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Brainstorms Issue #13: Negotiation as a Service

Brainstorms Issue #13: Negotiation as a Service

Brainstorms Issue #13

The Idea: Negotiation as a Service

“I’m an awful Negotiator. It’s partially because I hate conflict, but also because I don’t know how to do it properly. I hear all the time “everything’s negotiable”, so I can only imagine that I’ve lost thousands of dollars due to my inability to negotiate. ”

B2B SaaS Founder

Market Background & Opportunity Size

Most people absolutely hate negotiating. Unfortunately, it's an experience most people go through in their lives. It happens between employers and employees, when you want to purchase a car, or with the vendors you use to run your business.

Everyone must face one high-pressure negotiation at least a few times in their life. One of the harder, yet most common negotiations is the salary conversation. Even though it's incredibly important, most people still try to avoid it. A recent study showed that only 46% of men negotiated their salary, and only 34% of women did the same.

But, it’s not just salaries that are being negotiated. There are dozens of things we pay for, in both our business lives and personal lives) that we don’t even think to negotiate. Here are a few:

  • Vehicles

  • SaaS Tools

  • Office Leases

  • Cable Bills

If we specifically look at business expenses, companies can save anywhere from 15-25% on software, office supplies, or their leases by just negotiating for a lower bill - according to Buyer. To put that in perspective:

That being said, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot of fat to trim and thousands of dollars are being left on the table.  

Pain Points

As I mentioned above, most people hate negotiating. Let’s look at some of the reasons why:

  • Social Conflict: At their core, negotiations are two parties seeking conflicting outcomes. These conversations can are filled with a lack of clarity and ambiguity, which can instill fear and anger. Because of these intense emotions, people will avoid them at all costs.

  • Lack of Information: Most people don’t know what is possible to negotiate for, much less the desired outcomes.

  • Time: Negotiations take a lot of time. Even if you get what you want you may spend more time negotiating the deal than it was worth.

  • Poor Negotiating Abilities: If you’re a bad negotiator, you’re either not going to get what you want, or you’ll run the risk of leaving money on the table.

The Opportunites

The idea here is simple: negotiation as a service. An on-demand negotiator that you can ask for advice, or even outsource the negotiation to completely.

The trick to making this business work is finding places where effective negotiation yields large ROIs. While there are many verticals you could go into, here are my favorites:

  • Salary Negotiation as a Service: 70% of employers say they expect a candidate to negotiate salary. But, less than 50% of employees negotiate their salary. If done correctly, this negotiation can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

  • SaaS Tool Negotiation as a Service: As mentioned in the “Background” section, there's a massive opportunity to help companies negotiate SaaS prices. With SaaS spending growing by more than 25% per year, this problem is getting bigger. Given the recurring billing cycles of SaaS tools, helping companies cut their spending early can save them exponentially more in the future.

  • Office Space Lease Negotiation as a Service: Just like purchasing a home, landlords and listing agents in commercial real estate almost always expect potential renters or lessees to submit a counteroffer. Knowing what terms can be negotiated is key, and can save tens of thousands of dollars over the duration of the lease.

Note: If you’re looking for more of a B2C play, look into helping people negotiate cable bills, phone bills, or car purchases as a service.

Current Competitors

  • Candor

    • Candor specializes in negotiating salaries for tech professionals. They started 10 months ago and are already getting 500,000 monthly visits to their site. They began as a community but pivoted to offering salary negotiating as a service. They make money by taking a percentage of the increase in your offer, but it’s unclear how big that percentage is.

  • Levels

    • Levels is a company that crowdsources anonymized salary information from users and shares it publicly. They also have a service where you can book calls with a negotiation expert to help you get a better offer. To me, this is just like Clarity.fm but for negotiators.

  • Buyer

    • Buyer helps you negotiate most business expenses your company incurs. Think software tools, cloud computing, and even office leases. They charge a flat fee for their services, but it’s unclear how much that is. They started roughly 6 months ago.

Note: here are a few other companies to look at that are in the B2C space, Bill Shark, Tailored Auto, and Bill Fixers.

How to Execute

Before I jump into the action plan, there are a few things I want to highlight about why I love these business ideas:

  • You don’t need to be technical to build this. You can do this in your local area with your current network.

  • With a bit of hustle, you could easily create a $10K MRR business.

  • You don’t need to be a good negotiator. There are plenty of people that you could outsource that piece to.

Okay, let’s jump into the execution plan. I gave out three avenues to run down. While they are all good, I’m going to focus on salary negotiation as a service:

  1. Create a No-Brainer Offer: An enticing revenue model is charging a percentage of the net gain from the negotiating. Meaning, if you don’t get the client more money, then you don’t get paid. This is the best way to test your business model. it’s a no-brainer offer for potential customers, and you’ll get to put your product to the test.

  2. Find Your Early Adopters: To start, you’d just need to find 5 people willing to let you help them negotiate their salary. Here are some ideas:

    1. Reach out to people on Reddit that ask for help negotiating salary

    2. Create a post/article “5 tips for negotiating your salary” and post it to r/careeradvice, r/jobs, r/accounting, r/devops etc… with a link to your service

    3. Look on LinkedIn for people with “seeking opportunities” in their bio, and reach out to them

  3. Productize The Service: The key is turning this into a productized service. This means, find the most effective and efficient way to help people negotiate their salary, and turn that into a repeatable process you can sell over and over. This should require little to no technology - just a good negotiator and some hustle. However, I recommend to niche down and focus on an industry/career path where you can get referrals.

  4. Partner with Job Boards: To scale, you should find all the relevant job boards and partner with them. You could do a simple revenue share where they get a cut of any lead they send you. There are thousands of different job boards out there, and some of them are even run as side projects (which makes getting their attention a lot easier). Here’s a list of some niche job boards you could target.


  • Tough to Scale: While this could become a great business ($10M+), I believe turning this into a big business ($100M+) would be very difficult. The hands-on nature of helping people negotiate salaries makes this challenging to scale.

  • Building Trust: To get this off the ground, you’ll need to build a lot of trust with potential clients and show some early wins. For a user, trusting a company to handle what’s considered a very important life decision can be difficult. You’ll need to build up a strong base of testimonials and reviews.

  • Finding The Right Customers: Let’s face it, some of the individuals that will want to work with you are not in a position to negotiate a higher salary. You’ll need to only work with individuals you believe you can make an impact with. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of bad testimonials/reviews.

Thanks for reading - now get out there and build it! 

Catch ya next week, 

Keevin ✌