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How to find a Nanny Job: Listing Services vs. Agencies

SmartSitting blog - How to find nanny jobs: listing services vs. agencies

Summer is a busy season for nannies and babysitters. With the school year ending, many families find their needs changing when there are more hours to have childcare coverage in a day. And soon, families looking to get a jump start on childcare for the new school year will start their search for their next great nanny or babysitter. This means for those of you looking for a nanny job, it’s a great time to get your resume in order and make a plan for your job search. Today’s post picks up where we last left off with our article about how to land your next nanny job. Now we are focusing on where to look. Are you better off finding a job through a nanny agency? Or would an online listing service be right for you? 

The pros and cons with working with a nanny agency

Working as a nanny or babysitter can be a lonely endeavor in terms of your professional role. You do not have a team of colleagues, an HR manager, or a mentor to turn to for advice regarding your work situation. The huge advantage of working with a nanny agency is that they fill essentially that need. A nanny agency helps you find families, and helps families find you. But beyond that, they can also help advocate on your behalf, assist in conflict resolution, and set appropriate expectations for the nanny role. They help you get set up in the best, most professional way where your employment is concerned. Often, agencies have the experience to answer any questions you may have about situations that arise.

With a more personally oriented agency, you have a better chance of getting matched with families who are not only aligned with your ideal position on paper, but whose childcare philosophy or personalities also make you a great match. 

On the other hand, you may feel like you cannot reach an agency representative for immediate answers to your questions. This is especially true for a smaller agency, where the person fielding your questions is also managing family requests and running the operations of the business itself. This doesn’t mean they’re not there to help you; it just means that your expectations of how quickly you could get a job through that agency may not line up with what’s actually possible.

Additionally, not all families will be able to enlist the help of a nanny agency. Since agencies run on charging the family some sort of fee for their services, they can be cost-prohibitive. So there may be plenty of great families out there who you do not meet. 

What to look for in a nanny agency

If you have decided to go with a nanny agency, there are a few key things you should look out for. This will ensure that you are working with a professional nanny agency that is looking out for you. Make sure that any agency you work with:

  1. Treats your job as a professional role. This means they do not offer you cash, off-the-books jobs with no benefits. They advocate for you to have a job contract with guaranteed hours, overtime pay, and a reasonable schedule. 
  2. Vets the families they work with as well as the sitters and nannies. They set appropriate expectations for the childcare role and make sure that the family has either hired caregivers before or is open to understanding how that employment is set up. 
  3. Does not push you into accepting a job you do not feel is right for you. This applies both if the schedule is something you already know you cannot commit to, or if you feel the dynamic with the family is not right. Some agencies are less ethical; they will want to sign any caregiver to a job simply to pocket the placement fee. Needless to say, stay away from agencies that do this! 

The pros and cons of working with a nanny job listing service

With listing services, like sittercity.com and care.com, it falls on you as a caregiver to do all the work in regards to vetting families and advocating for your needs and rights as a childcare professional. You have to put in the time to communicate with families. This includes many who are looking for something completely different than what you are offering.

Even though there is some minor vetting or a level of security by connecting social media accounts, you will really only know about these families what they choose to list or tell you. This may present a safety issue, but more likely is that it will simply be a waste of time before you realize that this family is not a match for you. Additionally, once you are in a role booked through a listing service, there is nowhere for you to turn for advice or conflict resolution, if needed. 

Take your nanny job seriously!

To really land a great job through one of these services, you will need to put in the time to tailor your applications and messages to the individual families. The upside to listing services is that a lot of families and positions are listed on them. It is also usually free to post your profile. 
In the end, you should go with the alternatives that suit your style and your needs. Remember that a nanny job or babysitting job is a real job. Your skills should be valued as a professional contribution. This means that you deserve to be paid fairly for your work. Additionally, you and the family should have a job contract or agreement outlining the expectations of the role.

If you have any questions about your job search, you are always welcome to reach out to the team here at SmartSitting. We’d also love to hear your success stories or any tricks you’d like to share with other sitters and nannies. Drop a line on our Facebook or Instagram and let us know how the job search is going for you! For more helpful information from SmartSitting directly in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter. Happy hunting!

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