Nanny questions — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Nanny questions

maureenmcemaureenmce member
edited April 2016 in January 2016 Moms
Hey there!  So, we have a wonderful daycare picked out for LO, but unfortunately we found out that instead of her being able to start in September or early October, it's looking more like January of 2017.  :/  I am very disappointed, as our plan was for me to go back to work in mid or late August, and my mom to come down and watch her for a month until we could get LO into daycare.  However, it'll be too much for my mom to watch her for four months and I can't go back to work later than August, so we're going to have to hire a nanny until her spot in daycare opens up.  Since this wasn't part of our original plan, I'm feeling a bit out of my depth as far as a few things and wondered if any other moms who are using a nanny or have used one in the past could answer a few questions:

1.  Did you use a nanny service to hire your nanny?  If so, do they charge a fee on top of the nanny rate?  If so, is it one time or monthly?  If it's a national (or local to Southern California service) and you liked it, let me know!

2.  If you did not use a service, other than doing a background check and requiring certification in infant CPR, was there anything else, credential wise, you insisted on?  Did you require proof of the infant CPR?  (Like a certificate or something?)

3.  Holiday pay - unfortunately in my industry, we time off but no pay.  So, I'll get a week for Thanksgiving and two weeks over Christmas/New Year's.  Is it okay to just say we won't need her those three weeks?  Or should we offer her half (or full) pay even though we won't need help during those weeks?

4.  Do you pay your nanny in cash or check?  How do you handle taxes?  I heard there were some programs you can use to deal with taxes (both yours and the nanny's) if you use one of those, any specific recommendations?

5.  *Edited to add*  -  What questions would you ask in the interview?  Obviously, I'd want to hear about their nanny experience, get any references and see what their personality is like, but is there anything specific you would ask?

Thanks SO much!  Also, if there's anything else in terms of advice or info, I'd love to hear it!



Re: Nanny questions

  • 1.  Did you use a nanny service to hire your nanny?  If so, do they charge a fee on top of the nanny rate?  If so, is it one time or monthly?  If it's a national (or local to Southern California service) and you liked it, let me know!

    We used a service to hire our nanny (I was overwhelmed by--and unimpressed with--the selection on Care.com and Sittercity) and they do not charge a fee on top of the rate ($15 an hour)

    2.  If you did not use a service, other than doing a background check and requiring certification in infant CPR, was there anything else, credential wise, you insisted on?  Did you require proof of the infant CPR?  (Like a certificate or something?)

    3.  Holiday pay - unfortunately in my industry, we time off but no pay.  So, I'll get a week for Thanksgiving and two weeks over Christmas/New Year's.  Is it okay to just say we won't need her those three weeks?  Or should we offer her half (or full) pay even though we won't need help during those weeks?

    We are taking vacations and having family in town throughout the summer, and we let our nanny know right away that we wouldn't need her during those times.  The perk of working with the agency is they can find her another family to work for during the times we're out of town.  She's totally understanding and, I think, likes having the breaks!

    4.  Do you pay your nanny in cash or check?  How do you handle taxes?  I heard there were some programs you can use to deal with taxes (both yours and the nanny's) if you use one of those, any specific recommendations?

    We pay the agency with a check every two weeks, and the agency handles all of the taxes.

    5.  *Edited to add*  -  What questions would you ask in the interview?  Obviously, I'd want to hear about their nanny experience, get any references and see what their personality is like, but is there anything specific you would ask?

    I am a total control freak, so I asked how she feels about schedules and whether or not she'd be willing to follow the schedules I've set up for LO.  I also asked about household "chores" and whether or not she'd be willing to help with that kind of thing.  I think the biggest thing, though, is the feeling you have when you meet the person.  I had a great feeling about our nanny from the beginning and continue to have great feelings!  Trust your gut!




    maureenmce
  • I've never hired a nanny, but I WAS a nanny for about a decade--including being live-in for a few years. It can actually be a great experience for all!
    maureenmce said:
    Hey there!  So, we have a wonderful daycare picked out for LO, but unfortunately we found out that instead of her being able to start in September or early October, it's looking more like January of 2017.  :/  I am very disappointed, as our plan was for me to go back to work in mid or late August, and my mom to come down and watch her for a month until we could get LO into daycare.  However, it'll be too much for my mom to watch her for four months and I can't go back to work later than August, so we're going to have to hire a nanny until her spot in daycare opens up.  Since this wasn't part of our original plan, I'm feeling a bit out of my depth as far as a few things and wondered if any other moms who are using a nanny or have used one in the past could answer a few questions:

    1.  Did you use a nanny service to hire your nanny?  If so, do they charge a fee on top of the nanny rate?  If so, is it one time or monthly?  If it's a national (or local to Southern California service) and you liked it, let me know!
    I have been hired through a nanny service, and I have been hired independently as well. Most charge the parents the fee, and usually it is one-time. The benefits to using a nanny service is that a background check happens, but honestly, not a lot of vetting happens beyond that.

