A traveling contractor is hired to work in a specific location for a particular amount of time; typically they’re hired for 2 to 3 months minimum but projects may last for a year or more. Because the demand for skilled trades and production workers is so high, there are often labor shortages in certain areas of the country so companies hire experienced workforces from around the country that can step in, acclimate quickly, and help them get caught up on production backlogs, help during busy seasons, or bridge the gap until full-time employees are hired locally.
As a traveling contractor, you're in charge of your career and can pick and choose your projects offered by skilled trad staffing agencies and contract staffing firms. Just let your recruiters know your availability, project preferences, and any other details that are important to you.
A traveling skilled trades or production worker should have the following characteristics to excel in the role:
Most companies that hire these types of workforces are looking for experienced talent in whichever industry and trade they’re hiring for – not people fresh out of trade school.
For example, certified Boiler Operators, Welders, CNC Machinists with many years of experience. Experience with traveling contract work is preferred, but not required.
At MADI, we’re the contract staffing firm and it’s our company that recruits and hires contractors from across the United States. We handle the advertising, interviewing, screening, and onboarding for our client.
Our clients hire us to place you, the contractor, into their facility or facilities.
We hire you, the contractor, directly and take care of the logistics to get you to the project site, you’re our W-2 employee and we ensure that all goes with your placement and experience at our client’s facility.
Per diem is an allowance for lodging, meals and incidental expenses and varies by project location. For tax purposes, it’s recommended that you consult with a CPA familiar with contracting and per diem to determine your specific tax liabilities and deductible items.
Your recruiters will be able to provide details on the PPE requirements at each facility. Generally speaking, items such as steel toe boots, metatarsal boots, welding hoods, and some machinists tools are brought by contractors. Other items such as safety glasses or hearing protection are typically provided by the client company on-site.
If you're looking for a new pair of workbooks, take a look at our blog post Who Makes The Longest Lasting, High-Demand Work Boots to learn which ones those in manufacturing and the skilled trades prefer.
We also have a blog post on Who Makes The Best Safety Glasses if you're looking for some top-rated brands.
Most staffing firms and companies these days use Applicant Tracking Systems [ATS] for hiring workers which is why keywords are more important than ever. Without the right keywords – your resume might not make it in front of recruiters!
Applicant Tracking Systems are looking for keywords related to the job opening and industry, so make sure your resume contains the right keywords. It’s also suggested to submit your resume as a Word document and not a PDF because sometimes computer systems have a hard time reading resumes in PDF format.
For traveling contract jobs specifically, you’ll want to make sure that your most recent project is at the top of your resume, that each project has start and end dates and that your licenses and certifications are clearly written at the top of your resume. For more suggestions, check out our 7 Resume Tips For Skilled Trades Workers.
As with most job searches, the internet is your friend; use digital tools and job boards to your advantage. We could write forever about different options and different job boards for specific industries, so instead, we’ll keep it simple to get you started.
Rather than visit separate job boards, you can use a free job board aggregators such as Google and Indeed to search for jobs, create job alert emails as well as upload your resume.
To search for travel jobs specifically, do not include a location when searching. Search for terms such as:
Machinist Travel Per Diem
Welders Travel Per Diem
Traveling Millwright Per Diem
Assembler Travel Per Diem
Being the largest search engine in the world, it makes sense that Google step into the job search game – and that is exactly what they did in 2017 when they launched their new search engine tool Google For Jobs.
This is not a job board, but an aggregator of job openings that are already published on the internet. You can narrow down search results by title, location, date posted, type, company, type, and employer. You can save jobs you’re interested in as well as set up email alerts to have new jobs sent to your inbox instantly, daily or weekly!
Indeed is another job search engine aggregator pulling from thousands of job boards, however, it also has the ability for employers to post jobs directly to the site. According to their website, 70% of US Job seekers online use Indeed to look for jobs.
As an employer, we also have great success hiring traveling contract workers through this website so it’s worth checking out if you’re not familiar with it.
RoadDogJobs.com is specifically for connecting skilled trades and employers looking for traveling contract work. There is also a Facebook group to join as well where people post job opportunities and you can network with other traveling skilled tradespeople.
Another specific site for finding traveling contract jobs that pay per diem is Roadtechs. There are a variety of contract jobs posted there and include jobs in petrochemical, construction, shipyard/marine, aerospace, and Manufacturing to name a few.
This is a networking group for those looking for traveling contract jobs throughout the United States. Industries include, but aren’t limited to skilled trades, craftsmen/craftswomen, nursing, construction, etc.
Save contact information from all of the people you see posting about travel jobs -- a contact is a contact. The company may have posted an ad and by the time you call, they may NOT be hiring anymore. However, who's to say that anew req may not have come in 30 minutes later? Stay diligent. Keep trying. New reqs sometimes come in every hour of every day.
Stock up on food and snacks at dollar stores before traveling because truck stops are expensive.
To help pad your resume, take the OSHA 10 or even the OSHA 30 hr course, available online. Knowledge of safety looks great to an employer, especially when you're lacking in experience on the job.