Child Care Jobs: 9 Ways to Get the Salary You Want
You've decided to look for a nanny job, now you've got to make sure it pays the bills.
Before you look for a position, Care.com's child care expert Carolyn Stolov suggests figuring out the salary you desire and the kind of job you want and have experience with -- part-time, full-time, caring for one baby or perhaps a large brood. You'll also only want to apply for jobs that fall into your salary range.
Research the Going Rate
Make sure your salary requirements aren't off-base. Learn the average nanny salary in your area by using Care.com's salary calculator.
Update Your Resume
Make sure to list all of your relevant child care experience, and include any classes you've taken in the field or certifications you've earned Stolov suggests. More experience will not only distinguish you from other candidates, but can help you negotiate a higher salary. Stolov also recommends having written recommendations. Use this sample babysitter resume as a template.
Ask for a Written Contract
Stolov urges families to create a written job description or nanny contract that outlines duties, a work agreement that details salary and benefits and house rules (if your family doesn't have one, ask for it). If you're considering a job, Stolov urges you to take these documents home to review -- perhaps with a fellow nanny or friend -- before accepting a position. Do they spell out if and when you get a break every day and how overtime will be handled? Will you be reimbursed for gas mileage? Is your schedule clearly defined?
One of the most important things that a work agreement should spell out is when both sides will meet. Stolov recommends scheduling formal meetings, perhaps once a month, so both sides can talk about any situations -- good or bad, and should agree on dates for performance reviews, especially one at the three-month mark. A nanny can ask for a blank performance review ahead of time to prepare.
The work agreement should also spell out any situational changes that would alter the pact, like if the hours or duties increased or if a new child was coming into the home. "Make sure you feel comfortable with everything that is documented in the work agreement," she says.
Research sample work agreements to see what they look like or join a nanny support group and find out what other nannies have in their documents, Stolov recommends. And child care providers should familiarize themselves with labor laws to make sure they're being followed.
Play up Strengths
If the family isn't offering the salary you'd hoped for, Stolov urges nannies to play up their strengths and experience. Perhaps you speak Spanish or played soccer in college and can help the children learn a new skill, she says as an example.
"It's about advocating for yourself, and what other experiences make you unique," Stolov says.
Make Sure to Include Benefits
Stolov urges sitters to ask families about getting paid on the books, and providing benefits like two weeks of paid vacation, holiday pay and some sick days, too. Check out the Care.com Nanny Pay Calculator to figure out your take home pay after taxes. And with low-cost nanny health insurance options available, she also suggests that parents pay at least half of their provider's health insurance. Parents should offer an annual raise that is part cost-of-living-based, part performance-based and an annual bonus of a week's salary.
Consider Salary Alternatives
If you're not happy with the salary and benefits being offered, perhaps there is something a family can offer instead of extra pay, like a gym membership or cell phone. A nanny could ask a potential employer, "'If you can't pay me this amount, are there any other perks in the job that you can offer?'" Stolov says, including more time off. "I encourage nannies to think outside the box," advises Stolov.
Set Annual Goals and Monthly Meetings
And if you're still not fully satisfied, but still need or want the job, Stolov says you can ask your family if they can set goals, and agree to an increase if you meet them.
The good thing about regular communication is that if something serious or urgent comes up, everybody will be used to talking with each other and talking should go smoother. If a family isn't living up to its end of the deal, like for example, not paying their nanny on time, she could ask for a meeting that day to discuss the issue and state directly that she needs to be paid on time.
Consider the Family
Sometimes a pay cut is acceptable (as long as you can still pay your bills), if the family and the job are exactly what you're looking for. Feel free to ask a family for references you can call to learn more about their management style and family dynamic. In the end, a family and a nanny have to feel comfortable with each other to make it work.