Nannying 101: How Do I Negotiate Fair Pay Without Sounding Greedy?

opinion 2 I live in the Seattle area and have nannied and sat for children in both Seattle and the East side for the past five years. I was recently hired for a position for a 4 year old and 1 year old by a doctor and computer engineer. This is for when the father is out of town and the mother will be working odd hours.

I provided 4 references to this family, 3 of which paid $15/hr and my last steady position I held for one year paid $16.50 for the first 8 hours, then x1.5 for hours 8-12 and double time for hours 12 onward. This family even paid me the same rate while their children were in school, as I was "on call". I realize I was very fortunate with this family, but nonetheless, this was the rate at the steady position I was leaving (as the family was leaving the country).

Now, family #2 had listed their rate being offered as $13-15/hr. I consider a fair wage based on this area and my experience/hourly history to be $14-16. They are offering to pay $15 while the children are awake, but want to play a "flat rate" while the children are sleeping. I have had two negative experiences with this before which resulted in me leaving both positions after a short time, not because the wage wasn't fair, but because the tone from the parents was that they didn't appreciate nanny's work, sleeping children or not, and made several comments alluding to me being greedy and overpaid.

I am also in school and have 8am classes all year, so when the hours are 1pm-1am (children go to sleep around 8pm) I would really not feel properly compensated being paid for 7 hours and then not being able to leave for 5 more, but at a significantly lower rate. I realize I am in the higher end of wages, but really don't feel I should cut down my hourly and would really like to avoid a flat rate at all costs as in my experience, it only leads to the employer gypping the nanny. What are your thoughts on this? How do I negotiate without sounding greedy?


Village said...

A nanny cannot make too much money, and these are my rates. Period.

Has anyone ever heard a man say, 'Am I being greedy?'

Anyway, back to the topic, if they think you are being greedy, then it's the wrong family for you. Stick to your guns and find a family who will pay you what you are worth.

MissMannah said...

I think you took the wrong job anyway because you are working until 1am and then have to be in class in 7 hours. That's not much sleeping time in between. Just throwing my opinion in there. And throwing another one of my opinions in there, I think it is greedy of the nanny to expect full wages while the kids are sleeping, especially if they sleep the whole time. Odds are, they won't wake up and she's just marking time until the parents get home. 5 hours at regular rate is a long time and I would never ask the parents to pay me that.

But you didn't ask my opinion.

sewickley nanny said...

I don't cut my rate..the nanny can't leave. It's not greedy..don't you think the parents are being paid their full rate while they are working? While the kids are sleeping the nanny can do laundry, look up activities, organize, pack lunches etc.

The only time I have accepted a reduced rate is for weekends if the parents go away and I stay with the kids. Typically for that I charge a flat 250 a day.

For overnight newborn care I charge more. 200 a night for 10 hours because its asking a lot to have a nanny stay up all night and take care of a baby. I have never had problems finding families who will pay this.

Truth Seeker said...

When my children were younger, I paid their nannies the same rate whether they were asleep or not. I see a lot of ad on CL stating that someone will pay a flat rate for overnights and I think this is lame. Why? Because responsibility is responsibility...NO EXCEPTIONS (!)

There are many other jobs where the work can be slow, yet they still have to show up and be there. Night clerks in hotels. Firefighters. Etc. Do you see these people getting paid less when fire season is over or weekdays are slow? Hell no. So why should nannies get paid less?

When a child is asleep, the nanny must be there. She cannot even run to Starbucks for a latte. She is still 100% responsible if anything should occur. I.e., a natural disaster, an intruder, a fire, the child awakes unexpectedly from a nightmare, illness, etc.

So whether a child is awake or asleep, stick to your guns and forget these "flat rates." Flat rates do not apply to childcare in my opinion.

I see so many ads where the parent will state, "Little Johnny goes to bed at 8, so after that you are free to watch movies, check your Facebook, read a book, etc." I am not going to pay you $15/Hr for just sitting on the couch doing "nothing."
Well if they cannot afford me, I cannot afford them. Plain & simple.

another nanny said...

