The Best Nanny Agency in NYC

Clients often ask me the question, “I’m staring at a list of thebest nanny agencies in NYC and I have Care.com open in another browser window….I’m paralyzed in figuring out how I should find my nanny….HELP”  Unsurprisingly, the answer I typically give them is, “it depends.”

There are pros and cons to each of the approaches…but ultimatley it comes down to how much time you can (and want) to invest in this process yourself and how much you’re willing to pay.  I like to remind people that this is one of the most important “purchase decisions” you’re going to make in your entire life…so considering your options and weighing the pros and cons is of critical importance.  Below, I outline the key factors to consider when exploring nanny agencies and paid databases.

Nanny Agencies

Working with a really good and well-respected nanny agency (particularly a nanny agency in NYC) can be a good way to immediately gain access to a large pool of candidates, provided that you don’t mind the cost. A nanny agency will typically charge an intake/registration fee of several hundred dollars, and then, if you hire one of their nannies, 12-20% of the nanny’s annual salary. The pluses to working with an agency are that you’ll have someone to assist you and a ready supply of different candidates—if you don’t like the first five nannies that they send you, they can send you five more the very next day. The downside is that, in my experience, agencies often over promise and under-deliver. Even if they tell you that a candidate has been background checked, their checks can be extremely unreliable, and there is often very little thought put into “matching” a nanny with a family.

Most importantly, the fee—even at the toniest agencies—does not guarantee quality. Remember, the nanny world is the “wild west,” and agencies aren’t regulated any more than the nannies are.  Smaller local agencies in particular have a propensity for shady activity, and I have encountered several local agencies in my career that provided nannies with forged documents and fake drivers’ licenses. So you need to keep in mind that just because a nanny comes to you through an agency, it does not mean that she is guaranteed to be legal, more competent, more qualified, or of sounder mind than a nanny you would find elsewhere. You should still put the candidates through all the steps of the Gold Standard hiring process (call the references, do in-home trials), to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. My steps and techniques, combined with an agency’s database and services, can be a very effective combination.

Tammy Reference Question

Paid Online Databases

The term “online database” refers to subscription websites like Care.com, Sittercity.com, Urbansitter.com, enannysource.com, and many others. Like agencies, these websites give you immediate access to a sizeable pool of candidates—but without the hefty placement fee. Instead, for a much smaller fee, you can post an ad for your job and search for local caregivers using a number of filters such as language spoke, hourly rate, and experience. It’s important to know that while many of these websites will say that a candidate has been “background checked” or offer background checks for an additional fee, there are many different levels of background checks and many will not be thorough enough to catch a crime committed by a nanny at a previous address, in another state, or under a former name.  You should be prepared to run your own background checks on anyone you want to hire from one of these websites.

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