Finding the right child care help is big business for entrepreneur
Serra Deville has one major piece of wisdom for those struggling to balance full-time careers with the challenges of raising kids – you are not Super Mom or Super Dad.
It’s Deville’s job to know what kind of help parents need. She’s the founder of Georgia’s Dream Nannies, a company that specializes in finding qualified nannies, housekeepers and “household managers” for clients. (For those unfamiliar, a household manager is basically a “CEO-type figure” whose job it is to run a home, such as managing landscapers, paying bills and running errands.)
“We hand pick everybody,” Deville says. “What happens is that the parents call us and tell us what they need, and fill out a detailed application that lays out what they’re looking for. Then I go and take a look at our pool of nannies and household managers. We try to match them up with the right family.”
The company earns a finder’s fee for every nanny that’s hired, but the domestics work directly for their families.
“I decided I didn’t want to go into teaching, so I looked into becoming a nanny,” she says. “I had an aunt who had been a nanny and landed a job working for a family in Woodstock with a little boy. I absolutely loved it.”
The story is actually similar to the recently-released film “Nanny Diaries,” in which Scarlett Johansson plays a college grad who finds herself nannying for a wealthy Manhattan family. Deville herself said of the movie, “we all can’t wait to go see that.”Deville was working as a teacher when in 2003 she suddenly came up with the idea of running her own nanny staffing service. She realized she had to choose between teaching and running her own business, so she dove headfirst into her company without even taking on a loan.
Deville works out of her office in Woodstock and has a large client base in Gwinnett. The company’s growth has been exceptional and she now plans to unveil a national website that would match nannies with families.
The appeal of her company’s service, Deville says, is that her clients avoid the usual process of searching for a nanny, interviewing applicants and experimenting with multiple nannies before finding the right one.
“Typically we’re very fortunate in that we match up the right people the first time,” she says. “Whereas if they advertise in the paper, they might have to sift through dozens of applicants and may not get the right person the first couple tries. It saves parents a lot of time because they only have to interview for an hour or two.”
Deville’s secret, she says, is her ability to determine the right kind of person for the job. Many recent college grads who apply for nanny positions are cut out for it!
“I can tell when someone wants to be a nanny,” she says. “I’ve done a lot of interviews and I can tell at this point when someone isn’t right for the job.”