Hi OP,

I would accept a flat rate only under the condition that you are allowed to sleep while you're there (I have always accepted a flat rate for overnights, but not for naptime). Also, if the kids go to bed "around 8" I would make sure to get paid your hourly rate until 9 pm, since there will be times when the kids have trouble going to sleep, or you'll need to clean up and prepare for the next day once they're out.

NWnanny said...

Hi OP,

I am also a nanny in Seattle. I have nannied in both Seattle and the Eastside.

Have you ever been placed through an agency? I highly recommend going through an agency, because the agency negotiates your pay for you. You never have to talk to the family about pay. Every part of your pay is spelled out in your contract. As soon as you find the right fit, they work out the contract and they make sure that you and the family are comfortable with it, and if not you can renegotiate. After the contract is signed, it is a private contract and it is between you and the family, you get paid from the family, but you still get to have the agency there as a resource.
( I am sure you know all of this, but I am saying it just in case because sometimes I meet people who ask me if a percentage of my wage goes to the agency or if my paycheck comes from the agency)

Just recently my MB was asking me about my overnight rate and I pulled out my contract. It made it much less awkward as talking about money and pay typically is, because a third party wrote the contract and we all agreed to it. Most of the time families who go through agencies are not only willing to pay you more, but they are also more aware of what nanny rates are (not always, because I have had a bad experience with an agency family, but in general this is my experience)

I have found various sitting jobs through, CL or other online only services and these families sometimes can be stingy yet have unreasonable expectations.

Regardless of how you find your jobs, stick to the pay rate you feel comfortable with. The Seattle metro area is a great market for nannies. You should never be getting paid anything less than $15/hr. Period. With your experience, that is the absolute lowest I would go. Even beginner nannies get paid minimum of 15/hr through the agency I go through.

And you should NEVER get paid less for when the child is sleeping. I do understand the flat rate for the overnights, as long as you are comfortable with it- but if you are working until 1am, you should be getting paid as you would for any other "babysitting" job- hourly. You are providing the service for them. You get to set your rate. If they don't like the rate, they can find someone else. And so can you- someone who will pay you better and not make you feel like you are being greedy for asking for what is fair in our market.

I hope that helps!

Minka said...

I agree that going through an agency is the best idea for the flat rates. If you go through a nanny agency, families are usually obligated to still pay you hourly whether you sleep there or not.

If you use CL, or sittercity, many of these families are cheap and try to negotiate flat rates for overnights. I wouldn't fall for it. Young children sometimes do not sleep well when they know their parents are not in the home and they can either wake up often or have nightmares or the like. I can't tell you how many times a child has woken me up during the night asking when Mommy will be back, etc.

Any family who tries to get away with a "flat rate" for overnights is not a family I would ever consider working for.

Original Poster said...

Thanks for the feedback. Since this post, I told them I was not willing to go lower than $15/hour for every hour and they accepted, however, I can tell they think this is a higher rate and I am already aware they have another person "babysitting". Basically, this position will not last, so I'd like to be ready to move on. I've never used an agency before, though. I have used the ads in my university's newspapers and online job network site, as well as personal connections. I recently started a website but have noticed that wages are incredibly lower. Any agency recommendations?

NW Nanny said...

OP- I would love to be a resource for you if you want to contact me. I do have agency recomendations for you. I don't want to give away my personal email on here but maybe MPP could help us get in touch?

Wow said...

Not only are you not being greedy, you are being underpaid if you accept straight pay for 60 hours per week. According to labor laws, you are entitled to time and a half for any time over 40 hours/week. You should print this out and show it to them:

If you decide to accept straight pay, they are getting a deal, not being taken advantage of. You felt priviledged to work for your last family, but reality is they were paying what they were supposed to.

Why don't nannies expect to be paid according to the law, and why do we feel bad about charging what we deserve? Families who can't afford to pay accordingly can't afford a nanny. That's what daycares are for.

OP said...

NW Nanny- I would love that. I will email the blogs' address and ask MPP help us get in touch. Thank you!!

Marypoppin'pills said...

NW Nanny

Message me so that I can forward OP's e-mail to you.