Here's the deal, I love the idea of a nanny share in concept, however I have never accepted a nanny share job offer because the parents and I have always differed on what exactly that concept is. I have yet to meet a parent who fully understands how a nanny share should work. I know that there are amazing parents out there who know the true definition of a nanny share and do it correctly, but they are few and far between.
This is how all the parents I've encountered (and almost all of the parents other nannies I've spoken with have encountered) view a nanny share:
A nanny share is when two families share a nanny. They employ a nanny either full-time or part-time, and split the cost. The nanny works for both families taking care of their kids, and generally alternates between the two houses to care for the kids and the household (i.e., one week at family 1's house and the next week at family 2's house). Because the parents are sharing the nanny, they obviously are splitting the nanny's pay, so they get private nanny care for half the price! That's right, they just take the going rate for a nanny in their area and split it in half! What.A.Steal.
Now that we have explained how most parents define a nanny share, let's discuss what a nanny share actually is:
A nanny share is when two families share a nanny. They employ a nanny either full-time or part-time, and split the cost. The nanny works for both families taking care of their kids, and generally alternates between the two houses to care for the kids and the household. Because the parents are sharing the nanny and getting less individualized care, they obviously get a significant discount. They are getting private nanny care at a 33% discount each! AND, the nanny makes 33% more than the going rate! It's a win-win. It's mutually beneficial....
If only that's how parents understood a nanny share to be. I mean, it makes complete sense. It baffles me that people don't automatically think that's how a nanny share works. Why on earth would the parents get a discount and benefit from a nanny share, but the nanny wouldn't? I seriously want to know why parents think this is okay. What is their justification? I can't tell you how many parents I've either met or have heard stories about, who simply dismiss a nanny when they say that they should make more than the going rate in a nanny share. Real nannies in real nanny shares have emailed me feeling completely taken advantage of because it's simply not fair for two parties to benefit but not the other party when everyone involved is making sacrifices. Nannies have also emailed me telling me how much harder a nanny share is than a typical one family nanny job and that they wouldn't have accepted it for such low pay had they known just how much harder it is.
I'm telling you this happens ALL the time. When I've addressed this issue with parents, they have literally looked at me and said in a condescending tone, "Why would YOU get paid more than the going rate? That's crazy. That's not how a nanny share works." Even when I tried to explain why, they didn't budge. For some reason they thought they deserved a benefit, but I didn't. Which if I'm being completely honest, made me feel very degraded. It comes across as the nanny being lesser than the parents and not deserving of what's equal and fair. With all this said, I'm sure some parents reading this will still walk away thinking it's totally reasonable for the parents to benefit but not the nanny. Especially if their reason is they are just trying to make ends meet and doing the best they can. That's why there are more affordable options for childcare if you can't afford to pay a nanny in a nanny share what they deserve (i.e., home daycares). I want to make it clear that I have researched this issue to find the proper industry standard. I have spoken with nannies, parents/employers, and nanny agencies from all over, plus I work directly with a nanny agency so please trust I know what I'm talking about. I work hard to provide accurate and fair information in each of my articles.
So let's answer the question. Why would a nanny get paid significantly MORE than the going rate in a nanny share? Well, the answer is really simple. It's because the nanny has a harder job.
But parents say: Two kids are two kids -- the difficulty is the same! If they were working for one family with two kids, this is the rate they would get.
This is where parents are wrong and we usually fail to see eye-to-eye. A nanny share with two kids is incredibly more difficult than a typical nanny job with a family who has two kids. This is because the nanny has to work with two sets of employers -- 4 bosses! In a nanny share, the nanny has to meet the expectations of two completely different sets of parents. They have to adhere to and respect each family's philosophies/parenting styles, coordinate with two families, keep two houses tidy, deal with kids not napping as well when not in their own bed, communicate with 4 bosses on a daily basis, coordinate holidays and vacation time with two families, and the list goes on. As a nanny, it is usually already hard to make sure we are pleasing 2 people -- sometimes one parent differs from the other and we get caught in the middle. Or the parents don't communicate well with one another which results in last minute requests/changes in the nanny's schedule and duties. Imagine having to manage all of that with four bosses.
If that hasn't proved my point enough, I will leave you with some comparisons to other professions:
Personal Trainers: If they do a group session, the clients pay less for the hour and the trainer makes significantly more for the hour. Why? Because they are dealing with more clients.
Group Therapists: If a therapist holds a weekly group session, the clients pay less for the hour and the therapist makes significantly more than their hourly rate. Why? Because they are dealing with more clients, more issues, more personalities, etc.
Sports Coaches: Oftentimes coaches who work with kids (i.e., batting coaches, pitching coaches, etc.) offer group training clinics in addition to personal training sessions. This is more affordable for the parents and the coaches make more than their individual hourly training rate.
All of these examples are mutually beneficial. One party gets a discount while the other party makes more. Why? Because it makes sense and it's fair. Those receiving the discount are paying less because they are getting less individualized attention and those making more are doing so because they are dealing and interacting with more people so that hour of work is harder. The same applies to nannies in nanny shares.
Nannies in a nanny share -- you should be charging each family 2/3 of your rate for their family (I have seen nanny shares where each family pays 3/4 of the nanny's rate, but 2/3 is most common since it's an equal 33% across the board). Say the nanny share is for two families, each with one kid, and the going rate in your area for your experience is $15/hour for one kid. You charge family 1 $10/hour and you charge family 2 $10/hour. Each family gets a 33% discount and you get a 33% increase and make $20/hour (or $22.5 if each family pays 3/4 the nanny's rate). It doesn't matter if the going rate for 2 kids in your area is only $17 -- you should make more than the going rate because a nanny share is incredibly harder than simply working for one family. This also means nannies should not expect to make double in a nanny share -- that isn't fair either!
It's also important to note that in a nanny share, the nanny still gets guaranteed hours...from both families. A nanny in a nanny share still relies on consistent income each week and the participating families are paying to reserve their child's "spot" with the nanny. In addition, legally each family must employ the nanny separately and give them a W2...so the nanny will receive two W2's for the year, one from Family #1 and one from Family #2. Please keep in mind that best practice is for each family to pay the nanny at least minimum wage.
The way to properly do a nanny share makes a lot of sense and is quite simple when you break it down and really think about it. A nanny share truly is a great option, but only when done correctly. When done incorrectly, it means someone is being taken advantage of and usually that someone is the nanny.