Sunday, December 28, 2008

What to Charge on New Year’s Eve

Is it Fair to Ask for More Per Hour Working on New Year’s Eve?

Andrea Flagg, professional nanny and co-founder of Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey asked Best Nanny Newsletter "Is it fair to ask for more than usual on New Year’s Eve?”

We believe, in the spirit of the American way (of capitalism) a nanny can charge more when her services are likely to be in higher demand, such as on holidays. Other professionals working in different occupations do it all the time. Florists charge more on Valentine's Day. But, when working for the same family, suddenly asking to change your rates can be tricky.

Nannies should first check their work agreement to see if New Year’s Eve is considered as a paid vacation day in their job contract. If they are supposed to have New Year’s Eve off then they should definitely ask for time and a half overtime pay (or even double their standard rate) since it is a holiday.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, live-out nannies must be paid at least minimum wage for the first 40 hours worked, every seven days. Then, the nanny must receive overtime pay, equal to time and a half, for any hours worked over 40 in a seven-day period. Live-out nannies working overtime on New Year’s Eve should absolutely ask for the higher pay because it is the law. Minimum wage by state is listed at this link:

Some states require overtime pay for live-in employees as well. For example, states like New York require overtime pay after 44 hours of work per week.

According to The Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, “a live-in employee who works more than nine consecutive hours in a day must be paid overtime (time and a half) for the hours over nine because the employee wasn’t given three hours of free time… In addition, if a live-in employee works more than five days per week, the employee must be paid overtime for all hours worked on the sixth and seventh day (time and a half for the first nine hours, and double-time thereafter.”

But, asking for a higher rate when you haven’t previously is easier said then done. Do most nannies actually ask their employers to pay time and a half overtime for higher holiday rates?

If different parents (other than the family you typically work for) ask you to work on New Year’s Eve it’s easy to simply respond, “Yes, I’d love to work for you on New Year’s Eve. I typically charge $20 per hour when asked to work on holidays like New Year’s Eve.”

It is easier to decline a different family too. If you do not want to accept the offer to work on New Year’s Eve, answer by saying, “I’m sorry I already have plans that evening.”

Many full-time nannies have New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day off as paid vacation in their work agreement.

Back in 1999 the New York Times posted this article:

According to the New York Times back in 1999 babysitters were earning up to $100 an hour, some $250 for five hours, with a 13-year old charging $135 per child. If sitters could earn that much nine years ago, nannies can certainly ask for more than the usual rate when working on New Year's Eve in 2008.

Do you charge more per hour for babysitting on New Year's Eve?

If so, how much more per hour do you charge over your regular babysitting rate? Respond by clicking "COMMENTS" below.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Did The Economy Affect Nanny Bonuses?

We received many responses about the topic of holiday bonuses for nannies after Best Nanny Newsletter was quoted in the Wall St Journal (see below or click this link):

Now that Christmas is over we asked Best Nanny Newsletter subscribers, “If you work as a nanny did the economy affect your holiday bonus or end of year bonus this year?”

The answers of our first 51 email responses are split right down the middle with 26 working nannies responding their bonus was not affected by the economy and the other 25 answering, “Yes,” their bonus was affected by the economy.

Tess Krier, a nanny from Minnesota says, “In the past I would get a cash bonus of $1,000 to $2,000 plus gifts valued at $500 to $1,000 dollars.” Some gifts Ms. Krier has received include, “trips, theatre tickets, a flight to New York, cooking classes, plus nice gifts from the charges.” But this year Ms. Krier explains, “I have not got anything yet. My boss lost his job a month ago. They have not let me go yet. They have cut my hours and are paying me cash. I think they want me to quit.”

Maria Lopez, an experienced live-in nanny, was working in the San Francisco Bay Area until the father she worked for lost his job. Ms. Lopez says, “The father lost his job in October and he has not been able to find a new job. It was a hard decision for the parents and me but I had to move back home with my parents in the Midwest this Christmas.” Ms. Lopez remains optimistic, “The nanny agency that placed me is certain I will find a new live-in nanny position shortly,” says the nanny.

Lori, a nanny from Austin, Texas explains that despite working with the same family for two years she," got no bonus at all.” This nanny feels slighted since she says, “The child's Christmas was not affected by the economy. They spent thousands on the child."

But, still half the responses reported their bonus was not affected negatively by the economy. For example, Kellie Geres a nanny in Potomac, Maryland explained, "No, my bonus was not affected."

Heather, a nanny working in New Jersey answered, “My bonus went up to three weeks pay and some pricey gifts. Even more surprising is that both of the parents that employ me work on Wall Street for companies bailed-out by the government. If anyone should be suffering I would assume it would be them. But they have not cut-back much on their spending habits. If these parents aren’t cutting back on their spending hopefully other great nannies are getting great bonuses too.”

Other nannies, like Marcia Van de Kieft from Orlando, Florida are just cautious, “I think times are tough this year for everyone -- rich or poor.”

