For some parents of young children who must juggle hectic lives, one of the most important decisions they will make is choosing a nanny.
Nicole Levinson, founder and owner of Nanny Solutions in Armonk, may be best-suited to assist families in finding the right person to take care of their children. Levinson had a nanny growing up, someone she’s still in touch with today. Then following an advertising career, she searched for a nanny when her twin sons were born. While ultimately successful, that long and arduous process left Levinson frustrated.
About two years ago, ready to return to the workforce, she decided against resuming a commute to the city and instead focused her energy on creating a service to pair nannies with families.
“There was definitely a need for it and that’s why I started it,” Levinson said. “I think that I chose an agency to find a nanny in the past for my own children and I found that there wasn’t that personal approach that I think that a lot of the parents want when they speak to me. I’m a mom of three. I know how it all works and what people want.”
In the time since Levinson launched Nanny Solutions, she has made roughly 200 placements throughout Westchester and New York City. She has also helped to fulfill requests for clients in California and Miami. About 20 percent of her business consists of finding household staffing, such as cooks, chefs or nursemaids.
Having a strong vetting process, asking good questions and understanding a family’s needs is essential when pairing a family and nanny, Levinson said. That includes carefully checking references and credentials.
She also doesn’t recruit nannies; potential candidates for placements typically find her, sometimes through recommendations or word of mouth, other times through referrals.
Levinson said making sure the client and the nanny are satisfied is critical to a successful pairing.
“Each job is very specific. Nothing is the same,” Levinson explained. “So I really get into the different personalities of the family. I place nannies with autistic children, Spanish-speaking nannies, all different kinds of nannies. I have very detailed conversations about what the family is looking for. So that’s kind of where I think the turnover rate is low because we really take the time to make sure that the family takes the time they need and the nanny is happy with the job.”
In Westchester, it is common for there to be live-in nannies, with some families needing the nanny to drive. Meanwhile, in the five boroughs, a majority report to work each day, often because there isn’t the space at someone’s residence. However, many of those “live-out” nannies are asked to accompany the family to a summer vacation home in the Hamptons, Nantucket or another locale.
“That’s what most people do want,” Levinson said. “They want somebody who becomes part of the family.”
Levinson requires that the nannies that she places have at least two years’ experience. To be placed, a candidate must be CPR certified and have at least legitimate two references. Nanny Solutions provides CPR certification classes.
The skills and services needed by the family along with the experience level determines the pay scale. Live-in nannies receive a straight salary which could range from $70,000 to as much as $200,000, depending on the skills required, Levinson said. Nannies who live off-site are paid hourly starting at $20 to $25 an hour.
Levinson said that she takes no money from the nanny. The client pays the salary as well as her fee for making the match.
“The most important thing is our children,” Levinson said. “I think they just want someone who will love their kids.”
For more information about Nanny Solutions, including to be considered for employment, visit www.nanny-solutions.com.