Tips for Contract Negotiations

Negotiating with a practice for a new job you want to join can seem daunting. You want to get the best deal you can in a way that leaves everyone with a positive feeling about the new relationship. Here are some pointers that will help you do just that:


When to start contract negotiations: 

Only begin negotiations once you completely understand the offer.

  • Review the salary, complete benefits package, call schedules, reimbursement for calls, and how bonuses work. Make sure you review their human resources manuals and other material about their policies they have provided – information that will be relevant to your decision will often be found in these supporting documents.
  • If something seems to be missing, just call them and ask. Have a list of the specific information you need, tell them you are giving their offer serious consideration, and want to know about these details.


How to organize your requests:

Make a list of the items you want to add, delete or modify in the contract.

  • Reasonable requests are respected, unreasonable requests are not. Keep it reasonable. Large groups may not be able to accommodate specific requests that have not been granted to the physicians who have already joined the organization.
  • Make sure your list is complete and prioritized before you begin to negotiate. Without a complete list, you may not remember what you really want and where you can be flexible.

Know what is a “deal killer” for you, and what is not—where you can bend and where you can’t. List your priorities from “most important” to “least important.”

If you have questions about what is reasonable and what isn’t, contact your physician recruiter. We are not contract attorneys, but we can help you compare your offer against MGMA physician salary survey data to make sure your contract is in alignment with national trends. Because we have worked with many of our groups for years, we have a good sense of what will and will not be considered reasonable based on previous contract negotiations we’ve assisted with.



How to present your requests to the group:

Deal directly with the principal decision maker.

  • The more people involved in communication, the greater the chance of a misunderstanding.
  • Be sure to thank them for the offer, demonstrate enthusiasm for the opportunity, and express how seriously you are considering their offer. Then list the items you would like to discuss.

Be friendly and positive when beginning conversations regarding the negotiation.

  1. Again, affirm you would like to accept the position and join the
  2. Then comment that after reviewing their offer, you have come up with a short list of items to
  3. Tell them the specific number of items you want to discuss. That way they won’t be surprised if the list gets lengthy.
  4. Discuss your highest priority items in your list first, then move through the list in order of priority from the most important requests to the least important requests.
  5. State each item
  6. Get them to repeat back their understanding of what you are asking for. Clear, concise communication is critical at this

End the conversation by expressing gratitude for concessions made and a willingness to be flexible about requests that cannot be met. Ask for a counterproposal.

If further conversation is required, close the current conversation by reaffirming your intent to join the practice when these final details are resolved.



You want to allow the group time to understand your requests, determine where they will be able to accommodate you, and prepare a counterproposal. If they are not able to respond to your requests immediately, don’t take it personally! Ask them to schedule a follow up conversation and give them time to discuss your requests with the group.



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