Being a nanny is great. You get to be with children, play games, do fun projects and act like a kid again, but it still involves a lot of hard work. At the end of the day being a nanny is a job, maybe even your career. When it comes to business and payments, you don’t want to be treated like a kid. After a long week’s work it’s time to get paid like an adult. If you’re young or new to the world of working for yourself, this can be one of the most difficult hurdles to getting started and being successful.
“How am I supposed to handle payments?” “What do I do if they pay late or even pay me too little?” “Where do I even start?”
In today’s article, we’re going to go through the process together.
Your wage and payment schedule should be determined during the interview. Make sure to enter the interview having in mind your range of rates you will accept. Know what you are worth. This is your job. You need to make sure that you’re not only being paid the correct amount, but that you’re also being paid on time.
How Do I Get Paid?
Let’s keep this short and sweet. I use the Cash app. (Bonus: if you sign up with the link I provided, we both get $5!) It keeps a list of transactions on the app, so I can see the date the payment is made. It directly deposits into my checking account for quick and seamless payments. Who doesn’t like to get paid quickly? Doing this also gives me a record of my income when I print out my bank statement. I add this to my “business binder” for taxes at the end of the year. One reason I find this method so effective is that it’s as easy for me as it is my clients. All they need to do is download an app and connect it to their card and they can send money to my phone number. You can request payment through the app as a reminder on pay day. It’s super easy to navigate. I’ve never had any issues with this app, but there are a lot of similar alternatives out there. If you have one that you’re already using and like, stick with it.
Getting Shorted Money
Sometimes you recieve your money and notice something is not quite right. They paid you for an hour less than you worked – what do you do?
Always compare the numbers.
After sending an invoice and receiving a payment, compare those two numbers. If you notice you weren’t paid enough, double check your invoice math. If your math is right, be kind, but firm. Try sending a quick text, “I just got the payment. Thanks for being on time. I did notice a discrepancy of [x] dollars do you mind shooting that over as soon as possible?”
One problem that comes up is not being reimbursed for purchases. I’ve heard of nannies not being reimbursed for household purchases they didn’t have permission to make. Nannies, you have a responsibility to have a spending limit in your contract.
The limit in your contract should be reasonable and agreed upon by you and the parents before you start working. If you go over this budget without “permission beforehand”, the parents have a right to not compensate for those expenses.
If you go over-budget, the parents have a right to not reimburse you.
This wouldn’t be unfair or a violation of your previous agreement. The contract is as much a protection for them as it is for you.
What should you do if you’ve taken the precautions above, but they just don’t like what you purchased or don’t think it’s necessary? You can simply return the purchased item. For example, you can say:
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll just pick it up the next time I come to work and I’ll return it. Sorry you didn’t like it.”
Sometimes, all that is needed to get reimbursed is proof-of-purchase, the receipt. Snap a picture or show it to them in person, then file it. You’ll need your receipts for taxes down the road. I suggest having a small pouch that you leave in the glove box of your car to hold your business receipts, so they are all in one place and easy to find.
Handling Late Payments
Another problem you might have: you’re down to your last pack of Top Ramen and you realize your payment still hasn’t come through.
What do you do? You simply text something sweet – “Just so you know, I finished that invoice for the week of …”. Or, “Just checking in. I don’t see the payment from last week. Did I miss it?”
Don’t sound accusatory. After all, you are about to get a chunk of their money.
One way to avoid late payments preemptively is to add due dates to your invoices. You will already have established the regularity of your payments in your contract.
Quick tip on choosing a payment frequency: I normally let the parents pick. My auto bill pay pulls from my visa account, so I can be more flexible on my payment dates. If you have a more strict bill pay time frame, offer a payment schedule. “How does weekly or bi-monthly payments sound to you? That has been the best for me in the past.”
Be sure to keep track of those due dates and to post or send your invoices quickly. Give them as much time as possible to pay you on time.
Being flexible and communicative go a long way. It’s usually just a slip of the mind and they’ll pay you with a simple reminder.
What To Do If You’re Paid Too Much
I know this may seem impossible! And if you were “overpaid”, you might be thinking “it’s about time I got that raise”. We’ll talk about raises in another article, but for now, let’s deal with one problem at a time. Often, this problem comes from the parents getting in a habit of paying you the same amount every pay period. If you have a regular schedule you probably have a regular paycheck amount. Sometimes parents get in the habit of paying you the same amount and don’t notice that you went home 30 minutes early one day. So, what do you do?
Honesty is the best policy!
You have worked hard at building the trust in this relationship. Don’t give up on that trust now. Say something like, “Thanks for the payment! I don’t know if this is a bonus or if I missed an expense, but you overpaid me [x] amount of dollars, so I can just send that right back over to you.”
This gives them the chance to explain if they did it on purpose. If it was an honest mistake, they will value your honesty and trust you more in the future.
When Someone Else Pays You
Sometimes someone else in the family will be scheduled to pick the kids up or come over to relieve you. When they show up, they hand you cash. What do you do? Thank them for the money and let the parents know you were paid for those hours. Show this in your invoice for that pay period so that everyone has proof of payment in their records. You will have to document this as part of your business income, but make sure you don’t get double paid by the parents. As I said earlier, honesty is the best policy.