Negotiating Success

How Nannies Can Get What They Want
By Lora Brawley,

1. to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.
2. to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms: to negotiate a loan.

Photo above of mother and nanny
meeting in The Nanny Diaries

Does the word negotiation bring up fear, anxiety, or even panic for you? If so, you’re not alone. For most nannies negotiation means confrontation and conflict.

But, nannies do not need to dread negotiation. Nannies should view negotiating as two people discussing a common problem, working together to develop a common solution. In that context, negotiation becomes an opportunity rather than a battle.

Unfortunately, most nannies think they are not good negotiators. But, if you look at the characteristics that make a person a great nanny, you’ll find they are many of the same characteristics that make a person an effective negotiator.

Patience, empathy, sensitivity to the feelings and the needs of others, an innate sense of fairness, the ability to see a problem from different perspectives, and the ability to develop creative solutions all contribute to quality care and negotiating success.

Redefine the Win/Win Solution
People often think a win/win solution means everyone involved gets exactly what they want. But common sense tells us that’s not really possible. By definition, negotiations require compromise. In my work, I define a win/win solution as one in which each person walks away with all they need, a good deal of what they want, and an overall sense of being treated fairly.

Know What You Want
It’s essential that you clearly define exactly what you want before you enter into a negotiation. Saying you’re looking for more money or a shorter schedule may get you a raise or fewer hours but it probably won’t get you the raise or schedule you envision.

I recently spoke to a nanny who had spent weeks working up the courage to ask for a raise. She presented her case and her employers agreed she deserved more money. Afraid to sound pushy and wanting desperately to be done with the conversation, she didn’t ask for specifics. Her next check reflected a 2% cost of living raise, $10 a week — before taxes. Now the nanny is faced with living with an unsatisfactory raise (and resentment and frustration) or going back to the negotiation table and starting over. Presenting her case along with an acceptable range for her raise would have saved her from this difficult choice.

Tomorrow Lora Brawley continues discussing negotiating and “Knowing What You Offer as a Nanny.”

By Lora Brawley, Office: 253 517-8025 Toll Free: 866-Nanny Jobs Email:

Have you ever had trouble negotiating what you want?


  1. I work in CT and I have trouble negotiating! When I went on this job interview for the job I have now the mom asked me how much I needed to make and I didn’t even know. I blurted an hourly rate but regreted not asking for more. When I called the agency to say I wanted the job they told me what the mother could afford and I didn’t ask for enough. I blame the agency a little too because I should have known the pay range before the interview. I wasn’t prepared.I have joined some online nanny chat groups and I feel like an idiot for doing everything wrong. From the beginning I needed to include so many things in the contract I never thought of. Annual raises, overtime rate, gas reimbursement when I use my car….Now I need to ask for gas mileage reimbursement because I didn’t think to do that during the interview. It sounds like it should be easy but it has been the hardest thing to do. Plus I obviously need to talk about if I will be getting my anniversary raise. If I even get a dollar an hour raise that will be $50 more per week and that would make me happy. But, I am afraid to bring it up because I don’t want the mother to think I don’t like the job. It is hard because I want the job. But I’m scared to ask for more. I do not want to sound ungrateful but I think about it every single day.

  2. Nanny agenies should help us negotiate and write contracts. Although they tell the nanny the general salary range before interviews they don’t help us negotiate. I think that since the parents pay the agency they help the parents and let us fend for ourselves. It’s like smoke and mirrors. They tell us tons of info about the kids and parents personal lives but when it comes down to the money and such they try not to make a big deal about it. Make us happy about the personality of the family members but don’t emphasize the salary and benefits as much. Larissa in Jersey City

  3. Dear anonymous from CT above:There is no harm in asking. Don’t give an ultimatum. Just ask nicely. If you don’t get what you ask for doesn’t mean you will quit (immediately) but you won’t get it if you don’t ask. It is doubtful that an extra $50 bucks per week raise at your annual review will make you lose your full-time nanny job. My rent goes up each year so should my raise if the family can afford it.Doubtful they wouldn’t reimburse your for the gas mileage either since it is required by law that they reimburse your gas mileage Start all conversations with employers with what you like about the job and that you appreciate all the parents do for you.You just need to ask very respectfully. Do not quit your job but it would be helpful if they could pay gas mileage and your understanding is that most employees get a raise when their performace is good. Micky L. Cambridge, Mass

  4. I strongly disagree with Larissa’s comments above. I feel nannies must empower themselves to negotiate and get what they want and not rely on third parties (like nanny agencies) to do it for them. Only you can protect yourself. You are a doormat only if you allow yourself to be. But I also warn others that it might not be the right time to be too picky during the economic recession. Most important thing is to be working at this time, depending where you live and work. Spread the word that even immigrants have rights and don’t allow yourself to be a doormat.Tonya, Las Vegas

  5. You bring up a great point. Oftentimes nanny’s submit to the wishes of the family without negotiating the terms. Like some of the posters above, I think this is something that can often be done by themselves. If it is not, however, an agency is a great way to ensure you are treated properly.

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