How negotiable are travel nursing contracts?
A good contract will lay out everything in writing that was discussed about the position when you and your recruiter were in the early stages of submitting your profile for the position. There shouldn’t be any surprises once you receive your contract, and you will want to make sure to read through it thoroughly to ensure the verbiage makes sense to you.
You may or may not have the option to negotiate certain terms of your contract once you have received it. Certain parts of a contract are legal obligations that the company or hospital has in place that cannot be negotiated. Examples of these may include confidentiality agreements, breach of contract, incident reporting, etc. Some facilities have cancellation policies or other requirements for background testing, medical documentation, etc. that are also non-negotiable.
Many travelers want to negotiate the pay once they have received their contracts. Depending on the relationship you have with your recruiter, ideally you should know before receiving the contract what your hourly pay, stipend amounts (if applicable), and overtime pay rate will be. I would definitely encourage you to have an open discussion with your recruiter about your pay and benefit expectations before getting too far into the submittal and interview process. If you wait until you are getting interviews, only to find out that the pay is not going to meet your expectations, it will have been a waste of your time, not to mention the company’s and hospital’s time.
Bottom line, it never hurts to ask for more. But, if you did agree to the terms of the pay before receiving the contract and the company is unable to give you more money after you receive the contract, it would not be professional at that point to turn down the contract for that reason. It’s a different story if the company verbally committed to pay terms before you received the contract and the contract shows something completely different. That’s why it is very important to choose a good recruiter & company early in the game so you have a trust and rapport developed, the lines of communication are completely open, and you know that your best interests are being met.
Saving money tip: The IRS allows for non-taxable meals and incidentals when traveling based on defined IRS guidelines. That information can be found at their website and I encourage all travelers to review it.