Monday

Blame the recession?

Monday, November 8, 2010
Is this right So I've been looking for a job for a couple months now and I keep running into the same thing. People want the nanny to work 45+ hours a week, live in, and be paid $1000 or less a month. One family even wanted me to cover my own car insurance and gas and drive the little one all over town to classes etc. with no reimbursement. I do understand that room and board are worth something, but they're not worth anywhere near what some of these families seem to think they are. Opinions?

41 comments:

TheoriginalDenverNanny said...

my opinion? I'd only take that job if I was broke and days from the street...and even then, I'd have a 3 month trial in the contract.
Keep looking if you can afford it--try signing up with a nanny temp agency! I've gotten through some slim times with random jobs.

Bostonnanny said...

Maybe consider live out options and just get a roommate. People are really cheap now, I've been searching for a new position to start in May 2011 and what I've come across are tons of people offering less then daycare prices. I mean less then what I would make working at a daycare and less then it actually costs to put your child into daycare.
I'm MA it cost 2000 a month for a toddler full time year round, infants cost more. Families are offering less then that for more hours, two kids and no benefits. Yet they expect you to do all the same things as a daycare arts/crafts, sing a longs etc. Plus do housework during the naps. Some go as far as asking you to cook for them.
Oh and one family I interviewed with expected me to make up hours when they went on vacation.

Sadly all I can do is searchand be firm. I believe nannies should make much more then what it cost to put a child into daycare, not less.

Joy said...

OP Here,

Today I interviewed with a woman in Laguna Beach. She wanted me to care for her newborn infant and 2 year old, 45 hours a week for $1000 a month. When I said that it just isn't feasible for me she asked if I knew anything about southern Cali. She then proceeded to tell me that a ROOM in her area would run me $2000 a month. That's all fine and good, but I don't want to live in Laguna Beach, I want a nanny job. I'm not going to become a nanny to live somewhere. and it's not worth $1000 to me to live in someones house in Laguna beach.

Bostonnanny said...

I highly doubt a room in a house cost 2000 in lauguna beach, maybe a studio apt. I would do research on the area, like the rates of daycare and apts that way when they try to bullshit you, have the facts. If you can move anywhere in the country try looking at Andover, Lexington or concord MA they are wealthy towns 45 min drive from Boston. You might have better chance or join an agency.

Simple Sara said...

I interviewed with a family that was paying $400 a week. That is $1600 a month, roughly. The last time I made $400 a week was never. I have been a nanny for 6 years. When I turned down the job, the father asked why and told me he really wanted me because my references were so wonderful. I said, "frankly that isn't enough money". He then proceded to tell me that because there was a nanny car that I could use even on weekends and he paid the gas and insurance and I was living in a million dollar home, I should be aware that what I was really making was not $19,200 a year but $60,000. It was all I could do not to kick him in the nuts and spit in his face.

Joy said...

OP again,
Simple Sara, I keep getting that too. They tell me all about their wonderful, beautiful, 6 bedroom home in a gated community just off a golf course, and they go on 5 vacations a year, la-dee-da-de dah. And then they offer to pay me $200 a week!!! I would happily live in a hovel (ok, I'm exaggerating, but still!) as long as I was getting paid a reasonable amount.

Rocket Scientist said...

I keep getting these kinds of things, too! Even when you try to be very particular and weed through them, you still get stuck talking to families who think you're getting some huge bonus by living in their home. I had one lady ask if I knew how expensive a NYC apartment is. Obviously it's expensive. But it's also a lot more convenient and comfortable for someone (a nanny) to have their own home/apartment! Sure we do not have to pay rent as live-ins, but we also do not have the same level of privacy and autonomy as we would in our own place! It's not apples to apples.

Texas Nanny said...

Live out. Live-in positions are getting less and less respect from families it seems. People think they can stuff a nanny in a guest room and therefore afford at-home childcare when, in reality, they can't.

More and more of the families I see looking for live-ins now barely fall into the upper middle class tax bracket (and some aren't even that high up) and/or have a ton of debt and therefore can't afford to pay a real salary, but they either think they're too good for daycare or they see the nanny as a status symbol just like a Lexus or a Prada bag.

They can't afford a decent living wage (which in my area is about $400-500/week starting out) so they think they'll just move both the kids into one room and throw the nanny into Tommy's old bedroom and presto! In-home childcare for less than the cost of daycare.

slb3334 said...

