Monday

Negotiating a Fair Nanny Share

opinion 1
Hi! Hoping your readers will have some good advice for me about a salary structure for a nanny share we are considering.

I have an almost 3 year old and a 15 month old. The other family has an almost 4 year old and a 13 month old. My 3 year old goes to "school" 2 mornings per week for 2 hours. The 4 year old goes to school 3 mornings per week for 3 hours.

We live about 10 minutes from the other family and thought we'd trade off. The other family are friends who currently use a nanny but she will be leaving in early March, so timing is good. We need about 42 hours/week of childcare (M-F). The other family needs slightly more, but might be able to make it work in 42 hrs.

The nanny is our current nanny who my kids love and has been with us for 8 months. We pay her $18/hr but have it structured like a salary, so she gets paid the same amount even if we are home early or the kids are sick, etc. She doesn't have a ton of nanny experience, but is a great caregiver. I think she's very capable of handling all 4 kids.

She wanted to do the share to make more money. We thought it would be good socialization for the kids and could save us money as well. But....

She would like to charge us $16/hr each family for hours she has all 4 kids. For hours she only has 2 or 3 kids (when older kids at school), she wants to charge $17/hr each family. This seems astronomical. She would be making $32-34 per hour??? I know it's 4 kids, but that's a lot of money! I want to be fair, but this doesn't really save us any money and by the time we are driving to the other family's house to pick up our kids half the time... it's a wash. If it was just about socialization, we could do a daycare for far less money.

I tried searching for nanny share salary suggestions but I didn't find much info for so many kids. Any ideas? And how to approach now with the nanny who has these hopes/expectations of making $30+ per hour? I was thinking of offering a flat $14/hr per family regardless if 2, 3, or 4 kids at a time. So she'd make $28/hr. The other family wants us to do the negotiating since she was our nanny first but is more or less on-board for anything less than $15/hr.

If she rejects this... what then? We will have a potentially disgruntled nanny on our hands. I'm starting to regret going down this road...

36 comments:

ericsmom said...

Honestly, I think you know the answer. In my opinion, I wouldn't group up with another family. She will be taking care of four little kids for the majority of the time. Your child is only in school two days a week for two hours at a time. The other families child is in school only 9 hours a week. Hmmm, I think it will be too much to handle. The kids are still really young. I would worry about the nanny having burnout. How can she really give alot of attention to four young ones???

A nanny who cares said...

I wouldn't do a nanny share if I were you. It seems like your nanny is already generously compensated for the work she does, and if you each pay her $14/hr. she is only making an extra $10/hr to watch two other kids. It sounds like if you go through with this one, our both of you will feel resentful. Your nanny already makes more than the average nanny in this economy, and I don't think even a highly experienced nanny could watch 4 little ones without some burn out.

nannynanny said...

As a nanny of 5 years, I cannot imagine having expected $32-$34/hr when I first began... that's incredibly ridiculous. Nannies who make those types of salaries are career nannies, or people who've had 5+ years of experience- NOT beginners, no matter what the case.

For what it's worth, I know nothing about nanny shares, so I can't offer much on that... however... I can say that for watching 3 kids I've always been salaried as a live-in at $15/hr (with TONS of perks on the side, which include paying for all of my education expenses.) I know I'm still being payed at the lowest level, but from my experience with other nannies, it sounds like your offer of $14/hr/family is generous.

Sheesh... in this economy she should be grateful to have such an offer...

Jedd Meir said...
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MamaLaywer said...

No. The way it normally works is if the nanny gets $10 an hour from one family, then from two she gets $15. That way she gets more money and each family is paying less. Also, I'd only do that with an experienced nanny. I'd go back to her and tell her you assume this is her jumping off point for negotiations and give her a counter-offer below what you feel is reasonable, then let her talk you up to what IS reasonable.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Beyond the salary question, which I'll address at the end, I have some thoughts for you. If you use both homes, will you move equipment each week/month that you switch? Where will all the kids sleep for naps/rest for quiet time? Where will all the kids sit to eat meals? Who is paying for food? What household responsibilities will your nanny have to give up in order to care for 4 kids? Does her car hold 4 carseats? If not, what will she drive and who will provide that car? Will there need to be a double stroller purchased? How will a share impact nanny's ability to take the kids on outings and out to participate in various activities?

