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On-Line Listing Services vs APNA Professional Agencies

What’s in a Name?

Thanks to Judi Merlin and the APNA Public Relations committee


What’s in a Name? A whole lot!


We have taken the opportunity to clarify as well as define; and a chance to create confusion and deception.

What is a Nanny Agency?

What is an On-line Listing Service?

What are the differences?

As nanny/referral agencies, we must effectively define who we are and what we do. We must first educate ourselves, then our industry, our client families and our care providers so they have a clear definition. This problem is much the same as the nanny/au pair confusion of years’ past.

Recently there was a public relations piece that was published online that named the top nanny agencies in the country. The problem was the so-called top businesses named were not agencies, but on line listing service.  This only added to the public’s confusion as to what is a nanny agency and what is a online listing service.

As nanny agencies, we must be clear when we define who we are and what we do. As agencies, we must be aware of what is happening on the internet so we can help our clients understand what we offer them. Ask your clients to tell you the difference between your business and an online listing service and see if they are clear about what it is that you have to offer.

Words Used to Describe Nanny Agencies:  nanny service, childcare resource, childcare referral service, childcare staffing service, placement agency, in home staffing agency, domestic placement agency, etc,

Words Used to Describe on-Line listing services: computer networks, classified ads on the web, e commerce, internet services, internet networks, web based business, etc.

What We Do as Brick and Mortar Agencies: We are personally recruiting, screening and interviewing highly qualified nannies and care providers.  We spend hours on the phone, in  person or by video qualifying and properly vetting applicants. We verify that candidates are legal to work in the US. We wmploy highly skilled human  resource personnel to conduct in depth interview of past employers to determine if they qualify. References must be not just valid, but stellar . We  conduct thorough criminal background checks using  many available resources. . We help clients create job descriptions; we refer only dedicated and experienced candidates that meet the needs of the client.  We act as a  personal family’s human resource department before, during and after the placement. We do all this generally for a single fee charged to the employers, offering help and assistance to the nannies and care providers for no charge for our services. In short,by representing only the best of the best, we save the family time, stress and provide them peace of mind.

What an On-line Listing Service Does: They are web sites that provide a platform for job seekers who are interested childcare or domestic work and family employers to communicate to one another without any hands on pre-screening. Job seekers complete an online profile and provide their own undocumented references for their work history. Then they may receive replies or solicitations from potential employers. Job seekers, including both experienced nannies and inexperienced  care provider can list their services for free.

Families may post their job opportunity and receive online responses  from any job seeker on the site . Families pay a monthly fee to be listed. Once the family and  job seeker make contact, it is up to the families to handle all of the qualification and vetting processes that agencies handle. In short, the family is on their own from beginning to end. It is “buyer beware.” Some online sites offer robo calls in an attempt to verify work references, conduct  a preliminary background checks before allowing the job seeker and families to list on their site. Other sites offer no filters.

We need to continually work to keep ourselves informed  on these issues and to continually use the same language when we talk to one another, our nannies and our client families. An online listing service is not a nanny agency. Let’s agree to use the words ‘online listing services’ and never refer to online listing services as an agency of any type.

That’s never, ever. Agreed?

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