How to Set Your Nanny’s Salary

woman pulling money from wallet for nanny

Your nanny works hard for your family and deserves to be paid fairly. Here’s how to determine an appropriate salary

One of the most common questions I receive from parents is “How much should I pay my nanny?” I love this question because it shows that the parents care enough about their nanny to consider an appropriate salary. Underpaying any employee can be interpreted as devaluing their worth, and this is especially true for caregivers. Parents would do anything for their children, include paying top dollar for their education, safety and well-being. An unfairly small salary suggests that you don’t consider your nanny to be “top-dollar quality,” and you might lose him or her as a result.

With that in mind, it’s so important to set a fair salary before starting the interview process. If you’re clear on how much you intend to pay from the beginning, you’ll weed out the candidates who are looking for more right off the bat and be able to conduct productive interviews. So, what goes into setting a salary for your nanny? Read on to learn!

Consider Your Location

The going rate for a nanny depends on your location! If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, you’ll probably pay more for nanny services. Rates are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Before you do anything else, get a sense of what families in your community are paying their nannies. Agencies like Sittercity and Care.com have tons of resources to help you understand the cost of childcare in your community.

Consider Your Kids

Of course, you should always be thinking of your kids and what’s best for them! But when it comes to determining your nanny’s salary, think about specifics. How many kids will your nanny be responsible for? How old are they? Are there any special needs, allergies or medical conditions your nanny needs to be extra aware of? These factors contribute to the nanny’s workload and should be reflected in his or her salary.

Caring for one child is easier than caring for three, and a nanny’s salary should increase with the number of children they’re watching. For example, a nanny caring for a newborn might make $12 per hour, while a caregiver in a nanny share with three children may receive $45 per hour.

For middle-class families, a nanny caring for one child would typically cost $12 per hour. If you have a second child at some point, your nanny’s pay should increase to about $14 per hour. Young children and infants require a careful eye and a more experienced caregiver, whereas older children are more self-sufficient. If you have younger children, your nanny’s hourly rate should be more competitive than if your children were in, say, middle school.

Similarly, if your child has special needs or behavioral issues, you may want a nanny with professional training or experience. Higher-education degrees are incredibly valuable in childcare professions, and you can expect to pay your nanny more because of his or her education!

Consider the Nanny

If your nanny has extensive professional experience, applicable degrees or is pursuing a degree in early education, their salary should increase. A good rule of thumb is to mirror the salary someone with your nanny’s degree would receive in the corporate world.

A degree never expires, but if you want your nanny to be CPR and first-aid certified, you may have to pay for him or her to enroll in courses and take exams annually.

Consider the Extras

Does your nanny have a long commute? If your children have classes they regularly attend at your gym, would you consider getting your nanny a membership so that they can go with the kids? These expenses can have a huge impact on your nanny’s happiness!

The parents I worked for only paid for gas if I was taking the kids on a special trip. Generally speaking, if your nanny is using his or her car, it’s not your responsibility to pay for their related expenses. However, it’s always considerate to cover––or contribute to––one or two of the nanny’s extra costs. My suggestion is to pad the nanny’s salary to cover incidentals as opposed to paying them on the side or reimbursing them for specific expenses. Receipts and invoices can get confusing, so it’s better just to set financial expectations upfront!

Competitive pay is an important part of locking in your perfect caregiver. By carefully considering your needs and your nanny’s needs, you can determine a fair salary that shows you respect your nanny and appreciate all they do for your family.