Becoming a travel independent contractor

  1. Hello everyone,

    This is my first time posting in this forum and I am excited to connect with all the beautiful and brilliant minds that already exist here.

    My husband and I are looking into starting our own travel agency for ourselves; where we cut out the middle man and are able to negotiate, accept and work contracts without the use of a travel agency.

    Does anyone have any experience in this field of business or have recommendations on resources available for people new to this. All comments are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your contribution in advance. God bless you all.
  2. Visit Ursula11 profile page

    About Ursula11

    Joined: Sep '18; Posts: 2


  3. by   ICUman
    Get in touch with NedRN in our travel forum. He'll be able to help you with specific ideas and info.
  4. by   Ursula11
    Thank you very much
  5. by   NedRN
    You have to start your own agency to do this. You can read my rather dated blog on how to do that here (not necessary to log in):
    Delphi Forums Login - Welcome! Please log in.
  6. by   Joe Friday
    Quote from NedRN
    You have to start your own agency to do this. You can read my rather dated blog on how to do that here (not necessary to log in):
    Delphi Forums Login - Welcome! Please log in.
    Thank you for that awesome blog. I have one question: How to set a rate?

    I read your blog but that was over a decade ago and rates have changed dramatically. I am having issues in that I have asked management at my full-time job (we hire a lot of registry and travel nurses) as well as the offices in hospitals that I work registry at. Everyone says they have to (or believes they have to) keep this information secret.

    I think I get toward the top end of registry pay (~$60/hour for ICU/ER staff nurse and $72 for house supervisor) but I also know that the registry makes a good margin on my rate.
    Is there any updated info you can give on this issue?
    Last edit by Joe Friday on Sep 24
  7. by   NedRN
    There should not have been any rate suggestions in that blog, but perhaps some examples.

    In my experience, HR/staffing departments are happy to name what they would like to pay. Just ask, you may be pleasantly surprised. Typically, the number is the average of all their contracts . But before that these days, ask them if they have their own uniform contract (or third party vendor manager). If so, there will be a standard rate sheet. In all three scenarios, it is possible to negotiate further depending on a number of variables. Like scarcity of your specialty, acute needs (crisis pay), or extra experience or skill specifically needed. You have an advantage over traditional agencies as you are negotiating for only one clinician, not future agency business. I'm often the highest paid traveler (highest bill rate to be accurate) on assignments - that has even happened for me through a vendor manager.

    I think I also describe in the FAQ how to reverse engineer the likely underlying bill rate if you know a travelers full compensation. I do that for fun when I talk to travelers, but I've never needed it for myself. Involves taking the travelers full compensation including payroll taxes, both hidden and explicit on a paycheck, and adding a 25 to 40% gross profit margin for the agency in the total bill rate. That is the actual real range - but is still a fairly wide range - just as in real life.

    BTW, I have never submitted a rate sheet to a hospital with all professions listed. No need, and I certainly don't want to be locked into such a thing, but rather negotiate from assignment to assignment (even when I repeat at a hospital or extend). Main boilerplate contract, and then a specific assignment confirmation as an addendum listing assignment specifics and the rates (OT may not be a fixed formula but in any case specifying it exactly removes all ambiguity).
  8. by   Joe Friday
    Well I suppose I'm asking the wrong people. I felt my home hospital was not telling me because they don't want the staff to know what they are paying the registry nurses in the same department. At my registry work hospitals, I really am only asking the staffing supervisors and they too will not give me straight numbers.
    I guess I'll try to make an appointments with the HR departments and test my luck there. I have an idea of what to charge, but I don't want to over/undershoot myself in the foot.
  9. by   NedRN
    Travel rate is higher than per diem.
  10. by   Joe Friday
    I understand that, and those are numbers I'd like to see as well. I'm not really interested in traveling as I have a mortgage to pay, but still want to know the numbers in case I get nurses that I can contract out. I don't suppose you would like to share your bill rates? And further enlighten an up and coming entrepreneur?
  11. by   NedRN
    I don't have a bill rate sheet. Every assignment is a one off as I said for maximum flexibility. If you start by getting a manager wanting to use you and they don't want to propose a rate, make up one you are sure is a bit high. They will take it or now name a number themselves. No point to this exercise if there is not a need.
  12. by   Joe Friday
    I read before that you have no set bill sheet. I understand you negotiate. But perhaps you would share an average rate? Or minimum bill rate you would set for an ICU or ER shift vs a traveler ICU/ER shift?
  13. by   NedRN
    No idea what other specialties (or even my specialty) get in unspecified locations at an unspecified time at an unspecified facility. Travelers always want to know if offered compensation is fair - also impossible to say from here. You may think you have struck a gold mine of information here, but I've told you three methods to discover what you are looking for - that is what you are going to have to do. Can't spoon feed you what I don't know. I go through much the same routine for travelers - whose method boils down to shop agencies offering assignments in the location of interest. On the agency end, you have to test a local market for the bill rate it will tolerate.

    I'll give you a fourth method. Walk into HR/staffing at the hospital you work at and make friends and start asking questions. They may share a rate sheet or contract that they or their VM publish, or one from a staffing agency. I've never seen a contract with a confidentiality clause (other than protected health information) so there is no contractual prohibition against doing so. Even so, generally they are reluctant to do that - kind of like Walmart putting wholesale prices on the stuff they sell - I don't think their vendors would like that, and certainly customers will find wholesale rates offensive. No one want to give employees more power: information equals power. Good luck, and try to get over your bill rate hangup, it is just not that important. What is important is the manager wanting to hire you. All the other stuff will just happen after that.
  14. by   Joe Friday
    You could have just said no... lol.

    If it's location/time you need.

    Location:Los Angeles..... Time: Today

    I've told you my exact salary, but you want to keep your information top secret... that's fine. If you'd like to share, that's fine too...

    If you don't want to share, just say you won't share It's that simple. No need dancing around with Walmart theory and hypotheticals. I know to ask HR and I've already told you I'm getting no straight answers (again is the case here).

    I know now I can walk in with any number I want, I was just looking for some insight from a fellow nurse in the business.

    Last edit by Joe Friday on Sep 25