Is Using A Nanny Agency Really Worth The Cost?

Employing a Nanny is the most important hire you will make in your lifetime. It should not be taken lightly. The physical, mental, and emotional well being of your child is at stake. Hiring the wrong nanny is not only disruptive to a child’s life. It can also have an immeasurable impact on a child’s potential.

Several decades ago employing a nanny was typically reserved for the very wealthy. Historically, elite families relied on domestic agencies to find experienced nannies, governesses, maids, butlers, and estate managers. Today, more and more upper middle class and middle class families employ nannies as both parents may work outside the home. Some families are stretching paychecks to afford a nanny rather than putting a child in daycare – and the fee to use a nanny placement agency is simply not within their budget, particularly during tough economic times. Unfortunately, not seeking help from nanny experts can lead to disastrous results.

As the owner of Cambridge Nanny Group in Chicago, IL I frequently get calls from parent who are on the verge of tears. The call typically goes something like this. “I’ve gone through two nannies within the past year. I have a nanny now but I know she’s not going to work out either. When I interviewed them they seemed fine so I don’t know what I missed. I’m concerned about what impact this will have on my child. I didn’t want to pay a fee initially but now I’m willing to do so. Can you please help me?”

The old age of “You get what you pay for” rings true when it comes to childcare. Below are some of the benefits of using a professional nanny placement agency.

Benefits of Using a Nanny Agency

• The best and brightest nannies are not trolling the want ads or posting their profiles on job boards. They are happily employed. If their current family no longer needs their services because their children are now school age, the first thing will do is contact their preferred placement agency. Nanny Agencies are networked with the highest caliber and experienced nannies.

• Access to professional nannies. The best nannies choose this profession because it’s their calling. Some nannies are highly trained with various certifications and some hold college degrees. In England nannies are often educated at the Norland College or English Nanny & Governess School.

• Online Nanny Job Boards do not prescreen their submission. Literally anyone with a computer can post a nanny profile. There is a tremendous risk involved in contacting strangers.

• Nanny Placement agencies prescreen all of their applicants prior to submitting candidates to families. For example, Cambridge Nanny Group in Chicago Illinois will not even consider a candidate that does not have three (3) professional references. The references are contacted prior to a candidate even being interviewed for possible representation.

• In-depth interviews and candidate assessment.

• Background checks. Typically a state and criminal background check, job history, driver’s license, social security verification. Some agencies offer a psychological test for an additional cost. Top tier agencies offer a streamlined agency process that incorporates important safeguards for your family’s safety and security.

• Experienced Nanny Placement specialists who are intuitive and skilled at “reading between the lines” to carefully matching your family’s needs with the right candidate in terms of competencies, personality and parenting philosophy,

• Low Turn-over. Families that utilize a Nanny Placement Agency experience an astonishingly lower rate of employee turnover. (Many scientific studies validate that if a child experiences a high turnover by his or her primary caregiver they are more likely to experience emotional, cognitive, and social difficulties – including behavior problems, difficulty in school, trusting people, and shyness)

• Tremendous Time Saver. With dedicated staff, a nanny placement agency can move faster than you can squeeze a candidate search and screening process in between work, family, household responsibilities, and other commitments.

• Coverage of contingencies:If your staff is ill or on a planned vacation, many agencies offer coverage so your family schedule and commitments are not interrupted.

• Most nanny placement agencies offer a placement guarantee

• Peace of mind. You can’t put a price on that.

Remember, not all Nanny Placement Agency’s are equal. Conduct research to ensure you are choosing the very best agency in your area. I recommend you start by visiting the International Nanny Association’s web site at to find a listing of local agencies in your area.

If you can afford to use a Nanny Placement Agency do so. Think of it as an investment in your child’s future.