Do you and the other family know each other? How well? Where does each family stand on nutrition, discipline, naps, pacis, outings, activities? What if the share goes badly? Are you risking losing friends if you and the other family can't manage to keep the share going?

Will each family have their own contract with nanny and then an overarching share contract? How will nanny's need to have time off be handled? Will you and the other family be willing and able to pay nanny 52 weeks a year even if between your vacation, their vacation, and her vacations, she actually works only 48 weeks total or less a year?

As for salary, I was recently repeatedly screeched at on the DC Urban Moms board for suggesting a nanny make 50% more than her standard rate for a nanny share. I think you are right on target as far as money goes, with $28 as an hourly rate. If I have the numbers right, she currently makes $756 - $792 per week (not knowing if $18 per hour includes OT or not??), so she'll be making $1134 - $1188 a week, with, I'm assuming, some reduction in household chores because they will be unmanageable with 4 kids.

I don't know where you live, but $18 per hour is high end for nanny wages, and I think her proposed hourly wage structure is unnecessarily complex. As far as how to make a lower offer to her, you can explain that you wish to leave some room for annual raises.

If she doesn't want to work for the lower wage, she will, hopefully, simply say so, and counter offer. You and the other family need to decide how much negotiating you'll do, i.e., what you top price is, and stick with it.

If she chooses not to accept the rate you offer, she is still well compensated. If not being able to earn $32+ per hour ticks her off, she will either leave, or she will work through the issue and realize she was asking for the moon and stars. Frankly, if she would leave over $160+ per week when she's earning 10x that already, you might be better off finding someone new.

Finally, everyone needs to have the ability to leave the share with fair notice, including nanny. If she has overestimated her abilities and realizes she can't manage, you need to accept that with grace. And the reverse is true as well - if you or other family feel the care is not what you expect, you need to be able to leave gracefully.

Best of luck negotiating this arrangement! Please let us know how it goes.

Britney said...

I think you can never pay your nanny too much. If she is reliable, dependable, trustworthy and patient...I would pay her what I thought she was worth.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I do not know much about nanny shares but I think that this nanny is asking for too much! The point of the nanny share is to save both of the families some money, will giving a chance for the nanny to earn more money, and also giving the children a chance to socialize. I think of it as a mini daycare. If you think about it, a daycare cannot get away with charging everyone a sky-high rate... more children should equal less money per child.

I do think that you should seriously consider all the factors that Tales brought up. It seems like a simple situation but there is really a lot that goes into it. Personally, I think that you should keep things simple and pay her a flat hourly rate, no matter how many of the 4 children she is currently watching. It would get far too complicated to calculate what children she was watching for how many hours, etc etc. Just be sure to examine all the options and mechanics before you agree to anything.

As far as approaching the nanny goes, I think you should have 3 parties (you, other MB, and nanny) come together to discuss the salary. This will simplify things and lessen the back and forth craziness. Set aside time, discuss it, and be done with it. Just be sure you and other MB have a united front of what your max rates before you sit down with the nanny. Even if the other MB wants you to just deal with it, too bad. She is a part of this situation and needs to be included in the discussion.

Please let us know how this turns out!

Phoenix said...

she seems a little greedy don't you think? She can't expect to make $36 an hour. Is that tax free? I would offer her $25 an hour if she has to be paid more. Honestly, $18 an hour is great.

FormerNannyinSTL said...

For those saying 4 young kids is too many...that's not necessarily true. It has been done before. It just depends on the person and if she is mature enough to handle it. I did when I was a first time nanny and I loved it. I enjoyed having more kids because the older ones had a constant playmate which made it easier when I was trying to prepare meals or clean up after meals, etc.

As for the salary...wow, if she makes that I will seriously envy her as I made nowhere close to $32/hour. That's WAY too much.

Jedd Meir said...
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MissMannah said...