If you work as a nanny was your end of the year bonus affected by the economy? Please click "comments" below.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Bonus: What to Give the Nanny?

Best Nanny Newsletter was quoted in the Wall Street Journal:

Recently, we discussed guidelines around gifts for classroom teachers and other folks who help us with our juggles. But if you’re still pondering what to get your child's babysitter, nanny or tutor as a holiday gift, in this tough economy, I have one word for you:


When I asked our family’s tutor what he’d like this holiday season, he asked straight-out for a cash bonus. Even though cash isn’t exactly the most personal gift, as we've discussed before, currency is the No. 1 choice of nannies and sitters too, based on a poll by the sitter-finding site The No. 2 pick was multi-purpose gift cards from such vendors as or American Express, followed by bath and body products, gourmet food items or clothes, writes Genevieve Thiers, SitterCity's CEO.

"Nannies expect at least a week’s salary as a bonus," says Stephanie Felzenberg, executive editor of “Be the Best Nanny Monthly Guide.” During these tough economic times, if you can’t afford this Ms. Felzenberg says, you should “speak to the nanny so that she isn’t insulted” or left wondering whether her performance has fallen short. Nannies also like “any gift that could be considered a benefit of the job,” such as help with the car or health insurance.

Among other ideas, says Judi Merlin, director of A Friend of the Family Home Services, Athens, Ga., a placement agency, are spa services, a gym membership or tickets to a concert or show. Other possibilities: frequent flier miles, a tuition payment, a time-share week, a gas card or help buying a computer. If your budget won’t stretch any farther, consider a gift of time; wangle a few hours off work and fill in for your nanny for a while.

Of course, nannies and sitters also appreciate gifts that bespeak their bond with the children — a photo book, scrapbook or locket with the child’s photo, says Pat Cascio, owner of Morningside Nannies, a Houston agency.

Any other good – or not-so-good – ideas as nanny, sitter or tutor gifts or bonuses?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nanny Versus Au Pair Care

Foreign Exchange: Au Pair Care On the Rise

Do our readers agree with the Wall Street Journal on this topic? Comment on this topic below the article.

Posted by Sue Shellenbarger

More families are relying for child care on foreign au pairs – the child-care workers who come to the U.S. under a State Department cultural exchange program. Nearly 22,000 au pairs were residing in the U.S. last year, up 44% from 2004, department data show.

Cost-conscious parents, as we discussed yesterday, are likely driving the trend. In the best cases, au pairs save families money while providing a rich cross-cultural experience. Au pairs’ work hours are limited to 45 a week, in return for wages and an educational stipend, and they can stay with a family for no more than two years.

To secure an au pair, parents must pay a fee of roughly $5,000 to $7,000 to one of 11 agencies authorized by the government to recruit and place au pairs. The total cost to families is usually about $13,000 to $14,000 a year plus room and board, typically less than a full-time nanny. The State Department posts rules and contact information for au pair placement agencies on its Web site.

Growth in the au pair program is one reason use of full-time nannies is declining, industry sources say. Many families employ several au pairs in succession and stay in touch with them for years.

Parents may remember horror stories of the 1990s, involving abuse or neglect of small children by ill-trained or poorly adjusted au pairs. A 10-year-old lawsuit arising from one of those cases, involving British au pair Louise Woodward, was recently resolved. However, regulation, screening and monitoring of au pairs by the government and placement agencies has since improved, and no such incidents have come to light for years.

Would you recommend an au pair as a child-care option?

Monday, December 15, 2008

14 Ways Nannies Can Market Themselves

Best Nanny Newsletter quoted in U.S. News & World Report
Link here:

U.S. News & World Report asked Stephanie Felzenberg, editor of the Best Nanny Newsletter, to share her best advice for nannies who want to market themselves and stand out from the pack:

1. Standout Résumé. The résumé remains the most important way for nanny candidates to market themselves. To stand out among a pile of others, caregivers should include a photo of themselves on their résumé. Including a photo playing or posing with children will help parents take notice. The résumé should be printed on high-quality paper. Nanny candidates should spell check and proofread the résumé to make sure the grammar is perfect and the meaning is clear.

2. Nanny Portfolio. Nanny portfolios can be made in a scrapbook, photo album, or a three-ring binder and should include any information a nanny candidate would like to share with parents. The portfolio should include a current résumé, letters of reference, copies of degrees, and a listing of classes taken, workshops attended, or awards received. Also include a current CPR and first aid certification, a Social Security card, and a driver's license. Photos of activities and projects done with children are a great way for caregivers to show future employers their creativity and enthusiasm for their job.

3. Proof to Work Legally. Parents who do not pay their domestic employees legally are risking their professional careers and licenses. Nannies should have identification and paperwork proving they can work legally in the United States always available for potential employers and nanny referral agency staff. Job applicants should carry their current driver's license, Social Security card, or green card when applying for jobs.

