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Nanny employers: would you use a service half way between a nanny and a nursery?

(30 Posts)
limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 19:52:46

I've been thinking about this lately, and have wondered if there'd be any call for it or if it exists already. Basically a small nursery setting with much smaller adult:child ratios than a traditional nursery (1:1 for under 18 months, 1:2 for 18 months to 3 years, 1:4 for 3 to 5 years for example). The baby room might have 4 adults and 4 babies, and the adults move with the babies to the next room ensuring continuity of care. A set up like this would obviously have similar costs to employing a nanny, but with the advantages of not having to be an employer. There would be the one to one care of a nanny, but the benefits of a nursery in that there would be multiple adults around, socialising and structured play for the child, sickness/holiday wouldn't be a problem.

Would anyone use a setting like this? Or are the nanny and nursery markets very separate?

TheWorstWitch Tue 08-Sep-09 20:02:06

Yes, I;d use this.
One of the reasons why I don;t feel nanny is right for our family is that DD knows when nanny takes her to music groups, etc. that she isn't with her mummy, but almost all her peers are. Everyone in nursery setting is in same boat IYSWIM
Also, like teh social aspect of nursery setting.

Think this is a really good idea

shaps Tue 08-Sep-09 20:03:02

It sounds interesting as a parent but would it be financially viable with those low child ratios which you propose. Even with increased prices for the parents, would that cover the costs of additional carers, providing a site for childcare, facilities and personnel to cook food, heating/elec, and meet Health and Safety/OFSTED requirements. Fees at the nursery might end up more expensive than a nanny for the parent.

nannynick Tue 08-Sep-09 20:10:58

Many many years ago I did my first childcare related training course (PPA Basic Learning Through Play - see told you it was a long time ago) and the course tutor had a small nursery run from her home, where she aimed to have a higher adult:child ratio than you would find at larger nurseries. The nursery still exists - Poppets Day Nursery (Fleet, Hampshire) - Ofsted Report and their website says ration of 1 adult : 4 children. Ofsted registration says 19 children aged 2-8yrs - so they are not registered for babies.

I feel that your 1:1 staffing costs for babies will make your idea non-viable - to cover a 10 hour day, with a 1:1 ratio at all times will take more than 4 staff... as employed staff have rest breaks, plus may not want to work 10 hours. Your nursery may also be open for more than 10 hours.

I don't know if parents would pay the higher fees you would need to charge... would put your nursery at the top of the price scale in your area.

If you also offer a collection from home / delivery back to home service, then perhaps parents would feel the extra was worth paying... but I'm not sure. An advantage of a nanny is that the children can still be in bed when the nanny starts work.

limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 20:15:31

shaps - I haven't thought in detail about the financial aspects, but that is definitely something to consider. I would imagine the pay for the staff would need to be pitched somewhere higher than average nursery nurse wages (to attract high quality staff and encourage them to stay long term) but lower than nanny wages (to reflect lower level of responsibility). Even if fees ended up higher than a nanny's wages, parents would be saving on heating/electricity/food bills in their own home, paying a payroll company, employers NI, nanny outings and activities, petrol costs, so it could still end up a better deal.

limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 20:19:32

"If you also offer a collection from home / delivery back to home service, then perhaps parents would feel the extra was worth paying... but I'm not sure. An advantage of a nanny is that the children can still be in bed when the nanny starts work."

Yes, having to get the child to nursery would definitely be a big disadvantage over a nanny - also, the doubling of costs if you have two children.

In terms of the adult:child ratio, my thinking was that this wouldn't need to be guaranteed at all times. The staff could cover for each other's breaks, maybe have staggered start and end times, and still be well within legal limits.

Harimosmummy Tue 08-Sep-09 20:20:55

I'd consider it but not sure I'd use it if the costs were the same.

My nanny works pretty flexible hours depending on what i need and she also does things aroundthe house - sorts the children's clothes, nakes meals etc., she also makes sure i'm sorted for the evening (bottles prepared etc.,)

also agree with the point about the kids being in bed... sometimes i'm still in my pjs when the nanny arrives!!!

but!! i'm currently considering a couple of nursery slts for my DS because of the social aspect.

nannynick Tue 08-Sep-09 20:23:13

Parents would incur some costs still though, such as getting children to/from the nursery. Nursery non-included outings / non-included activities - if you are including those in the fees, then the fees will be reflecting that cost element... wouldn't they?

I agree, they would save Employers NI... but you wouldn't. You would also have other finance costs - such as an accountant, a part-time admin person perhaps to keep on top of invoices, paying suppliers, staff payroll, day-to-day accounts, dealing with enquiries etc.

One bigger issue is that you would be registered as a nursery, not as a childminder, not as a nanny... so you will need to comply with the nursery registration requirements. Also you would need to comply with local authority town planning requirements - which I think includes things like car parking, disabled access, disabled toilet. You would also be paying Business Rates.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 08-Sep-09 20:25:41

The worst thing about nursery is that the child can't go in if they're ill, whereas with a nanny the problem arises if the nanny was ill. If you could come up with a setting that solved both these problems at once you'd be onto something.

limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 20:28:01

Yes, it's impossible to know if it would be financially viable without doing some sums! I'm more interested at the moment in knowing if it's something parents who could afford a nanny would be interested in, if the costs were similar.

Thanks to everyone who's given opinions!

limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 20:28:58

kathy - a nursery with a isolation ward attached? grin

nannynick Tue 08-Sep-09 20:47:10

So how much do you think such a nursery would charge... £100 per day (that is similar to a nannies gross salary in some parts of the country). Would that be per-child, or for all the children in the family?