OP, I don't know where you live but I'm about ready to jump in my car and move there. My boss and I are currently working out a nanny share that will probably add up to $15 an hour and I almost fainted because I thought *that* was a lot of money.

I'm sorry but I think you should throw your nanny out on her ass. Anyone who thinks she can ask for that much money is greedy, just like Phoenix said. Doesn't matter if it is 4 kids...any nanny worth her salt should be able to handle that many and shouldn't need that much money for it.

Jedd, you crack me up so much. Will you marry me? My husband won't mind.

Jedd Meir said...
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another nanny said...

OP, what you propose sounds very generous. Paying a flat rate per hour is going to be a lot easier to keep straight, especially since many preschools have a lot of days off.
As Tales pointed out, though, there's a lot more to go into the nanny share than just the salary. Will the nanny be doing the preschool drop off/pick up? If so, how will that be managed? (remember she will have two toddlers with her!), who is supplying food, diapers, etc (if each family is supplying their own food, will you be packing lunches each night for your children?). What will you do when a child is sick?
As far as presenting it to your nanny, I would pose it as an option of either maintaining your current arrangement or entering a nanny share under xyz terms (of course the 3rd option is she could leave altogether). Personally I think your nanny may just be afraid of getting taken advantage of, or is starting high with the intent of bargaining down. If, however, she really feels that $34/hr is warranted, it may be a sign that she feels overwhelmed by the thought of caring for 4 children, in which case this isn't the right situation for her anyway.

Denver Nanny said...

I've watched 4 kids in one family for my entire nanny career. First family the ages were staggered current one includes infant twins and it's a lot of work. I'd fall over if I could make $32/hr. I've never heard of that in my life, even with a nanny share and I am an experienced nanny with a teaching degree. If the share is a must I'd offer $22/ hour since you already pay her $18 and definitely make it a flat rate not adjustable depending on how many kids are present. For being a first time nanny she's asking for a hell of a lot of $$

Anne said...

Wow $30+ an hour lol!. She's very fortunate to be getting the 18 as a nanny novice. I seriously wonder if she'll be able to handle 4 young children at once. I wouldn't give her more than $20 with each family contributing $10.

8 year nanny said...

Wow, I think the logistics here would be a nightmare. Looking after 4 kids is challenging enough but dealing with two sets of parents with different schedules etc, would just be too much. The point of a nanny share is that the families pay less but the nanny earns more. In this case, it doesn't seem like you'd be paying a whole deal less than you already pay, and $32/hour for a new nanny on the block sounds way too much. I earn just over $39/hour (pre-tax) for 3 year old twins, but I have 8 years experience.

Sharehater said...

This is why nanny shares suck for nannies, so much negotiating, and 2 babies plus two preschoolers is a long, rough day. And when kids are sick, families are out of town, your pay fluxes all the time, its a mess to pay taxes. As nannies we really need to look at shares for what they are, a big headache!

Beth said...

This is why I'm leaving the field. I love it I do ,but I need a career that I can rely on myself to pay for all my bills, needs, and extras. I can't work another 4 years hoping to make a liveable salary.

Being a nanny is great, but it's best for college students, and people who have the majority of the bills paid by mommy, daddy or their SO.

Sometimes I think a federal minimum salary wouldn't be a bad idea.

Sarah said...

I'm a nanny to 4 kids under 3yrs old (6 months, 14 months, 20 months, 35 months), I have 11 years nanny experience. Its tough most days, some days I am shattered. I don't have space for 4 car seats so outings are limited to walks and there is not much to walk to here. We have a double stroller, but its the middle of summer here, 2 in the stroller, 1 in the sling and the eldest walking - not fun!

I love it, I love being very busy, but I can honestly say the eldest suffers because the youngest demands so much attention. The middle 2 just get on with things!

I wouldn't go the nanny share route with that family - don't even mention money to her, just tell her the logistics of 4 kids won't work for you.

ELam said...

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood had some really great questions that you must consider, if you haven't already (I was overwhelmed just reading them!).

