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How much does a nanny cost?

Robyn Correll
Sept. 18, 2018
The Nanny Guide: How Much Does a Nanny Cost?
Image via Getty Images/Guido Mieth

If you’ve narrowed down your choice of child care options and decided that hiring a nanny is the right option for your family, you’re probably wondering: Can we even afford a nanny? As with any child care option a parent considers, it’s crucial to know up front what it’s going to cost so you can look at your budget and plan accordingly.

The overall cost of hiring a nanny has many variables. The cost will depend a lot on where you live, what the nanny is hired to do and how much experience she brings to the position. You can find average rates for nannies, depending on location and number of children, with our Cost of Child Care Calculator. But you should also keep these factors in mind:

Geographic area

One of the biggest factors in how much you’ll pay for a nanny is where you live. Hourly rates for nannies vary widely from one community to the next. Those living in areas with a higher cost of living generally pay more for nanny services than in lower-priced areas. Competition can also be a factor. Cities with fewer experienced, well-qualified nannies will pay them more than in places where competition isn’t quite so fierce.

According to our 2018 Cost of Care survey, East Coast states like Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut are among the most affordable places to hire a nanny, whereas southern states like Mississippi and Arkansas are among the least affordable. But rates can vary widely within states and even zip codes. In Houston, for example, nannies caring for a single infant downtown make an average of $100 more per week — or roughly $5,000 more per year — than those caring for a single infant in the adjacent Museum District neighborhood.

Beyond cost of living, commuting can also play a role, says Emily Dills, CEO of Seattle Nanny Network.

For instance, if the nanny has to commute, Dills says, “The nanny will be taking into consideration the cost of her time in transit and mileage, especially if the hours are part-time.”

To find out what the going rate for nannies are in your community, check out the Cost of Child Care calculator.

Types of duties and tasks

In addition to where you live, what you’re asking the nanny to do could also affect how much you’ll pay. Caring for more children, for example, usually means more work for the nanny, and therefore, a higher pay rate.

The specific tasks included in the job description of a nanny can change from one family to the next, says Los Angeles parent coach and nanny matchmaker Stella Reid.

“[Hiring a nanny] is about making a family's life easier,” Reid says. That can mean “things like party organization, grocery shopping, organizing, planning schedules — it can be a lot of hats for one person.”

Circumstances that might make the price of nanny services go up or down include:

  • Number of children

  • Ages of children

  • Driving to and from activities — typically covered in the form of using a household vehicle or paying the nanny a mileage reimbursement if they have to use their own car

  • Household tasks, such as cooking, laundry, cleaning or dog-walking

  • Errands like grocery shopping or picking up the dry cleaning

  • Managing contractors or other household employees

  • Event planning

How much more a nanny should earn for these non-child-care tasks is between the family and the nanny, Reid says, and it should be something that’s discussed during routine pay assessments and written down in a nanny contract or workers agreement.  

For those at a loss for what would be appropriate, however, Gabriela Gerhart, founder and president of Motherhood Center in Houston, said in a prior interview with Care.com that it’s fairly standard to tack on a dollar or so to the hourly rate for common household tasks like meals or laundry for the whole family.

Experience and background of the nanny

If families are looking for someone with a lot of training or background in a specific area, they should be prepared to pay more for that experience.

“Nannies with a bachelor and master's degree, especially related to early childhood education, typically have a higher earning potential,” says Michelle LaRowe, managing partner and executive director for Morningside Nannies in Houston. Nannies with specialized training or experience with niche circumstances, such as caring for multiples or children with special needs, also earn more.

Extra costs not included in nanny pay rates

How much you pay your nanny is only part of the equation. When you’re budgeting for nanny services, you should also take into consideration other costs, like nanny taxes, background checks, and supplemental care when your nanny is sick or on vacation. These additional expenses include:

  • Nanny taxes: According to the Internal Revenue Service, nannies (full-time or not) are employees — not independent contractors — meaning families are responsible for not only withholding state and federal taxes for the nanny, but also covering the costs of taxes typically paid by other kinds of employers. These “nanny taxes” kick in when the nanny makes more than $2,100 in a calendar year, and how much they are varies by location. If you aren’t sure how much nanny taxes are in your state, this calculator can give you an idea of what you’ll need to pay. Note: These taxes apply even if you hired your nanny through an intermediary, like a service or website.

  • Payroll services: Some families opt to use a payroll service or accountant to manage the nanny’s paycheck and nanny taxes, which can also be an added cost.

  • Intermediary agencies: If you hire a nanny through a referral agency or nanny service, these organizations will generally charge fees to vet and recommend nannies for you.   

  • Periodic background checks: Background checks for nannies prior to hiring them on, as well as on an annual or routine basis, are also an added cost. Typically, the more in-depth the background check, the higher the fee.

  • Additional certifications: Families insisting that their nannies be up-to-date on CPR and first aid certifications will often pay for them to be renewed every few years.

  • Raises, bonuses and overtime: Like many different types of employees, nannies expect to receive routine raises and/or bonuses and are entitled to overtime pay (time and a half) if they work more than 40 hours per week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. How much you should give in raises or bonuses is between you and your nanny, but LaRowe says a 2-3 percent cost-of-living raise, in addition to a 5-7 percent merit increase, is fairly standard.

  • Supplemental child care: Many families choose to give their nannies paid sick leave or vacation days. During that time, families might need to pay for supplemental, short-term child care, such as an emergency babysitter or drop-in child care, if family members are unable to fill in.  

How much a nanny costs can differ widely from one family to the next, based on circumstances, expectations and experience levels. Families interested in hiring a nanny should start by looking into the costs of nannies in their area and taxes for their state and adjust their budget from there.

