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use an agency or find a nanny by myself?

(13 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:44:45

I'm self-employed so any time spent away from work (ie spending ages searching for a nanny!) does actually cost me money IYSWIM. So I can justify the cost of paying agency fees. But is it worth it? Do agencies add any value, get better candidates etc? Or is it literally just about the time taken.
Obviously I'd want to follow up on references myself even if an agency had done so, so although I'd appreciate the extra 'security' of getting an agency to check things, it's not vital.
But I am new to all this and may just feel more comfortable with the back-up.
Also, anyone (parents or nannies) know of good agency in SW London? Have heard good things about Wimbledon Nannies. Also Gina's?
Thank you!!

NannyLouise29 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:52:35

Abbeville Nannies is my favourite London agency based in Clapham. My interview with them was rigorous and they checked my references and quizzed my qualifications. I felt like they knew their stuff.

Having said that, I think that finding a nanny yourself is time consuming, but nannies don't look exclusively at the jobs on agency books. They look on gumtree, nannyjob, and through word of mouth. An agency won't do anything that you aren't able to do yourself, and after dealing with some agencies I realise that they don't even do the basics.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:59:27

Thanks NannyLouise, will check them out smile

slowcomputer Thu 20-Feb-14 20:13:56

I advertised on all the sites and got hundreds of messages from people who clearly hadn't read the as as they weren't available on the days I wanted, didn't have the driving licence which I had made clear was essential etc etc. gave up and went to an agency and had a nanny within a week, she's been with me six months now and is great. Best £700 odd pounds I ever spent. Nurturing nannies in Muswell Hill FWIW.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 20-Feb-14 20:15:11

Great, slowcomputer, that's good to hear. Thank you

emeraldgirl1 Thu 20-Feb-14 20:16:52

Oh and one more question sorry - is it the Done Thing to register with several agencies or just pick one? Will registering with more than one agency give me more choice or do all the same nannies just use the same agencies anyway? Don't want to have time taken up fielding endless calls about the same candidates from 3 different agencies!

rockybalboa Thu 20-Feb-14 20:19:39

I mulled over this point and in the end decided to go it alone as I'm on mat leave still so have the time to filter through dross. I paid about £25 to put an ad on and also advertised on Gumtree. Gumtree won through for us. I got 16 applicants in about two weeks. There were a few useless types which an agency would have weeded out (ie non-drivers when driver clearly specified, unable to work on one of the specifically stated days etc). I think I saw about 10 CVs and weirdly a few who sent me their CVs and looked great simply fell off the face of the planet when asked if they wanted to come for interview. Didn't understand that at all. In the end we found a lovely experienced nanny who wanted to work the precise hours we were looking for and it was all very easy. Her previous/current employers were absolutely glowing about when I spoke to them over the phone after the interview. And it didn't cost £££. I'd try going it alone first if you have the time and see how you get on. Then you can spend the £££ on something else! grin

wadi1983 Thu 20-Feb-14 21:24:44

check out nappyvalleynet

minipie Thu 20-Feb-14 23:00:58

I agree with wadi, that's how I found our (fab) nanny, have a look.

minipie Thu 20-Feb-14 23:01:53

...but if you prefer an agency I have also heard good things about Abbeville nannies

Karoleann Fri 21-Feb-14 09:35:00

I've never had a good experience with agencies, they just seemed to either send numerous unsuitable CVs (again we needed a driver when we moved and we must have had 3-4 non-driving nanny CVs from one agency alone.)
We then had the issue of the candidate references not being checked properly.
Consequently, I've always do the hiring myself, either through gumtree or

slowcomputer Fri 21-Feb-14 14:52:05

Totally reasonable to register with more than one agency though I'd probably only use 2-3 or you'll lose track! Most don't charge an upfront fee.

Victoria2002 Fri 21-Feb-14 23:09:44

Always double up on the agencies checks. I know some of them don't follow up on reference checking etc. also agencies tend to ask a nanny re live in or out, will or won't work with pets, will or won't travel...not really trying to match their style or experience to your needs. HOWEVER I think many well qualified & experienced nannies only look for jobs through agencies, as the top jobs are available through agencies and it's free for nannies to use agencies. There are LOADS of stories on here of people advertising on gumtree and getting totally inundated with wholly unsuitable candidates so if you go down that route be very specific and get your "delete" finger out ready to sift!

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