4. Drive. Nannies who have a current driver's license, are willing to drive, and have a clean driving record have an advantage in landing nanny positions over caregivers who cannot drive. Employees who drive can help parents tremendously by taking children to activities and doctor visits and can run errands to the dry cleaners, post office, or grocery store.

5. References. Nothing is more important to landing a great nanny job than great references. Caregivers should ask former employers, parents, teachers, or neighbors to write letters of reference.

6. Remain Competitive. Job seekers should keep their salary requirements reasonable. They should speak with all local nanny placement agencies to determine the going rate where they hope to work. Caregivers should be flexible and professional when asking for salary and benefits.

7. Evaluations. Nannies should have their employers complete a written nanny evaluation every three to six months to include in their portfolios.

8. Contact Nanny Agencies. Reputable nanny placement agencies are nanny candidates' best advocates. Agency staff know how to market nannies. One way to find a good nanny placement agency is by asking other nannies and families which agencies they have used.

9. Nanny Websites. Sign up with nanny employment websites.

10. CPR and First Aid. When working with children, caregivers should take a CPR and first aid course. Nanny candidates should be CPR- and first aid-certified or renew their certification. If the nanny can swim well or has lifeguard certification, even better.

11. Education. Having earned a bachelor's degree or higher is very impressive to parents. Job seekers should let parents know the amount of time and effort they have devoted to earning a degree. Nannies should be sure to list scholarships or awards they have earned.

12. Network. Child-care providers wanting to find nanny jobs should tell anyone who will listen that they are searching for a new nanny position. Some great jobs are found by word of mouth.

13. Use Hobbies to Their Advantage. Caregivers who are strong swimmers or gifted musicians can use these skills to their advantage. Perhaps the parents will pay them extra for swimming or piano lessons for their children.

14. Great Interview Skills. Nanny candidates should dress cleanly, neatly, and conservatively for job interviews. To be considered for the position, they must arrive on time, be polite, and carry with them their résumés, portfolios, and any identification needed to prove they can legally drive and work in the United States when meeting potential employers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


By Andrea Flagg, Nanny and Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey

Consider these tips if you have lost your nanny job. Always keep these tips in mind just in case you lose your job.

1. Severance: Have an agreed upon severance plan written into your work agreement.

2. Unemployment Benefits: One of the benefits of paying taxes is getting unemployment reimbursement. Apply for unemployment immediately if you have lost your job.
Learn more about nanny taxes by clicking the following link:

See an archive about nanny taxes by clicking the following link:

3. Evaluations: Have your employers complete a written nanny evaluation every three- to six-months to include with your nanny portfolio.

4. Resume: Update your resume every few months. Learn more about creating a resume at the following link:
See a sample nanny resume by clicking here:

5. References: Ask former employers, parents, teachers, or neighbors to write letters of reference.

6. Nanny Portfolio: If you have lost your job you have plenty of time to work on your nanny portfolio. If you are currently working, keep updating your portfolio.
See how to create a portfolio by clicking the following link:

7. Contact local nanny agencies: Reputable nanny agencies can be a nanny's best advocate. The best way to find a great nanny placement agency is by asking other nannies and families which agencies they used. Read more about working with nanny placement agencies by clicking here:

8. Nanny Web Sites: Sign up with nanny employment web sites via the Internet.

9. CPR and First Aid: Get CPR and First Aid certified or renew your certification.

10. Education: Use your down time to take child related courses or research current childcare issues. Read more about nanny training by clicking on this link:

11. Network: Tell anyone who will listen that you are searching for a new nanny position.

12. Have a Back-Up Plan: Is there another profession you can fall back on while you search for a great nanny job?

13. Savings: Have a special savings account stashed away that you can dip into if needed.

14. Temporary Jobs: Work temporary and part-time jobs until you find a great full-time position.

To learn more about the Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey visit their web site at:

If you have any other ideas to add to this list please post in comments below.

Friday, December 12, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough, Some People Lay Off the Nanny

Financially pinched families are scaling back nanny hours, seeking "nanny shares" or reluctantly adding their children's names to waiting lists at day care centers.

A "nanny share" ad placed by Michael Fields on Craigslist in Los Angeles reads, "The recent economy woes have me taking less of a salary..."

On a recent morning, it was standing room only in the waiting room at DDL Domestic Agency in Los Angeles. Nannies, houseboys and cleaning ladies hungered for work. But "business is dead," says agency owner Doris Dorenbaum, brandishing the only three active employer files. Two years ago, she says, the agency had more families seeking help than she could service.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tightening the Belt
Giving Holiday Gifts on a Budget

By Janice St.Clair, Nanny, Boston Area Nanny Support Group

How should nannies choose a gift for their employers without breaking their budget? Many nannies give their employers a homemade gift certificate (or set of certificates) good for one evening (or overnight) free babysitting. Anything handmade (knitted mittens for instance) or home baked is also appreciated.

A good way to reduce the scramble to produce many gifts in a short time is to make certificates promising gifts for the future, such as a dozen homemade cookies per month for a year, or a joint trip to the yarn shop and a handmade scarf of the recipient's color choice.

