Tuesday

The British Nanny Asks...

Received Tuesday, March 25, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
I am a London nanny hoping to move to New York or San Francisco next year. By the time I move, I will have over 5 years of nannying experience with one private family (in particular caring for a special needs child from age 2 - 7). I have a 4 year degree in foreign languages from a good London University and have also done some nannying/childcare courses (including first aid). I also have extensive training (though am not certified) in ABA. I am wondering what my prospects are in the above cities? Which one would be best? What can I expect in terms of salary? I have dual nationality (British and US) therefore am able to work legally. Will my British accent help or hinder me?? Btw, I am looking to be live-out since I will want to live with my husband.

I'd also like to know what constitutes a "professional" nanny? Are we talking solely about those who have been to nanny school or does it include those with years and years of experience?

Many thanks!

43 comments:

Alex said...

Personally I think professional experience is more important over nanny school. Nanny schools are not as popular in the U.S and I have rarely even heard of any. I feel that the actual experience is much better than just saying you have been to school to be a nanny. Kind of like I have been to school to be a pilot, but never flown a plane. I do think you can learn useful things in nanny school, but nothing like on the job training.

As for your British accent, I think it can be a positive and negative. A plus because everyone wants an English nanny but a negative because of that as well. People may have a Mary Poppins idea and well you are human :) But you being able to legally work in the US and being British is definitely a plus.

I would make sure you also give potential employers a way to contact your other employers in addition to the telephone. They may not want to call overseas.

I think New York or San Francisco are good cities to work in but you should definitely work on the books and have a contract. Make sure you feel right with any family before you take the job as some people can take advantage of people and be quite demanding. But that is any city.

I hope this helps!

emily said...

I don't know about the market in San Francisco, but in New York you will definitely be an in demand nanny. You should make some contact with the company Urban Nurture (urbannurture.com). It's not exactly a nanny agency, but more a boutique firm that helps families with a range of childcare related issues including nanny placement. It's run by two former British nannies who are very nice and easy to deal with and it specializes in a "British" approach to childcare.

I would say that you should be able to easily make $1000 a week on the books with your healthcare paid in full. You could probably get more, but you'd have to weigh things like time committment, type of family, etc.

I hope your move/job search goes well!

Rebecca said...

I agree with the others - you should have no problem finding a high-paying position. I think emily is probably right - you shouldn't have much of a problem finding a position for $1000/wk, although it's also true that the economy has been heading downhill lately, so who really knows.

New York and San Francisco both have good markets for nannies, but I do know some of the agencies (at least in SF) are reluctant to place a live-out unless she already lives in the area (although with your experience, education, and accent I bet you can talk them into it).

I also agree that your accent will probably help you in getting a position, but also might hinder you if a family thinks you're a total super-woman nanny who can work all the time.

In the US a professional nanny can be someone who went to nanny school, or someone who simply has extensive experience. From what you've written about your background, you can absolutely feel comfortable marketing yourself as a professional nanny.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

First of all, you sound like a lovely young woman and I wish you good luck in your search.

I saw this on Craigslist; we don't know how soon OP is planning on moving, but this post seems right up your alley.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/edu/618913603.html

jerseyxjacqui said...

Nanny school?
Please explain.

emily said...

jerseyxjacqui, many nannies, especially in the UK, attend a two year certificate training program before beginning to work. It's not a very popular option in the US, so you don't need to worry.

You could have gotten your answer immediately by Googling the term. You would have found sites such as this one http://www.nanny-governess.com/.

Anonymous said...

OP: Don't bother with that Craig's list posting. They are paying WELL below market ($675) for even a babysitter in New York, let alone in Manhattan, which always means a premium, and let alone a nanny with special needs experience. If you are looking at live out, keep in mind the cost of living in Manhattan in any good (and by good I mean safe, not even high end) is astronomical. I'm not that familiar with San Francisco, but I know the housing costs are even higher there than here. Don't look at median housing costs--they are very disceiving because they include neighborhoods you wouldn't walk past at noon on a bright sunny day. Check out prices on places you would want to live on real estate sites as part of your research before you decide on what salary you would accept. The West Village, Battery Park City, Chelsea, Gramecy Park, Murray Hill, Upper East Side, and Upper West Side are all safe, but they each have thier own particular character and none of them are cheap. Many live out nannies in Manhattan end up living in one of the outer boroughs and having commuting costs. Negotiating for train and commuting cost as part of your benefits is normal as well as car service or taxi after 8pm if evenings are required. If you are considering looking at the boroughs. I personally would recommend Riverdale in the Bronx. It is a very nice neighborhood with a lot of apartment buildings that are more afordable and more spacious than what you would get in Manhattan for the same money, but an easy commute and very safe. Plus if you decide to stop not work in Manhattan and look at some of the most New York expensive suburbs for employers, a large part of Riverdale itself is full of estates and wealthy employers and there is very easy access to Westchester County, which has some of the best NY suburbs to work in (Scarsdale, Bronxville, Larchmont,etc.) You might want to look at http://www.Sittercity.com for a feel for what is out there.