Read next: What does a live-in nanny cost?

Comments

Depends on experience. A better nanny will cost a lot more.

There is a HUGE difference between a NANNY and a BABYSITTER. The babysitter's club is if u want to return home w a decent home and an alive child. Care.com comes with an amazing babysitting calculator that ALSO includes situations that can EFFECTCHANGE the going rate via the location A nanny is to foster the care and growth of the child while in their care. we arent just warm bodies we are there to govern education, fun, and care for these little ppl. Getting to know them, the family, the environment in which they are in and using all of that to make sure they get the best care in the absence of. So when parents who sign up for CARE.COM to use their database of varies leveled providers and refuse to pay the bare that the site recommends to care for the children that they cant at the time because of life circumstance, it's extremely insulting. It feels as if parents use the site to just get someone to watch their child. Not considering that they NEED SOMEONE TO WATCH CHILD.You are asking one to take care of your family. ESPECIALLY families who want drop/pick up kids, take them to various classes, be there at 6/7am until 6/7pm feed the dog, do laundry help w homework and read the kids to sleep. But making sure the house is clean as well. LMAO. Right. Do not put your personal issues on someone who will potentially be in care of your kids. including your financial ones.If you are getting paid crappy at your job, would you do it the best of your ability? Probably not. And the job is taking care of kids..ive heard many horrible stories of babies not being strapped in properly, expired bottles being served to kids, sitters having strangers in the house.and the common denominating factor: parents w high standards and penny pinching fingers. If u arent paying well, why do they care if your baby is fed properly. So before ppl complain about "i dont like ppl all about the money" realize that the ones who do it just for the money are the ones who are actually the most careless.if all the parents who lowball w high expectations took those same expectations to their work, like knew their worth, they wouldn't have to be fighting/losing care providers who understand their own. I've had a great share of clients and a good handful of people I turn down asap because they respect the college education, the niche in child study,reviews, but somehow they think that's worth $9.You want the best, u have to pay for the best. It's about the children, but they arent our children. live in the gratitude that someone highly educated, well spoken, understand kids and take time to love them like they are their family, isopen to caring for your children in your absence because they can be doing anything else possibly, but caring for children is what they do. if a mother's job cant have a price tag, then a nanny's will be a bit steep. It's a job, so when you need that job filled, be mindful. It will save you the stress and us senior child care providers the disappointment

I am very glad to see this post. I have been working in child care most of my life. Babysat since I was a teenager then moved into being a nanny and studying child development on my own time. I have 8 years experience of being a professional nanny alone, and it was very disappointing when interviewing for families I met off care.com complaining at the rate in which they have to pay us. However, I also don't just sit the child down and watch them do whatever. I actively engage them, prepare nutritious meals, make sure they get enough physical activity in their day, educational activities, working on the child's vocabulary, teaching them whenever the opportunity presents itself, and yet parents just want to pay 15 an hour? 

I have been lucky and got a few families that would go up to close to a  normal level but they also need to calculate the cost of living. I should be able to afford an apartment. In San Francisco, I could only afford to live in someone's living room, while working 50 hours a week. It is expensive for parents, but it's also the only source of income for the nannies so that really needs to be considered.  

Nannies are highly underpaid and under appreciated. We care for your most prized possession. 

Parents: Before beginning to interview nannies think can we afford this service? how much can we afford annually to hire a professional caretaker, not someone that will just sit and stare all day--- including what it will cost to tax your nanny, end of year bonus, and yearly raises if you plan to have a long relationship with one nanny.. Many parents will think we want a nanny vs. public care but forget that you're paying for a private service. Nannies are commuting to your home so you can simply race to work with minimal stress of dealing in the morning. Nannies rarely call out- when we do it is mahem and parents must be given enough of a notice you're not making it in. Nannies are responsible for a life. Yes, a human being. I see sooo many nannies that do this for the wrong reason. I see soooo many parents hire a nanny but their concerns include unload dishwasher and dog walking. Please understand that we are entitled to breaks. Our eyes, ears, and words are constantly working all day, that's if you hired a professional. We are making sure your child is safe and interacting with them all day. A professional nanny shouldn't be doing parents laundry when she could be reading the child a book. I see so many nannies complain about their job environment. Do you really want the person watching your child for 10-12 hours a day miserable and underpaid. I'd say thats a bad combo. If you're in an expensive neighborhood with all the amenities in your building offering 12.00-15 an hour for 50 plus hours. You will get exactly what you pay for. Someone doing it because they're illegal, uneducated, and most importantly you have someone who is maxed out by Wednesday afternoon and wants to fall asleep at work. Nannies: know your worth if you're providing excellent care KNOW YOUR VALUE, if you don't know and you simply content with little pay thats fine but parents should not think all nannies can survive or even function with these low salaries and these 50-70 hour schedules.

User
Sept. 12, 2016

Hi ladies so I've been s nanny did going on two years ! I feel like I'm being under paid when I first started I was getting paid a salary of $2500 for four kids then I got pregnant and only was watching two of the fours kids after I had her and was making $1800 I just took a huge pay cut as the 5 year old started school and now get paid $1000 for the month . I work 50 plus hours a week make the little girl food and clean the house ect . Any idea if this is an ok pay I feel like I'm cutting my self shot as j have my CDA and have soo many hours under my belt and CPR certified. These parents travel out of town 3 times a week and I'm texted the night before to come early sometimes at 5 and get no extra pay for it at all . I'm getting really stressed out and started looking for actual day care jobs but don't know if it's worth it .

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