In this episode, we have a very special guest, Debbie Adamo, the owner of Nannies Who Care, a company that has been serving families for 33 years.
Nannies Who Care is a company that maintains high standards of integrity in their nannies and other household help. Their goal is to provide “peace of mind” for families and encourage the children in their care to grow in a loving, friendly, and safe environment.
During the episode, Debbie shares her journey of starting the company and the challenges she faced along the way. She also discusses the importance of finding the right nanny or household help for your family, and the benefits of using a reputable agency like Nannies Who Care.
Listen to the podcast episode here!
I’m excited because you’ve been in business since 1989. Yes. So, for a long time, most of the I think business owners that I’ve talked to you and most of the small businesses in our community probably don’t have the longevity that that you’ve had to stay in business. So I’m excited to kind of pick your brain and kind of share your story a little bit. But, let’s start with the services you provide at Nannies Who Care
Okay, sure. So, as you know, we do have a lot of different types of services that we provide regarding it’s all related to child care, so and domestic health and we do some domestic help. So we also have, we have permanent nanny placement we have temporary nannies we have on-call nannies. We have date night nannies. We have vacation nannies and summer nannies. Anything to do with nannies we can help with, we also have doulas and we have nannies that can take you know come and help when you when mom first comes home with the baby, we would call a newborn care specialist is really what the term is the correct term is now we provide pet sitters we provide we also have an errand service and event service. We provide nannies at events, so weddings, and conventions. And we provide a supervisory service. So it’s supervised visitation for families that may be court-ordered to have a supervisor.
Okay. So you’re quite involved in this in this space like we were just talking about before. But how did you like, take us back to the beginning? And like, how did you get into this business? And you know, just what was it like starting (the business)?
So we kind of did a lot of research before day one happened. But it started in my kitchen before my first child was born. And I knew that I wanted to do something on my own, I wanted to have my own company because I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. And so I wanted something I could work from home and be with my children. So I researched and I found this something about a nanny agency someplace. And I said that’s the right fit for me because I love children. And I have the background to be able to learn, research and do background screenings. I do have a legal background prior from starting my company. So I started researching more and more and how you do background checks and started interviewing nannies and then started advertising my company to families as I started to build my database.
So before you decided to get into this business, what did you do prior to that, and why not start a business sooner?
So before that I was working as a paralegal before starting my company in an office setting, and I was quite young, this is 33 years ago. So I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. But I knew I wanted to have my own company. Yeah, at some point in time. You’re gonna have your own company. Yes. And then the timing of it all just kind of led you into. And business was quite different back then. There were no cell phones. And we had just gotten a computer. And we had there was no GPS. So in our business, when we have to send a nanny out to a family’s home. Now we can just give them the address naturally they look up on their GPS, find the location where While back then we had to give them the directions and we had to call them on the phone. There was no texting. Yeah. So we would call them and we would tell them, okay, you know, make a left that way. On the right is the gas station. It was quite different.
Interesting. Was it so as a business? A lot slower-paced than it is?
Like definitely. Yeah. You couldn’t do what you can do today with technology. Yeah, right. Yeah. So now, I mean, it’s just a world of difference.
Yeah. Is there anything you miss about having a business back then versus the businesses today?
I think that the only thing I can say is that there was more interaction with the families and nannies and more person interact between you and the, and yes, I would speak to that we would, you know, there would be more communication by phone instead of texting or emailing. So we kind of miss that a little bit. But I have to go with the way the trend is and what families want and need and why families don’t have time, right? You know, they have busy schedules they have where they work full time, they have children, and they just don’t have the time. So it’s hard to schedule those in-person events that we like to do. So we do a lot by zoom now. And yeah, it helps. It helps a lot because you want to see people face to face. And we also interview our nannies face-to-face via Zoom. Now, we always did it in person before COVID. And after COVID, we started doing zoom only.
So COVID has changed your business?
To quite a bit. Yeah. What is needed for care changed over the years because, you know, like you said, like, families are busy. You know, I have two young girls myself. And so I feel like the time constraints and trying to manage, you know, work and, and a family and all that kind of stuff, too. And being there for your kids. So has, yeah, has the amount of care changed, have families requesting more care now than we did 30 years ago?
I’m not sure if it’s families requesting more care than there are more families. You know, as a total, you know, in general, needing care. I think that our Tampa Bay Area is growing. in great demand, people want to move here. So I think for that reason, we’re really busy. Because we have a lot of new families, but we also have a lot of repeat customers as well. And I think that work-life balance is so important to families, these ends should be right. So yeah. So I think having a nanny, tends to all of their needs while they are at work or doing their job so that when they come home, they can spend quality time with their children.
