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What Does a Live-In Nanny Cost?

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
June 13, 2018

Learn what the rate for a live-in nanny is and if you can afford it. The answers may surprise you.

Image via Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

Many families think that hiring a live-in nanny is out of the question. After all, having someone live in your house is bound to be more expensive than having a nanny who reports to your home for 40 hours a week, right? Maybe not.

If your family is struggling with needing more flexibility than a live-out nanny can offer, you might find hiring a live-in nanny is just as manageable financially.

What's Cheaper: Live-Out Nanny or Live-In Nanny?

Technically, says Lindsay Heller, also known as The Nanny Doctor, live-in and live-out nannies should receive the same rate. Because you're paying for the same services, the pay should not be different -- but it often is.

In reality, many live-in nannies generally make slightly less per hour than a live-out nanny, says Becky Kavanagh, co-president of the International Nanny Association (INA) and former live-in nanny. That's because they live in your home, so you absorb the costs of room and board.

But if you already have an extra room (and, preferably, a bathroom as well), the room and board costs to you won't be much. And one extra person to feed will up your grocery bills only slightly. Generally, a live-in nanny will also pay for some of her own food (especially if it's something your family doesn't typically have on hand).

What Should You Pay a Live-In Nanny?

As with any salary, ranges differ based on region, says Kavanagh.

According to the INA's 2017 Salary and Benefits Survey, the national average hourly rate for a full-time nanny is $19.14 per hour with no significant difference between live-out and live-in employment.

And the level of a nanny's education influences her earning potential as well. The INA reported that the financial benefits of having two years of college education can equal more than $1 per hour extra in their hourly rate.

Just like education, experience is also important. For every year of experience as a nanny, the pay rate will also increase. A nanny with 4-5 years under her belt can make more than $3 per hour more than a novice nanny.

Above all, keep in mind that live-in nannies must be paid at least a minimum wage (find out the rate in your state). This rule is the same for live-out nannies too, but it's particularly easy to think that a live-in caregiver who works so many hours in your home can be paid at a lower rate.

What Additional Nanny Expenses Are Involved?

When you hire a nanny, don't forget about the extra costs that can crop up -- make sure you factor them into your budget. Things like an annual yearly bonus (a median of $600, according to the INA), yearly raises, food costs, insurance, memberships, gas reimbursement, etc. Figure out what you will be paying for, whether you will provide a stipend or reimburse your nanny for any expenses and include the details in your contract.

Learn about How to Create a Nanny Contract.

What Are Live-In Nanny Work Hours?

"Families sometimes think they have a nanny on call for all hours of the day," says Heller. "If you need that, you need to pay them more or you are exploiting them. Live-in nannies should have scheduled hours and that should be respected."

You need to pay your nanny for every hour she's on duty. And remember that "on duty" doesn't only mean she's actively engaging with the kids, but rather she needs to be in your home and isn't free to come and go as she pleases (for example if you ask her to watch your kids overnight while you're on a business trip).

A typical live-out nanny is paid hourly for 40 hours a week -- anything over that must be paid at an overtime rate. On the other hand, most live-in nannies are exempt from overtime (the exceptions are for nannies working in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon).

Do You Pay Live-In Nanny Taxes?

The short answer: yes. If you pay someone more than $2,100 a year, you're required to pay taxes. But paying these taxes provide important short and long-term benefits to your nanny as well as enable you to take advantage of tax breaks to lower your tax liability. Learn All About the Nanny Tax.

If the idea of being in charge of payroll and taxes makes you uneasy, find a service that can do that for you. Care.com HomePay can take care of your nanny's payroll and taxes, so you don't have to worry about filing deadlines and deducting the correct amounts.

If you plan to hire a live-in nanny and make the investment of time and effort to get the right person, you should be willing to pay her a decent rate. In a job with high burnout, says Heller, a live-in who feels valued and appreciated for her hard work is more likely to stay for the long haul.


Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is an award-winning freelance writer and a mom to two girls. She lives in Massachusetts and has written for local and national publications.


Hello I am lookin for a live in nanny

User in Houston, TX
April 19, 2016

HI, I'm working as a live-in nanny with a family i really really love, they are the nicest people I ever work for, I had some terrible experiences before them, but my question is the next, when I first started working for them the deal was that I would help them with their 12 month baby and do some light housekeeping and help making dinner and that as soon as they arrived home I would be off to do whatever I wanted, and that was 5pm, the thing is that they are arriving around 6-7, I'm normally making dinner all by myself, and I work from 7 to 7, and on Fridays I work till 9:30-10:00pm because they go to a meeting, the rate we agree was $400 a week, but now I'm feeling resentful because I do a lot more of what they ask, just because I like to help, but when they ask me to do extra things they don't pay more, last week I had to take care of their older girl for 3 days and they only gave me 20$ extra for all the 3 days, and that same week the girls grandma came to visit an I had to make breakfast, lunch and dinner and clean up after all that, I just feeling resentful and I don't know how to tell them that they are not being fair, I'm always willing to help and give a little extra, but when is their turn to do the same for me, they simply don't do it and that's making me angry everyday that pass, I don't know how to tell them that we have to talk about the pay, because they gave me a car because during the weekend they had to drive me and pick me up at my family house and since they live so far away from the city they decided to give me a car to use during the weekends, I felt so happy that I decided to help them do their grocerys every week, but since they are not helping me putting things away I'm getting more angry. One other thing, we agree on week pay of 400, but when there is a holiday or they go for vacations and they don't need me they simply don't pay for the days I don't work.

April 18, 2016

I work 50 hours a week as a live in for 4 children 38 weeks to 5 years old 350 a week I don't know how to bring up this unfair pay without making them feel awkward I make 7 dollars an hour 1.75 a child a hour and it is totally not fair I need advice

Dec. 4, 2015

I would like to add to my previous comment that I agree with most that if you live in that's their responsibility to pay for your room and board not deduct that after all they are the ones who need you to live in. I was extremely blessed with the family I had. They paid for everything and anything extra.

Dec. 4, 2015

Back in 1996 I made 300 to 400 on a normal week as a live out nanny. I loved it and if you have chosen to be a nanny as a profession it comes extra perks the all the new things I got to do, trips, and just so many experiences that I never would have had not being a nanny. I still keep in contact with all of them the parents, grandparents and kids and have watched them grow up and have children themselves. For me it was very rewarding.

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