Pricing / earnings
How do I determine the pay rate for the contractor?

As a benchmark, divide the annual salary for a comparable direct position by 2,080 hours (approximately one year) to get an hourly rate. Then, adjust the hourly rate based on the facts surrounding the particular placement. For example, if the annual salary for a comparable direct position is $85,000 per year, divide $85,000 by 2,080 hours. The benchmark pay rate would be $40.86.

How do I determine the bill rate for the client company?

One method for determining the client company bill rate is to use a “multiplier.” A multiplier is the result of dividing the bill rate by the pay rate. Top Echelon has been tracking the average multiplier across all industries for years. In the last year, the average multiplier has been 1.56 across all industries. For example, if the pay rate is $40.86/hour, multiply it by 1.56 for a bill rate of $63.74/hour.

How much can I make with contract staffing?

The profit is dependent on the position, geographic area, the candidate’s skill set, and the ability to negotiate rates to achieve the desired markup. However, if a recruiter has ten (10) active contractors who are working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks at an average profit per hour of $12/hour, the annual profit for the recruiter will be $249,600.

  • $12/hour X 10 active contractors = $120/hour
  • $120/hour X 40 hours/week = $4,800
  • $4,800 X 52 weeks = $249,600 of annual recruiter income

Is there a monthly/yearly fee to use Top Echelon Contracting’s back office services?

No, there is not a fee.

Insurance / benefits
What does Top Echelon Contracting’s Certificate of Insurance include?

The certificate of insurance includes Commercial General Liability, Professional Liability (inclusive of medical professionals), Commercial Excess Liability (Umbrella), Hired and Non-Owned Automobile Liability, Employer Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), Employee Dishonesty Bond, and Workers’ Compensation.

Commercial General Liability
  • $1,000,000 per occurrence
  • $3,000,000 in aggregate
Professional Liability (inclusive of medical professionals)
  • $1,000,000 per occurrence
  • $3,000,000 in the aggregate
Commercial Excess Liability (Umbrella)
  • $5,000,000 combined single limits
Hired and Non-Owned Automobile Liability
  • $1,000,000 combined single limits
Employer Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)
  • $1,000,000
Employee Dishonesty Bond
  • $1,000,000 combined single limits
Workers’ Compensation
  • Statutory limits
What benefits does Top Echelon Contracting offer for candidates?

Top Echelon firmly believes that great benefits attract quality candidates and also provide a motivating force for employee retention. Employees who work an average of at least 30 hours per week may choose any combination of the following for their contract employee benefits package.

Healthcare Insurance

All of our plans are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We offer two (2) traditional types of healthcare insurance through Aetna, one of the largest and most recognized healthcare companies in the United States. We offer the traditional PPO plan and the High-Deductible Plan (HDP) that offers the Health Savings Account (HSA) option. Visit our Health Insurance Benefit Summary for complete details and pricing.

Dental Insurance

This is a voluntary plan through Aetna where employees can choose to see any dentist. One hundred percent (100%) of the usual and customary cost is covered for preventative procedures, 80% for restorative procedures, and 50% for major procedures.

Vision Insurance

This voluntary plan through Aetna includes savings on vision exams, frames, lenses, and contact lenses. A laser vision correction benefit is also included.

Life Insurance

Employees may buy life insurance through Aetna in multiples of $10,000 up to $500,000 not to exceed five times their annual salary. Additional life insurance may be purchased for your spouse and children. The employee automatically receives Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D). Under the AD&D insurance, if a covered employee loses their life caused by an accident, the life insurance amount will be doubled. The plan also provides benefits for losses, such as the loss of a limb or an eye, caused by an accident. These policies are portable, meaning that you can choose to keep the coverage even when you leave Top Echelon Contracting’s employment.

