Pay: Travel Nurse Pay- How Do I know I'm getting a 'fair' offer?

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

August 4, 2016



Travel Nurse Pay: How Do I Know I’m Getting a ‘Fair’ Offer?

This article was provided by: Aya Healthcare

Determine your Minimum Worth

My first advice to any traveler is to know what you feel your minimum worth is.  Determine how much you need to make a travel contract worth your time and effort.  We all have bills, and expenses and knowing your absolute minimum is a great place to start.

Once you have figured out what your personal minimum amount is, you should consider the location that the position is being offered in.

Why should the Contract Location affect my pay?

The extreme differences in the cost of actually living from place to place across the country are astounding.  An easy example of this is the cost of gas from one region of the country to another.  See the map below as an example.

Click anywhere on the map for a state-by-state average list of fuel prices.

AAA Fuel Gauge Report

If I’m working a contract in Missouri, gas is as low as $3.37/gal, whereas if I am working in California, it’s as high as $4.24/gal.  This is just one example of how the actual cost of living can affect your final take-home or living money.

Based on the cost of living, I could take a contract in Missouri at my minimum pay but would be very hesitant to do so for a contract in California.

Shop Around

Please realize that this is a very touchy subject and can be somewhat unethical depending on how it’s done. I would never recommend that you give job specifics from one company to another. This will not go over well with any recruiter.  I do, however, offer a slightly different approach.  If you know that you would like to work in San Francisco and are being offered X amount from Company A, there is nothing to say that you cannot talk to companies B, C, and D and ask them what positions they have in the same city or even ask them if they have contracts at a particular hospital.  If they do, find out what they are offering.

I do not recommend that you pit one company against another when it comes to negotiations. Ensure that you are clear with all companies you are working with that it is NOT acceptable to submit you to any position without your express permission.  The last thing you want to happen is to have a low-paying company submit you when you have another company looking at the same position.

Many of the contracts out there are actually submitted through some Vendor Management. Ultimately, there may be dozens of companies, all with the same contracts at slightly different rates.

Every agency contracts with the hospital at a different rate, no different than each travelers contract is different than another travelers contract. Some companies will be able to pay you more based on their bill rate and some less.

Consider Your Relationship with the Company/Recruiter

Your relationship with your preferred companies and/or recruiters can also play a huge factor in your decision.  Perhaps company B is offering slightly more, but you have worked well with Company A, who is slightly underpaying?  Is it worth $1/hr to you to deal with a company or a recruiter that you don’t really know or fully trust?  Is it possible that with a little nudging, Company A would up the pay just a little due to your extended relationship?


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