Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Part 1: How to Hire a Nanny

After 9 months at home with my two boys, I decided to go back to work. And since my oldest is in a preschool that he loves and since I wanted to keep them together, I decided to go the nanny route. I want to focus on how to hire a nanny "legally" (in terms of taxes) as there are lots of good resources out there on choosing your nanny...so stay tuned and hopefully this will be helpful for you!

Step 1: Cry, because most of your paycheck will be going to the nanny. But realize, there are lots of advantages for your children. Compare your nanny's paycheck to your first paycheck...and realize that you should have been a nanny.

Step 2: Use sittercity.com, care.com or other sources (like Craig's List) to find a nanny. When creating a job posting on the site, be as specific as possible.
  • Include hours, need for a car, and any details on what is expected in terms of household tasks
  • Include some information about your kids and what they like to do as well
  • Give a range in terms of salary (assume that you will need to pay at least 10% of your nanny's salary in taxes, so if you pay her $15/hr, you'll actually need to budget for $16-17/hr), but leave yourself some wiggle room so you can vary it based on experience
  • One helpful tip, include 3-5 questions in your job posting. If candidates do not specifically answer the questions, consider crossing them off the list. If they're not attentive to the details, maybe you should consider someone else. Plus, if you use one of the sites listed above, you'll easily have 60+ candidates (in a matter of days) and need a way to shrink the pool.
  • Consider health insurance. Read up on the MA Health Connector site about what you can offer. For nanny's that make less than $32K a year (check the amount, as they change yearly), insurance could cost $150/month or less. For those under 26, there are also affordable plans offered by the state. It's not as overwhelming as you may think (or at least it hasn't been for us so far...but check back with me in a few weeks when everything is finalized!).

Step 3: Choose a handful of candidates to consider. I used the three step process of: phone interview, in-person interview with just me, and then an invite to the house to meet the boys. I started with about 10 phone interviews, 4-5 in-person interviews, and then 2-3 over to meet the boys. The interview process was quite tedious, but important. It took about a week to 10 days.

Step 4: This may overlap with Step 3, depending on your comfort level. Check references and get background checks. I used the background checks provided by sittercity.com, but based on my nanny's previous employment, I trusted that she had passed more significant background checks. Obviously, the length of time it takes to complete this step varies.

Step 5: Make your offer, hire your nanny, and create a contract (google "nanny contracts" and lots of samples will come up). Start familiarizing yourself with the requirements of becoming an employer. Here is some reading:

Stay tuned for more!