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How to Hire a Nanny — What You Should Know

September 1st, 2016

While having children is one of the most rewarding milestones of your life, it can be challenging to have a career, maintain a relationship with your partner and still care for the next generation without an extra pair of hands to make things easier. Between the feeding, bathing, looming science fair deadlines, soccer practices and piano lessons, finding a moment to breathe is a rare luxury.

If you’ve looked into daycare, but would rather your children have a hands-on caretaker that comes to you, it’s time to think about hiring a nanny. Whether it’s a ‘round the clock, live-in au pair or a part-time nanny that gives mom and dad a little extra space, we’ve got some tips for hiring a nanny that will be the perfect fit for your family.



Getting Started with Hiring A Nanny

Before you read any further, know that Quintessentially People will take on the burden of hiring a nanny by taking the time to fully understand your needs and recruit only the best candidates to fulfill your childcare needs.

What are you looking for in a nanny? What are your deal breakers? Before you start the process of looking for a nanny, sit down and decide what exactly you need help with, and for how many hours per day. During your initial brainstorming session, take into account the ages of your children and the responsibilities that come along with caring at that particular stage of development. School-age children may need driven to various lessons and activities, homework needs done and play dates may, ahem…come into play.

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Toddlers or preschool children will likely be at home more, but will need additional hands-on care that older children won’t. If you have an infant, maybe you want someone to help alleviate the stress that comes along with being a first-time parent. This person would just give you a little assistance with household chores like laundry, meal prep and light housekeeping. Keep in mind, you are hiring someone to care for your children, so the bulk of the work day shouldn’t be centered around scrubbing the floors or mowing the lawn — there are other candidates to fulfil those responsibilities.

Take inventory of your own schedule. Determining exactly how much help you need is paramount in this process, as you’ll have to clearly communicate scheduling expectations to any prospective candidates. Once you get a sense of the type of person you want caring for your child and how many hours a week you expect them to be working for you, it’s time to start the search process. Once you’ve got a picture of the ideal nanny, give us a call, and we’ll take note of all your needs, wants and must-haves to ensure you find the right person for the job.



Finding the Right Live-In Nanny

If you’re wondering how to hire a full-time nanny that will live with you in your home, you’re probably already aware that this is a task that should not be taken lightly. At Quintessentially People, we’re happy to be thorough throughout the entire search process, asking the kinds of in-depth questions that’ll help give you a sense of what living with this new person will be like, and if they’re up to the task of home management, meal prep and of course providing care and enrichment for your children. After we’ve screened for the best candidates, we’ll give you a call so you can coordinate an interview. It’s preferable to do this in person, for obvious reasons. You’ll want to see how the nanny interacts with the children before you make any final decisions. Keep an eye on their body language, etc. from a distance. The reason you’ve decided to hire someone is to look after the kids, so their input will probably be the best way to gauge if this person is the right fit.

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The right live-in nanny should feel like a member of the family — with boundaries, of course. The first few weeks after the nanny arrives are critical. Make an effort to give them a positive first impression, as it’ll definitely factor into whether or not they plan to stay long. Show the new nanny around town — what places they’ll be taking the kids, like the library, school, park, etc., as well as some local places they might enjoy on their time off.

Make sure your nanny’s room is both clean and comfortable. Furnishings should feel fresh and welcoming, and the room should come equipped with the basics: a mirror, dresser, an empty closet and even a television so they can relax when they’re not on the clock.


How to Hire a Part-Time Nanny

Hiring a part-time nanny can be a bit harder to navigate than hiring a full-time nanny or a live-in au pair. Issues with scheduling and irregular hours don’t give a nanny much leeway in looking for other part-time jobs, and it’s hard for anyone to make ends meet on less than full-time hours. It’s easy to see why a part-time arrangement would be appealing for many families. For example, some parents feel that they need an extra pair of hands to help with the daily chaos of preparing for the school day, but don’t really think they need someone to stay in the home while everyone is out of the house until later in the day. That’s fine, but consider the reality — how long is the nanny’s commute going to be? Are they comfortable doing three hours of work at a time?

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Keep in mind, you may have to offer your nanny full-time benefits, even if you don’t need them all the time. Most part-time nannies do not receive benefits, so if you do offer them healthcare, bonuses, etc., you’ll win some loyalty points, and they may be inclined to stay with your family for a number of years.

Though there’s a chance you might have to wait a bit longer to find your perfect part-time nanny, we’re up for the challenge. To begin your search, contact us with your specifications, and we’ll find someone from our talented roster that’s right for you.


Interview Questions for Nannes

At Quintessentially People, we know how to interview a nanny. Our vetting process asks the kind of questions that force a prospective nanny to think on their feet, and perhaps even surprise them. Although at first, it seems like the nanny has been placed in the hot seat, so to speak, this approach will cut down on the pre-packaged responses detailing how they came to be a nanny, where they see themselves in five years, etc.


