Quote from AM9160
What do these agencies REALLY make off of a contract for an RN?
The industry average gross profit margin (everything not paid to the travel nurse) is a little more than 25% right now, but 35% plus is not uncommon, especially for larger agencies with higher overhead. Thus you will gross 50% more (do the math the other direction) bypassing other agencies just based on that number. However, you are also only negotiating for one profile, yours, and don't care about employing other travelers. Thus you can often negotiate a higher bill rate than most agencies depending on the strength of your profile and your specialty (and facility need and a few other variables).
I'm not clear why you ask about locums/techs. Do you have some ambition to be more than a one person agency? Locums deliver a higher gross margin - or so I read on agency financial disclosures. Techs like an OR tech are not really worth pursuing other than as a service to your clients. The reason is that while you may be able to make the same margins, the bill rate is much lower so your total profit will be lower on the same amount of work.
It is a little harder now to get contracts with the upswing of vendor managers who control a large percentage of all open job orders. It may be more difficult to get a contract with them (and negotiating opportunities will be less) than a direct hospital contract. That said, most facilities do not have a vendor manager.
Not much in the way of legal stuff. It is best to have a corp or LLC but that takes only a few minutes and is dead cheap in most states. You also need to prove that you carry general and malpractice liability (1/3 million is the usual requirement) and workers comp. That is pretty much it! Low barrier to entry as they say in the business world, which is why you see so many new agencies every year.
Effectively, you are only paying the traveler. You are not providing the workplace, nor the oversight, nor even making the decision to place. That is all on the facility, and while they offload the insurance requirements on you, you don't have the kind of legal exposure the facility does.
Sent you a link to some reading material that should get you most of the way there.