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The inside scope on how experienced Travel Nurses negotiate the highest rate
Travel Nurses who have Traveled before know the game, they have talked to a lot of agencies and just seem to have learned how to get the highest rate for their Travel Nurse jobs.
Ask your recruiter where the highest paying jobs are and be open to go to any location. It is OK to ask for the details in the area because your recruiter should know the Hospital well. You would be totally shocked how many times we hear that the Traveler took the job for the money and then just loved the area. Rtes range in the US from $28 to $40 per hour depending on location and skill set. The most common Travel rate is $33-$36 per hour, free private housing and $500 for Transportation with HEALTHCAREseeker.com.
Some of our Travelers will just take the money that the agency offers for housing and find their own accommodations, often pocketing the rest. There is also a little known secret that if the Traveler is taking care of their own housing that the agency is willing to give them more money because the agency doesn't have to deal with the risk of the lease. Also, experienced Travelers have learned to get their own benefits so that they always have coverage even if they are not working.
California Travel Nurses, Wyoming Travel Nurse, Colorado Travel Nurse and rural areas of the US will pay the most. The southern part of the US pays the least. Surprisingly the big cities like New York Travel Nurses don't pay that great because the housing costs are so expensive but many of our Travelers are working local Travel assignments if they are in big cities and are pocketing the housing money.
Smaller Travel Nurse companies, like HEALTHCAREseeke.com, don't have the large overhead that larger companies do so they can pay the Travel Nurses more. Look at 3-5 smaller agencies and see what they have to offer.
If a Travel Nurse does a good job for the agency and doesn't cause problems on the assignment then the agency will go to bat for the Traveler, trying to get them what they want in their next assignment.
Most contracts are guaranteed 36 hours but Hospitals often need you for more hours. Tell your recruiter that you want to work 4 days a week and if you are really serious about working more hours, don't ask for overtime pay for the extra shift. Travelers have to understand that they are free agents. A Hospital doesn't want to pay overtime so ask your recruiter to pay you a little more an hour in exchange for working 48 hours with no overtime pay. We have some nurses who want 60 hours a week and are making 6 figures a year with 3 months off. When they work they really want to work.
We have Travelers who have Incorporated themselves and take care of all their own housing and benefits. What this means is that we will find a job for the nurse, we will tell the Traveler what the Hospital is paying us and the Traveler will get 83% of what we bill the hospital. For example, if we are billing the Hospital for a Travel Nurse job in Alaska for $60 per hour the Traveler would get $50 per hour.
Because in California there is a law that states that a Nurse must get paid time and a half for any hours worked over 8 hours per day or 40 per week. This has also caused a shortage which drives up rates however the number of Traveling Nurses going to CA has significantly increased over the last 2 years.