How much do nannies make? Going pay rates and 10 important things to consider

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We often get asked about how much to pay a nanny. Full time live out nanny rates in urban areas in Canada and the US are surprisingly similar. In the greater Vancouver area go from minimum wage to up to $25/hr, with a usual of $12-15/hr for one to three kids depending on the duties, nanny’s experience and on the neighbourhood’s going rate. There are usually legal provisions for live-in caregivers where a set amount for lodging and food is deducted from the salary, making it much more affordable if you have the extra room. Most of our jobs in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto are listed with rates of $12-15/hr for childcare and $12-20/hr for house cleaning.

Of course, many factors are to be considered when agreeing on the pay rate:

  1. What is the neighborhood’s going rate? There are more similarities between neighborhoods than within a city!
  2. Location and how hard is it to get there (if accessible by public transit, there are usually more candidates to choose from)
  3. Number and age of the children
  4. The level of experience of the helper
  5. Expected duties – such as childcare or more (clean and cook).
  6. Other activities – tutoring, music etc.
  7. Is driving required and if yes, will the nanny have to use her own car?
  8. How quickly does the family need the help and the timing in the year (some peak times in the year are tougher to fill)
  9. The expected duration of the commitment
  10. Is care to be provided within usual or unusual hours, and is there an expectation of additional on-call.

In addition, I encourage both families and helpers to consider the overall revenue and benefit package:

  • Total amount of compensation (food included? transit? medical care? gym? activities?)
  • Flexibility and hours
  • Time to get there vs. length of time at work
  • How much of a fit between personalities and needs there is

So for example, lets say helper Linda has the choice between:

– Family A, offering $15/hr and requiring 8:30am to 3:30pm four days a week. It takes Linda 45 min to get there from her home and they are located far from parks or public transit making it more difficult to find things to do with the toddler she will be in charge of. She would be working for 28 hrs/week, travelling to/from job for 6hrs/week. She would gross $1680/month, but when you include the travelling, she is effectively paid $12.35/hr. That family however is willing to make at least a year commitment.

– Family B is offering $12/hr, but need someone 8:30am to 5:30pm, which means 1hr of overtime a day at 1.5 pay rate, so $18/hr. They are offering a transit pass $91/month and will cover her medical plan fees of $81/month. She would be in charge of two kids, and the house is located near lots of activities she can easily take the kids to. And the big bonus is that is takes her 15 min a day to get there by bus. In this scenario, she would be working for 45 hrs/week, but travelling to/from job for only 2.5hrs/week. She would gross $3220/month, and while she does work longer hours, when you include the travelling time, transit pass and medical fees, she is effectively paid $15.9/hr. This family however will need her for only 6 months until the summer months when mom is on holidays because she is a teacher.

Linda’s choice isn’t simply based on which family will pay more. What Linda chooses will depend on so many personal factors: Does she need the extra money or the free time? Does she need a longer commitment? Does she prefer one child or is she comfortable with more than one? Is she someone who is happy to play with the child on her own or does she prefer to head outside all day to do activities? Which family did she like better? People are willing to accept a lower pay if they really enjoy the job.

It’s a personal choice for sure. And to add to the mix, there are often considerations such as Family A can hire her immediately, while Family B needs her to start in a month. Interestingly, many helpers don’t see that even in this case, the second scenario stands to leave them with an additional $5K averaged over 6 months.

Families face similar dilemmas – and parents need to consider the pros and cons about what matters to them the most and what works within their overall budget. Sometimes, to keep an awesome nanny, families go out and find another child through a nanny share, to help bump up her pay rate to what the nanny had expected. Sometimes, families reduce or increase the number of hours needed.

The important thing is to arrive at a total compensation where neither helper nor family feel like they went beyond what is fair. I hope this helped. Let me know if there are any questions!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Mother of three, CEO myBestHelper

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