Many nannies create child-centered gifts, such as photo albums or calendars from pictures they have taken of the children, or a casting of a child's hand print or footprint as a garden decoration using a kit from a hardware store.

It is completely appropriate to give a gift to the entire family rather than individual gifts. Some examples include: a family board game, or a hand-assembled basket containing a family DVD and hot chocolate mix and microwave popcorn.

Alternative gift ideas that you can easily put together from Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE) include shoe box gifts. Shoe box gifts are collections of small, familiar items that are organized around a play theme and presented in an appealing way. They also show that expensive toys in fancy packages are not necessarily the best. See examples in this issue and consult the TRUCE Toy Guide (below) for other suggestions.

You can give a lovely and thoughtful gift that shows you care, without getting caught up in the spending frenzy that has increasingly characterized this holiday season. Your example may help the family you work for to make more financially responsible and emotionally healthy choices in upcoming years too.

We owe it to ourselves and also to the families we work for to remain calm during the increasingly demanding December holiday season. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to do and to buy more than possible or affordable. Try to balance social events with adequate rest and healthy eating. Set a reasonable budget for gifts, and be creative in order to stick to it. If old traditions are driving you and your loved ones nuts, create new ones together that connect you and restore you. If you are overwhelmed with obligations, pass on some of them. For instance, send holiday cards after the holiday, decline some gatherings with a promise to get together after the holidays, and decorate simply -- even if you have lavish decorations.

Tis the season for people of all beliefs to come together and celebrate life, love, friends, family, and spirituality. This should really be a restorative, rather than a draining holiday season. Let's make it so!

Janice St.Clair has been a career live-out nanny since 1991. She is the founder and on-going facilitator of the nine-year-old Boston Area Nanny Support Group (BANSG) and a founding member of the National Association for Nanny Care (NANC).


Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE). TRUCE, PO Box 441261, West Somerville, MA 02144 Email: Website:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Courage of Nanny

Click to read story about brave nanny:

See below for interview with nanny.

To help Moshe, go to

We ought to discuss the Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who rescued the young son of the couple who were killed during the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. She is a heroine. Please remember the orphan in your prayers and donations.

See the interview here:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Attachment Parenting

Can a nanny easily work for parents that follow the attachment parenting philosophy if s/he does not agree with the same philosophy?

Hear a video clip and read more about the eight principles of attachment parenting. Click Here:

The Eight Principles:
1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
2. Feed with Love and Respect
3. Respond with Sensitivity
4. Use Nurturing Touch
5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care
7. Practice Positive Discipline
8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Sunday, November 30, 2008


One-thousand one-hundred and twenty-seven (1,127) in-home childcare providers responded to this monthly online poll at: The complete results are in the nanny trade publication. Below are listed the hourly pay averages from part-time caregivers that participated in the poll. Forty-nine percent (49%) of the caregivers are part-time nannies, 34% are full-time nannies, 8% are sitters, and 8% were nanny industry business owners that answered the poll.

$10 to $13 Average: $11.50
$14 to $20 Average: $16.60
$12 to $19 Average: $15.60
$12 to $15 Average: $13
$10 to $25 Average: $18
$12 to $17 Average: $14.50
$20 to $28 Average: $24
$13 to $18 Average: $16
District Columbia
$15 to $23 Average: $18
$5 to $15 Average: $11.75
$12 to $20 Average: $15.60
$18 to $23 Average: $20
No Responses
$13 to $20 Average: $16.50
$12 to $18 Average: $15
$6.50 to $12 Average: $10
$10 to $15 Average: $12.25
$10 to $15 Average: $12.50
No Responses
$8.50 to $18 Average: $14
$15 to $23 Average: $18.50
$17 to $20 Average: $18.50
$10 to $15 Average: $13.50
$16 to $18 Average: $16.50
No Responses
$10 to $18 Average: $14
$10.50 to $14 Average: $12
$8 to $12 Average: $10
$8 to $18 Average: $12
New Hampshire
$13 to $24 Average: $18
New Jersey
$17 to $25 Average: $20
New Mexico
No Responses
New York
$13 to $25 Average: $19
North Carolina
$12 to $18 Average: $15
North Dakota
$10 to $18 Average: $15
$15 to $23 Average: $19
No Responses
$10 to $25 Average: $14
$13 to $25 Average: $20
Rhode Island
$13 to $20 Average: $15
South Carolina
$10 to $20 Average: $15
South Dakota
$12 to $16 Average: $13
$9 to $14 Average: $10
$14 to $18 Average: $15.75
$10 to $14 Average: $12.50
$15 to $23 Average: $16
$14 to $23 Average: $18
$14 to $18 Average: $16
West Virginia
$12 to $23 Average: $19
$10.50 to $24 Average: $15
$14 to $23 Average: $16

Friday, November 28, 2008

How the Economy Has Affected the Nanny Industry By Stephanie Felzenberg, Editor and Nanny

Ana, a nanny that works and lives just outside of Manhattan called Best Nanny Newsletter ( crying. Ana told me that her boss came home early during the week from his job on Wall Street and announced he had been fired, and that her employer could no longer afford to employ her.