Allstate Short-Term Disability Insurance

We offer employees short-term disability insurance through Allstate. This policy helps to replace lost income due to an accident or illness that keeps you from coming to work: injuries, surgeries, maternity leave, etc. You may purchase this benefit regardless of the status of your medical coverage. The Allstate Short-Term Disability Insurance is also portable.

Allstate Accident and Critical Illness/Cancer Coverage

We offer employees accident and critical illness/cancer coverage through Allstate. These policies help with the out-of-pocket expenses the employee may incur due to an accident or critical illness: deductibles, co-pays, travel expenses, and other items not covered under a medical plan. These products pay over and above any medical coverage you may have. You may purchase these benefits regardless of the status of your medical coverage. Allstate Accident and Critical Illness/Cancer Coverage is also portable.

401(k) Savings Plan

All eligible employees, 21 years and older, have the option to join our 401(k) Savings Plan at the end of six months of employment. The option is available to elect either a traditional 401(k) that is pre-taxed or a Roth 401(k) that is post-tax. Employees can contribute up to 90% of their weekly gross pay up to the IRS maximum. The employee may roll over previous employer’s 401(k) money into Top Echelon Contracting’s 401(k) immediately.

Health Savings Account

We offer a health savings account (HSA) that enables employees to save money by putting tax free dollars away for current and future medical expenses. Our HSA is administered by Health Equity who provides 24/7 customer support and an online portal. Employees who elect will receive a debit card in the mail, and can immediately begin using it. (Note: Employees are eligible to contribute to a HSA only if they participate in a High Deductible Healthcare Plan).

Disclaimer: Benefits are subject to change based on Top Echelon Contracting’s vendors, suppliers, and company requirements.

What health insurance benefits does Top Echelon Contracting offer to candidates?

Top Echelon offers employees health insurance through Aetna (one of the largest and most nationally recognized health care companies in the United States). Employees working an average of thirty (30) hours or more per week will have the opportunity to participate in one of the following four (4) medical plans. All of our plans are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Aetna HSA 6550/13100 (Base Plan)
Type of Coverage
Employee Monthly Premium
Weekly Payroll Deduction

Employees Only

$188.56

$43.51

Employee and Spouse

$637.34

$147.08

Employee and Child(ren)

$445.00

$102.69

Family

$972.98

$224.53

Aetna HSA 3000/6000
Type of Coverage
Employee Monthly Premium
Weekly Payroll Deduction

Employees Only

$279.80

$64.57

Employee and Spouse

$837.19

$193.20

Employee and Child(ren)

$598.30

$138.07

Family

$1,254.04

$289.39

Aetna PPO 2000/4000
Type of Coverage
Employee Monthly Premium
Weekly Payroll Deduction

Employees Only

$429.06

$99.01

Employee and Spouse

$1,164.04

$268.62

Employee and Child(ren)

$849.04

$195.93

Family

$1,713.72

$395.47

Aetna HSA 750/2250
Type of Coverage
Employee Monthly Premium
Weekly Payroll Deduction

Employees Only

$598.92

$138.21

Employee and Spouse

$1,401.14

$323.34

Employee and Child(ren)

$1,070.17

$246.96

Family

$1,978.68

$456.62

*Employees in California that elect the HSA6550 plan will see a different deductible and max out of pocket (network) per minimum value requirements. Visit our Health Insurance Benefit Summary for details and pricing.

If you elect health insurance coverage, the employee premium for the health insurance will be deducted from your pay on a pre-tax basis unless you direct otherwise. Your payroll deductions for the health insurance will begin the first pay of the month in which your coverage becomes effective. Each paycheck will have a benefit deduction. The above “Employee Monthly Premium” reflects an employer contribution of up to 50% of the “Employee Only” single coverage for the Base plan.

If you do not turn in a timesheet, no deductions can be made for that week and the deduction will be added to the next pay. For example, if your monthly premium is $188.56, you would have a $43.51 pre-tax deduction from each week’s
pay. If you do not turn in a timesheet one week, $87.02 will be deducted from your next pay.

