How to Choose a Nanny

Should I Use a Service to Find a Nanny?

Once you have decided what type of nanny you want to use, you then need to decide how to begin your search. There are many different avenues you can go down to find a nanny. One of the first things you will need to decide is whether you want to use a nanny-placement agency to find the perfect candidate.

One of the most convenient things about these agencies is that they do the majority of the work for you. Agencies are trained to match the nanny's qualifications with the family's childcare requirements. They will also do the screening work for you, including background checks that screen for criminal records and bad driving records and checking the nanny's references. The downside to using an agency is that there is a placement fee -- anywhere from $800 to $5,000 [source: International Nanny Association]. If you have the money, an agency can be a very convenient option. They also are helpful in that they will usually refund fees or replace a nanny if it does not work out for whatever reason in a certain time period [source: International Nanny Association]. Because there are many agencies out there, be sure to do your research before committing to anything.

If you cannot afford an agency and don't have the time to do your own legwork, either, you still have many other options for finding a childcare provider. You can place an ad in the local newspapers or at your community center, house of worship or gym. Friends or acquaintances that currently employ nannies are also a great resource for recommendations. There also are many online services now that allow you to advertise for nannies and allow nannies to post their qualifications and availability.

Once you have advertised, you will have to screen as an agency would, deciding who to call back, interviewing candidates and running background checks. Although you will have a bit more work to do, you may find the personal involvement of going through this process will help to find the best-suited nanny. Deciding whether to use a service is a personal decision.

By now you should know what kind of help your family needs. To find out whether your childcare expectations are realistic, read on to the next page.