I feel for you. I had a lady respond to my ad and want to pay me $150 for 5 kids. Uh, no thanks.

Nervous Nanny said...

I was recently on the job market too. While I did compromise on cost, and I think I am underpaid in my current position, I was desperate. I do love the kids, and the hours work well, and I am not suffering my any means right now.

Anyways, while I was searching for a live-out position, many people thought that the added "benefits" made up for their cheapness. One family told me that since I would be able to use their membership to a community center for events and such, I could have the pay docked $2/hr. Seriously?

Another told me that since I would be caring for an infant (we're talking less than 3 months old here) it would be easy, so they could pay $6/hr, since the baby slept a lot. There's a reason that daycares charge more for infants, people. It's a ton of responsibility and a lot of work.

Ugh, I feel for you OP. Good luck!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Good Point Nervous Nanny about why daycares charge more for infants..they are a lot more work!
I have noticed that families are offering less now than they were a few years back when I started my Nanny career. Like the title of the post states, I do blame the recession. Sadly, the families now hold all the cards. They have the advantage of offering a small salary and if one nanny doesn't want it, well..too bad..there are 20 more behind her who will gravel for the job. There are many laid off teachers and such who are desperately seeking nanny work in these hard times. It sucks and I do not think it is fair that the families are taking advantage of us nannies, but I know life is not (or never) fair and it is what it is. My only hope is to accept whatever job I can get in this tough economy and just continue to pray every night that the economy gets better so everyone can make the wage they deserve.
What you can do is accept whatever position you are offered and agree to a trial basis. In the meantime you can continue looking for a better paying job and when you get it, let your current employer know and move on. That is what they deserve for not paying you what you are truly worth.

Rocket Scientist said...

Yes, Two Cents, I agree. I am so thankful I still have my current job while I am looking for a new one. I feel bad sometimes because my current family doesn't know yet, but I will give them plenty of notice. I don't feel comfortable telling them without having job #2 lined up, though.

nycmom said...

Wow, that is expensive Boston daycare! Even in NYC, daycares are only $400/week toddler and $350 if affiliated with a hospital or large corporation.

I think in NYC, daycare rates for 2 dc very roughly set top starting nanny salary, though most people take off $100-150 esp in this economy.

To OP, sorry! I think those employers will soon learn that getting a "deal" on childcare doesn't engender long relationships. Anyone you employ will quickly learn market rates and be out the door at the first decent offer. But CL WTF shows us week after week that these employers will continue to be clueless.

MDR said...

I have a 5 month old in NYC and pay $700 per week for daycare.

Rocket Scientist said...

MDR, do you want a nanny?

Bostonnanny said...

Daycares say it's costs 400-450 a week but when you do the math for a year it's really 1937 a month. I've called a few daycares like kindercare and got the estimate for toddlers( infants cost about 400 more a month) Plus different locations in Boston jack up the price.
I've had parents tell me they wanted a nanny because it's cheaper then daycare. They also think because they wont pay taxes that they can offer less.
When one woman emailed me about a position for an infant, I told her what I charge and she said whenever my price drops to call her back. I sent her an email telling it won't and to consider a nannyshare if she wants an educated experienced nanny at that price point.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Yes, Rocket Scientist I would do the same thing if I was in your position. Us nannies are people too and need to think of ourselves and our families + we need to support ourselves as well. I think many times families forget this!! Perhaps because of the economy or whatever, the tend to think of us all as indispensable since they know there are so many of us struggling to find jobs. But none of that is any excuse to underpay us. Just because the economy is in the tank gives them no excuse. NEVER!! Do they go into McDonald's and ask for a 50 cent Big Mac and claim well the economy is tough so this is all I can afford to pay for a burger??! Hey, they recognize that the McDonald's employee needs to make a living and they respect that. Us nannies deserve the same respect. I am sick and tired of seeing childcare ads stating, "I can only pay such and such per hour...this is all I can afford now" and thinking they can justify it. But they only use these line to us childcare providers..I wonder how this same line will hold up when they get their hair cut. Can you imagine saying, "I'm sorry, I can only pay you $3 to cut my hair..this is all I can afford!" This would be in the same category as shoplifting because they ARE in fact trying to rip someone off. Us nannies should not have to deal with any of this.