We’ll find out what the nanny would do if a kid gets sick in a public place, or how they will keep the kids safe in the case of a major emergency. We’ll gain insights into what makes them tick — do they always keep their cool under pressure? Is the applicant a tough perfectionist that expects the best from kids and talks to them like a fellow adult? Are they the sweet, creative type?


Here’s a list of a few questions you can expect us to ask during the initial interview:

  • What made you become a nanny? Or why do you want to be a nanny?
  • What qualities do you feel are most important in a nanny?
  • What kind of background do you have in childcare? Have you worked in a daycare? Do you have any professional training in this field — i.e. a background in early childhood development, education, etc.?
  • How do you discipline a child? What are your thoughts on discipline in general?
  • How would you handle educational activities and homework help?
  • How would your friends and family describe your personality?
  • What was your own childhood like?
  • Are you comfortable watching additional children in a playdate setting?
  • Are you first aid certified?
  • Are you CPR certified? Are you willing to become certified?
  • Do you have a clean driving record, and is your vehicle in good repair? If no, please explain any issues.
We’re here to make things easier for you — if there are any questions or concerns specific to your family’s unique needs, let us know and we’ll be sure to ask! Ask questions that help paint the best possible picture of what your children’s days look like. What are your kids like? If they’re old enough to have distinct interests, look for a nanny who has experience in those areas, or at the very least, will have a blast playing soccer or doing watercolors with your kids.

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References for Nannies

At Quintessentially People, we check all references during our vetting process. Revelations will come from learning how they interacted with other families, what others thought of the nanny’s character and how they handled some of the tougher situations that arise when caring for small children. If the nanny’s references do not meet our high standards, we will not present that candidate to you or anyone else.


Nanny Background Screening

Nanny background checks are kind of a touchy subject, but an important one nonetheless. At Quintessentially People, we do our very best to ensure that all of our candidates are exactly who they say they are. We realize how important it is to conduct a background check on anyone who will be spending extended periods of time in your home.


Once we’ve completed the background check process, we’ll present you with a shortlist of potential nannies along with the following:


  • A CV
  • A Profile written by us after the interview that functions as the “what you need to know” about the candidate — experience, personality, desired compensation, etc.
  • A list of references
  • Any DSB/CRB check that has been carried out, if required

One thing worth noting: If you would like an extra level of investigation carried out on your potential candidates, please let us know before we start the search process. Some applicants are uncomfortable with a detailed investigation, and we’ll need their permission ahead of time.


Nanny Taxes

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Taxes further complicate the equation. Now that you are an official employer, you’re responsible for paying taxes. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the “nanny tax.” According to the IRS, you have payroll and tax responsibilities for any domestic employees that make over $2,000 per year.

Chances are, if you’re in the market for a nanny, you’ll be getting some advice from other parents within your circle. They may tell you it’s “totally fine” to issue a 1099 and call it a day. Don’t. Sure, you could potentially hire your nanny as an independent contractor, but you may find yourself in some hot water with the IRS. If someone works in your home, and what they can and can’t do on the job is dictated by the employer — which is pretty much a given in any nanny-parent relationship — then they are without question considered an employee.

The difference here is an independent contractor typically uses their own equipment and resources to fulfill their job duties and generally gets some freedom where hours and procedures are concerned. The variation between the two classifications can sometimes be a gray area, and rules dictating that distinction vary from state to state. Long story short — classify your nanny as an employee, you’ll both have greater legal protections.

nannies-are-employees

In the UK, there are a number of taxes that fluctuate depending on salary that you’ll need to factor into net cost. Some of these taxes are the P.A.Y.E (Pay As You Earn) Tax, the Employee NIC and the Employer NIC. When trying to figure out your total costs as an employer to include taxes, you should use the following formula:

Nanny’s Net Pay + Nanny’s Tax + Nanny Insurance = Total Cost


Insurance for Nannies & Employers

Once a nanny is working in your home, you’ll need to look over your current insurance plan to see if it provides enough umbrella coverage to take care of any workplace-related accidents. Schedule a chat with your insurance broker to determine if your policy needs adjusting. You’ll want to be sure that your plan covers anyone working under your roof.

On the other side of the insurance coin, you’ll also want to decide whether you’re going to provide health insurance for your nanny. Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone now must be insured, so the topic needs to be broached no matter what. Ask about existing coverage. Is your nanny included on a spouse’s or parents’ plan? Are they already paying out of pocket? Find out what your nanny is comfortable paying and compare plans.

Unfortunately, since your nanny is not an actual family member, you can’t just add them to your own plan. In addition, if you do happen to be a business owner, you can’t cover your nanny under that insurance either, because they work in your home. The trouble here is, while the nanny might be able to get most of their healthcare needs, like doctor and dental visits, taken care of without any issues, if they happen to get hurt on the job, your insurance company may refuse to cover them because of their status as a household employee. These kinds of mistakes can end up costing thousands of dollars, so it’s always better in the long run to do things by the book. The difference may seem minor, but it can cost you thousands if the nanny gets injured or sick and your insurance company refuses to pay because they’re a household employee.

insurance-for-nannies

There are two types of insurance for nanny employers in the UK to consider.

