The Nanny Podcast episode 7 “I want a qualified nanny twelve hours per day, six days per week and pay less than minimum wage”

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Welcome to the Nanny Podcast.

If this is the first time you are listening to our podcast, welcome 🙂 this is where we talk about everything nanny, we talk about how to improve your career, things you love about nannying, how we as an agency work and so much more.

Today I am going to tell you about a kind of situation we run into here at the agency every once in a while. It happens more often than I think it should and I want to talk about why it is unreasonable and what we do when it happens. It is a little bit of a behind the scene of the nanny agency if you want 🙂

When clients contact us we ask them to fill out a questionnaire, telling us about the kind of nanny they are looking for and what the job they are offering looks like. We want to have a profile of the client, just like we do of the nanny so that we can make the best matches. This is a typical conversation in this kind of scenario:

Client: Hello, I need help finding a nanny for my two children age 18 months and 3 years. Can you help us?

Us: Hello, yes of course we can, can you please fill out the application form. (there is usually more of a conversation going on, but to simplify it a little, it’s usually something like this)

They fill out the application form, often not with all the information we ask for, sometimes because they don’t know, sometimes because they don’t want to tell us right away. Typically, in this particular type of family, they leave out the hours they require and the salary. Our reaction, privately is “oh boy”.

What happens then is that they tell us how qualified they want the nanny to be, on top of the basic trainings and certifications they typically want at least two languages spoken fluently, a good presentation, a smart and sophisticated nanny (which makes us delighted since this fits the profile for most of our nannies) because, you know, they will be taking care of their children. You would think that the person who is going to help them raise their children would be someone they respect and pay fairly, right? This far it sounds good, right?

Ok, then we get to the hours. Many families ask for five or six days work. Often ten to twelve hour days. We often try to negotiate the hours to be more sustainable, explaining that when their nanny is rested and happy, she is a better nanny (it should go without saying, but it doesn’t always) and then we try to explain the benefits of a nanny who is able to have a good balance in her life. That in a good relationship there is room for other things than work and a nanny who has no way of doing things she likes outside of work will not want to stay in the job. In general, there are probably exceptions but I can’t think of any. Maybe there aren’t. For most jobs like this the best solution would be two nannies in rotation.

So they say for example that they want six days per week, 7 to 7. That’s a long day and a long week so for me, I am already thinking in my mind that it leaves me with fewer nannies to present to them and the salary requirement will go up. Remember they are looking for a high end nanny with long working days, and we haven’t even gotten into the fact that they might want the nanny to do some light housekeeping when the kids are sleeping, which may or may not be appropriate or reasonable depending on the qualifications and experience of the nanny and of course, the salary.

What I try to explain to our client at this point is that you have quality, quantity and price. You can pick two. When working with us you always have good quality, so that one has much less flexibility than the others, it is more a question of wanting a junior or senior nanny. You can’t have a senior nanny for many hours for a low price. Do you see what we do here? We are trying to set up the job to be successful for both the family and the nanny, making sure that the expectations are met on both sides and the relationship starts out in a professional manner with open communication. This is the point when we often don’t hear from the client again, I don’t know what their reaction is but I can imagine that they are upset because they can’t have something that is not reasonable, and I told them that they couldn’t, and what do I know, I’m just a nanny agent. Maybe it’s less dramatic than that, and sometimes the clients get back to us a few months later, after they realize that they do in fact need our help finding a good fit for their family and our job wasn’t as easy as they thought and they tried out a less qualified nanny who accepted the terms they offered because she just wanted a job, and now she left because she found something different or it just wasn’t a good fit and now they are back to where they started. And then when they write us again and we ask them to give us the specifications of the job they look a little bit different.

Thank you so much for listening to the Nanny Podcast, please join us again next time.

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