How to Start a Nanny Placement Agency

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Families worldwide rely on nannies to take care of their young ones and keep them safe. Some parents interview dozens of potential candidates before choosing one who is reliable and honest. If you love children and enjoy working with people, consider starting a nanny placement agency. In this role, you will help parents find the best nanny for their family.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

The key to success in this business is to carefully screen and interview candidates, choose the best ones and place them with the right families. Focus on building lasting relationships with both parties and provide feedback to your nannies at regular intervals.

How Do Nanny Agencies Work?

Finding the right type of child care is a struggle for most families. Some parents ask their close relatives to take care of children. Some leave them at a day care center, which can be costly in the long run. Others hire a nanny on their own or through an agency.

Nanny placement agencies make everything a lot easier. These professionals screen dozens or even hundreds of candidates, conduct background checks and help families find the right match. Day care centers, on the other hand, have long waiting lists and might not be flexible when it comes to their schedule. Parents who choose to hire nannies on their own are not always satisfied with their services or qualifications.

A nanny agency will not only interview candidates but also undertake reference checks. This way, parents have peace of mind knowing that their preferred child care provider has been fully vetted before setting foot into their homes. The nanny placement agency will follow up to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Furthermore, they will offer ongoing support and assist families with nanny contracts, work requirements and other legal aspects.

Research the Local Market

This type of business appeals to a local audience. Make sure you have a clear picture of the local market, your ideal customers and your competitors. Try to find out how many other nanny agencies are in the area, what services they offer and how they operate. For example, some agencies prefer to hire nannies who can clean, cook and do housekeeping.

About half of American families have a hard time finding nannies and babysitters. Over 95% of professional nannies are women, but male nannies are becoming popular too. Those living in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. charge the highest rates. Generally, families prefer nannies who are between the ages 20 and 25, don't smoke and hold a CPR certification — yet, less than 40% of those who work in this field are CPR certified.

Services and Rates

Before launching your business, research the average hourly rate for professional nannies in your city or state. Those who do housework typically charge more. Make a list of nanny services that are in demand in your area so that you can provide proper training and offer fair wages. These may include:

  • Care for newborns and toddlers
  • Assist children with bathing, dressing, reading and homework
  • Play games with children
  • Take children to zoos, parks, museums and outdoor playgrounds
  • Prepare meals and snacks for children and their friends
  • Pack their lunch when they go to school or on trips
  • Care for the child's pet
  • Pick up books and toys around the house
  • Clean and organize their playroom
  • Run errands for the family
  • Do the laundry
  • Attend trips and other activities involving the entire family
  • Clean the house
  • Cook family meals
  • Send emails, fax documents and perform administrative tasks

Screening and Evaluating Nannies

Nannies spend hours with the children for whom they care. Everything they say and do may influence a child's behavior. Therefore, you must carefully screen and interview each candidate to make sure she's a good fit. The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies recommends including the following aspects in the candidate application and screening process:

  • A detailed job application
  • In-person interviews with local candidates
  • Background and reference checks
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the United States

When speaking with candidates, make sure you accurately describe their job duties, working conditions, schedule and benefits. Don't promise more than you can deliver. Provide them with a comprehensive list of your agency's fees, responsibilities and obligations. If you're planning to hire nannies, draft an employee handbook with policies and procedures.

Your role involves more than just promoting your services to potential clients. You must also listen to both parties, read between the lines and choose the right nanny for each family so they can build fruitful relationships. Consider offering nanny training classes to prepare your staff for the job and to get a better picture of their strengths and personality traits.

Make a Business Plan

A business plan that is well thought out will keep you accountable and make it easier to reach your goals. This document should cover every aspect of running a nanny agency, from market research and financial projections to marketing. Estimate your startup costs, think about how you are going to make money and determine whether or not you need external financing. In general, nanny agencies collect a fee each time a child care provider is placed with a family.

Another aspect to consider is whether you will work from home or set up an office. Either way, you will need a computer, a website, accounting software and access to recruitment platforms. Your business plan should also describe your services, mission statement, objectives and business structure. Be clear about who will be in charge of what, what your target audience looks like and how you will market your services.

Identify potential threats and opportunities, include them in your business plan and develop a strategy. The number of families earning $100,000 and more is expected to go up in 2019. As a result, the demand for nannies and other household employees may increase. Unfavorable government regulations and the rising number of day care centers are potential challenges that you need to take into account.

Consider the Legal Aspects

Like with any other business, you need to choose a name for your agency and register it with the state. Apply for an employer identification number through the IRS website so that you can pay your taxes, hire employees and open a business bank account. Next, decide whether you'll operate as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company or a partnership. The first option would be suitable for a small-scale nanny agency or one that is just starting out.

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Depending on where you live, you may only need a general business license. If you have a physical office, you may be required to apply for zoning and signage permits. The following documents may also be necessary:

  • Employee agreement
  • Employee handbook
  • Building license (for a physical office)
  • Privacy policy
  • Nondisclosure agreement
  • General business insurance
  • Workers' compensation insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Even though professional certifications are not mandatory, they can help your business stand out and validate your competency. The International Nanny Association, the Nanny Academy and other organizations offer training and certifications for child care providers. Furthermore, you may apply for a membership with the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies to expand your network and exchange business information. Members receive the APNA quality seal, receive discounts on business products and have access to networking resources, conferences and other industry-related events.

Promote Your Nanny Placement Agency

Word of mouth is the best advertising for nanny agencies. Since your business targets local clients, try to build relationships in your community. Partner with schools and kindergartens, reach out to local publications and organize or sponsor child-friendly events, such as sports competitions.

Use your website or blog as a marketing tool. Describe your services and what makes them stand out. Write blog posts about child care, best activities for children, common challenges faced by parents and other topics to which your clients can relate. Post a brief description of the nannies employed by your agency. Cover their professional background and create video introductions for each of them.

Consider setting up a referral program. Encourage your clients to recommend your agency to their friends and leave reviews on Facebook, Yelp and other online platforms. You may also use direct marketing, TV advertising and loyalty schemes to attract consumers and make them stay. Leverage the power of social media to expand your reach and gain exposure for your business.

References

Resources

About the Author

Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.