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what are the best au pair agencies in London and are they worth the money?

(14 Posts)
wheelsonthebus Tue 14-Jul-09 10:39:18

we may need an au pair to start in 2 months time and I am thinking of going through an agency rather than a website like au pair world because of the time scale. Can anyone recommend an agency? Do they actually put the effort it with checks/interviews etc and is it worth spending £750 plus VAT on one?

NewTeacher Tue 14-Jul-09 12:21:04

ooh thats a bit steep.

I use abacus au pair agency who are based out of london BUT place AP's all over the country.

They charge about £250 and this is the 3rd year I've used them.


wheelsonthebus Tue 14-Jul-09 18:46:02

thanks NewTeacher. I was quoted that figure by one in Kent, but even the London au pair agency only charges 350. Have yr experiences been generally good? any specific advice you can offer a first timer?

DadInsteadofMum Tue 14-Jul-09 19:11:00

Have never used an agency, use au pair world, I really do not understand how the agencies justify fees off £300+.

wheelsonthebus Tue 14-Jul-09 19:12:50

yes. lots of friends recommend au pair world, but isn't it hugely time consuming if you want an au pair in a hurry? also don't the agency do all the checks for you?

DadInsteadofMum Tue 14-Jul-09 21:02:34

First au pair was 3 weeks from first putting profile up to her arriving. There are no checks that an agency can do that you can't.

I would want to see references and possibly follow up with referees anyway - I would want to conduct an interview, and for CRB check in most European countries you request this yourself and present it to any prospective employer, so again I ask how does the agency justify £350 for this?

wheelsonthebus Tue 14-Jul-09 21:44:59

thanks DIOM, I will look into it. Spose I am slightly dreading the drop-out rate (i have heard you get loads of interest = then half drop out). maybe i have got this all wrong tho.

NewTeacher Wed 15-Jul-09 09:06:13

I founs AP world to be a pian I listed my profile got hundreds of responses but when you sent an email back to say you are interseted it was in dribs and drabs.

I didnt have time to do all the searches etc so an agency worked best for me.

You tell the agency what you require and they will send details of AP's that match your requirements, you can email/speak to whomever suits you and you see all their references etc straight away.

We had an issue with our 2nd AP I got onto the agency she gave me details for another one FOC (within 4 weeks) and she has been with us since Sept she leaves next week.

I emailed the agency in April/May got details of AP's for Sept and have recruited our new AP who starts in August. All pain and hassle free.

Its a personal choice and the agency worked well for me as I didnt have time to do all the checks etc.


mumof2222222222222222boys Wed 15-Jul-09 09:09:47

I use Au Pairs by Pebbles and it costs £25 / month. I have found them very good.

wheelsonthebus Wed 15-Jul-09 10:03:04

thanks so much; all great advice. NewTeacher, your experience does sound like the sort of thing I am looking for (bar the issue with the second au pair! would you mind divulging what the issue was?)

wheelsonthebus Wed 15-Jul-09 10:04:29

also; what is FOC?

NewTeacher Wed 15-Jul-09 11:08:41

FOC - free of charge grin

the 2nd AP just didnt gel with us once she was here. My DD who was 2 and a half didnt take to her and she didnt make the effort with her either.

And then we had an issue over food! too long to get into...

But after 3 weeks we both knew it wasnt working so we asked for a replacement and the agency found her somewhere else to go too.

wheelsonthebus Wed 15-Jul-09 21:21:40

tks for that...all useful insights

Treeesa Thu 23-Jul-09 23:03:07

It depends on the agency and what they do for their money.. The agency we have used for the last four years travel abroad to meet au pair's in their own home country, so the fee they charge is pretty fair. I like the fact it's the same British agency who have talked to each of the candidates and not a different agency in the other country.

They also show us the videos of each of the girls talking about themselves.. This really worked well with us especially with my kids - they like to help pick out the person they warm to the most.. It's much better than trying to choose someone from an email who may have had the time to write and re-write their email 10 times with the help of a friend (who is the one who actually speaks the English..!). Seeing the video helps to reassure you that the person really is who they say they are.. and you aren't going to be duped by talking on the phone to someone else who is the au pair's friend who can speak English better!

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