    2.  If you did not use a service, other than doing a background check and requiring certification in infant CPR, was there anything else, credential wise, you insisted on?  Did you require proof of the infant CPR?  (Like a certificate or something?) 
    Definitely do a criminal background check, make sure they're certified in CPR, but also make sure they are a licensed driver (make sure it's not suspended, too) and show proof of insurance on the car they plan on driving. If they get pulled over while driving without insurance, the car can be impounded, and you don't want your baby stranded on the side of the road.


    3.  Holiday pay - unfortunately in my industry, we time off but no pay.  So, I'll get a week for Thanksgiving and two weeks over Christmas/New Year's.  Is it okay to just say we won't need her those three weeks?  Or should we offer her half (or full) pay even though we won't need help during those weeks?
    It can be a hardship not to receive any pay, so I would be very up-front about whether you're paying for that time or not. Most of the positions I held paid a flat rate per month, either once a month, or divided into two payments. This didn't change if they didn't need me. It probably wouldn't have been a deal-breaker for me not to get paid, but being very transparent about it before hiring would definitely foster goodwill. My husband is a piano teacher, and when people sign up, he explains that it's a flat monthly rate, and he takes three weeks off a year. There are no make-ups for this time. If parents want their kids to take the summer off with him, he charges them the half-rate to save their spot (since he has a waiting list.)

    4.  Do you pay your nanny in cash or check?  How do you handle taxes?  I heard there were some programs you can use to deal with taxes (both yours and the nanny's) if you use one of those, any specific recommendations? 
    I have been paid both ways. If you are paying in check, use one of the programs, because a lot of the time they can cut a check that is easier to cash. A lot of banks get weird with personal checks. Can I recommend Paypal? That was the easiest for me. I liked the process a lot.

    5.  *Edited to add*  -  What questions would you ask in the interview?  Obviously, I'd want to hear about their nanny experience, get any references and see what their personality is like, but is there anything specific you would ask?
    I don't have set questions I would ask, but I would definitely want to see anyone "in home," not only interviewing with you, but also interacting with your LO. Let them hold baby, and feed baby. Not all nannies are good matches for infants. You'll be able to tell from his/her body language whether they'll be a good fit. 

    The nanny situation works best for everyone when the nanny is considered part of the family. I know that your situation is temporary, but you're trusting your baby with this person. Once you hire, don't feel bad if you want to be present the first few days they're there. Let them know your routine. They're there to provide a service, but they come to love your LO as much as you do.  There is a bit of a grieving process that happens at the end of long-term service. I've done weekend nanny jobs that I've been able to walk away from, but anything longer than 3-4 months always takes a piece of your heart. My longest nanny position was my live-in position. I cared for a little girl from infant to four years old (when they moved away.) She's 14 now, and I still visit them. They still, to this day, treat me like family, a decade later. 
    I don't tell you this to make you feel guilty, but to reassure you. You will get fantastic care, I know it!




    maureenmce
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  • maureenmcemaureenmce member
    edited April 2016
    @akrenelk and @stephanienjer - thank you SO much!!!  That was so, so helpful and makes me feel more at ease and excited about the nanny experience. And @stephanienjeryou sound like you were a wonderful nanny!  :)
    stephanienjer
  • Lots of good information already, so I'll try not to duplicate what others have already said.  We used an agency and did independent searches.  I'm on several local mom pages on Facebook, and those are a great resource for nanny finding.  Families who loved their nanny but don't need them anymore like to help find them a great new family.
    We use a payroll company.  I think they're pretty pricey, but my husband didn't want to mess with figuring out taxes and whatnot.  We actually got direct deposit set up, so the money just transfers from our bank account to hers every week.  For such a short time, I wouldn't go this route, but it is an option.
    If you don't use an agency, be sure to do a phone interview first before you invite them for an in-home interview.  Having each of our interviewees handle our little girl was probably the biggest deciding factor for me.  We interviewed some great nannies, but one lady looked so much more comfortable handling my baby.  I knew I'd be ok leaving the house with her in charge.  Like @stephanienjer said, it'll feel right with you've found the right one.
    Even if you don't use them, care.com has some good information about hiring.  We used their list of questions for interviewing.  
    maureenmce
  • We attempted to use care.com, but couldn't find anyone willing to have taxes withheld.  It was really surprising and frustrating.  I googled nanny interview questions and found a good list on huffington post.
    maureenmceMamabeagle
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