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How much does an au pair cost compared to a nanny?

We compare an au pair cost with the cost of a nanny to help you make the right decision for your family.

Straight up, if cost is your only consideration in looking for childcare, an au pair is probably a good option for you.

But, if cost is one of many factors, then read on. Au pair cost and nanny cost can’t be compared directly. It’s like comparing apples with oranges.

On one hand you have an inexperienced, short-term solution while on the other you have an experienced option that will bring significant value other than childcare.

Nanny cost

Depending on the experience of the nanny, you can expect to pay between $25-$35/hr. When considering the cost of a nanny you will also need to factor in superannuation, workers compensation, nanny insurance and leave allowances.

If you use a nanny agency you will find the hourly rate is likely to be higher, but this rate will factor in those additional expenses such as superannuation etc. 

An agency will also charge you a placement or membership fee to cover the recruitment of the nanny. This placement fee can vary depending on your requirements and can be anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars. Some agencies will charge this placement fee annually.

Au pair cost

Calculating an au pair cost is slightly more complicated because the pay an au pair receives isn’t solely monetary.

In most cases, an au pair will live with the family so usually the cost of room and board is deducted from the wage they receive. 

Au pairs should be paid at the minimum wage (or higher) so you will need to know what this is to calculate the wage you need to pay.

Weighing up cost versus value

This is where your decision between an au pair and a nanny gets interesting. While an au pair cost looks lower on face value, you also need to consider things like additional electricity usage, food and the like, which will be on top of your direct out of pocket expenses.

Au pairs do add a lot of value to the families that use them. But you should think of an au pair as playing more of a big sister role. Being an au pair is an opportunity to travel and experience family life in another country while also earning some money. An au pair will not be with your family for the long term so more than just the au pair cost, this should also factor part of your decision making.

While a nanny does come at a greater cost, that is for good reason. Often a nanny will have more experience. They can stay with you beyond a short term stint. And in some cases, like with our mtime Moncierges, they can also provide other household help such as with cooking, cleaning and chores.

Value isn’t always financial. Your decision will come down to a balance between costs and what you are looking for in a carer for your children.

Make the right decision with mtime

At mtime, we are a nanny agency with a difference. We have been running since 2017 providing Melbourne families (and now Sydney ones too) with our unique hybrid housekeeping nanny service.

When you sign up you pay a $149 annual membership fee so we can match you with your perfect nanny. Then you pay for what you use at a fixed rate of $40 per hour, leaving everything else up to us.


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