Deciding to employ a nanny is a big step for any family and choosing a nanny placement agency is a daunting task for most parents. Knowing which services you want and which are on offer are important parts of choosing a nanny placement agency so here are 10 tips to help you make that decision.

Tip 1 – Select an agency that has been in business for a reasonable length of time. While this is not an iron-clad guarantee, a nanny agency which has been around for a while has obviously had some success. A recommendation from a friend is a good place to start.

Tip 2 – Find out what the agency’s charges are before you go any further. If they’re beyond your means or more than you believe to be the market rate, look elsewhere. The standard rate is between 10 and 15 percent of a nanny’s salary.

Tip 3 – Check on the position regarding a refund if the agency is unsuccessful in placing a nanny with you or if their placement doesn’t work out. Check what the elapsed time will be when you’ll no longer be entitled to a refund. It is important to be sure of this in case you can’t quite decide whether you’re happy with your allocated nanny or not. It will be too late once the stipulated period has elapsed.

Tip 4 – Find out what sort of salary you will be expected to pay for a nanny registered with the agency.

Tip 5 – Confirm that the agency has references from the previous employers of the nannies on their books and that the references have been verified. Ask for copies and notes of the follow-up. If in doubt, ask to contact the referee yourself.

Tip 6 – When choosing a nanny placement agency, make sure that they have carried out all the necessary background checks (or will do prior to placement) on their nannies. These checks should include, credit, criminal and driving checks as a minimum. The criminal background checks should be rigorous with respect to any sexual offences.

Tip 7 – Ask if the nannies on the agency’s books have any special training or qualifications such as first aid, CPR, child development or teaching

Tip 8 – Check that the agency will help you draft the nanny’s contract of employment covering all the duties you expect them to carry out and will keep in touch with both of you once they have started work. If either you or the nanny have a complaint, it is helpful to have an arbitrator to help overcome any difficulties.

Tip 9 – Don’t just go to one agency; select a few, say three as a minimum and interview them all. After all, they will be providing the person who will be looking after your children so you can’t be too careful.

Tip 10 – Make a checklist with all these points down the side and the names of the agencies across the top. Note your findings in the corresponding box and it will be much easier to compare the agencies you’ve visited.

If you follow these tips then choosing a nanny placement agency will be a simple exercise.