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Updated: 05/17/2022

Strategies for a Successful Nanny Share

Written By: Jami Dennis

I’ve seen my share of nanny shares: some amazing, some good, some utterly disastrous. Even after all I’ve seen, I can honestly say I’m a big proponent of them when they’re done right. Nanny shares can be a great way to get the low-ratio, high-quality childcare you want for your child(ren) while splitting the costs with another family. A successful nanny share rests on the compatibility of the participating families. Ensuring both families are open, honest, communicative, and on the same page right is essential to success. Before you settle on a family for your share, here are a few recommended points to consider:  

Confirm Your Compatibility

You’ll be sharing a nanny and expenses with another family. It’s essential to find a family you like, you’re compatible with, and whom you can communicate clearly. Do your values and parenting philosophies align? Are your kiddos compatible? Children in a share don’t need to be the same age in a share. They could be a few years apart, like siblings – but they do need to vibe well. Do you agree on expectations for your new employee? Are you on the same page about what you want your nanny to do with your children day-to-day? Are outings encouraged? Is driving okay? Finding the right family is about so much more than location, age, and schedules. A great nanny share has mutual trust, respect, and open lines of communication. Take time to choose the right family, first and foremost. 

Hash Out the Details

Communication is key for a successful nanny share. Establish open lines of communication and discuss, in-depth, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what you simply won’t budge on.  Here are the areas we encourage you to come to an agreement on, in advance:

  • Set a Consistent Schedule:  Start and end times do not need to be exactly the same for each family. However, the best nanny-share matches tend to have similar needs. You need 35 hours per week, and Family B needs 40 hours per week. A large discrepancy in needed hours often leads to issues long-term. Try to find a family who has similar needs. 
  • Agree Upon Guaranteed Hours: In the nanny industry, guaranteed hours are the number of hours per week your nanny will be paid for, whether you need them to work or not. The guaranteed hours should be close to (or the same as) the standard hours the nanny will work. It must also be consistent week to week. 
  • Discuss Your Contingency Plan: Make a plan for contingencies such as illness, emergencies, or changes in schedules, to ensure a smooth and stress-free nanny share experience. How will you handle it when your nanny share partner is on a two-week vacation? Or how will you handle it when Family A has MLK Day off but Family B does not? Hint, hint: that’s where those guaranteed hours come in.
  • Confirm Your Commitment: Are you both seeking a similar commitment from your potential nanny? If Family A is seeking a multi-year commitment, but Family B only needs 6 months of care, Family A runs the risk of losing their nanny during this transition, unless they are prepared to pay the same share rate for just their child.
  • Location, Location, Location: Where will care be provided? Being close to one another (5-15 minutes) is ideal for a long-term nanny share. Also, ensuring there is continuity with regard to where the nanny works and the children spend their days is important. Moving homes daily or even weekly can be disruptive to the routines, nap schedules, and more.  If being at one house full-time is not an option, I would recommend switching locations as infrequently as possible. Continuity is key. 

It might feel tedious to go into such detail, but it’s important to have clarity around these potential issues. These topics should be discussed prior to bringing a nanny into the fold. 

Get Down to Dollars and Cents

Nanny shares can be a budget-friendly childcare option (and who doesn’t love that?!). However, it is important to establish a fair, transparent payment arrangement that works for both families, and your nanny, up front. In the Denver Metro area, a high-quality, experienced nanny caring for one infant makes $27-$32+ per hour (gross) in 2024. 

It only makes sense, if you are asking a nanny to care for 2+ infants/children at once, and manage an employee-employer relationship with two families, the wage should be higher. Be sure to discuss, in advance, what pay rate your potential partner(s) can afford long-term. In our experience, to attract high-quality candidates who will commit long-term, most nanny-share families meet or exceed the standard pay range by $3-5+ per hour. It’s a more challenging job, and it’s important to compensate accordingly. Crunch the numbers and check the local and state wage and employment requirements before starting your search. 

Understand Your Responsibilities as an Employer

Ooh, now we’re talking about the fun stuff: payroll, taxes, and compliance! As mundane as it might seem, you’ve got to talk about it, and right up front. The IRS has ruled, with very few exceptions, that nannies are employees of the family/families they work for. They are not independent contractors. It’s simple, and it’s the law. 

Be sure to understand your responsibilities as a household employer and discuss how you’ll handle payroll, taxes, Worker’s Compensation, paid level, liability, and more, ideally with an expert. I promise you, it’s not as difficult as it might seem to do things the right way. ABC has several industry partners whose job it is to make it easy – contact us for recommendations.  Good news: as part of a share, you’re able to split the cost of the nanny’s wages and the subsequent tax liability, but you don’t have to split the tax breaks! Check out this article from our friends at HomePay for more detailed information from a tax and payroll expert. 

Now, good luck! When you find a great family to share with contact the experts at ABC. In no time flat we’ll find the ideal nanny for the job! A successful nanny share is just around the corner for your family.

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