Logistics of Hiring a Nanny

Parent Q&A

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  • Logistics of hiring a nanny

    Feb 10, 2024

    I feel completely confused about nannies and how people go about finding them. What is the best way to find a nanny? What kind of questions do you ask to vet a nanny? How does payment work - if they work more than 20 hours for you, are you responsible for providing healthcare? How do families draft a contracts with nannies?

    https://www.poppinspayroll.com/ has been a great resource for me as I have navigated those questions. They have sample contracts and FAQs available to anyone, and if you choose to sign up for their services they can handle payroll, taxes, etc. As for finding a nanny, I have had fairly good luck posting an ad here or on our local facebook parents' group. I do a quick phone call with candidates who sound promising, which typically filters out a lot of applicants. That usually leaves me with 2-3 people who I want to interview in person, and then we make an offer. My interview questions came from some google searches about good questions to ask, plus some additional things that matter to me (we ask about comfort with large dogs, for example).  always call references but I haven't ever gone so far as to run a background check. Best of luck finding a nanny!

    I would definitely say snagging a nanny from someone whose child has aged out is the best way to go because they were with that family for a while (presumably). Looking on this board is a great place to start! And of course you’ll always want to speak with some of the other families the nanny has worked for. I only ask them “would you hire this person again?”  If you’re classified as an employer in CA, there’s very little you can legally ask. 

    Have you ever been a hiring manager anywhere? I asked very similar questions as I do to candidates. 

    I always start out with “let me tell you a little about us. We’re a young family with three parents and a 6-month old, Anna. Two of us work outside the house and one works from home. Anna’s favorite things are mashed blueberries and walks to the park.”

    Then I ask them to tell me a little about themselves and what they’ve been doing most recently. After that, I go into questions. About half situational, half qualifications. So something like “tell me about a time you had to resolve a conflict on the playground” or “what would you do if the baby had a 102° fever and you couldn’t reach any of us?” And qualifications might be like “Are you CPR certified for infants?”

    When I’m hiring, I try to keep the interview to under 45 minutes and no more than 2-3 candidates. Everyone else you should’ve been able to weed out earlier than that. You can also have the final candidate come over for an afternoon (paid hourly) and hang out with the kiddos solo as a trial run before offering the position full time. 

    As far as payroll goes, I’m not sure, my accountant handled all of that. I have heard good things about Poppins payroll service though. 

    You will find lots of resources at https://bananasbunch.org/

    Not always mentioned: if you are planning on (or currently) nursing, be sure to ask detailed questions about their attitudes, comfort level and experience with handling human milk and caring for a breast/chest-fed baby/toddler/child.

    I was part of developing these resources and used them myself. Highly recommend. Good luck! https://domesticemployers.org/resources-and-faqs/#Childcare

  • What's the best service for running a background check on potential nanny candidate? I see mixed reviews about the ones offered by commercial nanny search services like Care.com not being thorough or worth the cost.

    I'm also wondering who is expected to pay for background checks? On commercial sites, it appears the employer pays for a background check, but with Trustline it appears the nanny/employee has to pay a registration fee?

    We reimbursed our nanny for the Trustline fee.

    Trustline is operated by the state of California and was set up specifically so parents can do background checks on nannies and babysitters since, unlike daycares, the state doesn't require nannies to be licensed.  It's very likely that private background check services actually use Trustline underneath. Even if not, Trustline is preferable because it provides additional checks such as flagging nanny names that have been used in identity theft scams. Trustline is free for parents but it's fairly pricey for individual nannies, so I think a lot of parents pay the fee for their nanny to be registered with Trustline.

  • We’re interested in moving from SF to the East Bay in the next few months and have been considering moving to Montclair. However, a friend of mine with a baby in the east bay mentioned that when they were interviewing Nannie’s, most of them did not want to work in the hills. If we move to Montclair, are we going to have trouble finding a nanny?

    Absolutely not. There might be a few that are not interested in trekking up the hill but that is not the majority. 
    When are you looking to move? Our nanny arrangement is ending this August and can recommend her if you’d like.


    That might be true for nannies who don't drive and are relying on walking/strollers to take the kids out. Our nanny drives my daughter everywhere and has no problem with hills as long as she can find parking and you provide the car seat. She'll be looking for a new family starting August, let me know if you'd like her contact info.

    My nanny lives in Montclair -- seems like it wouldn't be an issue. Feel free to contact me and I can give you her contact info so she can share other nannies in the area.

    We’re looking for a nanny share staring mid / end of September and we live in Glen highlands/ Montclair. Currently have an amazing nanny who comes to our house to watch our twins, but looking to keep our nanny on for a nanny share with our new baby girl born March 2023 when our twins head to preschool.

    We lived in Montclair and had a nanny share for our child.  I think it’s key to find a nanny who is willing to drive in the hills.  Depending on where you live, taking walks in the neighborhood might not be a safe option since there are limited sidewalks—but there are great parks and the Oakland zoo very close. We advertised for a nanny with a clean driving record and experience working in the Oakland hills and got many candidates who enjoyed working in this area. I’d recommend joining Nextdoor in your new neighborhood and looking for recommendations from other parents in addition to leveraging BPN. Good luck.

    In the Facebook group Piedmont Families, people frequently post about their children have outgrown their need for a nanny.  Check out that group.

  • We are looking to hire a full-time nanny starting in January 2023, but we have no idea where to start! We’d love to hear from veteran parents about how you went about interviewing, negotiating with, and working with a nanny. Are there sample contracts we can review that detail how benefits/vacation/sick time work, and other things we’re probably not thinking about? Would appreciate any and all insight!

    We took a free class offered by BANANAS (https://bananasbunch.org/) "Hiring a Nanny 101" that was super helpful and done in partnership with a group called Hand in Hand (https://domesticemployers.org/) that advocates for ethical employment of domestic workers. There are sample contracts at their website (though we edited ours a bit to make it a little less formal). Not sure if you are wanting to do a share or not, but very helpful advice we got for doing a share was to first find a like minded family and then jointly recruit the nanny. We provide 10 sick days, 10 vacation days, federal/state holidays over a year. Also, we pay "above the table" and use Poppins Payroll to handle properly withholding for taxes, etc., but many nannies want to be paid "under the table". Something to think about and make explicit in the interview process to make sure you/they are on the same page. Usually nannies are looking for employment 6-8 weeks out so you have a little time before you need to start recruiting. We used both BPN and a facebook group called "Bay Area Nannies and Mommies" to recruit. Good luck! 

  • Advice on Hiring a Nanny

    Aug 26, 2020


    I am first time mom, and planning to hire a nanny come end of year when I go back to work. Looking for parents with a nanny or who had a nanny to get advice on how to best move forward. If you are willing to spread your knowledge, please let me know and we can set up some time to speak. Thanks in advance.

    [Moderator Note] here is BPN's archived advice about nannies: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/nannies

    Bananas in Oakland (at Claremont near 51st) hosts training on hiring a nanny (as well as other sessions about childcare).  We attended and it was great—how to interview, payment and contracts, nanny shares, and more.  They may be doing virtual sessions...not sure.