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Right? Because it’s, you know, it’s there’s a lot of work that goes into just managing a house and getting the house up to date and that sort of stuff.
Right, right. Helping with the homework if they’re older. Yeah. You know, preparing the lunches, things like that. They you know, that’s done when they get home. Yeah, if that’s how they want to do it. And it’s up to the family, of course. But when they get home, they have they can spend time with their children. They don’t have to worry about all the other things that have to be done right as the Makini is taken care of.
Yeah. And the kids aren’t playing by themselves, because you’re in the kitchen and lunches, right? Yeah, that makes sense. It’s interesting. But alright, so you’ve been like, like we mentioned, you’ve been in business for 33 years. What do you think has been your secret to staying in business for that long? Because, you know, I’m sure as you know, there’s a lot of businesses that fail or don’t make it past like five or 10 years.
But to be in a business that long, to make it through COVID and all the other challenges that you’ve had overcome, like, what do you think has been there’s like one thing that you can kind of point to?
Well, I have a passion like I said, for working with children and families. So that helps when you love what you do. And I think that the fact that I have an amazing team that supports me, and the and the company nannies who care have been with me through COVID and stuck with me even though times were tough, and we did what we could we diversified and we did what we could to get through Are those tough times, but they’re still hanging on? And, you know, it’s having the right people in the right seats. I think it makes a big difference.
Yeah, that’s, that’s a challenging thing to do. Right. Not always. And we were just talking. So right people, right seats, like the book traction, right? Like, that’s a great, you know, a big part of having a successful business. Making sure that everyone’s you know, in their strengths. Yeah. Interesting.
So, you mentioned, some of the services and stuff that you offer, if I’m a family that’s looking for a nanny, whether it’s full-time, part-time. How does that process work?
So what we usually do is, the person will contact the agency, and speak to one of our placement specialists. And she will explain to them how the service works and usually get on a zoom call with them. And talk to them about how our service works, what our choices are, and we have different tear packages that a family can select based on their needs. So it could include different levels of background screenings, and different replacement policy periods. So they can choose which one they want, they fill out an application online. And then the placement specialist works with them directly, to help them find the perfect nanny. So by getting on the call on the Zoom call, they can assess their needs better, and learn a little bit about the family. And, we have two recruiters that she will go to to make sure that they’re recruiting the right candidates for that particular family. Sometimes it’s a nanny that like I mentioned earlier, that has already been with our agency, maybe we’ve placed her before. And this happens often. Then she’ll come back and say, hey, my job is ending my family is putting the children in school. I’ll need another position. Yeah. And then, of course, we have an updated reference from one of our families, which is great. And then we can refer them to a new family. So then they’ll interview as many candidates as they like until they find the right person. And then once they make a selection on a nanny, that nanny becomes their employee.
Okay, and then you so then you pass it off to them. And then I Yeah, Okay, interesting. And then so what about if you just if you’re using them for like a night, like how does that work?
So we have an app now it’s called Sitter Pro on that they can download on their phones, and they can request any through the app for date night, we have a membership, it’s a kids club, and they can become a member, and they get a discount if they become a member with our service, or they can remain as a nonmember so people I we get a lot of people on vacation that might just use one night while they’re here. And they can book through the app. Anybody can look through the app, whether you’re a member or not, there’s just a higher fee.
And there’s no like interview process for that. It’s just you know, we need this night and then you select the nanny, or they will put it out there is an algorithm for the nannies. So when they put their request in through the app, they’re going to state if it’s the ages of the children, any specifics that they’re looking for, and then the nannies that meet that criterion will come up. They can either choose one of those nannies, they can go through the nannies and choose which one they want, or they can put it out to the whole list if they’re they’re in a hurry. Okay, so, and then that’s for our date night service. But for Kids Club, if they ever have any questions, of course, they can contact the agency. And we know all-around nannies’ personalities because we use them regularly. We keep in touch with them. We have events throughout the year, we have training events, so we know them well. And we have a night out. We can all get together and go out and that’s cool. Yeah. and have dinner or lunch together.
Yeah. Sounds like a big family. Yes.
So you just mentioned training, and you provide training for your nannies. Talk to me a little bit about the difference is of you know, just trying to find an end on yourself versus using a service like like what you provide to find a nanny.
