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Advice wanted: Flatshare for childminding?

(21 Posts)
EvaM Fri 17-Aug-12 20:10:42


I would ideally like advice from families who have done this or considering.

I am a self-employed German tutor with au pairing experience. Due to some sudden changes in my personal life I really need to downgrade my living costs. One of the things I have considered is renting a room in a family home and offering about 10 hours of childminding (and/or tuition), homework help, help with housework...

As I mentioned above I have worked as an au pair before and enjoyed working with children and staying in a family environment immensely but felt cabin fever coming towards the end.

I feel that an arrangement like this would benefit families with a stay at home parent or excisting child care arrengements in place who would like the flexibility of having 'another pair of hands' in the house.

I have advertised on gumtree already and didn't get the responses I was hoping for.

I am mainly looking for advice on:
-Are there better places to advertise than gumtree?
-How to minimise 'creepy' responses?
-Is it a good idea to add a picture? (I feel that increases the amount of creepy people)
-What would be your expectations of a lodger/babysitter?
-What would be any potential dealbreakers?
-I would be grateful, if you could take a look at my advert and give me some feedback.

Thank you for reading through this and thanks for your help,


HolyOlympicNamechangeBatman Fri 17-Aug-12 20:22:51

I would put your ad in the childcare section or 'work wanted'. Generally people in the flatshare section are looking for a financial contribution and probably don't have childcare needs.

Have you looked on gumtree at the ads for au pairs? I've seen ads where they only want 10-15 hours a week babysitting. There was one a while back where they were offering a self-contained flat.

I think on gumtree you get creepy responses to almost anything, just ignore them as best you can.

Have you tried advertsing locally, local notice boards etc.

HolyOlympicNamechangeBatman Fri 17-Aug-12 20:23:47

I'd also maybe try not putting the 8-10 hours in your ad. I know you say negotiable, but might be better to leave it open and see what you get offered.

EvaM Fri 17-Aug-12 20:53:23

Thank you holy, I have made some changes to my advert based on your suggestions.

So this is what it looks now:

I am currently advertising in flatshare and jobsection as I feel my ad is somewhere in between,

I think you are right though and gt is a breeding ground for dodgy replies sad

Ebb Fri 17-Aug-12 21:08:43

I don't live in London so I don't know whether this is in your preferred zones?

EvaM Fri 17-Aug-12 21:13:25

Thanks Ebb

catepilarr Fri 17-Aug-12 23:44:36

i was also going to point out that putney ad smile

EvaM Wed 22-Aug-12 18:32:03

Bumping up. Sorry but hope there are a few mpre opinions.

nannynick Wed 22-Aug-12 22:24:35

I don't understand how it would be a flatshare. In a flatshare, don't you share the cost of the main bills? Sorry I don't know much about flatshares but I imagine there's more to it than just having a room in someone else's flat.
I don't really see how it's different from a live-in nanny or au-pair.
Or am I reading things wrong, would you be paying all the usual bills but providing a little childcare in exchange for something else - if so, exchange for what?

EvaM Thu 23-Aug-12 11:00:53

I see this as an arrangement where I help out with childcare for a few hours in exchange for accomodation. I think it's somewhere in between a nanny job and a flat house share - so not quite sure how and where to adertise this.

MummytoMog Thu 23-Aug-12 14:03:31

If my sister wasn't in our attic, I'd have jumped at that like a shot! Have you tried advertising on as an au pair? Might get you some nice, non-creepy responses.

HolyOlympicNamechangeBatman Thu 23-Aug-12 20:15:08

'I don't really see how it's different from a live-in nanny or au-pair'

A live-in nanny or au pair would be paid and given accommodation in return for (usually) 25+ hours of childcare.

In this situation the op is looking for accommodation only (no payment) in return for fewer hours of childcare (10 hours).

EvaM Fri 24-Aug-12 19:07:44

Holy, you are right really. I think it may be because not all my au pair experience has been positive - basically a lot more chores than I had initially signed up to. And I just want to make it clear that although I want to be a help with childcare/ friend to all members of the family I still want to have my own life. is there such a thing as an au pair light?

MummyToMog: Thanks for the encouragement. I might try

Oh and I noticed that there was a boyfriend issue in this thread. I have a boyfriend and usually mention this in the interview along the lines of: I just want to check what your position is. I understand, if it's a problem for you. Could my boyfriend come and stay occassionally? Does this put people of. I feel it's best to clarify positions before a move is decided but feel some people see it as me being forward.

NickNacks Fri 24-Aug-12 19:21:17

I have to say I can't see anyone taking you up on this. Rooms in London (zones 1-3 no less) will be rentable for a lot more than £70 plus 10 hours childcare especially since that includes utilities. And offering to help with chores? I would EXPECT anyone I live with to pitch in with chores, not as an added bonus.

Sorry I just don't see this as a 'plus' for the other party at all. You seem to want a lot in exchange for very little.

NickNacks Fri 24-Aug-12 19:22:24

Oh and add a boyfriend into the mix? No chance!