I acknowledge working as a nanny for two parents that work on Wall Street is unsettling for me. If the economic recession has a trickle-down effect it will inevitably affect nannies. Nannies may lose jobs, but there may also be increase jobs as two parent families send both parents to work to bring in two incomes.

To share proper advice with Ana I asked a few nanny agency owners and nanny industry professionals if the economic recession is affecting their businesses and for their advice for nannies (like Ana) during this economic recession.

Katherine Leary Robinson, President of Beacon Hill Nannies, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts says, “I recommend nannies back down their salary expectations 10-12%, if they are not seeing families actively pursuing them.”

Ms. Leary continues, “Live-in nannies are very fortunate in this horrible economic environment. As their only expenses are clothing and entertainment, they have not experienced the increase costs of rent, heating, food or gas. Please don't forget the amount of money you save as a live-in nanny, here on the east coast. Live-in nannies are enjoying on average an additional $25,000 a year in tax free benefits with free room, board, an insured car, and health insurance. You would have to be earning an additional $33,000 year gross to net that $25,000 for those live out expenses.”

Susan Tokayer, Owner and President of Family Helpers, Inc. in Dobbs Ferry, New York explains, “We have been slower both with our temporary service and long-term service for the past six-weeks, since the banking crisis hit. I would say we are doing about 30% less business than we were doing one-year ago. Most families are being cautious right now, so there isn't as much activity as normal.”

Ms. Tokayer adds, “Everyone (nannies included) should have some money set aside for emergencies. If you were to suddenly be unemployed because your employer lost his/her job, you should have some money available to live on until you secure another position. Ideally, you want to have the equivalent of six-months of living expenses in savings. If you don't have that amount, now is a good time to put some money aside for a rainy day. Finding a new job may take longer than usual in this economic environment.”

Glenn S. Greenhouse, Owner of Greenhouse Agency, Ltd. In New York says, “We have noticed a very slight decline which I believe is due to the current financial crisis we are all facing. However it is minimal.”

Mr. Greenhouse continues, “My advice to nannies would be to stay where you are if your job is secure. If your boss's job is secure, don't look for greener pastures. If you are seeking a job, don't sell yourself short, but weigh job security as much as job compensation. It is a better decision taking a few dollars less with a family who will have their money tomorrow, than risk a job paying big bucks with a family who just made their money or who are working in a risky industry.”

Rachel Lawrence, Owner of Wilmington Nanny Agency LLC in North Carolina shares, “Things have slowed down some. Although you may be worth every penny, now might not be a good time to play hard ball about salary. Talk to parents and try to set up a plan for starting at a lower salary and then having a 90-day raise and a raise in one-year to get closer to the salary you were originally looking for. Once the family sees how wonderful you are, raises will be a lot easier to give than a high salary off the bat.”

Shannon Pitts, CEO of InteliMark Enterprises and explains, “Some families are holding back on full-time care, seeking ways to reduce their childcare costs. We have more candidates seeking fewer available jobs now than this time last year.”

“Nannies seeking employment may find they are competing for fewer available positions and as such should consider the quality of their application. It would also be worthwhile to learn how to sell the skills they have to potential employers and enhance their interview skills,” explains the CEO of InteliMark Enterprises.

“Another option for nannies would be to consider organizing a nanny share between two families. This will help ensure the nannies procure full time hours while assisting families with the cost of childcare. Families will be looking for nannies that have the organizational and time management skills needed to make a nanny share a workable option for both families,” says Shannon Pitts.

Alicia Torchia, President and Placement Consultant of Careful Care Givers LLC which serves the New Jersey and New York tri state area writes, “I have seen a 5% decline in the volume of business we have brought in over this past year, these are families who are hiring us seeking nanny care services. I have seen an increase in families hiring us for infant care specialists. I have seen an increase in repeat business over all.”

Ms. Torchia adds, “I have seen an increase in professional nurses, teachers, and college graduates and even corporate persons entering the nanny field because they lost jobs in their field. I tell all the nannies in my network to try and not change a job in this economy because you never know when you are going to find another job that suits your needs.”

Sharon Toutant, Owner of A Better Nanny in Sierra Madre, California tells us, “We are seeing fewer families offering full-time positions. They often are using family for part of their caregiver needs and hiring part-time nannies. Many families are seeking our help in finding their nannies some other part-time work so they won't lose someone valuable to their lives.”

Ms. Toutant says, “My best suggestion to nannies is to be extremely prepared and have your best information ready for that first interview. Present a well done concise resume, written references with phone numbers or other contact information for those references, a current DMV report and any criminal background check that you can present. Also present for examination any school transcripts, CPR and First Aid certification. Be the nanny who brings the best package to the table so the family will remember you as the best prepared.”

