Quote from bunny8762
Disadvantage of using PanTravelers:
1.) It estimates (state and fed) tax, what if the state doesn't have income tax (you still have fed income tax)? Plus each state's income taxes are different!
2.) It calculates how much is your net pay per hour with housing stipend factor in. What if the housing in that area is sky high (there is a reason why some areas have higher stipends)? Great! Your net hourly is higher according to PanTravelers! Now show me the math equation on how you might potentially earn less because the housing in that area is expansive!
It is a calculator. There is no way that it can know what local housing costs. You have to determine housing costs in any case to calculate what the agency is actually paying you. Why would the housing stipend buy less housing that what the agency pays for? Not sure I get your point there. You could also pocket a lot more but the agency estimated take home won't include that.
What the agency is actually paying you is the point of the calculator. If you don't know the number, you cannot be sure that if you negotiate your compensation, for example to pay more for a housing stipend and a lower hourly, that your total compensation is the same. If you don't know the number, you also cannot compare another agency's offer in the same area or same hospital. If you are good with numbers, you don't need the calculator of course.
The estimated taxes do not affect the value of the calculator for figuring out what the agency actually pays you in total compensation. The only way to get your real take home pay is to give your home state (and local taxing authority if there is one - common in the Midwest), the work state, and your tax status and exemptions. The random agency you call doesn't know all that so their estimated take home is no better and leaves out vital information. Most travelers want to know their base rate if for nothing else than to know what their overtime base will be. They also want to know what their housing stipend is so they can look up local housing to see if they can pocket more money. The take home pay quoted by an agency does not tell them that.
That said, take home pay is an interesting number, and recruiters use it as a sales tool. It must work, because you bought it! But I have to say, you are the first traveler that I've read who has said they like it on a travel nurse forum. Most posts gripe about how recruiters are reluctant to tell them what their pay really is, just the take home. There are good reasons why they do that - because the base rate often sounds ludicrously low compared to a staff position.