Jersey: On nanny schools, here is a link to the only one I know of in the US (there may be more, but this is the only one I've ever looked at). It patterns its program after British nanny education programs.
http://www.nanny-governess.com

Anonymous said...

In SF you would make $19-$24 an hour with a lot of benifit, usually a car to drive with gas, club memberships, 2-4 weeks paid vaca. Hours vary 30-60, you CAN ask for overtime. The Bay area in general.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply- all great advice. I think we are probably going to end up in NY (closer to home!). While it is expensive to live there, we come from London so it won't be too much of a shock to us, I hope.

I haven't actually been to nanny school myself but with my experince and training courses, was hoping to market myself as a professional nanny and didn't want to deceive anyone by using the term inappropriately! I'm definitely no park bench nanny (is that what they are called?!?) - I have taught my autistic charge to talk, read and write, but also do all the fun stuff too!

Am sure I will be back with more questions. This is a great place to find the answers I'm looking for!

mimi said...

There is a nanny school in the US. Actually in Ohio, I graduated from it. It's called the English Nanny and Governess School, in Chagrin Falls. Just in case anybody was wondering.

Anonymous said...

You will definitely be considered a professional nanny here. A university degree is generally more valued than nanny school, because there are so few nanny schools here.
Employers who pay top salaries usually want someone who speaks grammatically correct English, and can help older children with homework. Swimming, driving, a second language, and ability to supervise music practice are pluses. They will love your accent!
As a live out nanny in NYC, you can expect to start at $1,000, with annual raises. You should have a contract that stipulates vacations, sick/personal days, and which holidays you will have off. Many jobs do not offer health insurance, so if you can be covered by your husband's, that would be an advantage. (This is a huge issue in the U.S.)
Be warned that in the higher paying positions you will work long hours, and probably be expected to do some traveling with the family.
NYC is an exciting place to live and work, good luck!
UES Nanny

Anonymous said...

Having just gone through the nanny hiring process in NYC, I disagree that you will "easily" get $1000/week. Finding a family willing to pay on the books can be harder than it sounds (as can finding a nanny willing to work on the books). I think if you do find on the books you will get $1000 gross, but only take home of about $700. Cash numbers in NY are often $13-15 an hour depending on number of children.

I am making no comment here on what a nanny "should" make. I am just posting real world experience on what she realistically WILL make. In terms of benefits, 2 wks vacation and 6-10 holiday days are standard. Health insurance is a rare perk. Metrocard and cell phone are also hit or miss. Although I usually hate agencies b/c I think they do a disservice to the nanny and employer, in your case, I think it might be a good idea. You are a good candidate for the higher end market (which is NOT as huge as lots of people think in NYC) and many of these folks go through agencies to save the hassle.

For a test, try posting an ad on craigslist listing your qualifications and requesting an on the books gross salary of $1000 weekly. See how many responses you get (and they could be good leads if you intend to move soon). This will be a real life way to get some info.

I think SF is a better market for nannies and has a higher pay scale based on my friends who live there.

Anonymous said...

do not do au pair jobs they pay horrid! best is to contact an agency for an upper class NY family. You could be making around $1000/week easy if you are in the right set up! there is always craigslist. and since when did the US allow dual citizenship?

Anonymous said...

OP: Please be very selective on your agency choice, I've heard some nightmare stories both on the employer and nanny side, and I personally never had a good experience using an agency (I am an employer in the NYC area). You might want to contact one of the local nanny support groups for help and advice. I know of this one but maybe some of the nannies on this board can point you towards more: http://www.nannyalliancenyandnj.comThe founder e-mailed me some very helpful advice and resources a while back when I posted a question to a "Parents with Nannies" Yahoo group. She seemed very nice.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I made a $1k a week. But I know this must be a nanny working 50-60 hours a week.

Anonymous said...

All the advice given is very sound but I agree with the poster who said it will be difficult to find a job that pays 1k a week, on the book, with benefits with a family that teats you with any sort of respect. While these types of jobs are out there they are few and far between. Most nannnies I know are earning between 600-800 per week off the books. I did have an offer for a 1500.00 per week on
the books job with a high profile family in NYC but they wanted me to be able to travel on their whim and for a month or more at a time should they need. I turned that down but referred my niece to them. She loves itm being 26 and unattached. That was the only sort of offer I ever had like that.

Good luck!

nyc mom said...

You sound like a well qualified candidate who is good at her job. But I also have to agree with some of the posters that are urging caution about the $1K range salary.