Is your health insurance ACA compliant?

All of our plans are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Procedure / process
How does the payroll cycle work and what is the company’s responsibility?

Top Echelon Contracting has an online system that the employee can access to complete and approve their timesheet. Then, they must have it approved by a representative from the company who can verify the hours indicated on the timesheet.

The company is invoiced based on the timesheet and cannot be processed without an authorized approval. The payroll deadline to have timesheets approved by the representative of the company is each Monday by 11:59 p.m. EST. It is important for contract employees to submit their approved timesheet by this deadline each week.

After payroll is processed, we will generate and send an invoice to the company. The invoice must be paid within the payment terms that have been agreed upon. The company’s only responsibilities in this process are to approve the timesheet and pay the invoice based on the company’s vendors, suppliers, and company requirements.

What is the difference between paying a worker on a 1099 versus a W-2?

When a worker is paid on Form W-2, the employer withholds the necessary employee taxes, including Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax, and FICA (Social Security and Medicare). The employer also pays the necessary employer taxes such as FICA (Social Security and Medicare), FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax), and SUI (State Unemployment Tax).

Workers paid on Form 1099-misc do not have taxes withheld from their pay, so they must file and pay the appropriate taxes themselves. The company does not pay the employer share of taxes, and the worker does not have access to the company’s unemployment, Workers’ Compensation, or benefits [medical, dental, vision, 401(k), etc.].

The Internal Revenue Service and state agencies have seen their tax collections suffer due to workers misclassified as 1099 independent contractors and are cracking down with more audits and heavy penalties. Therefore, it is imperative workers are properly classified per the IRS guidelines. Based on those guidelines, less than 1% of our contractors qualify for the 1099 independent contractor (IC) classification.

Use this infographic as an easy visual to determine the differences between a 1099 independent contractor and a W-2 employee.

What is the difference between a 1099 independent contractor vs a w-2 employee

What is the FLSA and how does it apply to contractors employed through Top Echelon Contracting?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA) encompasses a number of wage and hour regulations, including the minimum wage and overtime regulations. The FLSA requires that most employees be paid an overtime premium (one and a half times the regular rate) for hours worked over 40 in a week. (Note that the state of California requires overtime to be paid when workers work more than eight hours in a day).

In situations where the “Temporary Personnel” (contractors) are “Computer Related Professionals” as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), we can pay an hourly wage of not less than $27.63/hour (California requires a higher rate, adjusted annually) without having to pay the overtime premium. Otherwise, the only way we can avoid paying and billing the premium for overtime hours worked by contractors is when they fit the Department of Labor’s definition of an exempt class (Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales) as determined by the FLSA and we pay them on a salary basis. By definition, “salary” means a guaranteed rate of pay regardless of the total number of hours worked. Therefore, this “weekly” option would require us to invoice the client on a weekly “flat rate” basis for the same amount each week, regardless of how few or many hours a contractor works.

Note: This holds true even when the contractors are clearly professionals (civil engineers or nurses). If we pay a professional on an hourly basis, then they are not exempt from the FLSA’s overtime provisions (no matter how much money we pay them). The sole exception to that rule is “Computer Related Professionals,” as described above.

What is included in a standard background check?

Many client companies require a thorough background check before a contractor starts. Top Echelon Contracting conducts a background check on every contractor placed through our contract staffing back office. Our standard contractor background checks include the following:

  • Social Security Number verification
  • Statewide misdemeanor and felony check
  • Sex offender
  • Address history
  • County-level specific checks for the places the contractor has lived

How does the payment process work for the recruiter with Top Echelon?

The recruiter gets paid within 48 hours of Top Echelon Contracting receiving payment from the client.

Do you have online timesheets?

Yes, we have online timesheets.

What is the minimum length for a contract placement through Top Echelon Contracting?

The minimum length is five weeks.

As the recruiter, will my company’s name be on the invoice to the client?

Yes, it will be on the invoice.