I am looking for a Nanny. How to find a good nanny agency ?

Happy family looking for nanny agency

If you are fairly new to the world of nanny employment then, you may find this guide helpful in identifying the best nanny agency for you. Even those people who have experience in employing nannies have only done so 2-3 times (if they were successful in hiring a good nanny!). Therefore 2nd and 3rd time families could still benefit from our advice as to what to look for in a good agency.

So, what to look for in a good agency…

1. There are some basic steps which all nanny agencies should be completing. But make sure your agency does, and do not assume they are.
Make sure the agency:

Interviews its candidates
• checks references
• requires the nanny to have a DBS (up to date)
• requires the candidate to have a 1st Aid Certificate
• provides ongoing support and advice, to both family and nanny, if required, throughout all stages of interviewing/ placement AND after the job has commenced.
responds quickly –to emails and phone calls in a reasonable time frame, and that they answer your questions fully.

2. Reviews. Are there any reviews on the agency, on google, facebook, or other platforms such as Netmums, Yell, etc? What do they say, and is it a believable review (whether good or bad).

3. Is the agency active? Most active agencies are active on some forms of social media. Check for their Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram and Twitter pages and see what they are posting, and what jobs they are advertising for. Do their posts and jobs make them sound like the right agency for you? Do they sound like they are busy? A good agency is normally busy!

4. Do you like their ethos? Read their website, and social media, to get an understanding of their ethos and how they work. What’s their ‘story’? Does is sound like a good agency, with clear procedures and does it sound like they genuinely care?

What about the Nanny Agency's website?

5. Is their website clear, well written, with processes clearly explained? The website is their shop. It showcases what they do and how they do it. Does it appeal to you? A website says a lot about an agency, but not everything. Some websites are distinctly in need of ‘updating’ - is this a sign that the agency is no longer very active? Or just too busy to update their website? Be careful in case it’s the former.

6. All good agencies will have their Fees and Terms & Conditions of business clearly displayed and they should be easy to understand. Clarity and Transparency means there is less room for misunderstandings and it enables you to compare one agency with another. Agencies which display their fees, terms and conditions, have nothing to hide, and a client will understand the fee structure immediately – meaning they are also more likely to proceed. If an agency does not publish its fees or terms and conditions, ask yourself - what is it trying to hide? Furthermore check carefully for information about any free replacements or refund policy and time limits.

7. Check their jobs board. Do you like how they advertise their positions? Does it look like they have similar positions to the one you are offering? Checking the positions an agency is currently recruiting for, as it demonstrates what areas there are active in.

8. Cost should not be the most important factor when choosing a good nanny agency, unless your budget has to be low. First identify good agencies, secondly check if another agency which is just as good might be cheaper. It is possible to register with several agencies, although agencies are not keen on clients doing that. If you register with a few agencies, you may wish to include some agencies which do not charge an up-front registration fee.

Things to bear in mind:

  • Bigger is not necessarily better. Sometimes smaller agencies may seem to care more. However, larger agencies most likely have access to more candidates or can provide more options.
  • A good agency of course has to make money, but ask yourself if you get the impression that they really care about you/ your children, the candidates, and making a happy and long term successful placement.

If in doubt, call them, or email them, ask some questions and see how you feel about their answers. Also note how quickly they respond.

Alarm bells; signs of a potentially bad agency:

• Does it seem like they want to work for you whatever you say? A good nanny agency will tell you if what you are looking for is unrealistic.

• Do they have bad reviews? Note, a few bad reviews should not necessarily alarm, as long as there are more good than bad. As sometimes a client may have just asked for something which is not possible then left a bad review.

• Are the jobs on their site out of date and sparse?

• When speaking to them, are they aware of current legislation etc. (If not, maybe you are speaking to an inexperienced consultant, you can ask to be put under someone else’s care)

• Do they over promise on a search that you know would be difficult (eg. Finding an after school nanny, on a low budget, for 4 young children)

• Website, look for clues - badly written or misspelled content, may indicate a website / business which has been hastily assembled.

• Does the website include the address of the agency? Every company should list its company registration number, and registered office address on its website. It may be acting illegally if it does not do so.

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