Bill Rate vs. Pay Rate

How do you rate?

See what's behind the numbers. Understand how market conditions affect your recruiting efforts.


A Bill Rate is the rate a company pays to a staffing agency for the services of a temporary worker.
Bill rates are the sum of two fundamental parts; a Pay Rate and a Markup. To effectively manage Bill Rates, it's important to understand the components:

Pay Rate

The Pay Rate is the amount being paid to the contingent worker by the staffing agency. Pay Rates are the largest component of the Bill Rate, and plays a significant role in retention, resource quality, and time to fill. The Pay Rate is the #1 factor for enabling a supplier to recruit a resource and provide great service.


Markups are generally applied as a percentage on top of the Pay Rate. Markups can be considered to have three elements:

  • Pass through costs that adjust over the contract (employment taxes)
  • Fixed Pass through costs (agreed to costs like worker’s comp, insurance etc)
  • Gross Profit (for the supplier)

The markup depends on a variety of factors - types of workers and skill sets, market demand, buyer's knowledge, duration of assignment, volumes of business, etc. - and can vary greatly. Typical markups range from as low as 20% to 50% or more.

Let's break it down with an example:

Pay Rate

(ex: Graphic Designer in Tampa, FL)


The hourly rate paid to a contingent worker by a staffing agency.





Pay Rate x Markup (ex: 40%)


Paid to the staffing agency and includes overhead, mandatory employers taxes, and a profit factor.




Bill Rate

Pay Rate + Markup = Bill Rate


Total that Client or hiring company pays to the staffing agency.

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