Do locums really earn alot more? Is locumming right for me? By Callum Browse

Do locums really earn a lot more money, and would I be better off locumming? The short answer is yes… and no (not helpful I know) but like anything this needs to be a decision that is best for YOU, not a blanket yes no.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Vet, Nurse or VCA there are pros and cons to working as a locum and if the locum life suits your professional and personal goals then YES do it!


If you start locuming your hourly or daily rate will increase, however, you have to remember that with this increase in rate your costs go up as well.

When you are in a permanent role things like CPD, Holiday, and Sick are all covered, so when you locum (full time anyway) you are self-funding these. In addition to that, you also have to think about the costs of actually having to work such as things like

  1. uniform and equipment
  2. travel costs
  3. umbrella companies or accountancy fees


There are a lot of questions and information about how IR35 has changed the veterinary space and most of what I have heard and have been asked is true.

People working through a limited company have struggled to find work (through their LTD) as most of the corporates put out a blanket ban, so where did that leave us?

Well, what we saw over the past 2 years or so is see locums go back to permanent roles, move to umbrella companies and massively increased their rates, started businesses on their own or left the industry altogether.

During 2020 and the first few months of 2021, veterinary recruitment took a massive hit in the UK with locum bookings cancelled, locums taking permanent roles and furlough. COVID 19 + IR35 created the “perfect storm” of disruption for veterinary recruitment and we have seen that practices have closed or been bought out and agencies have fallen away.

But where does that leave us now, well… we are finding that some corporates are starting to “bend” the rules when it comes to IR35 ruling which has allowed locums to use their LTD companies but generally, it’s still pretty tough. The nurse side of things hasn’t really changed as umbrella companies were the preferred method of payment anyway, however, one thing you need to be mindful of is which umbrella company you want to use. Whilst we don’t tell you which one to use, we can offer some advice about this area.

Finding work

The next thing you will need to consider will be actually finding work. I have worked with a lot of locums in my years as a recruiter and some contact me with an open mind on what locumming is like and are open to travelling or working in practices that they would prefer not to. Then on the other hand I have worked with candidates who literally want something on their doorstep and want to charge the world.

So… one thing I always ask people when they want to locum is “why do you want to locum”. This is a really important question and it will determine how you should approach finding work. This is something that I will touch on in next week’s post so if you have any questions please do reach out.

Thank you for reading

Written by Callum Browse

CEO and Founder of Tempus International LTD