From an initial investment of $120,000, Ms. Robinson and her partners — though she’s now the sole owner — built an agency that today places about 300 nannies a year and charges a flat fee of $3,500 for its services, along with a $395 application fee (both are paid by the families); the going rate for most agencies is 10% to 15% of the nanny’s annual gross income. Nationwide, live-in nannies earn an average of $532 a week, the International Nanny Association says.
Meanwhile, Ms. Robinson and many of her competitors have seen their industry evolve from one based on snail mail, faxes and personal meetings to one that does much of its recruiting and placement over the Web. In fact, several agencies have sprouted up that conduct their business entirely on the Web.
“Technology has helped tremendously,” says Ms. Robinson, whose tech-savvy, yet still-traditional, agency finds college-educated nannies for successful professionals. Though it still draws on college campuses as well, Beacon Hill Nannies has switched much of its recruiting efforts from advertising in a few tony magazines and newspapers to posting on job Web sites like Monster.com. If candidates aren’t local, three of the agency’s directors will conduct a two- to three-hour phone interview with the nanny.