Travel nurses are privy to countless options that mold their travel nursing experience. One of the bigger decisions these nurses must make is whether to take company housing from the agency or take a housing stipend/per diem. Company housing is established by the travel agency so it will look different depending on which agency you’re working with. While it can be easier sometimes, the reality is, per diem housing is a much better route with infinitely more freedom and benefits.
1. More Time, Greater Flexibility. The company housing route typically allots just two days to move in before your start date and just one day to leave following the end of your contract. While that window of time is still enough, it grants travel nurses little flexibility. Before the start of a new contract, many veteran travel nurses prefer to explore their city and get settled, find their hospital, find the grocery store and other important places they’ll need to know. There won’t be much time to do that once the assignment starts, so many make the most of the additional time granted by finding their own housing. And since nurses are usually scrambling at the end of the assignment to leave, many prefer a window bigger than one day to get their affairs in order.
2. The Gift of Autonomy. If you take company housing, your next 13 weeks are left to the sole digression of a housing coordinator. And while these professionals are extremely useful, only you truly know what kind of residence works best for you. Taking per diem awards the freedom of choice. You can find your ideal residence and the company will reimburse you for it. And at Tailored Healthcare Staffing (THS), I can still assist you in finding good housing to get the most of our your stipend! You don’t lose the services of the travel and housing coordinator at THS if you take the stipend/per diem.
3. Control Your Situation. Here’s another issue with company housing – it can cost you. Without knowing your lifestyle, your budget, the housing coordinator is left to make decisions that can affect your pay. For example, you may express interest in a luxurious apartment, but if that costs more, it’ll be your package offsetting the cost. Obviously with per diem, you know what you’re making and know what you can afford. This kind of speaks to the previous point, but it’s an important distinction. It’s always good to have as much control over your situation as possible.
What if you want a washer and dryer so that you don’t need to find a coin laundry mat? What if you have a pet or a significant other traveling with you that needs special accommodations? Taking a stipend ensures you have complete control over your situation.
4. Tax Free Money. The housing stipend is added to your weekly paycheck and you’re free to spend it however you want. It also has the potential to increase the money that goes back into your pocket. That’s because money set aside for per diem or housing stipends is tax free, unlike any money budgeted for company paid housing, which is taxed.
5. Make More Money. As mentioned before, one of the things that nurses like about housing stipends is that they have complete control over their housing. You get to choose where you will stay and how much you’ll pay for it. And most importantly, if you do not use the entire housing stipend for rent, utilities, furniture, etc., whatever’s left over comes right back to you. Many nurses will opt for cheap, affordable housing. So while they aren’t living a royal lifestyle, they’re making significantly more money.
Have any questions about company housing compared to per diem or stipend? Don’t be shy! I’m on Twitter @Tailored Health, or, write us on our company Facebook page where over44 thousands nurses are following along!