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How do you manage expenses in a nanny share?

Image via Getty Images/AJ_Watt

Considering sharing a caregiver? Be sure to do your homework: Nanny shares and shared care arrangements may be subject to various licensing requirements or prohibited in certain states and jurisdictions. Research local laws and regulations.

 

By this stage in the game, you’ve found a partner family and the nanny for your nanny share. You’ve started to talk about what the nanny’s hourly rate might be and other questions about cost — like who pays when one share family buys an extra car seat or when one kid is sick? Determining how you’ll share costs up front is important, but it can be difficult to be sure you’re covering all your bases.

To help you work this all out, we talked to six parents who are currently part of a nanny share. We asked their advice on how to split the costs that come with doing a nanny share. Here are some factors to consider when deciding how to handle any cost you and your partner family may encounter.

What Methods Do Families Use to Pay Their Shared Nanny?

Just sit down and talk it out! Most parents we talked to agreed that face-to-face meetings with their share family were important when discussing finances. In these meetings, families determined things like how often they would pay their nanny and what method of payment they would use.

We spoke to Ken, a dad from New York, who told us that he and his share family each pay their portion of the share’s hours separately at the end of each week. “You agree if you pay the nanny monthly, or biweekly, or weekly,” said one mom we spoke to from San Francisco.

She said she found it convenient to use Venmo — a free app that lets you make payments. However, she did say that some nannies preferred to be paid in cash or personal check. We also spoke to one mom from Boston, who said that she preferred the ease of paying her nanny online using Care.com HomePay.

Who Pays What When the Nanny or a Child Is Sick?

Share families tend to compensate the nanny at a lower hourly rate when one of the children is sick or when the nanny herself is sick. A sick policy is generally established at the beginning of the agreement, and this policy is often included in your nanny share contract.

Wanda, a mother from Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that each family in her share paid the nanny a rate of $10 per hour — or $20 per hour total. Each family calculated the nanny’s pay at the end of every week by multiplying their $10-per-hour rate by the number of hours she cared for their child. This rate changed when a child or the nanny was sick.

When one child was sick, the nanny earned $16 per hour — as opposed to her usual hourly rate of $20. The share family with the well child would pay the nanny $10 per hour, and the family with the sick child contributed $6 per hour. When the nanny was ill, she was paid half her normal rate for a $10 hourly total -- or $5 per hour per family.

Meanwhile, Virginia, a mom from Richmond, Virginia, said that the families in her nanny share pay the nanny a total of $18 per hour for watching two children (or $9 per family per hour) and $15 per hour for one child. If one kid was sick, they calculated the nanny’s hourly rate based on the number of children present. Because they agreed that the nanny is paid $15 per hour for watching just one kid, the family of the well child is responsible for paying the nanny’s single-child rate.

How Do We Share the Cost of Unanticipated Expenses?

Your nanny may need enough gear for multiple children for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re switching hosting locations frequently, or maybe you’d like the nanny to take the kids out of the house often. In general, when a family needs to buy something like an additional stroller or car seat, share families split costs right down the middle. For example, in Wanda’s low-key nanny share, each family bought and paid for its own stroller.

We also spoke to one mom from Portland, Oregon, who told us that the families in her nanny share agreed to split purchases as equally and fairly as possible. Specifically, they did this by developing a detailed plan of how they’d share the cost of their unforeseen expenses. “We went to very amounts of detail to make sure everybody was comfortable with it and it was very fair,” she explained.

For example, if one family decides to buy a double stroller, they’re considered to be the “primary owner” of that stroller and have full ownership of it. However, if the other family decides that they want to be an equal owner of the stroller, they can pay the primary purchasing family their half of the stroller, minus any depreciation costs. She’s responsible for tracking their shared expenses on a Google Doc, and settles it every quarter. Then, each family pays an equal amount.

“It was so less about the emotional attachment, and more about let's be objective about this and find a fair ground.” She also said that the families also split the cost of the children’s food based on who hosts. The family that hosts supplies lunch and snacks for the children. Each family keeps a shopping list of the children’s preferred foods.

Who Will Keep Track of All the Costs?

The majority of families we talked to had a member who took charge of tracking data for the nanny share — from taxes in some cases, to the number of hours each family used the nanny in others. Most used Google Docs to manage the information because it’s collaborative, and everyone with access to the document can easily see any changes or updates. Some prefer to have a neutral third party or service track payroll — such as Care.com HomePay.

Wanda said she keeps a spreadsheet to track taxes. Meanwhile, Ken is his group’s unofficial time tracker. He created a Google Doc to track the nanny’s hours. Ken said the families email each other a nanny share schedule each week. He then enters the week’s hours for the nanny share, broken down by the hours the nanny cares for his daughter only, the hours she cares for his share family’s child one-on-one, and the hours she cares for both children together. At the end of the week, each family pays the amount they owe based on Ken’s spreadsheet.

In the Portland mom’s nanny share, the nanny tracks her own hours on the Google spreadsheet that she sets up for her. It’s always important to keep everyone updated. Virginia said that her nanny share contract specifies that the share members meet with the nanny regularly to discuss payroll, logistics, administration, and, naturally, how the kids are doing. More than anything, remember to keep the lines of communication open and all shared finances transparent.

Think a nanny share is right for you?

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Read next: Learn how to craft a great nanny share contract

Kristen Paulson-Nguyen enjoys writing about parenting issues. Follow her @kpnwriter.

 

The information contained in this article is provided only as a general guide and is not intended to be nor should it be construed to contain legal, medical or financial advice.  The selection of a caregiver and terms of any caregiving arrangement are solely the responsibility of the individuals involved and not Care.com

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