I just want to echo what others have said...that maybe a nanny share isn't the best route to go for your family. Who brought up the idea? You or the other family? I am just curious if the other family proposed a nanny share because their nanny was leaving and they maybe didn't want to go through the process of looking for a new one. And the fact that they are leaving the negotiating up to you because she is your nanny? That's fishy to me. I think they need to be completely involved and physically present during all negotiations.

Your nanny has to know she is asking for astronomically high compensation, she has to! $32-34/hr is insanity. That's $65K/YEAR! That's the average salary for a registered nurse or a lawyer who is just starting out! No way. I think your offer of a flat rate (not the weird $16 sometimes and $17 other times that she proposed) of $28 is MORE than generous. She should very graciously accept or get lost, in my opinion! Good luck!

MissMannah said...

ELam, I disagree that what the other family is doing is shady. Like I said previously, we're working out a nanny share right now and my MB is doing all the details of it. Because I already work at her house and the two moms are friends, it is just easier this way. Mom 2 is going to pay MB her share of the pay and MB is going to pay me my regular paycheck, it will just be larger. Mom 2 doesn't know me because of course she didn't interview me originally but MB trusts me and she can trust her friend to make a good decision. It sounds like a similar situation with OP and her nanny, except her nanny is greedy and I'm just happy to have a job!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Beth, the federal minimum wage laws apply to nannies. If your employer isn't paying you minimum wage, then you need to inform them they are not conforming to the law, and find other work.

And as far as paid vacations are concerned, don't take a job that doesn't pay you every week without fail. Your pay doesn't have to fluctuate sharehater, you need to be firm and tell potential employers that you will not work for them without guaranteed weekly pay.

One of the big myths among potential employers is that somehow nannies arte not really 'employees", and therefore can work for less than minimum wage, work without PTO, etc. Nannies have to be willing to educate and inform families of the laws and the industry standards. Either families that can't afford nanny care will stop pretending they can pay a nanny decent money, or they will be intimidated away from nanny care because they won't find anyone to work for lousy wages. Either way, nannies eventually benefit.

Jedd Meir said...
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Erica said...
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ELam said...

@MissMannah -- I have zero experience with nanny shares, so I guess it just seemed odd to me to have the other family sort of MIA in the process? I guess I'm just a little too much of a control freak, I would definitely want to meet the nanny beforehand and meet up all together to talk about the details. OP's nanny definitely sounds greedy and unrealistic.

ericsmom said...

Jedd are you at work right now? If so shouldn't you be caring for the whiny five year old. Maybe, she is bored out of her mind because you are ignorning her while typing comments here.

I admit I am on the net now. My son though is having fun with a playdate. You may want to try that route.

Jedd Meir said...
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MissMannah said...

Don't worry Jedd. You can't help but spend all your time on the computer...you are a fat lazy American. All we ever do is post on here and eat Cheetos.

In other news, Happy Birthday!

Jedd Meir said...
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ericsmom said...

Jedd

Happy Birthday!

Hope you have a great night out.

No offense, okay??

Jedd Meir said...
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Jedd Meir said...
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Bostonnanny said...

Im in a nanny share in Boston with two toddlers I make $20 an hour when mom has baby #2 I'll be making $24.

Your nanny is crazy if she thinks she can get $32 and your stupid if you pay her that. The other family can find a decent nanny for $16 and their children would get ten times more attention. I would tell your nanny that $14 each is max because the quality of care and attention does go down plus for the price she's asking each family could have there own nanny.

I think having a nanny share like this with inexperienced nanny would be the dumbest thing you could do. Maybe if both toddlers were in school part time all week but not with the schedule you have now

MissMannah said...

WTF are you talking about?? If you are referring to the Cheetos comment I made up there, it was a total joke, which Jedd clearly understood. I think yall are losing it tonight.

I would post a pic but I really don't know how.

Monkeynanny said...

That is insane. If your nanny can't see what an extrememly good deal she is getting, you need to find a new nanny. I have never made 30+ per hour, and I think your offer or $28 per hour is extremely generous. I did a nanny share once and was happy with $18...