Lora Brawley owner of Brawley & Associates and in Federal Way, Washington adds, “I’ve seen a decline in the number of families purchasing consulting services. However, I still get about the same number of families looking to hire a nanny.”

Ms. Brawley recommends that nannies:

1. Be prepared to jump into a job search. Don’t wait until the unthinkable happens before you start polishing your job search skills and developing your search portfolio.
2. Be prepared to have the “why are we paying you this much?” conversation. Every nanny should be able to clearly define the value they bring to a family.
3. Stay calm. Anxiety is contagious. It’s your responsibility as a professional to create and maintain a secure care giving environment. Plus it will make you feel better too!

Judi Merlin, President of A Friend of the Family Home Services, Inc. in Georgia answers, “Yes, our business is down, both short and long-term. We are recruiting for only specific areas and specific jobs, as we have enough caregivers to fill almost all the jobs we have.”

Pat Cascio, Founder and Director of Morningside Nannies in Houston, Texas explains, “Long-term placements are down. Temporary is down a bit. We have had fewer inquiries, fewer new clients, and fewer hires.”

Ms. Cascio says, “Nannies that are used to earning at the higher end of the salary range, may need to be a bit flexible about the salaries they are requesting. Some families that are involved in investments and banking are not earning they type of commissions that they are used to and thus money isn't flowing as easily as it once may have. Other families may be watching their investments dwindle in the market and aren't feeling very certain about their financial futures. When offered employment, nannies should consider themselves lucky to be getting a job offer and hope that when the financial situation turns around that their employer will be able to increase their salary. There have been a few stories recently about nannies not being able to find jobs in cities as large as New York. The London newspapers are reporting the same thing -- when families cut back on expenses the nanny may be the first to go.”

Merrilan Kougias, CEO, Choose The Right Nanny, LLC in McKinney, Texas discloses, “We have seen a decrease in our live-in placements in markets such as New York. We have also noticed that families are not calling to interview candidates in a timely manner. Clients (on the East Coast) are not rushing to fill vacancies and seem to be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.”

The CEO of Choose The Right Nanny continues, “If a nanny decides she must make a career change, she should try to be patient and flexible. A high end nanny may need to reduce her salary requirement or work smarter by using an agency to promote her job skills and salary requirements. Another point is to insist on a work agreement or contract between the employer and the nanny.”

Michelle Damas, CEO of Neverland Nannies & Domestics in Woodland Hills, California says, “Unfortunately, we have noticed a slight decline in business due to the economic recession. However, there are certainly still jobs available by those who the recession does not affect.”
Ms. Damas continues, “The recession doesn't affect the majority of our type of clientele, but first time home buyers and (unfortunately) lower income households have to cut corners. On the brighter side, many families who still have secured employment still demand quality childcare for their children, offering continued career opportunities for professional nannies and child workers.”

“If any nannies are experiencing difficulties securing nanny positions, I would encourage them to take the following steps in order to increase their odds of finding a great opportunity and beating their competition:

1. Put together a quality nanny resume. Hint: List your qualifications in the beginning so they stand out from others. Try to only incorporate your childcare related positions, rather than non-relevant work experience. Families want to know what type of childcare experience you have more so than anything else.

2. Do not put all your eggs in one basket! I encourage all nannies to take the time to scope out the quality agencies in their area and interview with each and every one of them (don't sign on to an agency exclusively). Without harassing the agencies, provide each with a weekly phone call/email letting them know that you are still in the market for a nanny position.

3. Remain competitive by keeping your salary requirements reasonable. Figure out what the going rate is in your area and then adjust accordingly. Be flexible, and professional.

4. If you can, be flexible with your schedule (and note it on your resume). If you are open to travel, overnight stays, and weekend, note that on your resume.

5. Try to go on the majority of interviews each agency offers you. Be on time to every interview and dress professionally. Bring a copy of your resume, your references (depending on the agencies policies), any letters of recommendation you may have, copies of your First Aid/CPR certifications, Trustline clearance and any other documents you may have that show your qualifications as a professional nanny.

6. Again, remain optimistic! All of that positive energy is bound to land you a great career opportunity.”

Anne Merchant of Teacher’s College for Professional Development and author of The Nanny Textbook explains, “The economic recession has impacted us. We waived all of our fees because the number of nannies registering for classes dropped-off dramatically. Now, because we have no fees at all our student count is higher than it has been in six-years. I would advise nannies to not make the mistake of assuming that you will never be laid-off. With the rate of foreclosures and the tumbling down of formerly well-respected banks and corporations (not to mention individuals and families that have lost a lot of money in the stock market) people are cutting back.”

