Sassyfrassy: Pay rates for independent nurses vary, as do regular pay rates, throughout the country, according to demand and the RNs available to meet that demand. If you are offering ICU, NICU, OR or something of this expertise/experience or are willing to work in underserved inner city areas, you are looking at pay rates starting around $65 per hour and climbing above $100 for certain areas, expertise, shifts etc. Working in the sun/fun in med/surg may not go higher than that.
Find out where the agencies are staffing (state/city/and specialty areas) and what they are paying their own nurses. Plan on negotiating 1.5 to twice that amount. Independents are not trying to undercut the agency/traveling nurse - just willing to do a little more on their own to earn more in order to be able to disperse income as they wish.
You will note that many agency nurses do not mind 'paying' the agency to do the ground work for their accommodation etc. But do not overlook that you can be an independent while remaining where you are. Business licenses and taxes take very little of my time and I like the idea/feeling of doing these things for myself. Because I earned more, I worked a little less and so taking a half day a month to sort out this sort of thing was fine with me.
The National Assoc. of Ind. Nurses (NAIN) has a wealth of info available at independentrn.com, but membership is needed to access the intelligent, fact based, supportive forum. (No, I am not an officer of this org. - I just believe that one of the ways RNs will move into appropriate professional standing and pay is by being independent - as are many PTs, OTs, music therapists, dietitians, CPAs, etc etc.)
There are many appropriate ways to be an RN and earn a respectable living commensurate with training, education, experience and expertise. My experience with independence seems to be rather different from others. I'd like to encourage others to look at independent nursing and find out for themselves. Power to us all!