Darien business eases process of finding nannies and tutors
Finding a reliable nanny or tutor can be a full-time job for many parents, but a local organization is looking to streamline that process by placing qualified nannies and tutors with the right family.
College Nannies and Tutors is a national organization that started in 2001. Since then, the franchise has grown to include 84 individually owned locations across the country. Leona Peiffer, who recently opened branches in Fairfield and Westchester counties, said she was intrigued by the business after struggling to find a nanny for her kids while working full time.
"I worked in the health-care business and I remember struggling to find child care for my two kids. Our baby sitter would be sick or not available and it was almost impossible to find anyone," Peiffer said. "My friends were also struggling, so I started looking for a solution."
College Nannies and Tutors is different from a standard nanny agency because the business doesn't focus on just placing nannies in a home.
"We find families willing to pay for quality services and match them with a nanny or tutor who best fits their needs," Peiffer said.
She said her tutors primarily consist of teachers and college students with high GPAs. In addition to having the skill set to coach students in different subjects, Peiffer said she does have a few tutors who can handle special-needs cases. However, she noted that demand for that type of tutoring wasn't as high and it is difficult to find qualified tutors with the necessary training.
Peiffer said she prefers nannies and tutors who have prior experience in the field. She said many of the nannies and tutors are college students, but she will accept any applicants.
"The minimum age is 18, but we have people in their 20s, 30s and 40s," she said. "I even had a 62-year-old woman apply."
Peiffer opened her Darien office in February and is now preparing for the summer, when nannies and tutors are in high demand.
"Since I opened the Darien office, there has been a huge uptick in interest," she said.
The office, which is located directly above Darien Social, offers a unique business opportunity for Peiffer.
"Parents could come to Darien Social and enjoy a meal while their kids are upstairs being tutored," she said.
Giving parents the opportunity to get out of the house is an important aspect of the business because Peiffer recalled the many times when she and her husband weren't able to go out for a date night.
"Our date nights were very rare because we couldn't find child care," she said. "That's why part of this business is about bringing date night back. We can put a nanny in a home when they are needed. I will send out an email and text blast to all of our nannies if there is a situation where a family needs a nanny immediately."
Even though College Nannies and Tutors is geared toward making the process of finding quality child care easier, Peiffer said the placement of a nanny doesn't necessarily happen overnight.
"We have some cases where a family loves the first nanny we send and others who go through a few before they get the right fit," Peiffer said. "Typically, it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to place a nanny because we go through an extensive process of matching the right nanny with the right family."
In addition to offering nanny and tutor services through her branches, Peiffer said parents should also check with their employers to see if they offer child care. Peiffer said she works with a company, Bright Horizons, to find nannies for families.
"A lot of employers offer child-care services and will actually subsidize or cover the cost of the care," Peiffer said. "However, a lot of people aren't aware of this and they should be. We work with Backup Care Advantage to put nannies in homes where they are needed."
For those who opt to go through College Nannies and Tutors directly, Peiffer said there is a $199 one-time fee and then an hourly rate of $20 to $25 for the nanny.
"The $25 rate kicks in when we have to find a nanny on less than 24 hours notice," she said.
For more details, go to www.collegenannies.com.
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