I think it would appeal to some parents but I'm not sure if it would appeal to enough to make it a viable business proposition. It wouldn't be something I would invest in (if I had the money, which I don't) as I can't see when the return on the investment would be made. You will need to think about how attractive such a business would be to an investor, as how would you fund it? Staff are paid regardless of if the children are actually present... as are many other costs.

limonchik Tue 08-Sep-09 20:50:47

You're jumping a good couple of steps ahead of me nick grin

nannynick Tue 08-Sep-09 21:22:21

Sorry... probably due to having considered various ideas in the past including running a small nursery.

Some childminders have an assistant (or more than one) and they could be providing a higher adult:child ration that would be usual. However the staff costs eat into profitability a lot... you will find CM's posting on here who have said that after paying their assistant, they are making very little.

How much do you expect this to cost a parent... if a childminder in your area charged £50 per day, then would what you propose cost £75, £100, more?

nannynick Tue 08-Sep-09 21:24:47

why do I keep typing ration rather than Ratio blush

Katymac Tue 08-Sep-09 21:33:01

I struggled to make a nursery financially viable with basic ratios & (only just above) minimum wage salaries, I'm not sure how paying large wages, would help at all

WRT breaks 4 staff needing at least 30 minutes every 6 hrs would mean that in every 10 hours, 3 hours would be below the stated ration excluding toilet breaks

How would you manage the change of ratio from 1:1 to 1:2 are you assuming that as each child hits 18m you would be able to recruit a new child aged 18m?

Katymac Tue 08-Sep-09 21:34:55

Blimey Nick you have me doing it now

Turniphead1 Tue 08-Sep-09 21:35:13

Interesting ideas. As someone who has done both nursery and nanny I think that the benefits of a nanny (them having children bathed, in pjs and ready for bed, plus laundry done etc whilst you are at work are hard to beat ...

nbee84 Tue 08-Sep-09 23:15:19

A lot of parents will use other child care but then employ their 1st nanny when they have 2 or 3 children, as a nanny will charge the same regardless of how many children you have, so can work out cost effective when compared to other childcare for 2 or 3 children.

A nanny will also be able to do the school run for your older children and can take children to specific activities that you may want them to do; ie swimming, ballet etc.

Nannies also do child related duties like washing and changing bedlinen. This helps the parent to justify the additional cost of a nanny as they feel they are getting a bit more for their money in return for spending more quality time with their children as they don't have to spend their non working time catching up or keeping on top of those chores.

AtheneNoctua Wed 09-Sep-09 07:46:43

It depends on why you employ a nanny. I employ one because she gets them ready in the morning and I don't ever have to do a school/activity run during the working week. Also, I travel for work and so she does some over nights. Your offering does not offer any of these things, yet costs as much. And what about when the kids are sick? Can they come to this nursery or be sent home. You are offering continuity of care through the nursery. What are you going to do when a staff member leaves and the parent complains because you offered continuity of care which you can not now provide?

Some people hire nannies specifically for the one-to-one care and they might be interested in your service. But, they will still be missing out on a lot of benefits of employing a nanny, like determining what activities the children go to, when, where, etc.

navyeyelasH Thu 10-Sep-09 20:33:36

I sort of do this; 2 childminders working from the same house. We can have 6 under 5 (on Early years reg), and of these 6 we can have two under 1. We can also have 6 between 5 & 8 (Childcare Reg).

BUT

we decided that we want our setting to be 1 under 1 and 5 between 1 and 5 years. No school drop offs or pick ups.

We charge £5 an hour which is about £2 more than other local childminders. We also can't provide a sibling discount (which some parents have been miffed about). Food is an additional 50p a meal.

But we have better facilities than a nursery IMO, more dedicated staff and we are very experienced IMO.

We aren't open yet and don't have our Ofsted cert but we are 60% full, through word of mouth. So your idea is sort of viable.

hocuspontas Thu 10-Sep-09 20:37:22

Navy - don't you worry that when an older sibling starts school and you won't do school runs you will also lose the younger ibling(s) at that point as well? Obviously a parent wouldn't want the hassle of two different childminders to drop off at.

hocuspontas Thu 10-Sep-09 20:39:19

iblings?

Doozle Thu 10-Sep-09 20:46:09

To be honest, if I was paying nanny prices, I probably wouldn't use a service like this one.

Have to agree with what some earlier posters have said ...huge advantages of having nanny are that

a)the nanny takes care of them when they're sick so you can still go to work
b) you don't have to get kids out and dropped off in the morning/picked up at night. The nanny comes to you.

Sycamoretreeisvile Thu 10-Sep-09 20:52:46

No, I don't think I would, because I have two children and if I'm paying nanny prices I want my kids together, and I want them doing the activities they enjoy, like swimming, ballet classes etc. I want them in the comfort of their own home, napping in their snuggly own duvets and the nanny doing the laundry, ironing and cooking up batches of meals for them etc.

A nanny in your home reaches and wraps around your whole life - that's what you pay the premium for - not to mention not having to get your kids out of the house in the morning, and the hours, normally until 7pm if you need it, and will be happy to stay on on those nights you may be late.

This is all really on my mind at the moment. I'm desperately trying to find an affordable, workable childcare solution for my 2 year old and 4 year old just starting reception. I don't get home from work until 7pm. I can't afford a full time nanny unless we're in a share...and we cannot find a family to share sad

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