Finding a Reputable Nanny Agency
What to look for and what to ask in your agency search
Hiring a nanny or a governess used to be reserved for the very wealthy, but it’s now a common need for middle class families with multiple children. With the rising cost of childcare and daycare costs, it often makes sense for families with two working parents to have someone in the home to care for the children. A nanny can drive to activities, help with schoolwork, and even care for the kids if they are sick.
But how do you find that loving, fair, and trustworthy nanny who will keep your children safe? The easiest, most time-efficient way to find a nanny is to go through an agency. Although not all nanny agencies are created equal, reputable companies handle the pre-screening, interviewing, and background check legwork that you’d have to do yourself if you were looking through the classifieds or on a site like Craigslist.
When choosing a nanny agency, first get recommendations from friends. In the age of the Internet, personal tips and experiences are priceless. Even if you do get a personal vote of confidence, always check online reviews of the nanny agency you decide to work with.
Reputable Nanny Agencies Will:
- Verify the nanny’s education and employment history
- Check the nanny’s credentials and licenses (including First Aid, water safety, CPR)
- Run an identity check on the nanny
- Conduct thorough background checks including state and country criminal checks
- Search every state’s sex offender registry list (including Puerto Rico and D.C.)
- Check driving record and license
- Prescreen nanny references and former employers
Some Reputable Nanny Agencies May Also:
- Run credit checks on nannies
- Run a psychological test on prospective nannies
- Require that nannies be over 21 years of age or have a high school or college diploma
- Assist in nanny contract paperwork and give tax assistance
- Have in-house nanny training programs
- Offer trial period days or weeks before collecting their fee
- Promise a placement guarantee if things don’t work out. Many good agencies offer a 3-month guarantee, which means they’ll replace your nanny without an additional charge if it doesn’t work out with your initial pick.
Nanny agencies charge a placement fee that can be anywhere from 10-15% of the nanny’s annual salary or one month of the nanny’s pay. The fees cover pre-screening of candidates, but make sure you get full written copies of all background checks and reference checks.
For a list of local agencies, visit the International Nanny Association’s website.