As a traveling healthcare professional, you are probably used to scrolling through thousands of jobs to find the one that is perfect for you. Often you will find that multiple companies post the same job, but the posted pay is different from one to the next. Some agencies choose not to list pay rates because they don’t want a nurse to apply, thinking they will be paid a certain amount only to find out it is different due to their circumstances and preferences not determined until later. Because of each traveler’s unique situation, pay rates and packages can vary from person to person and contract to contract, even at the same facility.
At first glance, it may seem suspicious to see the difference in pay. However, our company is not trying to rip you off, and we are not pulling the old-bait-and-switch tactic on you, either. The more money you make, the more money we make. Pay is a moving target, and it changes all the time.
When a facility posts a job, they post it with a set bill rate, and the agency works to determine the pay package from that information. If there is a VMS or MSP in place, our company will be charged a fee by them. That percentage comes directly off the top, which means we have a lower bill rate to work with from the start. The bill rate is also greatly influenced by supply and demand and can change quickly. If the job goes unfilled, the facility continues to increase that rate until they can get someone hired. When demand decreases for a job, the bill rate is lowered. A facility can change the bill rate at any time, but we are seeing far less rate drops after start dates than we were a few months ago.
A few other variables that determine how a pay package is structured include the length of the contract, what shift the traveler is working, the start date, mileage, reimbursements and benefits. After all of that, the industry standard for gross margin is between 20 – 30 percent. We are always on the lower end of that, however, that isn’t the amount of money that Cariant is profiting. We must still factor in credentialing costs, insurance, and overhead which includes internal employee salaries, building costs, computers, etc. before we make any money as a company.
There are always going to be a lot of variables when it comes to pay packages but there are a few things you can do as a traveler to help. Make sure you are in close contact with your recruiter to get submitted to jobs as soon as possible. We are usually able to lock in the bill rate at the time a candidate is submitted. Answer emails, phone calls or texts from your recruiter. Keep your resume, references, and other information up to date. Stay on top of any credentialing needs. And remember, if your pay does change while you are on contract, you are always allowed to give a two-week notice. Just make sure you let your recruiter know you are giving notice immediately so they can start looking for something new for you with better pay.