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Staffing Agency Calculator

Use this free tool to calculate staffing agency markup rates—and learn about more affordable options for quickly finding skilled independent talent. 

Up to 75% or more
Traditional staffing agency
Upwork Talent Marketplace
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How to use our Staffing Agency Calculator

Our Staffing Agency Calculator can help you assess the cost of engaging talent through a staffing firm. The calculator makes it simple and easy to compare potential staffing agency fees to fees for engaging independent talent on Upwork’s Talent Marketplace™. Simply input your hourly rate budget and the anticipated number of hours you need the talent, and the calculator will provide an estimate of how much you could be charged by a staffing agency.

*The fee for the Client Marketplace Plan is 5% of all payments (for fixed-price and hourly jobs, Project Catalog™ projects, bonuses, and BYO contracts). We also offer a discounted fee of 3% for eligible clients in the U.S. who pay using their checking account (ACH). More information about Our Service Options and how to Pay for Work can be found in our Help & Support section.

Frequently asked questions

What is a staffing agency?

A staffing agency is an organization that employs workers and assigns them to businesses looking to fill specific roles. Some staffing agencies are generalist and recruit for a wide variety of industries, while others specialize in sourcing talent in one field.

How do staffing agencies make money?

A staffing agency earns revenue by assigning its workers to client companies. The client generally pays a markup fee based on the talent’s rate or salary. The markup covers legally mandated labor costs such as taxes, benefits, the agency’s operating costs, and profit.

What is an average staffing firm markup rate?

Staffing agencies typically charge a markup fee of up to 75%. For example, if a freelance professional’s rate is $80 per hour, the hourly cost an organization pays the staffing agency could be up to $140. Be aware that staffing agency markup rates can vary and typically range between 25% and 75%. Some even exceed 75% for certain in-demand roles, with figures reaching 100% or higher.

What is a staffing agency bill rate?

A staffing agency bill rate is the amount a staffing agency charges a client company. It includes the amount the agency pays the worker, as well as the markup fee that is added on top of the pay rate and charged to clients.

Do staffing agencies take a cut of the worker's pay?

Staffing agencies do not typically charge the worker for their services, because they generally employ the worker.

What is an alternative to using a staffing agency to source talent?

Upwork connects businesses to independent professionals from across the globe with the expertise and skills needed to get projects done quickly and efficiently. And, if you need to classify talent as an employee based on the scope of work or talent engaged, Upwork offers the Upwork Payroll solution, in which the talent is employed by a trusted, third-party employer of record.

How does Upwork charge for services?

Upwork charges a flat fee (5%) on transactions on Client Marketplace Plans. For example, if you engage an independent professional on Upwork and your payment is $500, you will only pay Upwork an additional $25. Fees can be as low as 3% for eligible U.S. clients. There is also a $2.95/contract initiation fee.

The average staffing agency markup rate was determined based on research from staffing industry trade associations, support firms, various staffing organizations and news outlets. Markup rates can vary based on a wide range of factors, including the role, industry, company location, available talent pool, the skills and experience of candidates, and other considerations. Upwork is not a staffing agency. If a client requires an employer of record for purposes of a particular engagement or worker, Upwork offers the Upwork Payroll solution.