Ms. Merchant recommends, “To stay as marketable as possible, don't work just on your education - work on getting additional credentials that can be added to your resume, such as;

1. Renew your CPR certification and include a copy of the certificate in your nanny portfolio.
2. Get a letter of recommendation from your current employer while you are currently working or ask your employer to complete an evaluation for you that can be included in your nanny portfolio.
3. Ask friends that are nannies if their employer needs an occasional evening nanny and if so request a letter of recommendation.
4. Take nanny classes like ours at Teacher’s College for Professional Development.
5. Find a way to volunteer to help out at an after school program, nursery school, a Gymboree, the local bookstore or library by conducting a "story hour," or daycare. Volunteer for an adult or children's literacy group, teaching English as a second language, or tutoring at an elementary school. Tell them up-front that you are building both your skills and your resume and you would like them to acknowledge your help by writing a letter of reference.”

Steve Lampert CEO of a national nanny web site writes, “It’s a fact that there will be more nannies searching for fewer jobs, that makes it extremely important that each nanny be very professional and have a well written resume, dress appropriately and have good letters of reference. Also, respond quickly to all emails and calls and arrive on time for interviews.”

Jo Anne Reed, Owner of Estate Domestics, in Atlanta, Georgia suggests, “I would advise nannies to get seasonal jobs to subsidize their income while we get through this time.”

Hilary Lockhart, CEO and Founder of A+ Nannies, Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona shares, “Our temporary placements are down 42%, family registrations are down 47%, and permanent placements down 51%. I think everyone is seeing a hit. I think that nannies need to know that if they want the same pay they have been getting for the last two or three-years, they need to expect to be patient when looking for jobs. We have many families wanting to start about $1 less than what I was seeing two-years ago; they are all willing to give raises at six-months. I think parents are just trying to save money (like the rest of us). Of course there are those clients that money is still no issue, but they are not all like that.”

Betty Davis of In Search of Nanny Inc. in Beverly, Massachusetts discloses, “We will not have as high an increase in total annual revenue as compared to prior years. We will definitely meet last year’s total revenue levels but we might not increase revenue, as we have in nearly every past year.”

Ms. Davis adds, “In the metro Boston area, it is not just in-home care that has been impacted. There are many long-term family daycare providers in our geographic area who have closed their businesses due to lack of enrollment and have submitted applications to the agency for professional positions. Day care centers have also let teachers go due to declining enrollment.”

“Salaries in the metro Boston area are perhaps the highest in the country and they have increased dramatically over the past two- to three-years. I think caregivers, as all of us, will have to ‘tighten the belt’ and perhaps consider positions at slightly lower salaries (still competitive) than perhaps they have had recently. The economy will come back and if a caregiver is doing a great job, I am sure as their employers are more secure in their professional positions, their caregiver’s work will be financially recognized. Most of the families that we assist have also seen their income decline – no raises, elimination of bonuses, and so on,” says Ms. Davis.

She continues, “Nannies might also consider working two part-time positions to earn their weekly salary. We have placed caregivers in two jobs – a two-day job and a three-day job. Salaries for part-time positions do not seem to have been as affected as salaries for full-time caregivers. When our agency places one caregiver in two part-time positions our agency will always negotiate full benefits for the caregiver between two families. If a caregiver already has one part-time position (which she found independently) and wants us to find another to ‘match’ it, the caregiver might not receive a full paid benefits package unless we are able to negotiate with the other family – which has happened only a few times.”

Mary O’Connor, Owner of Nannies from the Heartland, in Minneapolis, Minnesota adds, “Right now we are at about the same place we were last year. We have noticed more families considering a part-time nanny over a full-time nanny. Our temporary placements have increased. However, in the last couple of weeks we have had a decrease in client inquires and new clients.”

Ms. O’Connor says, “Nannies should carefully consider switching jobs knowing that finding something could take much longer than it has in the past. Good jobs are available but it is taking longer to find the 'right fit.' Consider accepting temporary or short-term work while searching for permanent placements. Look at what might be negotiable because you may be making compromises in your pay range or benefits. It is in the nanny's best interest to make sure their resume is up-to-date, CPR and First Aid is current, and they have demonstrated professional continuing education -- these things get attention.”

Erin Krex, Owner of First Class Care, Inc., in Illinois adds, “Families are not offering the same generous salaries as three-months ago. They are shopping around more for the best deal. Most of the nannies I see are asking for more money than they made at their last job, which is understandable, but I tell them if you can find a good family who needs you long-term then take the pay decrease and wait the year for a raise, otherwise they will go months without a job while waiting for the desired salary.”

Some agency owners have seen no affect from the economic recession. For example, Starla Smith of in Pennsylvania says, “Business is booming!”

Ginger Mylander Swift, President of ABC Nannies & Domestics, Inc. in Denver, Colorado discloses that she is having, “another great year and once again we are on track to surpass last year's revenues. Nannies with experience and strong references will always be in demand.”

