Why Use A Nanny Agency? Here’s 5 Reasons

10 min read

Executive Summary

There are 5 main reasons to use a nanny agency. Click each bullet point to skip to that section for more details.

Investment Cost: ~$5,000
Time Reclaimed: 40 hours
Worth it? Yes, if your household brings in $260k/year ($125/hr)

Bringing a person into your home to help you care for your child can be a daunting task. Ideally, Mrs. Doubtfire would be a friend of a friend whom you’ve known forever. S(he)’d require no credentials and instinctively know exactly when and how to cater to your family’s needs and when to step back. 

“Mary Poppins, Mrs. Doubtfire,  Nanny Fran — they’re all great characters, and they’re great stories. But at the end of the day, the reality of life isn’t a movie,” says Dara Yates with Seaside Staffing Agency

In reality, exceptional nannies are in demand, and there is a lot to consider when searching for the right match. Nanny agencies sort through thousands of applications to help find qualified nannies that best fit each family’s needs, temperament, and parenting style. And that’s just the beginning of what they do. Here are five reasons to use a nanny agency…

Why Use A Nanny Agency? It Saves (A Ton of) Time 

reasons to use a nanny agency

You know I’m all about being in control of my time, so I can spend it with my family and not on tasks that drain me. The stress and hassle of sifting through resumes and interviewing dozens of nannies to hopefully find the right one is not how I wanted to spend my precious hours as a new parent. 

“Families can search on their own. It just takes a lot of time to go through everything from locating their own candidates to doing their own vetting, interviews, reference checking — there’s just so much that goes into sourcing for candidates,” says Jacey O’Neill, a placement counselor with Westside Nannies. She estimates their services save families an average of 40 hours. 

One of the reasons nanny agencies are more efficient is that they have a pool of candidates that have already been extensively vetted  — O’Neill says just 4% of the nannies that apply to their agency get selected!

“We’ve got our roster of people that have already made it through their initial interview and reference checking with us,” says O’Neill. “We have a pool to pull from that is available immediately.”

After an initial consultation about what you need, nanny agencies will send you over 3-5 of the top candidates that meet what you’re looking for, saving you time (and energy!) from having to interview dozens of candidates.

Why Use a Nanny Agency? They Help Figure Out Your Needs 

Going into the hiring process with a clear idea of what you’re looking for is key to finding the right nanny. 

“At the end of the day, it’s matchmaking,” says Dara Yates with Seaside Staffing.

She says if parents are struggling to define what they’re looking for she’ll ask them questions to help figure out their needs: “What is the hardest part of your day? Where is it the most stressful?  If the perfect person fell out of the sky, what would that look like to you?” 

Seaside Staffing was the agency I used, and Dara put me immediately at ease during our first call. I didn’t have to waste time filling out questionnaires online; instead, she talked directly with me to help me figure out what kind of support I needed. 

I found it invaluable to have a nanny agency hold my hand and help me build out the job description, based not just on what my life looked like at the time, but what it would be like in the coming months. In those early days of parenthood, I had no idea what I was doing and my sense of time was all over the map. I wasn’t sure what my new normal would look like or what sort of proposed schedules and hours would make sense for the nanny.

A nanny agency can also help you identify the right demeanor and communication style for your household — something I was especially concerned about given my direct, no-nonsense style of managing. 

Jacey O’Neill of Westside Nannies says matching the demeanor of the household with the demeanor of the nanny is really important. “What is the dynamic of the home? Is it a very boisterous household, or is it a bit more calm, reserved?  Then we can help look for candidates that fit either category because there are great nannies that fall into both,” she says. 

On top of that, if parents want their nanny to take on extra household tasks, virtual assistant-type work, or travel with them, that all needs to be discussed upfront so everyone is on the same page. 

“We can provide families guidance on that to make sure that everyone has realistic expectations, and that the nannies are set up for success too,” O’Neill says. 

Why Use a Nanny Agency? The Human Resources Support

why use a nanny agency

One of the top reasons to use a nanny agency is the human resources support. A nanny agency is like having a human resources department for your home. They handle everything from initial screenings and background checks, to scheduling interviews, salary negotiations, and drafting the contract.  That alone helps take a lot of the anxiety out of the process — no sleepless nights worrying if you’ve brought a safe candidate in, no hours of interviews gone bad, no “cross your fingers and hope we got the right hire” nightmares.

A few of the specific human resources tasks they help with include:

  • Background and reference checks
  • Initial screening interviews 
  • Required registration with TrustLine fingerprinting service (CA only) 
  • Crafting the job description
  • Scheduling interviews + interviewing advice 
  • Drafting a contract 
  • Industry standards for paid vacation, sick time, bonuses, etc
  • Recommending payroll resources 

In my case, guidance on crafting the job description was supremely helpful. I wanted a nanny who was willing to travel and was ok with taking on duties as assigned, such as dry cleaning pick up, crockpot preparations, and other family assistant roles. The staffing agency was able to translate my needs into a human resources-friendly job description and then find the right candidate. 

And once you’ve found the right candidate, they’ll help you craft the actual contract, which is super important for avoiding potential problems down the line.  

“We provide a customizable contract that goes over really everything that would need to be addressed throughout the year from the basics, like their duties, expectations, and compensation. But also, how holidays will be handled? Do they anticipate that they’re going to want their nanny to work certain holidays?” says O’Neill. “Having that mapped out in advance is really helpful, so that there’s no surprises along the way. We provide the groundwork, and families are able to do with that what they want.”

Why Use a Nanny Agency? They Guarantee Placement 

reasons to use a nanny agency

I’ve had friends hire nannies on their own. In some cases, they’ve gone through dozens of interviews and made an offer, only to have that nanny back out at the last minute. One of the biggest benefits of using a staffing agency is that they guarantee placement. 

Nannies are incentivized to follow through on their commitment if they want to continue to work for the agency and receive referrals, and the staffing agencies also have skin in the game. In the case of Seaside Staffing Company, they only get paid if your new hire stays for at least 90 days. Other agencies have similar policies. This ensures you’ll only be matched with someone who is the right fit. 

The cost of your energy and time to train a new hire is off the charts, so you only want to do it once. And if for some reason the first person does not work out (it happens—albeit rarely with agencies involved) nanny agencies will help you find a replacement. Whether or not finding a replacement is totally free of charge depends on the agency — some, like Westside Nannies, prorate it depending on how long the first nanny was with your family.

Why Use a Nanny Agency? The Continued Support

reasons to use a nanny agency

Nanny agencies can continue to provide guidance after the hiring process. Jacey O’Neill with Westside Nannies says parents will often reach out for advice when there’s a change. 

“Maybe they’ve welcomed a new baby into the household and they want guidance on what’s an appropriate raise, or what is generally offered for an annual bonus,” she says. “Families can reach out and we provide ongoing support for however long their relationship lasts for. It doesn’t end once the placement is made.” 

Many nanny agencies also help with hiring other positions, like private chefs, personal assistants, and household managers, so they can continue to be a resource as you expand or change your staffing needs. This was the case for our family. We reached back out to Seaside Staffing for a referral for a private swim instructor, personal chef, and when we wanted to hire a second nanny. In these instances, Dara already knew our personality and lifestyle and had the perfect matches lined up! 

Before you connect with a nanny agency, you should know what you and your partner view as outsourceable tasks and agree that you’re ready to hire a trusted professional who will partner with you. Need help figuring out what the right support team is for your home? Download my parenting guide: 3 Steps to Hiring Support at Home. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest articles in your inbox.

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