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Help! - hiring a nanny for the first time

48 replies

zoej · 23/05/2006 19:12

Hi I am hiring a nanny for the first time and have been slowely gathering information. I have registered with 4/5 agencies and I am shocked about nanny agency fees - they seam very high and then add VAT too!

I have seen the site and was wondering on helpful tips on hiring - is it best to use an agency - what am a really getting for my £800 plus that I can not do myslef? I get the idea that even through an agency I need to follow up references and do the enhanced CRB check (at the price plus their administration fee) myself.

what are the pit falls and pluses of agencies v sites like nanny job?

Any advice will be greatly received.


OP posts:
zoej · 23/05/2006 19:15

PS I have just noticed one of the agencies I have registered with is advertising my job on nannyjob!!!!

OP posts:
SqueakyCat · 23/05/2006 19:41

I recently hired our first nanny. i registered with several agencies, who either didn't send anyone, or sent CVs / people who weren't quite right or turned our job down as is was in the wrong place (although they all came for interview before deciding that). Not one suitable candidate.

I advertised on nannyjob - interviewed a few, but not quite the calibre I was after.

I advertised in the local press (cost about £50 each) which was more successful, and also rang the local colleges and spoke to the people running the childcare courses (cost about 20p), which is where I got our wonderful nanny from as a recommendation from the head of childcare courses!

I follwed up refs myself (at least one candidate gave written refs that were suspicious) and most candidates had recent CRBs anyway, if not I'd have got one as part of the Approved Childcarer thing.

As a frist-timer I really wanted to use an agency, but in the end they didn't send the right people, and it turned out to be surprisingly easy to DIY, plus saved me £££.

If you are in the right area, try advertising on Gumtree, and also boards on busy parks etc. Also ask around if you know anyone working in childcare, they may have a friend who is looking etc.

Good luck.

MrsBigD · 23/05/2006 20:07

I would recommend having a look on gumtree there's heaps of nannies/would like to be nannies advertising on there. thought that depends on the area you're in. I'm in London.

I did try a few agencies but besides their horrendous fees the nannies they sent were defo not what I wanted for my kids. I wanted my kids to play not to study all the time iykwim.

I found mine or rather she found me here on mn. I have to admit that I went with my gut feeling when I interviewed her. Her references were short but good (spoke to one referee family but had problems understanding them due to strong African accent Grin). Spent the first week home with nanny and saw that her and the kids got on great.

Also have to admit that I didn't even do a police check - I know I know nowadays really a must but I like to see the good in people. Also gauged her reaction when I asked her whether she would mind having a check done and was happy with that.

bluebear · 23/05/2006 20:22

The agency fees are extremely high aren't they (more than £800 round here!)- and no guarentee that they really have checked references.
We are paying for our nanny to have a CRB check as part of the childcare approval scheme (even though she has a current CRB from her former employment, it has to be re-done for the approval scheme).
I have advertised on nannyjob in the past, but didn't get any qualified applicants - lots of unqualified hopefuls though.
I found my nanny via the nursery which my children used to attend (I was very lucky).
I have looked at nannies advertising on gumtree (not put on a ad myself) and there seem to be a reasonable number of qualified nannies on there.
Good luck.

bluebear · 23/05/2006 20:22

Are you in the M25 area? Have you tried Simply Childcare (think there's a website if you google it)

zoej · 23/05/2006 20:25

Hi unfortunatly we are just south of the M25 down in West Sussex. I will have a look on gumtree - thanks for that link.

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pol26 · 23/05/2006 21:00

As an ex-nanny and now mummy I would say that most agencies I have been with have been hopeless and sent me for jobs not suitable. They send off CV's etc and really sell you to a family when often you are not what they want. My best positions that I have found were through the lady magazine- fees for an ad insertion are quite expensive but not like a nanny agency. CRB checks can be done by yourself or usually if less that three years old a nanny agency won't do a new one (which seems very silly because I personally would want a new one before a new job if I was hiring a nanny). Some agencies also don't actually meet a nanny in person, so could be sending anyone to your house!
As for checking references, anyone can do that. I guess though that for thier fees the nanny agency does make lots of calls and a lot of 'faffing' which saves you. Although, not what warrants the best part of a thousand pounds in my view.

lemonstartree · 23/05/2006 21:48

We had our nannny from the Gumtree. Honstly she had been for other jobs trough agencies and whn I rang her referees was the only one who ha been in touch........ we saved over £1000 and it took about an hour to check her out thoroughly. and to be fair - I would trust an agency anyway after all I have heard.......