EvaM Fri 24-Aug-12 21:53:32

NickNacks: Hmmm. I would disagree. I have experience in childcare, I have teaching experience. Even if you pay a childminder minimum wage for 10 hours that would be 60GBP (slightly more actually) + 70GBP that means the value is 130GBP per week. If you then add in language tuition (which I charge 17GBP/ hour - that's at the low end of the spectrum iother teachers take 30 GBP) Which is the going rate for a nice...ish room, definitely in zone 3. I am incredibly flexible in my own work: If your kid is sick or there's another emergency, I'm on a call. As long as it's one or two emergencies on a monthly basis, I can handle it.
Chores: An au pair (who gets paid) is per definition only expected to chip in with general and child related chores. What I want to avoid is the expectations that I'm going to run the whole household whereas I'd be happy to help out.
So, although it might not be for everyone, I feel it can be of great value for some people. Especially people who need ad hoc child care on a semi regular basis or someone who want to help their kids learn German. To re-iterate no only am I a native speaker, I also have experience tutoring kids from 2 years old up to A-Level.

Boyfriend: Again, I feel I am being fair when I ASK at the interview stage. It would be a nice bonus, but I can see why most families would be uncomfortable if a guy comes to their house. If I was at the other end, I'd be a lot mor annoyed, if I took someone be it as a nanny, au pair or lodger and they'd ask me a few weeks in.

Sorry if this reads a little bit like a rant. I just want to make clear that I have thought this proposal through and feel I am offering something of good value for everyone involved.

StillSquiffy Sat 25-Aug-12 17:24:43

Gumtree is probably not the right place to advertise.

Try greataupair and Yes they are au pair sites, but to be honest anyone looking for childcare will hit those sites first.

Also, I think your approach needs to shift.

Think of your market:
1) people wanting german tutors. They will almost certainly not be wanting a live-in tutor.
2) People wanting dog-walking/babysitting/general help around the house. They will be able to get casual help for this from local teenagers, etc, without the need to have someone live in.
3) People wanting regular help with the kids. 8 hours a week won't really cut it for most people in this situation. It's neither here nor there. Why would they take you on when they can get a full-blown au pair for £65 and that will give them far more flexibility, 25 hours of work and, to be honest, a far more 'pliable' person (one they can say no to re: overnight visitors, one they can ask to help with chores etc).

So. Those are the challenges to overcome because what you are looking for is someone who wants all three of the above. It's a really really, difficult thing to find because people will only need one of the three.

If it were me, I'd approach it completely differently. Ignore the things you have to offer and think outside the box about things that parents struggle with. Here's things to kick you off: Emergency childcare; single parents; people working shifts (nurses, airline staff, police officers, for example). If it were me I'd write an ad specifically to appeal to those groups of people. Don't offer to pay anything (that confuses things) but say you are there to provide assistance outside of the usual hours and regimented childcare patterns. Offer to do overnighters and school drop offs/pick ups to suit shiftwork, that kind of thing.

I'd also see if there are any 'police' forums and ask there if shift-work childcare support would appeal. You never know, you might find a recently separated shift-worker with a sickly child wink

Flisspaps Sat 25-Aug-12 17:30:34

That's not childminding.

For it to be childminding, it should be for 2 or more hours a day, paid, and in your own home. You should be Ofsted registered.

Please don't call it childminding because that's a separate profession.


EvaM Sat 25-Aug-12 20:42:51

Flisspaps: Duly noted. I can't change the name of the thread though so we'll hae to live with it.

Stillquiffy: Thank you for your post. You are confirming my instinct that the current advert is a little bit confused.
I see my "market" as either people in need of semi-regular emergency childcare or unusual working hours or bilingual families where another native speaker adds to the kid's motivation to speak German.
I think it might take to separate ads. Thanks again for the really useful advice,

MrsBingo Mon 27-Aug-12 22:41:29

Hi there

I am sorry you are having a slightly hard time..

just a few pointers:

- Regarding the creepy responses: "living arrangement" could sound a bit dodgy, as if you are trading things… also to point out you are a foreign student (alone here..) does make you vulnerable to dodgy responses.

- It's not that clear initially what you mean by "my budget is £70 a week"? Do you want to work 8-10 hours and pay £70 cost &logis?

- Mentioning a second career next to nannying, housekeeping would totally put me off from hiring someone.. because I would know that that is what they want to do and they look after kids to pay the bills. There are only a few exceptions where a second career is beneficial (nurse, nursery teacher, etc). If creative professionals/arts graduates apply, I would be wary of their motives of doing the job (really only for the cash, and not because they "love kids"…)

- I think your ad could be more decisive. You don't really want to "negotiate up or down" (?)… and what services you offer is quite open if you see what i mean… tutor, nanny, housekeeper, dog walker, cook... better to specialise a bit (or apply as a housekeeper/nanny).

It is a tricky one. I guess you need to focus on one area and look for a part-time nanny job (or tutor, or housekeeper) that will pay your bills while you act.

P.S. I have just hired a housekeeper and have hired nannies before (most through gumtree, it is ok for London). Lastly, I think photos usually didn't add any advantage (so much can be conveyed wrong in one picture)... better to create a personal impression.

I was once also a foreign student in london, i know how hard it is.
So, good luck!!

MrsBingo Mon 27-Aug-12 22:47:36

just reading through the thread... a boyfriend who is staying over even occasionally would be a deal breaker I am afraid - unless i hd a self contained flat for the au pair..

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