Q4: Can the cost of hiring a third party (staffing agency) be considered an allowable cost to the grant?
Yes, as long as the costs are reasonable and necessary and that local procurement procedures are followed. When performing a cost/price analysis, the "contract plus a percentage of cost" method of contracting must not be used. There is no rule of thumb for a reasonable profit margin, but a profit margin above 10% is going to receive more attention and analysis as to whether it is reasonable based on the complexity of the service being provided. Any profit that exceeds 10% must be reviewed and pre-approved by DCEO in consultation with the USDOL grant manager.