Why Do I Want a Salary?
Typically, a move from hourly to salaried work comes with a promotion and additional responsibility. As long as you're up for the extra work, there's no reason not to take the raise. But realize that if you work more than 40 hours in a week (which many salaried workers do), you won't get any extra money. Salaried employees are expected to get their job done in whatever time it takes.
Even if you don't get a promotion, you may get other perks that make the move from hourly to salary worth the trouble.
Things to Consider
Before making the decision, weigh all the factors involved:
In some cases, you may prefer to keep your hourly wage. For example, if you consistently rack up overtime, moving to a salaried position wouldn't provide you much benefit. And if the salaried position comes with additional responsibility that you aren't ready to have, then decline politely.
Negotiating Your Salary
If you decide that a salaried job is the way to go, negotiate the pay. Consider the lowest amount you would take for the amount of time you're putting in currently. Then request a salary that's a bit higher than that, so that there is wiggle room should your boss deny your first request.
If you'll be accepting a promotion, research what this type of role typically pays in your area. Weigh in any special experience you have (for example, the fact that you already know how to run a particular machine or do a special set of tasks). Then make that your case for requesting extra money. Remember it's more affordable to bring you on if you're already trained and familiar with the work rather than to hire you as an outsider.
Let your boss start the conversation. He will likely have the offer in mind. Make sure you understand the additional responsibilities you'll have, and weigh that into your decision. Don't be afraid to counter his offer. Typically what you will end up with is a decision somewhere between your boss' offer and your request.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.