Uwila has a great liost of interview questionsor I can post the ones I uesd - I think at least 90% is the gut feel.......

only thing I would say is ask about sick leave.

good luck :)

lemonstartree · 23/05/2006 21:49

sorry that was so crap posting

I WOULDN'T trust an agency

lemonstartree · 23/05/2006 21:49

sorry that was so crap posting

I WOULDN'T trust an agency

lemonstartree · 23/05/2006 21:49

sorry that was so crap posting

I WOULDN'T trust an agency

NannyL · 24/05/2006 09:30

Ok i got my current job from nannyjob Smile

(my boss was with 2 hopeless agencys, i was with one of them as well, but despite living just 10 mins away and it being my PERFECT job they failed to tell us about each other)

Anyway she got desperate, advertised on NJ and found me Grin

(a few weeks later after exchanging contracts etc the agency told me about the job... THEN tried to make my boss pay the fees anyway Shock and the technicality that she was employing someone from their books Angry)

Anyway we both argued against that one Wink

All i can say is on nannyjob there ARE lots of proffesional nannies, howevere there are also lots of time wasters, so its a question of sieving through them your self, and being sure to check all the references etc...

cause there ARE great nannies on NJ you just Have to find them !!!

Good luck in your search!

Uwila · 24/05/2006 10:26

Found my current nanny on nj as well. She is fab with my kids. And we all love her. I would never use an agency. Can't see they offer much value for money. Besides, there is nothing they do that I wouldn't have to turn around and do for myself. Also, I can't trust someone who has a vested interest in inflating the nanny's salary (their commission is based on it).

Good luck. Let me know if you want my questions. Oh, and if you hire a foreigner (ie kiwi, aussie, or Canadian on a holiday makers visa) then the crb check is useless anyway. My nanny is Canadian and I just went with the references.

SqueakyCat · 24/05/2006 19:29

I just wanted to appologise to nannyL: I never meant to say there aren't good nannies on nj, sorry if it seemed that I was saying that - there are clearly plenty - just that in my area there are very few nannies at all, and none from my nj advert quite gave me the confidence I wanted or had the experience with babies. I think it depends a little on what area you are in. But nj certainly provided better candidates than the agencies, for a lot less ££. I would definitely advertise on nj again. Although, I hope our wonderful nanny stays with us till we don't need one, so I never have to look again. she's super.

NannyL · 24/05/2006 20:18

Squeaky cat....

No need to aplogise, was not offended... just pointing out that SOME of us ARE ok nannies! Smile

My boss said she had LOADS of hopeless 'nannies' respond to her advert Wink who she wouldnt even leave her dogs with!!!!! Grin

zoej · 24/05/2006 21:30

I think I will sort out an advert with nannyjob. Can agencies really ask you to pay them if you have foundsome on their books via a different source? I would have said its like estate agencies surely? You owe no one unless you view through a particular agency, then are tied to buy that property through them?

here goes nothing - I am sure I will get a few time wasters if everyones comments are to go buy - lets hope i find the gem amoung them!

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Uwila · 25/05/2006 06:45

Can I suggest you make a written questionaire and send to every applicant who responds to your ad. That way you can quickly weed out the ones that aren't suitable without spending ages on the phone with lots of applicants.

Also, I recommend you have a look at and see if you can find a book called The Good Nanny Guide (I think you can buy it at Waterstone). And, of course come back here for more support. You will find a vast wealth of experience on employing a nanny here.

jura · 25/05/2006 11:30

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WishICouldGiveUpWork · 25/05/2006 12:28

I am using GreatAupair at the moment to replace our lovely nanny-it's where I found her.
Whilst there are a lot of Au Pairs on the site there are also nannies with a lot of experience.
Be prepared for lots of applicants from overseas with no visas though.

Think I may have found a lovely Canadian girl-sounds like you would recommend them Uwila?

Uwila · 25/05/2006 13:11

Well... might depend on where in Canada. But, generally speaking, yes I would recommend a Canadian. Have also heard good thins avout New Zealanders and Australians. I might try one of them next time (when current nanny's visa runs out).

Hey, if you hire one from Australia, do you pay for her to fly here?

jura · 25/05/2006 14:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zoej · 25/05/2006 15:48

how does the nanny thing work for overseas nannies - i.e canadian etc - do you need to apply for a visa for them to work for you or are they restricted in any way? Only problem I think of straight away is will they not need to be live in nannies?

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Uwila · 25/05/2006 15:59

Canada, NZ, and Oz can all come in on aholiday makers visa if they are within the right age range (17 - 30 I think). It allows them to come into the country for two years and work for one year. You do not need to sponsor them (this is a big plus in my view). And, of course, andyone from the EU can come into the country without restriction.

\link{\working holiday maker}

Uwila · 25/05/2006 16:01

ah, yes. People coming from overseas will probably be looking for live-in. Are you looking for live-out? I much prefer a live-in nanny. They statistically take fewer sickk days and it allows me to get to know her a bit because we chat on the evenings and weekends. It is also cheaper to hire a live-in.

zoej · 25/05/2006 17:37

I only need her 3 days a week and don't actually have any spare room, 3 bedroom between 5 of us already!

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