So the one thing that we do recommend is when you try to find a nanny on your own, no one has checked out these individuals, and no one has checked their ID. So if you’re on an online site, no one has a check their ID make sure they are the person they say they are, and then come pleated their background check. There’s like other sites that list like, hey, they might say they do a background check. But the background check is not as thorough as we do. It might just be a Google search, which anyone can do online for free. Yeah, we do the reference checking, and we send them out for CPR certification. And because we’re affiliated with organizations, like the association of Premier nanny agencies, were required to use a certain type of background check company, that the background check company we use, actually sends runners out to the courthouse, any place a person has lived, worked, or gone to school, to make sure that there’s nothing on their background, or record that maybe didn’t work might not come up in a Google search. So, so those things are part of what we do as a professional agency. Yeah, that’s a little step above.
And it provides, like peace of mind for that. Family and stuff. Yeah. Excuse me. Um, so, being in business for 33 years, I’m going back to like, the longevity again, because I think there’s a lot you can learn from that, and I’m sure you’ve overcome, like a lot of challenges. During that time, you know, just like with any business, there’s, there’s ups and downs. And there are things you have to kind of overcome, like COVID, like you mentioned, like pivoting like what services you offered. So what is like one challenge that stood out or maybe like one lesson, one valuable lesson that you’ve learned, you know, during that these last 33 years
And you know, it’s hiring the right people in the right seats. So sometimes you have this feeling that you don’t have the right person. So you, you don’t want to let them go because you want to help them. You want to help them find the right position. So maybe it’s not the right position they’re in maybe it’s a different seat in your company that might be better for them. So I think maybe I hang on to that too long before I realize it’s just not going to work. And I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I have the right people in the right seats. And I think that we will work well together, we follow up, we have a set of core values that we work by. And I think everybody has shown those core values in their work. We all work well, as a team, and we help each other, which is important. I don’t think I think that everyone gets along well. So I’m on the team, and if somebody is out, somebody else is jumping in to help. And that makes a great company.
Yeah, absolutely. And do you like was there a moment in time where you realize that, like, I need to transition people or I need to kind of reevaluate, like the way I’m evaluating people was there.
I think, ever since COVID, we started working remotely. I think that having a work-life balance is so important to my team. And I realized that, so they’re much happier working from home. And my business is doing great. I mean, it has more than doubled, since COVID. Amazing, and, and I contribute that a lot to my team because they’re just really good people. And I think they’re very appreciative and so am I, of everything that they do for me. So I think that it’s been a blessing in a lot of ways. I mean, not that COVID was a blessing, but it was, if there’s any good that came out of it, that’s what it was, for me.
Just moving people around to find the right seats. Yeah, it is interesting. And it’s I think, I think probably a lot of businesses struggle with that. Right, like finding the right people. And I think since COVID, to like, you know, getting people like you said work-life balance, like, you know, people are kind of reevaluating where they’re working and whether it’s the right fit for them too. So to have the owner who is you know, making sure that they’re in the right seat or just doing everything that they can to make sure that they’re comfortable and happy in their role too. Right. Yeah, that’s a part of it. Right. Alright, so I like to wrap up that you’ve been here in you’re not originally from here, like, like we were discussing before the podcast, but you’ve been here for a long time.
So I’m sure you’re very familiar with the area. But what is it when you’re not working? What is one thing that you enjoy doing, whether it’s you know, going to the beach or you got a favorite recipe On or something like that? Like if you had to pick one spot, what do you what are you doing in your spare time?
Well, there are a lot of things, but I do enjoy going out to eat, but I also enjoy cooking. Okay, and so I have grandchildren, I have two grandchildren. And I like to have a cabin up in the north Georgia area. So I do like to have a little change of scenery. Yeah, so I like to do that. And so I would say, North Georgia.
Yeah. So you are leaving the area?. No, I understand that north Georgia is one of our favorite spots too. We’ve been to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Several times
It’s pretty up. There.
It is. It is. It’s a great spot.
It’s so different from Florida. Yeah. Do you really feel like you’re Yeah, away.
And as you said, it’s not too much of a. I mean, it is a long drive from driving up there. But you can fly and you know, a short drive, and you’re up in the mountains and Right, totally different.
So if anybody if there’s a family out here that’s listening, that is interested in hiring a nanny or just getting more information about your services, what’s the best way for them to do that?
CONNECT WITH DEBBIE:
- Website: www.nannieswhocare.com
- Facebook: facebook/nannieswhocare
- Instagram: instagram/nannieswhocare
- Yelp: Nannies Who Care
CONNECT WITH DONNIE:
- Follow Donnie: @donnie.hathaway
- Follow Palm Harbor Local: @PalmHarborLocal
- For more real estate information – www.thehathaway.group
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