Finding the right child care help is big business for entrepreneur

This content originally appeared in the Gwinnett Business Journal.Super nannies
October 2007

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.

Deville’s company has grown steadily. After graduating from Georgia Southern University, she gave nannying a try before eventually settling into a job as a private school teacher.

“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.

“Within six months of starting my company I was earning almost my entire teaching salary,” she says. “It was a true miracle. I look back sometimes and wonder how I did this.”

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.”


Dealing with super-sized schedules
by Serra Deville
Families are super-sizing everything from drive-through orders to the number of children’s after school activities. Many children and spouses are suffering due to the super-sizing mentality.
Many working parents have super sized their lifestyle so much that they are working more outside of the home and spending less time with their family. The home becomes disorganized and chaotic instead of a refuge. Family time becomes a stressful event rather than relaxing time. Many working parents feel a strong guilt for super sizing their lifestyle.
Here are some tips parents can use to restore balance to their lives:
  • Realize that you are not a Super Mom or Dad.
  • Hire a housekeeper! Realize that an orderly home becomes a refuge. Spend the extra time relaxing with your family in a clean home.
  • Join other stay at home or working mom support groups in your area.
  • Go on a date night with your spouse.
  • Go on a date night with one of your children once a week or month. Make your children feel special when they know that once a week or a month they will have a special one on one date with their parents without interruptions of siblings.
  • Take your child to a mother’s morning out program at your local church while you get a massage or your nails done.
  • If you have a tight budget, then consider swapping child care with your friends. Share a nanny or babysitter for a day or week and split the cost with a friend.
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