Child care can be extremely costly. One of the best ways to provide personalized small group care and save money on child care without cutting corners is start up a nanny-share with another family.
Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a nanny-share.
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Child Care Is Expensive — Crunching the Numbers
- The cost of child care, according to Child Care Aware of America, is comparable to a U.S. family’s annual expenditures for transportation, housing, or the costs associated with a four-year, public university tuition.
- In some parts of the U.S., child care can account for 15% of a married couple’s median income.
- For a 4-year-old child, care at a child-care center ranges in cost annually from $3,997 in Mississippi to $12,781 in Massachusetts.
- In major cities like New York or D.C., nannies with credible references may earn $800 to $1,000 weekly. An $800-a-week, full-time nanny will cost roughly $40,000 annually.
How to Save: Nanny-Share
- With nanny-share, families split the services — and therefore the costs — of one nanny.
- This arrangement offers a win-win for families and nannies: A nanny can earn a premium by working for multiple families — therefore earning anywhere from 10% to 20% more — and families equally share the financial burden while benefiting from a the personalized care and attention of a full-time nanny.
- Cost effective. Less costly than hiring a full-time nanny. Offers more efficient and personalized care than a childcare center or family care center.
- Nannies form bonds with children, establishing personal relationships. Daycare centers often juggle a large number of children at once.
- A nanny can provide sick-care; childcare centers usually don’t.
- With nanny-share, a nanny can alternate days between families, providing coverage where and whenever necessary.
- One nanny can watch two families simultaneously, giving children a chance to bond with friends.
- Coordinating schedules can be difficult.
- Different parenting styles between families can be challenging.
- Nanny-share doesn’t provide the same one-on-one treatment as a full-time nanny caring for one family, but it’s still better than a daycare center.
- Coordinating payroll taxes can be demanding, but there are outside assistance options you can use to stay on top of taxes.
Setting Up Nanny-Share
How to Get Started:
Step 1: Preparation
- Can you afford the cost? Caring for more than one child will often cost raise the hourly rate, though you’ll be able to split that rate with the other family.
- Understand that you will have to be flexible, as both a parent and employer: You will not have full say on everything, as another family will also have to voice opinions and thoughts about the nanny and their childcare strategies.
- Your children may be spending time in another family’s home: Does that work for you?
Step 2: Find a Family
- Find a family with similar parenting styles – local parenting groups often will be a good place to start looking.
- Ensure the children get along.
- Make sure the families have good overall chemistry.
- Logistics: Make sure the families live close to one another, that your schedules are similar or can be synced up easily, and that lifestyles or beliefs — urban vs. rural, religion, etc. — are compatible.
Step 3: Write Up and Establish Guidelines
- Establish guidelines for the families: How will the nanny split his or her time? Do certain children have specific needs? Which house will the nanny spend the most time in? What will the nanny do if a child is sick?
- Emergencies or Important Information: If there’s an emergency or a natural disaster, what should the nanny do? If one family needs to drop the nanny-share, what should the other family do? Is there a trial period?
Step 4: Finances and Benefits
- Payment: How will payment be handled? Will the nanny be paid weekly or every other week? Will the nanny receive a check or can you arrange direct-deposit?
- Payroll Taxes: Understand that each family is responsible for reporting and also paying payroll taxes. Also, will the nanny receive benefits like vacation time and sick days? How will these be coordinated?
- Licensing and insurance: When two or more families hire a nanny to care for non-related children at the same time as their own children, some states (like Maryland or Washington) require the families to acquire a state family child care license. Both families also need to inquire about additional insurance, as well.
Step 5: Find a Nanny
- Outline with the other family what you are looking for:
- How many hours a week will the nanny work?
- Where will the nanny spend most of their time?
- What is the combined budget for wages, taxes and insurance?
- Consider using a reputable referral source, like a nanny agency, online marketplace, or ask friends and family you trust.
- Before conducting interviews, be sure to ask any prospective nannies if they are comfortable with nanny-share.
- Both families must be confident about the nanny. Make sure the families, the children, and the nanny are all on the same page concerning the “sharing” logistics and schedule.
When interviewing, make sure to ask:
- Do you have experience with nanny-share?
- Have you cared for multiple children at the same time before?
- Are you comfortable with having more than one employer?
- Do you take children on outings? If so, walk us through an outing.
- How do you discipline children?
- Have you ever had to handle an emergency before?
Step 6: Nurture!
- Ensure that all families communicate regularly about their needs with the nanny.
- A good nanny will often stay with a family for years, so work hard to establish a rapport with your nanny, the other families, and strive to make sure that the children enjoy spending time with one another.
Seek help from a payroll company if you need help tracking your nanny’s payroll taxes.