Nanny Share 101

Definition: A nanny share is when two families engage the services of a single nanny to care for both families’ children.

Nanny sharing is a creative way to save money and still have a professional in home childcare provider. With child care often being the second largest monthly expense, your mortgage being the first, families find sharing a nanny to be a great solution. It is a common misconception that having a full time professional nanny is out of a family’s budget, but sharing lowers the average costs to $300-450 a week per family. Although this sounds great, it is easier said than done! Nanny Shares have many pros and cons, and only you can determine if it is the right choice for your family.

First step: Finding the right family to work with! Just like having to interview nannies you will have to interview families first. Things you need to consider:

1. Age of the children – It is probably better to have children close in age so they can play together and become friends, but think about the pros and cons of having multiple children the same or similar age or the opposite.

2. Values – How much is the other family looking to spend on a nanny? What benefits are they willing to offer? You would be surprised at how families differ on the subject.

3. Parenting Philosophy – How do you want the children disciplined? What does your child like to eat and what does their child like to eat? Does one of the children have a food allergy? What are your rules regarding television? The families must agree on these items – different rules for children being cared for together is not possible.

4. Scheduling – How often do either of the families require a nanny? If your schedules do not coordinate, how is this going to impact you? How often does each family go on vacation? How is the nanny compensated when only one family is using her? Timing is everything.

5. Activities – Do both families allow the nanny to take their children on outings to the zoo or parks? You would be surprised at how many families do not want the nanny to take the child out. You must consider how this will affect your day.

Second Step: Once you have found a possible family you would like to share a nanny with you still need to think about the following:

1. The Nanny Search – Both families should get together and write a job description, work agreement and qualities they are looking for in a nanny. They should agree on how the nanny search will be executed and determine responsibilities for each step of the way. If an agency is used: the fee amount, who pays it, and any fee-splitting arrangements should be in writing. If an agency is not being used, make sure you agree on a process for screening, background checking and reference checking. During the interview process, the nanny should have the opportunity to meet all parties before accepting the position.

2. Where will the care be given? – some families rotate; others use only one home. If care will not be given in each family’s home, consideration should be given to the wear and tear which will occur in the home where the care is given.

* Is that home maintained and clean to the satisfaction of both families?

* Is the home child proofed?

* Are there pets in the home? What care must be taken to protect all children?

* Who will be responsible for supplying the toys and replacing broken ones?

* What about meals which the children and caregiver will be eating during the day – who will provide the food and pay for it?

3. Salary – When a nanny is hired by 2 families her salary is usually higher due to the more complex situation, but when split between two families will still result in a big cost savings. Consider what happens if there are days where one family’s children are not being cared for – is the same salary to be paid or is a lower hourly rate ok? The same salary is recommended, but this must be worked out ahead of time. Families and the nanny should coordinate the withholding of payroll taxes and consult a payroll company (www.gtm.com) or accountant to find out how to handle this appropriately.

4. Benefits – What benefits will you offer your nanny? How do you plan to coordinate vacations? If the host family is vacationing, will the nanny be required to go to the other family’s home? Full time nannies expect to receive weekly pay for every week of the year, even if a family does not need her care on any particular day or week. Typical benefits include paid federal holidays and 1-2 weeks of paid vacation.

5. Illnesses – It is important to work out what happens when the children are sick. It will be possible that the sick child will be living at the home where the care is being provided that day. Will the care be given at the other home that particular day?

6. Communication – Open lines of communication are very important. Both families and the nanny should be comfortable in bringing up any issues that might arise. Make it a point to check in once a month and give regular reviews to your nanny.

7. Contracts – Both families should have a contract not only with the nanny but each other. This should cover all the details like salary, benefits etc, but also what happens if one family wants out of the share. Always discuss an exit strategy, including what the rights and obligations of each family are, when the relationship ends.

Pros:
* More personalized attention than a day care and for less money

* Additional duties can be done like light housekeeping and laundry

Cons:

* It is very difficult for two families to find a nanny they agree on

* There is the risk of being left with a nanny who was hired for a certain salary

Sharing a nanny can be the best of both worlds or more trouble than it is worth. Evaluate your personal goals and what you want to get out of your childcare provider. Can your provider meet your goals while caring for other children? After weighing the pros and cons you will be able to determine if this is the right avenue for you

First Class Care helps families find the perfect Nanny for their nanny share. We request you find your family partner first. Contact us today at 847-733-2700.

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First Class Care by Mom's Best Friend is Chicagoland's Premier Domestic Placement Agency. We specialize in placing Nannies, Housekeepers, Newborn Care Specialists, Babysitters, House Managers, Chefs and Personal Assistants.
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