10 Tips for Successful Nanny Sharing

For families who want all the benefits of a nanny at half the cost, a nanny share may be a good child care option.

When two families who live close to each other have similar parenting styles and philosophies and work similar schedules, hiring a nanny to share can be a viable childcare choice. But for this arrangement to succeed, the framework for success must be laid first.

If you’re considering a nanny share, be sure to follow these tips for success:

Tip 1: Find the family before the nanny.

While it may be tempting to find a nanny before finding a family to share her with, the best approach is to find the family first. When the nanny is found first, the second family often feels like they’re coming into an already established relationship with its own set of rules and dynamics. When the family is found first, both families can work together and play an active role in the advertising, interview and screening process, as well set the tone of the relationship from the start.

Tip 2: Create the nanny’s job description together.

When looking for a nanny share, it’s essential that both families work together to outline the nanny’s duties and responsibilities. Both families must have a clear understanding of what they expect from the nanny and must be able to articulate their expectations during the nanny search. If the nanny will be caring for the children at both homes, the schedule of where she’ll be working should be presented. If transportation of the children is required, it should be made clear whose vehicle will be used and who will be paying for additional automobile insurance, if required.

Tip 3: Define the logistics.

Will there be supplies kept at both houses or will the parents pack what they need each day? Will the nanny need a double stroller? What about car seats? Who does the nanny check-in with each day? What if a child is sick? What benefits will you offer your nanny? What if one family needs the nanny to work overtime? How the nanny’s vacation time will be coordinated and how sick time will be handled should also be hammered out.  Thinking through the logistics and possible complications upfront can help keep the nanny share arrangement on track should a bump in the road occur.

Tip 4: Outline the salary responsibilities.

In a nanny share arrangement, the Internal Revenue Service views both families as separate employers. This means that each family must secure state and federal employer identification numbers, file new hire reports, withhold the appropriate taxes, prepare and file the proper tax forms, file the necessary paperwork with the Social Security Administration and provide the nanny with a W-2. Clearly outlining the nanny’s hourly rate, overtime rate, method of pay and frequency of pay will help to clarify any concerns over payroll.

Tip 4: Develop the exit strategy.

Since the families depend on each other for the relationship to work as much as they do on the nanny, it’s imperative that the families develop a clear plan for exiting the arrangement. The plan should include how much notice they’re required to give, how much they’ll pay in lieu of notice and how long they agree to commit to the nanny share arrangement. Putting the plan into a written agreement can ensure both families understand what they are agreeing to.

Tip 5: Search for a nanny.

Once both families have a clear understanding of what they’re getting into, they can embark on their search. There are many ways to look for a nanny, including using a nanny placement agency, an online nanny site and by word of mouth. However you find your nanny candidates, both families should agree on the minimum requirements they must meet and the intensity of the background screening they’ll do. Be sure to clarify who will be doing what screening tasks so nothing gets overlooked. Once you’ve found a nanny candidate you’d both like to hire, present a written offer. Having a written offer will ensure that all three parties start out on the same page.

Tip 6: Draft a work agreement.

If your nanny has accepted the position, you’ll want to draft a detailed nanny/family agreement that outlines the role, duties and responsibilities of your nanny. It should also include your nanny’s schedule, where she’ll be working, salary and payment arrangements, tax responsibilities and anything else that can help to clarify the expectations you have for your nanny.

For families that want the personalized, customized and convenient care that a nanny offers but can’t really afford to swing a nanny’s salary on their own, sharing a nanny with a compatible family can be an ideal solution.

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