a big consideration as well. You can’t expect to make the same as someone with 10 years experience, if you only have two years experience in the trade. Websites like can be a big help with info, tips and hints.

After you have done that, don’t just walk into your boss’ office and say you want a raise. Make an appointment or ask for a meeting. Your nerves may want you to barge in and “get it over with,” but catching your boss off guard or at a bad time is not the best way to get what you want. Remember, asking for a raise is a perfectly normal event that happens in businesses around the world every day. 

Know the appropriate time to ask for a raise. If it has been less than a year since your last increase and your job hasn’t changed, then wait out your time until it has been a year. If your company has seasonal work issues such as slow during the holidays, but busting at the seams at tax return time, then don’t ask during the holidays. Ask during the busy times when the company bank account is full and times are good. If your company has recently suffered a big financial loss such as a large unexpected tax bill, a lawsuit payout or partner split, or a big capital expense like a new machine, wait for a better time to ask. If your boss is sick, in a bad mood or going through something personal such as a death or illness in the family, postpone your meeting and wait a bit. Timing, as they say, is everything. 

Be sure to present your case based on work performance, not personal issues. Asking for a raise because you’re a single mom with three kids, or because your landlord just raised the rent is not what you want to say. You want to point out your good work performance and skills. List the skills or education you have obtained since your last pay increase. Make the conversation about how you have improved your job, department or the company. Make the conversation about your contributions. However, while you are extolling your virtues, don’t overdo it. Make your case short and sweet. Don’t go on and on and on. 

Be prepared for dialogue. Your boss may raise objections that you need to counter, or he (or she) may ask you some details of some projects you have worked on or helped with. Another question asked frequently is how you can help the company in the future. Be prepared with a good answer. 

Hopefully, you’ll walk away from that meeting with a smile and a pay or benefits increase. Way to go! However, your boss, for whatever reason, could just as easily say no. Should that happen, don’t get upset. Ask what you can do to make more money in the future. It may be something simple like it’s just not a good financial time for the company and you need to revisit the subject in 6 months. Or it may be that something is lacking in your performance that you were unaware of. If that’s the case, fix it, show that you fixed it, and try again. 

It could also be that you are at the top of the pay range for your position. If that’s the case and you need to be promoted to receive an increase, then you have some things to think about. In a larger company, there may be plenty of opportunities for promotions, but in smaller companies, that may not be the case. Then you have to make a decision whether to stay where you are, doing what you’re doing, making what you make, or find another position somewhere else with a pay increase. Only you can decide that.

Also know that if you can’t get a monetary raise, maybe you can negotiate some other benefits like more paid vacation or extra sick/personal days. Maybe you can go for something that will make your job easier like a new computer or no more working on the weekends. Money is not the only thing you can negotiate for. 

So go ahead, ask for that raise, and however it turns out, stay calm and carry on. Or, celebrate and carry on, whichever is appropriate. 

Please send your thoughts on this article to Sharon Koehler at