“You guys have been wonderful, helpful and straightforward. I really appreciate your organization. I have made a selection from your profiles and this week..my new nanny will be starting. Many thanks to you for all your help and patience, you're terrific.”
Every busy mom knows that a support system is essential, and an important component is often the nanny. But a caretaker you like and trust isn't always easy to find. Enter Nannies4hire.com, the brainchild of Candi Wingate, a mom and former nanny.
After spending many years caring for others' children, Candi bought a nanny placement agency. When she realized that she could help even more moms across the country by offering services online, she started Nannies4hire.com, an online database that serves more than 500,000 families, nannies and babysitters across the U.S. and Canada.
The company even helped find nannies for the Jon & Kate Plus 8 brood -- Candi was featured in an episode of the show -- and Nannies4hire.com regularly works with the Dr. Phil team.
We talked to Candi to see how she went from a Nebraska nanny to the owner of a multi-million-dollar business with celebrity clients...
Mom Invented™: Why did you start this company and when?
Candi Wingate: We have been affiliated with the nanny industry since 1987. We purchased a nanny placement business in 1994 and we started Nannies4hire.com in 2002 because we saw the need to expand and offer more services.
Nannies4hire.com is one of the largest, most successful online nanny and family databases serving the United States and Canada. As part of this database, you can conveniently search full-time, part-time, temporary, summer, babysitting, live-in and live-out nannies by zip code 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Nannies4hire.com database is designed to easily assist families in finding a quality nanny for their specific needs and requirements. Registered families may search by detailed characteristics to help pinpoint the perfect nanny for their family. In addition, helpful tools are available, including sample interview questions, a sample reference form and a sample contract. Nannies4hire.com also gives you advice, tips and information that will help you and your nanny connect on a social and personal level.
Care4hire.com, launched in 2008, is an online database for families and caregivers to search babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, elder/companion care, pet sitters and other miscellaneous services. A free preview of available caregivers is available to families. Whether you need a caregiver for a few hours to a few days, you will find it at Care4hire.com. Once you are a registered member, you will be given immediate access to caregivers through email and phone.
What were your initial goals?
Our goal is to find every family the right caregiver for their specific needs. We pride ourselves on providing extraordinary customer service. Much of our business has been built on referrals and repeat clients, which proves that positive word-of-mouth can be extremely beneficial to any business. We also give each of our caregivers an enjoyable experience.
What has been your greatest success or high point with your business?
It was a great honor for us to be named to the 2009 Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Companies. We were also very proud to work with TLC and their hit show Jon & Kate Plus 8. We were an integral part of finding nannies for the Gosselin family's sextuplets and twins. And we've formed successful ongoing relationships with the Dr. Phil Show and Supernanny. In fact, Dr. Phil has repeatedly recommended us to guests on his show.
How did you start working with Jon & Kate and Dr. Phil?
We started working with Jon & Kate Plus 8 when the sextuplets were 3 and the twins were 7. We have had ongoing relationships with Dr. Phil and Jon and Kate for 3-plus years.
I worked with Kate Gosselin directly, helping her pick out nannies she wanted to interview for the show -- even appearing on an episode -- and I worked with both Jon and the producers.
How have you managed to juggle the roles of business owner and mom?
I couldn't do it without the help of my nanny. She simplifies my life.
What is your background and how does it relate to your company?
As the former nanny for a couple with five children, I quickly learned about the needs of a modern day family. My family's daily routine began with getting the children up and dressed, feeding them breakfast, packing lunches, making sure all teeth and hair were properly brushed, and then shuttling them out the door to school. This was performed almost entirely before sunrise. Then there was grocery shopping, cleaning house, doing laundry, feeding the babies, putting them down for a nap, getting them up, running errands, and getting a jump on dinner before the big kids came home just so she could help with homework, help with dinner, wash the dishes and the kids! and, finally, place them securely in bed with lots of hugs and kisses.
As a nanny, I gave parents the support they needed to keep their children healthy and happy. I gave them the gift of stress relief, increased job performance, happy children, and a happy family. And then I realized I also had the gift of matchmaking -- matching families with the right nanny or babysitter for their children.
Who has been your biggest source of inspiration?
My parents really inspired me. They were self-employed and I grew up watching their hard work, dedication, creativity and tenacity. They were there for me, supporting me when I started my business, encouraging me to pursue my dream.
Are you using Social Networks to help build your business?
I rely on social networking tools, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to quickly and easily deliver messages to my target audiences. These online networking tools are such an effective way to connect with people and grow my business.
What advice would you offer other moms developing their businesses?
When things in business don't go the way they should, don't give up. You have to stay positive.