What are the Pros and Cons of Being an Independent Contractor as an NP
- 0Jun 23, '11 by TigerBlood01Hello,
I was wondering if any nurse practitioners could give some advice and tell me the pros/cons of being an Independent Contractor ? I've been offered a position but have some reservations about it since they do not offer benefits, PTO, retirement, ect. Also, would I have to get my own malpractice insurance and pay for my own DEA number? Thanks for any advice you can offer a newbie NP
- 1Jul 1, '11 by TravelGtrGators1,
I've spent the past year traveling the country as a contract provider. The pros for me have been the flexibility(!!), my ability to write my own ticket so to speak (lots of room for negotiating fees for services), and the autonomy. By far, the biggest con has been filing taxes as an 1099 employee. You have to keep track of EVERY expense that is work-related and if you are not organized and do not have an awesome accountant, you risk forking out a ton of dough or, even worse, being audited. I learned the hard way and subsequently became incorporated (set up an LLC) to avoid the self-employment tax and that did alleviate the amount I owed for the next tax period.
In my experience, the clients I worked with would provide malpractice coverage and state licensure/DEA fees. Not having benefits wasn't a huge deal because I was able to find some affordable medical/dental plans online. I made a boatload more as an independent contractor, which helped make up for it.
Hope this helped.
P.S. Based on your username, it looks as though you're a fellow Gator!
- 0Jul 1, '11 by TigerBlood01Hi TravelGtr,
Yes, I am a fellow gator Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think the flexibility and autonomy of being an independent contractor will be truly liberating. As yourself, I will be able to set my own hours and fees. I was worried that I would not have a lot of job security doing this compared to being an employee. However, I am seeing that my services are in demand and do not think that lack of job security will be a problem.
Thank you for the advice regarding the taxes. I was planning on seeing an accountant and tax attorney to cover all of my bases. I definitely do not want to be audited or owe money to Uncle Sam.
I have a couple questions about the billing aspect. How do you do the billing? Is there a program that you use or recommend to keep track of your billing, submit claims, ect.?
Also, did you apply for a Medicare Provider Number? If so, how long did it take you to get it and how were you reimbursed while it was being processed? I heard it takes 3-4 months to get it. Does this mean you do not get paid until you have an actual number?
I apologize for all the questions. I wish that they had offered a class about billing, reimbursement, and the other business aspects of being a nurse practitioner in my graduate program. How did you learn about the business principles of being an independent contractor?
Thanks and it is inspiring to hear about other nurse practitioners like yourself that have started their own business and doing it successfully!