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How To Choose The Right Nanny Agency

If you’ve tried finding a nanny yourself and have decided that it’s just too much work, you may want to try hiring a nanny agency to do the job for you. Here are some questions to consider that will help you decide which nanny agency to use.

  • How long have they been in business? Five or more years is a good starting point. Most reputable nanny agencies have been around for at least 5-10 years.
  • Are they members of the International Nanny Association(INA) and BBB. The INA is the major organization for nanny agencies in the U.S. and most reputable agencies are members of the BBB.
  • Do they check references? FYI-20% of applicants give phony references. So, a good nanny agency will ask specific questions and make sure the information given matches what they put on their applications.
  • Does the agency take copies of identification as well as an in-office photograph?
  • Does the agency include a DMV report with the background check?
  • Does the agency make sure that each nanny has CPR and First Aid?
  • Does the agency register each person placed with Trustline when there is childcare involved? Law in California requires Trustline, yet most agencies do not use it. Trustline does a criminal background check and checks the Child Abuse Registry. You can call Trustline at (800) 822-8490 to find out if the agency regularly registers people with them.
  • Does the agency do a criminal background investigation? If so, what type of background check do they offer? A good background check will include a national criminal database search, a national sex offender check, in-house county criminal searches in the main cities the nanny has resided in, social security verification which should show all name aliases and the nanny’s address history and don’t forget the department of motor vehicles report. Make sure the agency does all of this before the nanny starts. Beware of companies that only offer a database search, since these can be very inaccurate if the databases are not updated.
  • Does the agency charge the nanny a fee to get a job? The better agencies would never charge the applicant a fee to place them since they are getting paid by the family. More than anything, ethically, it’s not really the right thing to do.
  • Does the agency look like they are having a casting call? Do they want you to go in and “pick one”. The better agencies will interview nannies and once approved, send them out to meet the families.
  • Does the agency tell you about payroll taxes? Do they know that domestic workers are employees? They should also work with a reputable payroll tax company like GTM.com.
  • Does they agency want you to sign a written agreement? This is a good thing. Your contract should explain all the services in detail as well as prices, guarantees and replacements.
  • Does the agency offer to provide client references that you can call and speak to? It’s always smart to ask for a few former clients to call so that you can hear what their personal experience was.

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