A nanny who cares said...

OP - I also live in Orange County and am shocked at what some families have tried to offer me. I finally took a part time babysitting position that has no benefits, and I only make $13/hour but I don't do any housework and I'm still making only a little less than a lot of the "nanny" positions I was offered. The economy is tough right now! 3 years ago I was making around $18/hour!

NannyQ said...

JMTCNJ, well-said. So true.

bostonnanny said...

Just my two cents, the problem is that many people are willing to work for that little. I know of 3 former daycare teachers that quite there jobs to do nannyshares for only 50 cents more. The families are paying them about $10 a hour for two kids, no bemefits. The nannies didn't know any better and thought that was a great offer. So with everyone claiming to be nannies and willing to work for crap, they are lowering the market for professional nannies.
Most families don't seem to care about someone having a background in early childhood, or years of experience as a nanny not a babysitter. They just want cheap, safe labor.
look on care.com or sittercity and read some of the profiles of "nannies" its a joke.

Joy said...

Op again,
I know exactly what you mean Bostonnanny. I went to school to be a nanny, and not a joke school either, I've worked to learn as much as I can and get experience and then I'm up against some girl who just graduated highschool and wants out of her hometown and will work for next to nothing. UGH! oh well. It is what it is.

ohioNanny said...

I live in an area where $350-$450 a week is considered decent pay for a (live out)nanny working 30-40 hours a week. (daycares charge $150-$225 a week depending on age)I didn't want more than 30 hours a week, so only applied for jobs that fit the criteria I wanted. A couple contacted me, and initially I blew them off because their needs were beyond what I wanted. This mother was adamant, though. For some reason, she really liked my profile and past history (I was on a child care job site) and she insisted that they would bend to meet my scheduling needs since her hubby was self employed. So, hesitantly, I decided to look into it more. After all, I had already spent three months looking, with various prospects not working out for one reason or another (either I had an uncomfortable vibe during interview, or felt we wouldn't mesh well after meeting, or they chose someone else, or finding the schedule wasn't something I wanted, they wanted to pay $6/hour for 3 kids and heavy housework, etc). Fortunately, I could afford to be picky in my schedule and wait for the right job to come along.

So, I interviewed. The couple was okay, but I didn't have an immediate connection to them. No worries....they were new parents after all, so I know the stuff that sometimes comes with that. I should have trusted my instincts, but I didn't. I guess I was just glad to have some kind of prospect that seemed decent.

The first thing that jumped out was the father actually asked me to bring my own meals. Most families are more than willing to feed their nanny and keep her happy. After a surprised hesitancy, I said sure, I would do that.

When they hired me, they told me they were only looking to pay someone $250 a week (infant care). I said point blank it wasn't enough money, so she upped it to $300. I was still hesitant - but hey - it was a job that would (supposedly) also allow me some flexibility in my schedule, which was important to me, so I accepted it. (and I am lucky enough to not have to need the extra income, but my time is still worth something!) The mother was still on maternity leave but wanted me to come immediately so she could observe me with the baby (fine) and help wean the baby to a bottle (also fine) and she would pay me.

So, I do this. During this time, she starts to tell me that the original end time during the day when I started full time was not going to work in her job, and she wouldn't be home til about 45 minutes later, "or so". Hmmm.....I had already agreed to work a 1/2 hour past the time I had set as my limit, but only because they were being flexible in the start time, which was later than THEY had wanted. So, as I am processing this, she starts to tell me that in her job, even coming home at the later time was 'too early' for many but she would just do it anyway, and tell them that is what she needed, as she was looking for a lateral transfer anyway so that she could work less hours.

So I am taking this in, right? I say nothing at the moment. But I start to calculate in my head. $6/hour! That's basically what it was going to even out to, and then taxes on top of that. Plus, I was going to end up working 45 hours rather than the 30 I had initially agreed to. And if they changed the rules already, before I even started, what is to stop them from demanding other schedule changes.

Ended up it was going to be more of a hardship than anything. I could already foresee a stressful relationship. Me being resentful because they were obviously seeing me as a common house servant than a part of their family.

ohioNanny said...

continued because I am long winded..... :-D

And not that this alone would have made me change my mind about a job, but to add to it, the people had NO comfortable furniture in their house. I am 4'11 -- and the couch was a deep one. I could not lean against the back of the couch when sitting like you can with most couches. There was no rocking chair. The two days I came for 'observation' found my back hurting because I had to stand while holding and feeding this baby. If I sat on the couch, I had no support.

