Finding the perfect nanny for your little ones is guaranteed to give you peace of mind. However, the whole search and hiring process can be daunting for most parents which is why nanny agencies exist.
What Is A Nanny Agency?
A nanny agency is a business that recruits provides training, and matches nannies with families. In its most basic form, a nanny agency can be defined as a recruitment agency for nannies. Nanny agencies are registered businesses set up and run by people who are either trained or have vast experience taking care of children.
Some of the main services offered by nanny agencies in North America and Europe include:
Nanny search – finding people who are interested in becoming professional nannies and inviting them to apply or join the agency. This can be done continuously or on-demand depending on needs and a nanny agency’s business strategy.
Nanny Recruitment- Nanny agencies have people who can do the necessary checks on candidates and assess their suitability for the job. It’s like a human resource process tailored to child caregiving. Once selected, candidates can be kept on file to be called when a job becomes available or matched to a family looking for a nanny.
Nanny Training- Most nanny agencies provide in-house training for nannies. Some also offer professional or tailor-made nanny training services.
Nanny Matching– The main function of any nanny agency is to match nannies with families. Every nanny agency has an internal manual or strategy they use to find a perfect match for their customers based on their needs and preferences.
Negotiations- Nanny agencies act as a middle party or point of convergence for families and nannies. They handle introductions and negotiations between prospective nannies and families.
Paperwork– Nanny agencies also play the important role of preparing and managing paperwork relating to nannies on their payroll. From preparing employment contracts to processing payments and taxes on behalf of their nannies and parents.
What Makes A Good Agency?
Selecting a good nanny agency is among the most important decisions you have to make as a parent looking for a nanny. Here are some of the qualities a good nanny agency should have:
Track Record and Ratings
A good nanny agency should have a solid track record and have good ratings from past clients. Do some research on Yelp, Google my business, and other review sites to see what other people are saying about the agency. You may also do a discovery call and ask questions about the agency’s track record, and portfolio just to see if they fit your selection criteria.
Make sure the nanny agency is ready to offer the services you need to have peace of mind as a client. A good nanny agency should offer all the essential background check services and training to your nanny. The more services a nanny agency has to offer, the better.
A good nanny agency should be flexible enough with its services and policies to accommodate your needs as a parent. For instance, they should be ready to provide part-time or full-time caregivers depending on your needs. Avoid nanny agencies that have unrealistic service policies because parenting needs are very dynamic.
The best nanny agency is one that is ready to listen to their clients and craft a working relationship that guarantees peace of mind to the parent and the nanny. Such a relationship is hard to establish without flexibility, especially from the agency’s side.
It’s best to go with a registered business especially if you are looking for a full-time nanny in an urban area. Working with a registered business gives you the confidence that you are working with a genuine entity that is liable and compliant with local laws.
What Are the Benefits of Using A Nanny Agency?
Working with a nanny agency has the following benefits:
Peace of mind- you’ll have peace of mind knowing your nanny was professionally sourced and there is an agency overseeing them.
Time saved– A nanny agency will save you the time you would have wasted searching and interviewing nannies.
Nanny matching– You may find yourself hiring and firing nannies before you find the perfect nanny. A nanny agency makes the process of finding that perfect match smoother and faster.
Additional agency services– Nanny agencies provide additional services to parents which can make their life easier. For instance, some nanny agencies may provide a temporary nanny if your nanny is on sick leave or unavailable.
What Can an Agency Do for You?
Nanny agencies have carved their niche in a rapidly growing industry of professional caregiving with their main clientele consisting of first-time parents or busy working-class parents and guardians. A nanny agency makes the process of finding and employing a professional nanny or babysitter smooth and safe for most parents.
Agencies are run by experienced caregivers which helps them to understand and meet your needs. Most have a fool-proof efficient system to identify candidates even in busy cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. It’s hard to find a full-time nanny in some locations without the help of a professional nanny recruiter.
The second and perhaps most important thing a nanny agency will do is to do the necessary background checks on your behalf. They act as a normal human resource agency but tailored to the nanny business with the right networks and techniques to assess candidates for a nanny opening.
Background checks for nannies are usually thorough and time-consuming but very important given the nature of the job. Some examples of background checks conducted by nanny agencies include
- Police checks – for criminal records
- Reference checks- calling a candidate’s references
- Checking qualifications and experience- academic certificate verification
- Social security number tracing
- Driving record reports
- National alias searches
Nanny agencies also help you identify a nanny that matches your family’s needs. For instance, some parents may want a professional nanny who has some experience or training with special needs children. The nanny agency will help you with the entire process to ensure that you have the perfect nanny. Nanny matching usually involves needs assessment, numerous interviews, and on-job assessment.
To match you with the perfect nanny, most nanny agencies will go out of their way to make sure they find someone who will blend with your family and working environment. Most nanny agencies have a database of candidates that can be searched on-demand. They will also want to try two or more candidates before settling on one that fits your needs. Personality checks are also done at this point.
The other important thing a nanny agency will do is ensure a smooth transition and blending process before allowing you to take charge. They will brief the prospective nanny about your family, needs and introduce them to your child or children. This nanny placement process must be professionally handled as the initial bonding period is the most challenging for most families.
A childcare provider or nanny is usually a stranger so you must have the assurance of a professional agency handing them over to you. They will arrange things like date nights, on-job assessment, and training to ensure the transition is perfect and your kids are comfortable with the nanny.
Most nanny agencies also maintain a working relationship with their clients and nannies. They will be ready to step in when needed and may even offer a replacement if things don’t work out. Depending on the contract you sign with the agency, they can provide a replacement nanny during sick days or off-days as and when it is required. They also keep in contact with the nanny and you as the employer to ensure you are getting the best service throughout the contract period.
Your nanny agency will handle all the necessary paperwork needed to employ a nanny in your location. For instance, they will ensure your nanny’s payment records are properly captured, filed, and processed. When you need permits or travel visas for your nanny, they will do it for you in good time so that you can move around with your children stress-free.
An important service that some nanny agencies offer is training. If you would want your self-sourced nanny’s skills updated or improved, then you can hire a professional nanny agency to do it. Training can be normal child care skills such as potty training, mobility, or auxiliary training on CPR, first aid, etc.