One of the trickiest parts of landing any nanny job can be negotiating the salary. While some employers or agencies might include salary (even if it’s just a range) in the job listing, others might withhold that information until a later stage of the interview process. They’re not doing this to be secretive or suspicious, though; most likely it’s because they don’t want to deal with discussing numbers until they’re relatively sure they’ve found a good candidate for the job.

When the time comes, you’ll need to be able to negotiate a good salary. You’ll want something that pays you well, but also something that’s fair to the employer. It needs to be rooted in reality, but also have room to expand over time. Here are some tips to keep in mind:handshake

Do Your Homework

The first place to start is by doing a little research on nanny salaries in your area. If this isn’t your first nanny job, you’ll at least have an idea of what nannies can make in the region, but no matter how much experience you have, it’s wise to see what other numbers are out there. Talk with other childcare professionals in your city (Facebook and Twitter can be helpful for finding local friends), and reach out to nanny agencies and review industry reports like the INA Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey to see what possible salary offers you can expect. You can also check other job listings to see if they include salary. These numbers are designed to give you a broad but reliable range of possible compensation targets, so you can keep yourself from going too high or too low.

Know How to State Your Case

A big part of salary talks is, simply, selling yourself. You need to be able to prove to a potential employer that you’re worth the price you’re asking. Take into account your experience, education and skill set when determining your earning potential. Tossing out a high number and just hoping for the best can look like you’re trying to take advantage of the employer or like you haven’t put any thought into the matter. But compensation is a vital part of the process, and it requires a lot of thought. Before the interview, make a list of your best qualities and highest priorities. Think about what you can offer, what you’ve achieved and where you’d like to be in one, five and 10 years. By arguing your merits, you can present yourself as an investment, not an expense.

Plan for Taxes

Your employer will be thinking about payroll taxes, and you should, too. Remember: Your paycheck isn’t a straight amount that you’ll be paid under the table. You should always think about how much you’ll really be making once you take typical nanny taxes into account. Again, this is where experience and research can come in handy. Make sure that the number you have in mind is net, not gross.

Anticipate a Compromise

This is crucial, and it goes back to finding something that’s fair for all parties. When discussing possible salary, you’ll want to start with a number that’s higher than what you reasonably anticipate making, with the understanding that the employer will counter with a number that’s lower than what they’re really willing to pay. This can be frustrating, but it’s just part of the way pay negotiations work. Remember, though, the employer will likely come up. You just have to be willing to go lower. Visualize your first number and final number with steps in between them, and be willing to take your requests down a notch each time. If you wind up with a higher salary than you’d imagined, great! If you wind up at your minimum required amount, that’s fine, too. Be clear and honest during these negotiations, though. If you hit your floor (the lowest you can accept) and the employer still balks, you might have to pass on the offer. Your satisfaction is just as important as theirs. If you’re both direct and plain about mutual needs, though, everyone should walk away happy.

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