Anyway, the expectations were outrageous compared to the amount of money they wanted to pay. I mean, how much is it worth for your children to be well taken care of by someone who knows what they are doing? For 9 hours a day? When you make a 6 figure income?

Anyway, I quit that and even refused the money they paid me for the two days I was there. My reasons were simple. I should not have accepted the jn in the first place.

In quitting, the mother got quite angry and defensive. This also clued me into what conflicts would have been like with this couple. She basically told me that she did not believe my reasons for quitting, that there 'must be some other reason'. What I had told were was that the hours were changed from what we initially agreed to, that I was already hesitant about the hours before that because I did not really have a desire to work that many hours (which they knew) and that the pay equaled out to be approximately minimum wage, but the biggest factor was that the arrangement was going to cause great hardship on me and my own family. I took responsibility and said I should never have accepted, and said I was going to void her check and send it back.

But the disrespect of basically telling me I was lying about my reasons, and being angry at me because SHE changed what we had agreed to when she had known from the beginning my preferences and pursued me anyway, vowing they would be flexible, just so she could retain me?

Anyway (I know this is long) - the very next week, I applied for a very part time job. These people interviewed quite a lot of nannies, so the competition was there. I was set to not get the job, altho during the interview, I felt an immediate connection to them. They agreed to a $2/more an hour wage than what they had been paying their previous provider. They hired me, and I make the same amount of money in 20 hours that the other family wanted to pay me for 45 hours. They ask me what I would like to eat when they make their grocery list (I decline - I make do with what they already buy). They seem concerned that I do NOT eat a lot of their food (I usually bring my own breakfast). They reimburse me for the things I buy for special food projects, or willingly buy it themselves.
This family is grateful that I take good care of their children. They treat me as part of their family and show a genuine interest in me, as well as a genuine interest in including me as part of their family.

That is what makes the job worthwhile. Not be treated as a house servant - but as an important part of their child's life, and someone who contributes to their family.

Psyber Chica said...

What exactly do you learn at Nanny school? Having known many women who are fantastic with children without any special training, I just don't see getting educated as a huge advantage. It is what it is, the women willing to work for low wages are not going anywhere. Perhaps it's time for a new profession.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I think by "Nanny School" you are all referring to taking Child Development at a local community college, right? Or are there actually "Nanny Schools" in your area? I live in CA and to the bet of my knowledge we do not have any in the area.
Anyway, thanks Nanny Q..I appreciate the comment.
Yes, Bostonnanny, I have read some of the profiles on both Care.com and sittercity (since I want to know what I am up against!) and some of them are crazy.
But let me offer some perspective on the issue. I totally agree that having actual Child Development units is a huge + in being a nanny. If my own kids were younger, I would definitely consider these as major pluses no question about it. I have a college degree which is in Business and I am a mother who has raised her own children (they are all adults now.) The families that tend to hire me are the ones who let their children play a role in choosing the nanny. Instead of focusing their attention on what my credentials are or how many years experience I have as a Nanny, they see how I interact with their children and then later on ask their children which Nanny they liked better. Chemistry plays a huge role in how I get selected for families. (Of course, for an infant this process would be different.) All the families that hire me always first and foremost state that their children couldn't stop talking about me and wondered when I would come back to play with them. Now of course, they run background checks and check my references, but for the most part they like how I interact/engage with the child as opposed to how many child development units I have on my transcript. Also, many families tell me they prefer an older nanny like me who has years of personal/hands-on life experience as well as opposed to a 19-yr old who has just babysat her little brothers and sisters.
But it is all up to the specific family and their unique needs. I probably would not be good match for a family that required at least 5+ yrs of professional experience, 12+ units of child development and someone who is bonded and insured with many nanny affiliations. I am working to get there, but right now I am just depending on my wonderful love for children, my parenting experience and my business degree to help me get jobs. :)

bostonnanny said...

Just my two cents, I believe in the midwest there are such things as actual "nanny school". I find them ridiculous and your probably better off taking college courses at a community college, which can borden your career into different fields.


