Are you considering hiring an au pair to help with childcare and household tasks?
If so, choosing the right au pair agency is an essential first step.
With so many agencies to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Now, if you’re still unsure whether you even want to host an au pair, you can read more here about an au pair vs. nanny.
But if you are ready to start looking for an au pair?
Keep reading to discover 10 factors to consider when selecting an au pair agency.
These will help you make an informed decision and have some peace of mind!
Side note: If you’re new to learning about Au Pairs, you might find this post helpful: What Is An Au Pair? 15 Au Pair Myths Debunked for 2023
A Winning Reputation:
Look for an agency with a good reputation among families who have used their services and among au pairs who have worked with them.
This can be a good indicator of the quality of the agency’s services and the care they take in matching au pairs with families.
When it comes to checking the reputation of an au pair agency, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re making the right choice.
First, ask around to other families you know who have used their services.
Personal recommendations can be incredibly valuable, as they can give you a sense of the agency’s reliability, responsiveness, and overall quality of service.
Second, check online reviews and ratings. Look for reviews from reputable sources, and pay attention to positive and negative comments. This will help you get a more well-rounded view of the agency’s reputation.
Surprisingly Stellar Support:
Find out what kind of support the agency offers to both au pairs and families.
This can include things like language training, cultural orientation, and 24/7 support for emergencies.
As a host family, you can expect to receive a high level of support from your au pair agency.
On the front end, they can help you find an au pair candidate who is a good match for your family.
They’ll also help with the initial transition when your au pair arrives.
Your au pair agency can give you information about expectations for both host families and au pairs, and of course, they will be there to support the au pair herself (or himself) once they’ve arrived.
In our experience, if the agency staff are responsive, accessible, positive, and able to answer your questions, that’s a great sign!
Last on this, having the support of an au pair agency is a huge help. That extra support is something you won’t get if you’re hiring a nanny on your own.
And, having that kind of support is out of the big differences between an au pair vs. a nanny.
Thorough Placement Process:
When considering an au pair agency for your family, it is essential to make sure they perform thorough applicant screening.
Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of headaches, or worse.
You want to know if the person coming to live with you is trustworthy. And you want to know if they have some qualifications to do the work.
Without a proper applicant screening, you won’t know for sure if they have relevant experience watching kids.
Make sure the agency you choose takes the time to properly vet their applicants. Ultimately, you want to make sure the au pair you hire is a safe and reliable individual who will provide your family with the best care possible!
Look for an agency that takes the time to get to know both the au pair and the family, and that makes a careful match based on compatibility and mutual needs.
If you’re already going through the placement process, our post What Makes A Good Au Pair? might be helpful.
A Thoughtful Screening:
Ensure the agency does a good job screening au pairs and families to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone. This can include background checks, references, and in-person interviews.
As a host family, it’s important to know how au pair agencies screen applicants. Look for agencies that do thorough background checks and reference checks on au pair candidates.
Agencies should also conduct in-person or virtual interviews to assess the applicant’s qualifications, language skills, and suitability for the role.
And they should provide all the information that the host families need, like the au pair’s photo and family history, and ensure that the matching process is as good as possible for both sides.
Agencies should have a process in place for continuing support to ensure the placement is successful for both the host family and the au pair.
Check that the agency follows all relevant laws and regulations, including those related to visas and employment.
When hosting an au pair, there are a few legal factors to keep in mind.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that your au pair is legally allowed to work in your country.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your au pair is properly insured to protect both them and your family in case of any accidents or injuries.
Havingave clear documentation outlining the terms of the au pair’s employment, including their duties, hours, and compensation is essential.
And, you should also know the legal requirements on taxes, if the au pair is working as an employee, you should be compliant and report to relevant authorities accordingly if it’s required in your country.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional to make sure that you’re fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
Finding it hard to figure out an au pair agency’s prices? That’s a red flag.
Although some might not put it front and center on their website, it shouldn’t be impossible to figure out.
Any lack of transparency you find will only make it difficult to compare prices with other agencies. Having an au pair isn’t cheap, so you want to be sure you’re getting the most for your money.
Look for an agency that is transparent about its fees and that offers competitive pricing.
Worried about the cost? You might find our post 15 Hidden Au Pair Costs That May Surprise You.
Training and Development:
An agency that helps au pairs learn new things and become better adjusted at their job and to life in the U.S. will earn their fees back and then some!
This might include learning a new language, taking classes about taking care of kids or learning about the culture of the host country.
This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, it helps the au pair adjust.
Second, it makes things better for the family they work for because the au pair can do more things and help out more. Agencies that do this show that they are invested in their au pairs.
Hosting an au pair isn’t just about finding childcare.
Cultural exchange and learning about another culture is a significant part of the program.
So look for an agency that promotes cultural exchange and understanding as an important part of the au pair experience.
This can mean opportunities for au pairs to learn about the host country and for families to learn about the au pair’s home country.
Ratings and Reviews:
Read reviews and ratings from families and au pairs who have worked with the agency to get a sense of their experiences. This can provide valuable insights into the agency’s services and the quality of their placements.
Look at the agency’s history and experience. Are they well-known within the au pair community? Do they have a track record of success? Can you find people who used them and had a positive experience?
You can learn a lot simply by talking to people in person or online. Don’t know anyone who has used that au pair agency? Join some social media groups and read the chatter about people’s experiences.
Focused Follow Up
Last but not least, find out how the au pair agency will support you as a host family in the first few months. This follow-up support is vital.
There’s several reasons for this:
- It allows the agency to ensure that the placement is working well for both the host family and the au pair.
- It gives the agency the chance to address any concerns or issues that may have arisen.
- It provides extra support during the transition period, which can make a significant difference in ensuring a successful placement.
- It’s an excellent way for the agency to maintain a good relationship with the host family
Regular follow-up from an au pair agency in the first several months is crucial for the success of the placement and the satisfaction of both the host family and the au pair.
It’s a valuable part of the initial adjustment period, so be sure to find an agency that will help ensure a smooth and successful transition for everyone involved.
Finding the right au pair agency is essential to having a successful and positive experience with an au pair.
By considering factors such as reputation, support, placement process, screening, legal compliance, fees, insurance, placement options, cultural exchange, and ratings and reviews, you can make an informed decision about which agency is the best fit for your family.
By taking the time to research and carefully evaluate your options, you can ensure that you choose an agency that will provide you with the support and resources you need to have a successful and rewarding au pair experience.
What other factors do you consider when choosing an au pair agency?
Still on the fence about Au Pairs? Read 10 Fantastic Reasons To Hire an Au Pair in 2023.