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Au Pair Agency V Private Hire

(13 Posts)
maplerose Mon 25-Jan-16 01:32:58

Just starting to do a little bit of research into Au Pairs and would appreciate other Mumsnetters thoughts and experiences.

Specifically, do I need to use an agency? What are the benefits (of paying the additional fees). If you did use an agency, are there any fantastic ones that you can recommend?

If you found your Au Pair did they live up to your expectations? Did you regret not using an agency.

I'm obviously just weighing up the pros and cons of agency v private appointment at this stage and would appreciate any input/feedback

Salmiak Mon 25-Jan-16 14:21:51

I've always used au pair world or workaway (if you do go through workaway then offer to pay them though!) and found my own au pairs rather than going through an agency.

My advice is make your advert very very clear, explain the hours, level of spoken English you want, type of person you are looking for, etc. have a look at some other hosts adverts and get a general idea of what to say.

Then exchange plenty of emails/ messages and have a Skype interview as well. I Dont pick anyone who doesn't include a written personal message in their first contact or who would not suit us. The ones who are enthusiastic about my write up and explain how they would fit in well to family life get reply emails from me.

Really think about the type of person/personality that would suit your house (are you a loud energetic family or do you prefer more quiet and relaxed people, do they need to drive- think about age for insurance, do you want someone who has lived alone before).

Really question them on why they want to be an au pair - the best ones I've had have come because they want to improve their English (already at quite a good level but they wanted to become fluent) and genuinely love children. The one who Was a bit 'meh' just fancied a few months abroad because she couldn't get a job at home and had split up with her boyfriend....

My dc are still young so I prefer au pairs who have a sibling a lot younger than they are - that way they're already used to the occasional toddler tantrum (or the sight of a kid wearing knickers on their head and dancing around the house).

I guess an agency would do a bit of the filtering for you, but overall I've been amazed with my au pairs. It is quite time consuming doing it by yourself. The dc adored most of ours and we are still in touch.

If you're new to having an au pair I'd suggest advertising for someone for 3 months - that way you can see if it's something that would work for your home and your family and help you figure out if its

WeetabixExpress Mon 25-Jan-16 21:58:00

Excellent reply from Salmiak.
Just to add ; treat your aupairs well. How do you expect your aupair to love and care for your child if you treat them like dirt? Have a good think about how you would expect your own teenage daughter to be treated if she was an aupair, and respect and be fair.
As an ex aupair, We have always recruited from ap world and have had amazing aupairs. Good luck.

maplerose Tue 26-Jan-16 18:58:58

Thank you for taking the time to reply Salmiak. Its really helpful.

Karoleann Tue 26-Jan-16 20:00:25

Just to add to Salmiak's excellent advice - if you do want a driver they need to be over 22 and have over 4 years driving experience inc no accidents/claims for the insurance to be doable.

Unless you want a very young au pair then I would certainly go with au pair world rather than an agency. Lots of pictures on your profile are a good way to get people interested.

Find out where your local english courses are and after initial message exchange send out an info sheet with everything you expect from them.

Beware, there is no au pair VISA in the UK. EU citizens are fine and those from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and I think Tiawan can get a VISA, but anywhere else e.g.. US then cannot come over unless they can get an Ancestry VISA (only if they have parents/grandparent who lived in the UK) which can take several months).

Gusthetheatrecat Tue 26-Jan-16 22:36:15

I know lots of people on here use au pair world with lots of success, but I am a bit strapped for time, especially in the evenings when my job means I'm out a lot, and have always used an agency.
I just find it really convenient (as well it should be, for the money you pay). I specify exactly what I'm after, which having read this board quite obediently includes someone who has experienced living away from home before! And they send through a small number of applications, all of whom have criminal checks and referees contacted already. The only time I have to spend is reading through and deciding who I 'click' with and want to Skype. I know it costs money, but it's worth it for us to save the time sifting and checking. Just thought I'd throw that into the mix.
I should add we're on au pair number 4, and so far every single one has been wonderful, all in different ways smile

Karoleann Wed 27-Jan-16 00:17:36

Gus - which agency do you use?
People are always after recommendations on here.

Gusthetheatrecat Wed 27-Jan-16 22:49:14

Hi Karoleann - you have definitely helped me on au pair threads before! Thank you.
Re agencies, I have used 'Busy Bees' each time and have been really pleased with them. The candidates they send over have almost all been really strong.
Hope that helps someone. I can really see the benefits of saving money and going through au pair world, but we're just not in that place, and getting wonderful au pairs through these guys has been lovely.

maplerose Fri 05-Feb-16 17:07:12

Thanks for all the replies again. I used an agency in the end. I just felt it was the sensible thing to do in terms of checking backgrounds etc. It saved a lot of time and effort.

MrsJorahMormont Tue 16-Feb-16 22:21:35

maple which agency did you use if you don't mind me asking?

AvonAuPairs1526 Sun 08-Jan-17 20:48:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Karoleann Sun 08-Jan-17 22:50:11

The poster above is an an au pair agency that I have reported.

It is actually a very good example of why you should not use an au pair agency.

Their terms and conditions stipulate: (extraction from their website)

The Agency cannot and shall not offer any warranty as to the medical fitness, character or suitability of the Au Pair. It is the responsibility of the Client to procure/check all legal paperwork in the engagement of the Au Pair including but not limited to work permits, visas, medical documents, references, and training qualifications.

Why would you want to use an agency that doesn't vet their candidates?

Their refund policy is also pretty awful:

c. The Au Pair failing to arrive, then the Agency will make every reasonable effort to find a suitable replacement. If this is not possible, then the Client will be refunded their fee, less £50.00 to cover Agency administration costs. If the Au Pair leaves or is asked to leave within two (2) weeks of arrival, a refund of 50% will be made to the Client or a replacement au pair will be found for a nominal extra charge. If the Au Pair leaves or is asked to leave within four (4) weeks of arrival through no perceived fault of the client, a refund of 25% will be made to the Client or a replacement au pair will be found for a nominal extra charge.


Corialanusburt Sun 08-Jan-17 22:57:15

My sister used au pair world, had one a year for 5 or 6 years and they were all good. The advantage of this way was that she trawled the site herself to find suitable au pairs. She looked for evidence of them having previous experience and training and also for interests. A young persons with skills and interests that they've built up for years is also likely to have some stickability, less likely to be flaky.

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