Is it possible? Yes. But it is not easy or common. I agree with 11:30pm that 600-800 per week off the books is a much more common scenario. I also think you will be surprised at the number of parents who WANT to pay off the books and who WANT someone of a certain, non-American ethnicity. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stereotypes when hiring a nanny in NYC. And, for reasons I don't totally understand, lots of people don't want a US or European nanny. Maybe because they know it will likely cost more than they can afford? People often have two children and balance the cost of daycare for two, which is around $600, against the cost of a nanny. Thus, many are unwilling/unable to pay too much more than that.

Also beware that nannies in NYC work very hard. It is somewhat expected that nannies for two working parents will start and end her day around the parents. I would agree that a 50+ hour work week is standard here, as is the expectation of travel especially in the $1000 range.

Lastly, I agree with 10:19pm. Avoid the agencies if at all possible. Most here recruit from the same places as parents which includes sittercity, craigslist, papers. They are charging a fee for doing nothing more than a nanny and parent can themselves.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

A former neighbor of mine used an agency that specialized in placing British nannies with British families living in the US to find her nanny. Unfortunately, her family was relocated last year and we've lost touch, so I don't know the name of the agency, but perhaps you can find it. I remember her saying it was a British based company.

emily said...

I was one of the original posters who wrote that you will "easily" find positions paying you $1K per week. I did mean that this would be on the books, and that will work out to take home pay around $725 (aprox.).

I say this based on my own personal experience. I have 5 years experience as a full time nanny and I was looking for a new job this past September. The job I ended up taking pays considerably more than $1K/week, but that is largely do to the fact that I work very long hours and travel with the family. I get my health insurance paid at about 90% and I absolutely love the family I work for. Don't be discouraged by the posters above saying you won't get $1K/week easily. If you are as qualified as you say, you'll have no trouble.

I will give Jane my email address and if you would like to contact me directly please feel free to do so. I actually know of one family who will be needing a nanny come the summer, and I can definitely put you in touch with the agency I worked with.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You would make $800-1200 a week in SF and the parents there WANT nannies like you and do a LOT to keep you as well as don't expect you to "live in" like many in NYC. The cost of living and quality of life is far better in the Bay Area IMO- if you came you would never want to leave and trust me- I have lived in both. SF if my fav place in the world! NYC may be fun for a few months but the pace, the snotty social scene full of phonies and the price makes living there a drag. You won't have TIME for fun and you will likely work for a family that is uptight and makes you miserable.

I'm just sayin...

Anonymous said...

PS in SF the work week is more often LESS than 40 hours at that pay rate. I also have never heard of agencies frowning on live out- I belong to a SF nanny club and out of 12 nannies or so I speak to, only 1 is live in.

Anonymous said...

Wow, again, thanks for the replies. I won't be moving to the US until June next year (09) but am keen to do my reaserch now so I can make an informed decision!

I change my mind about which city to go to on a daily basis so anyone with any other suggestions of good places to be a nanny, please let me know. We are very flexible - we plan to spend at least 3 years over there before we have kids.

Still torn on whether to use an agency or not. Was thinking it may be a good idea in my case as I will be new to the area, but have also heard some horror stories so will make sure I am careful!

I take it $1k a week is considered a good salary? I currently make the equivalent of $1100 a week for 35 hours, but I guess London is a very expensive place to live (plus, in British pounds, it really isn't that much).

Emily - thanks for the offer of info on the agency you worked with. Will be in cotact with Jane so I can email you directly.

Anonymous said...

The British pound is very strong against the dollar and I think you'll find the cost of living in NYC or SF quite a bit lower than in London. You might also want to consider Boston. NYC, SF and Boston are my three favorite US cities (only ones I've ever wanted to live in). Although I personally put NYC on the top of the list, don't think you can go wrong with SF or Boston either.

Anonymous said...

Just stay in London. Really, its hard enough finding work as a legal person in this country. Let families hire Americans first.

Anonymous said...

5:00 pm, I find your comment disgusting. First of all, the OP states that she has dual cirizenship, so she's just as legal a worker as you are. Secondly, qualified applicants rarely have trouble finding work. If the OP has 5 years of experience, good references & expertise working w/special needs kids, she'll have her pick of jobs.

It's not surprising to me that you find it difficult to get a good job w/your bitter & xenophobic attitude. I wouldn't want you caring for my children.

Anonymous said...

Thats okay 5:27. I am a stay at home mom. Even if I did babysit, I wouldn't want to watch your snotty kids, anyway.

Anonymous said...

5:44 please give your children my sympathy, it must be really rough on them having you as a mother, the poor dears.

Anonymous said...

How lovely.

cali mom said...

6:20, agreed. There should be free spay and neuter programs for useless, unwanted humans.

OP, I think that SF cost of living is really close to equal with London (I made several trips to London within the last 3 years to see my mom who lived there) but the dollar is REALLY sucking against the pound now so you'll have the advantage if you have any savings accounts, or financial assets already in pounds before you start earning dollars.

