Part 2 of 2. Read Part 1 of Stephanie’s article “The Nanny McPhee of Ultrasound“, where she shares with us how she got her start as a traveling sonographer.
Tricks of the Trade
There are numerous companies that hire and refer traveling sonographers. I have worked with several, and each has their perks and their downside. When considering travel, be aware of the following:
Housing allowance verses housing reimbursement or housing provided.
Allowance allows you to find your own housing. The perk to this is finding a place for less than they give you. This allows you to make a tax free profit. The downside is you may need to have your own funds in advance to pay any upfront costs for your first month/week before you receive your first paycheck.
Reimbursement allows you to find a place that you are comfortable with: location, clean, safe, etc. But with this as well, you need to have funds in advance and wait for reimbursement, and NO profit can be made.
Housing provided allows them to be solely responsible in locating your housing. The company arranges all housing plans, location, and funding. The perk: no stress, unless of course you end up in a nasty, scary place (I’ve been in some real dives). And there is NO opportunity for a profit to be made.
Per Diem is standard at $200 per week and is tax free.
Eat frugally, smart, and healthy and you can make a profit. Grocery shop. Avoid eating out if possible.
Transportation: They SHOULD cover all costs
Flight arrangements are typically made by the company. They usually arrange for a rental car as well. Or if you use your own vehicle they pay for mileage there and back and $200 a week for the use of your vehicle.
Often, if they arrange for the rental, there are additional charges once you get there, which they will NOT reimburse. Be cautious of this.
If a car rental allowance is an option, call around to nearby car rental companies, not the ones at the airport. Take a cab or shuttle to the car rental company AWAY from the airport. The airport car rentals are much, much more expensive. Negotiate price. They typically will work with you. Explain that you are traveling and working at such and such hospital or location. A lot of places give discounts in addition to AAA discounts simply because you are working for an entity in their city. Any price below that of the allowance provided is tax free profit in your pocket.
(Lesson Learned THE HARD WAY)
Ensure that IF the facility you are working for decides to terminate the contract, that means of returning home are provided. Most contracts will say that you are responsible for transportation home if the company or the facility finds it necessary to end the contract, even if it is of no fault of your own. (This happened to me when the facility decided to let EVERYONE of their contracted employees go, including those who had been contracted through a separate company for 10 plus years, and EVERYONE was terminated, including my contract. AND the expenses back home were solely my responsibility. I didn’t see that one coming.)
If you are looking for potential full time work at any of the locations of assignment, ask that your contract be adjusted if possible. MOST contracts will not allow the facility to hire a contracted employee, UNLESS it is termed “travel with permanent potential”. This can be arranged more easily with the smaller traveling companies.
There are numerous travel/staffing companies. A for a reference list of previous or current travelers so that you can receive feedback before signing a contract. It this is not provided, steer away from this company and only work for those who are willing to provide such information. I have been asked on several occasions to speak with or email a potential traveler in regards to my experience and to give honest feedback. This is vital, because you do not want to sign a three month contract to find out that the company you are now working for has a horrible reputation.
Companies I have experience with:
- SonoTemps, INC
- Aureus Medical
- Club Staffing
- Concentric Healthcare
- On Assignment