  • Employers Liability Insurance (ELI)
  • Public Liability Insurance (PLI) for Nannies
The UK legally requires all employers to have Employers Liability Insurance. Without ELI, you could potentially receive fines from the Health and Safety Inspector for up to £2500 for not having a suitable policy or up to £1000 for not being able to produce a Certificate of Insurance when requested.

Having Public Liability Insurance for nannies is not a legal requirement, but it is recommended. PLI for Nannies provides coverage for your nanny if anything there were to happen to your children while they are in the nanny’s care or that they could be held responsible for.


Nanny Salaries

Last but not least is the ever-important paycheck. How much you should pay a nanny is contingent on a number of factors. Obviously, where you live comes into play, as does education, experience and the amount of responsibilities they’ll be taking on if hired. The U.S. national average for a full-time nanny hovers between a wide range of $50,000-$100,000 / £30,000-£120,000 per year. If you’d like to hire a nanny with more education and more experience, you should expect to be paying the higher end of this salary range.

How much does a live-in nanny cost? You may be surprised to learn there is not much of a difference between the salaries for live-in nannies and live-out nannies. Room and board is covered for live-in nannies, but the amount of responsibilities for the nanny also increases for a live-in nanny, leading to a higher pay range. Call us to discuss your needs and we can tell you how much you should expect to pay for a qualified nanny.


Nanny Contracts

Once you’ve selected a candidate, you’ll need a contract. The contract serves as protection for both your family and the nanny, and is a place where all responsibilities, hours, job requirements, expectations, etc. will be spelled out prior to starting the position. Let us know in detail what your expectations for this role are, and we’ll be sure to spell everything out to your specifications. Every workplace and home has its own idiosyncrasies, and the better you lay things out ahead of time, the easier this will be.
Here’s a list of what we’ll include in a standard “nanny agreement”:

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  • Benefits — What benefits are paid for by you, and what will come out of the nanny’s pockets?
  • Sick, Holiday and Vacation Time — Outline whether sick leave will be paid or not, which holidays will be paid, as well as how may vacation days they can take. This is a good place to run through your expectations regarding calling in sick, or how far in advance the nanny needs to make vacation arrangements with you.
  • Salary — Most nannies are paid on salary versus an hourly wage. Outline how much your nanny can expect to make in an average pay period and whether you will give bonuses based on performances or during certain points in the year. This portion should also detail what the nanny’s hours will be, and what they’re expected to do during those hours. Also, address if overtime is available, and if you think it’ll be a regular occurrence.
Even though this is a contract, it doesn’t have to read like one. The main thing here is communication, and having a piece of writing that clearly defines things is key in a territory often fraught with awkwardness.


Foster a Relationship With the Nanny

This should go without saying, but having a great working relationship with your nanny helps smooth out many of the bumps you’re sure to encounter throughout this process. Treat your nanny like a person who has interests, goals, dreams and most of all, boundaries. As much as a live-in nanny can feel like a part of the family, they work for you, and as an employer, it’s on you to make sure they feel both comfortable and respected. Not all nanny-family relationships work out. In our case, if our first candidate doesn’t work out during our guarantee period, then we will replace your nanny with a new candidate — free of charge.

Don’t play good cop, bad cop if a conflict arises with the kids. Back up your nanny and show by example that your children do need to listen to their nanny. If you don’t back up your nanny in front of the kids, it sets the stage for behavioral issues that come up when children don’t respect authority. You are working together as a team, and a united front amounts to the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

Keep it together. Getting used to having a nanny around can be a difficult adjustment. You’ve essentially added another person to the household, one that straddles the weird place between family and employee. Having them around can help, but be aware that feelings of guilt or being a second-rate parent are not productive and shouldn’t come into play. Hiring a nanny can bring up touchy issues for parents, especially if they work long hours or travel quite a bit. Address these types of feelings, and acknowledge that they are completely normal — every parent feels like they aren’t giving their children everything they deserve. Nevertheless, don’t let feelings of inadequacy or a competitiveness with the nanny affect your working relationship. It’s inappropriate and will likely make your nanny feel uncomfortable and alienated.

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Benefits of Using Quintessentially People to Hire a Nanny

There are plenty of websites that claim to match families with the right nanny, but often they end up getting just any nanny. At Quintessentially People, we handle the process of finding your perfect nanny from start to finish. Because you want the best for your children, our nannies are college educated in areas such as child psychology, early childhood education and similar fields. Most of our nannies have CPR and first aid training, as well as the ability to handle everything from teaching your little ones etiquette to preparing meals to helping with homework. And if our nanny doesn’t work out within the first 12 weeks, we will replace them free of charge. With Quintessentially People as your go-to staffing agency, you don’t need to worry about how to hire a good nanny on your own. Just contact us, and you can rest assured that we will do all the work to provide you with the ideal nanny for your family.