Jessica Gillan, President and CEO of A Nanny Solution, Inc. in San Jose, California shares, “I have had my most profitable year. We have placed 53 full-time nannies this year alone, and the year isn’t over. I have had parents tell me that they recently sold stocks to be able to afford one of our high caliber nannies in addition to our placement fees. I have seen three agencies in the bay area go under within the last six-months, I advertise my services to the business and medicals professionals who are less affected by the economy, since I placed a nanny with a doctor at Stanford, the whole hospital calls me now. Believe it or not, this economy can be a blessing in disguise for the nanny industry. More mothers are going back to work and those families need nannies. If this truly is your career then you must take the good with the bad, the economy will make a return. In the meantime, stay off craigslist where the parents who are looking for a cheap deal are on there and as a result only want to offer below market wages. Parents use agencies because they want the whole package and they are aware of the placement fees and higher salaries. Parents want a polished and a committed professional nanny.”

Wendy Sachs, President of The Philadelphia Nanny Network, Inc. explains, “We have not noticed a decline in our business in any way due to the economic recession. We have seen families deciding to opt out of using our service telling us it's because of the economy but we are still getting new clients in to replace that attrition.”

Ms. Sachs continues, “With more people getting laid-off, the pool will become flooded with people looking for work, reassess moving out of job at this time, may be wiser to hold onto the job they are currently in.”

Elizabeth Walsh, Owner of NannyQuest, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia explains, “Our clientele seem to be above the financial storm. I suggest nannies open up the parameters of your job search. Be willing to do a bit more than just childcare. Sell yourself by emphasizing your skills at home management, light housework, meal preparation, tutoring, swimming lessons, and so on. When parents realize that they can be more effective at making money because of what you take off their proverbial plate, they are more willing to pay top dollar.”

Claudia Kahn, Owner of The Help Company, in Santa Monica, California writes, “We have not yet seen a decline in our business, but we are expecting it. We have had calls from many good nannies that have lost their job and are seeking new employment. I also assume that parents will try to do the job that a good agency will do in vetting the right person to help with their childcare. There is always a need for nannies here in Los Angeles as there are thousands of families with dual income parents that need childcare. I am not only telling the nannies, but other job seekers as well as personal and executive assistants, and chefs to possibly lower the expectations of their salaries, and to be more flexible in what they are looking for in a position. Everyone needs to lower their prices including agencies, as this is a time when everyone is worried about their bottom line.”

Susan Feigon & Gail Hamilton of Feigon Hamilton Partnership recommend “Keep a positive attitude and keep the job you already have for now.”

The good news: Ana, the nanny that called Best Nanny Newsletter crying she had lost her job and who inspired this article has found a job before printing this issue. She has just signed a contract making $65,000 per year as a nanny in Hoboken, New Jersey. For Ana, her former boss losing his job became her blessing in disguise.

Thank you also to Sacha Taylor of Nannies and More in Atlanta, Georgia, Susan Buczak of Christian Nanny in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Shari Kendall-O'Neill, Owner of Amazing Placements, LLC for their contributions to this article.

1. Lora Brawley, Brawley & Associates, Federal Way, WA
2. Pat Cascio, Director, Morningside Nannies, Houston, TX
3. Michelle Damas, CEO of Neverland Nannies & Domestics, Woodland Hills, CA
4. Betty Davis, Owner, In Search of Nanny Inc., Beverly, MA
5. Susan Feigon and Gail Hamilton, Feigon Hamilton Partnership
6. Jesica Gillan, President and CEO, A Nanny Solution, Inc., San Jose, CA
7. Glenn S. Greenhouse, Owner, Greenhouse Agency, Ltd., New York, NY
8. Claudia Kahn, Owner,The Help Company, Santa Monica, CA
9. Merrilan Kougias, CEO, Choose The Right Nanny, LLC, McKinney, TX
10. Erin Krex, Owner, First Class Care, Inc., IL
11. Rachel Lawrence, Owner, Wilmington Nanny Agency LLC., Wilmington, NC
12. Anne Merchant, Teacher’s College for Professional Development, MA
13. Judi Merlin, President, A Friend of the Family Home Services, Inc., GA
14. Shannon Pitts, CEO, InteliMark Enterprises
15. Steve Lampert CEO,, West Hills, CA
16. Hilary Lockhart, CEO, A+ Nannies, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ
17. Mary O’Connor, Owner, Nannies from the Heartland, Minneapolis, MN
18. Jo Anne Reed, Owner, Estate Domestics, Atlanta, GA
19. Katherine Leary Robinson, President, Beacon Hill Nannies, Inc., Newton, MA
20. Wendy Sachs, President, The Philadelphia Nanny Network, Inc., Ardmore, PA
21. Starla Smith, Bala Cynwyd, PA
22. Ginger Mylander Swift, President, ABC Nannies & Domestics, Inc., Denver, CO
23. Susan Tokayer, President, Family Helpers, Inc., Dobbs Ferry, NY
24. Alicia Torchia, President, Careful Care Givers LLC Skillman, NJ
25. Sharon Toutant, Owner, A Better Nanny, Sierra Madre, CA
26. Elizabeth Walsh, Owner, NannyQuest, Inc., Atlanta, GA