Yes, connecting with a family is definitely a major factor, and I'll agree they would much prefer someone 25+ with years of full time experience with non family members. However, when it comes to actually selecting a nanny, price for most people is the deal breaker. It you can connect with the family and are cheap then they will settle for you.

Its funny because I have over 12 credits in early childhood, 5+years of full time long term experience and am also a member of a local nanny group. Plus I make homemade baby food, do baby yoga, sign language, create curriculums etc. All the things you would think someone wants in a nanny, I even connect well with most families but they just don't want to pay my price. Or if they are willing, they want me to scrub their toilets during nap time.

Maybe its me? or maybe it some cheap ass parent?

Adah Leah said...

The recession is real. I used to be judgmental about some of the things my parent unit did, but now I celebrate our differences, so grateful am I to still be making 1,250 per week. I also try and do a few more "special things" around the house like buying fresh flowers at the grocer and taking my charge with me to walk 19 blocks to buy my she-ployer's favorite honey tea. I even washed a load of bathroom towels last week.

Whoa! said...

1250/week!? How'd you get that job? I'm seriously interested...have you been a nanny for years and years, have a special degree...?

cali mom said...

Believe me, it isn't just nanny jobs that are devolving like this.

My friend sent me an ad for a graphic designer wanted (that's me) to design a logo for a small home-based brewery. "Send us your original design and if we decide to use it we'll pay you 15 bucks and give you a six pack of our beer". Um, yeah...I'm going to spend my time to create an original piece of artwork and hand it off to you with no questions asked just on the hopes that you decide to pay me 1/20th of absolute minimum market rate for it plus some beer?????

cali mom said...

And yes, it was a CL WTF!

cali mom said...

"she-ployer", haha! I like that.

Where do you live???

overpaid much? said...

Sara, you wrote:

"The last time I made $400 a week was never."

Wow. So you were making that amount straight out of college? You must see that that is not the norm even if you are Mary Freaking Poppins. I think you have been lucky, personally. Many people would think that you were overpaid, I am not surprised that the Dad did not offer you more money.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Bostonnanny, I wholeheartedly agree that the reason many parents "settle" w/me is yes partly due to the chemistry involved, but also for my prices. I try to stay reasonable and I do not make as much as I would like to make (or they maybe I should be making!) If I asked for what I really thought I was worth, I know it would be much harder to find a job. Not impossible, just much harder and longer. I am in a tough financial situation now so I really needed to find a job ASAP. But for you, if you know what you are worth then more power to you. Stick to your guns and do not settle until you find a family who is willing to pay you what you are worth. I wish I could do that and I would if I wasn't so cash strapped now. :(
An interesting thing some parents have told me is that when they see a Nanny advertising for a very low rate, they tend to not even consider hiring her as they wonder why would someone sell themselves short?

bostonnanny said...

Just my two cents, Im sorry your not getting paid what you deserve. At least you have a job and maybe you can search for you next one while your still working. Thats what i'm doing, I have 6 months to look but i'm still worried because people or offering $3 below my rate. My rate isn't even that high, its basically what i made first starting out.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Bostonnanny...just call it the "sign of the times," I guess. *sigh*
I hope and pray everyday that things start to look up soon for everyone! :)

Lila said...

There is a definite trend here (So Cal) of formerly well-to-do households cutting back on all help especially pool guys, gardeners, housekeepers and nannies. The gardener comes every other week instead of weekly. The housekeeper cleans once a month instead of biweekly. The nanny's hours are cut in half or is let go because there is now an under/unemployed parent available at home. My housekeeper told me that her Beverly Hills employer has bounced three of her last four checks and these people are multi-millionaires. It's just unbelievable out there.

Nanny in NYC said...

I make $1885 a week for 50 hours, plus overtime. I know this is way above the average, but $1000 a month? That is crazily low.

i wish... said...

Nanny in NYC, wow that is incredible! Did you go through an agency, online, word-of-mouth...?

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Yes, Nanny in NYC...please tell us. Did you find them through Craigslist, sittercity or Care.com?

Nanny in NYC said...

I got the job through a London based agency. I can tell you which agencies in NYC have good jobs too as I had to do a lot of research before I got here. Am I allowed to post such information here?? If so, I'd be happy to do so.

hmmm said...

Well, since nobody said it's not allowed, I guess you could post it. If it turns out that MPP and Jane don't want it here, they will delete it. =)