Travel PT Independent Contract Question

I recently received an email question about setting up your own travel contract without an agency. Here is the question and response.


I was just reading your post on independent contracts. I’m wondering if you were able to negotiate a pay package comparable to what a clinic would pay a staffing company. For my first assignment I found out that the recruiting company took about 37% off the top of what I made. Would you be comfortable sharing how much you were able to get out of independent contracts?

Thanks for you time and help! Really appreciate your website.



Great to hear from you again. Glad to hear you are enjoying your travel experience!

I truly only did independent contracts when I couldn’t find an assignment through a recruiter in the area I wanted to go – or when there was only one job available and my wife or I needed a second job. I always had the dream of making crazy-money by offering to work for just a bit less than what a clinic would pay an agency, but it never worked out that way. I made typical travel money on my independent contracts.

Two examples of independent contract pay that I can think of off the top of my head: one private practice was paying me $52 per patient in a typically low paying state, another place paid me $1800 weekly. After taxes, those work out to about typical, if not low, for travel money. So, I never achieved the dream of beating the system and making more money than I would through an agency.

I guess my takeaway is that independent contracts are a good way to find a contract when there’s not one to be had, but it never really worked out for me to make crazy money.

Hope that helps, do let me know if you have other questions.


For more info on making your own independent contracts, check out these resources, along with examples of actual contracts:

How To Set Up An Independent Travel PT Contract

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  1. Chiming in way later here but better than never…I love hearing about folks desiring to navigate the system on their own. Afterall, we are the product as service provider. Why subject a 37% up-sale to the hiring entity? I’ve been an independent contract traveler for the better part of 20 years and it’s the only way to go…but it’s work. Then again, so is any business endeavor. I’m working with a web developing group to procure a solution. Great article.

  2. michael greiner

    Hey there! I responded with a lengthy post but it hasn’t shown up. Happy to share some more but curious if something went wrong on my end when I posted. Happy travels!

  3. michael greiner

    Well, my long-winded previous post did not post so I’ll share again. Just love checking in at this site. It’s great to see fellow traveling clinicians navigating the system AND our great countryside! I started traveling a good 20 years ago and started with agencies but felt their services didn’t justify their high-costs and frankly it was a bit irritating when I received my checks. With that said, I started out on my own by cold-calling prospective employers and asking if they were interested in an IC situation. Those who had hired travelers in the past were more amenable to my pitch. I also utilized information agencies were willing to share whether it be by phone or posted jobs on the internet. At times, I ‘d call agencies and asked them outright where the jobs were, facility and all! Some would oblige while others knew not to give away such valuable information. A couple groups went so far as to send me a list of their current openings and one included the facility names and addresses which made my job easier! If I didn’t have a facility name but had the specific city, I would triangulate the area by setting and narrow it down to a few places and follow up with a cold-call. I got further by ALWAYS asking for the rehab director first. HR was almost always a dead end. Our industry is shrouded with secrecy and I guess that’s the name of the game for recruiters but I felt confident in being able to handle the details of my travels and sought to reap the rewards of venturing off on my own. It’s not for everyone. Some enjoy the luxury of a recruiter but I found more flexibility and financial reward going it on my own. I set up an LLC, kept a home base for tax benefit and made use of alternative housing options to maximize my revenue. With that said, I always wished for an easier solution to finding the work and so for the last year I’ve been focused on a platform for independent therapist to do just that…talk directly to hiring entities. The site should be ready to launch in the next couple months. I hope it will be a resource for clinicians to help one another much like you do by sharing experience and wisdom while reaping the benefits of going independent. By the same token, I hope the concept will save hiring entities money over using an agency to apply it to what matters most…taking care of patients. I’ll stop by again when the site is ready to launch and share it with you if you like. Until then…enjoy and safe travels!

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