Jennifers mom said...

Yes Cali mom. It would be great if they could spay you. You seem like a pretty useless mother yourself. I never seen anyone on here as much as you.

cali mom said...

That's because it's pretty hard to tell one anonymous from another.

Anonymous said...

grow up, people...for everyone's sake! Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Yes, please, does every thread have to deteriorate into nasty attacks back and forth between two or three people? And you go on and on and on!

Anonymous said...

OP: Those who are saying a 52 K salary is unrealistic are correct in that around $600 a week off the books is very common, but those are not nannies with your qualifications.
There is a huge gap between nannies who make the low end salaries, and the high end salaries that someone with your qualifications can command.
Do not consider taking a job off the books.
Don't bother with Craigslist. Employers who pay top salaries on the books don't post there.
Register with a couple of top agencies.
Here in NYC the best time to interview is in September. Assuming you interview well, you should have multiple job offers.
And-----San Francisco is beautiful, but NYC is the most exciting city in the world. We have all three Mets, Museum, opera house and baseball team, plus Broadway, Off Broadway, Lincoln Center, fantastic restaurants with every cuisine on the planet and diverse and fascinating people from all over the world.
UES Nanny

Anonymous said...

OP here..

3.46pm - We are actually just about to head off to Boston on holiday so will see if it takes my fancy! Great suggestion. Anyone got any opinions on Chicago? I have family there so actually it would be the easiest place to go, but I get the idea that the market for nannies isn't so good.

5.00pm - I am American. I also happen to be British too and have grown up here, which gives me that great British accent :) Since I am legal (as well as qualified and experienced), I will be able to accept a high end salary ON the books, as suggested by many of the kind posters above. I'm seeing lots of doors with "open, come in" on them.... and if these doors don't lead anywhere, I will still be able to go back to London because we'll still have a house there. Choices, choices, choices :)

UES Nanny - We are planning a trip to NY and SF in September to see which one is really best for us (have been to both and love them both; it's going to be a hard decision!). We won't be moving until next June so wouldn't be able to interview in September but maybe would be able to see what's on offer. Are there any other good times of year to look for a nanny position?
Btw, you sell NY very well!

Anonymous said...

Summer can be tricky in Manhattan because a lot of families are out of town to avoid the humid weather. Sounds odd, but if you are looking in the summer for a job in Manhattan, you might want to look in the Hamptons, which is a resort area on Long Island about 50 minutes from the city where many people from Manhattan summer.

Anonymous said...

Summer can be tricky in Manhattan because a lot of families are out of town to avoid the humid weather. Sounds odd, but if you are looking in the summer for a job in Manhattan, you might want to look in the Hamptons, which is a resort area on Long Island about 50 minutes from the city where many people from Manhattan summer.

Anonymous said...

The truth? You will be in high demand and highly paid because of your British accent. None of your other qualities will be as important to some families as the chance to play out the "we have a 'Mary Poppins' working for us" game with you. If you're willing to play this game, you'll do quite well. But remember that most wealthy American employers are flaky, fickle and impulsive...they tend to want instant gratification, and can change their mood on a whim. Some are eccentric, unreliable and often downright bizarre.
If you can handle this reality, you can make a bundle.

Anonymous said...

1:54: Sadly true insight, and very sound advice.
OP: Figure out how you're going to keep your own head on straight, maintain professional and personal boundaries, your dignity, integrity, and self-respect, while you're at it, because wealthy Americans can be a ruthless lot. Sounds like you're looking to live in cities with LOTS of nanny job opportunities. That's a good thing because, if you discover you've "sold your soul to the devil" with one family, you're more likely to get out and find a better position for YOU. Best of Luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm also British, worked as a nanny in London and have been working here in NYC as a nanny for 8 years. My advice to you is to register with the top agencies because with your experience and qualifications they will be able to set you up with a great job paying at least $1000 per week. I agree with what one of the previous posters said, there's a huge difference between nannies( or baby-sitters, as they are often referred to here) on the lower end of the pay scale and those with your kind of qualifications on the upper end. Don't even waste your time with sites like Craigslist, those jobs are likely to be on the lower end of the pay scale and may involve house-keeping too.(It's common here for employers to try and have one person who takes care of the kids and the house).

whitdawg said...

Sullivan University in Louisville, KY has a one year professional nanny program and that's where i plan on attending. i've heard great things about the program and the school.

witkoffa said...

Hello. I am the mother of 3.5 year old twin boys and searching for a great nanny. We live in Manhattan on the upper east side and are hoping to find someone who can be apart of our family. Our current nanny who we adore and have know since our kids were 6 months old is relocating back home in order to persue another career path. I can be reached at witkoffa@witkoff.com if someone you know is interested. Many thanks

jasmine said...

Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.


Craigslist Posting Service