Did you know that about 44,000 families in the UK rely on au pairs each year? By starting an au pair business, you can match families to au pairs and earn money doing it

With an au pair agency, you can act as the go-between, joining interested au pairs with their perfect family in need of childcare. 

But there are essential things to know to help you do this right. If you want to know how to start an au pair business, we can help.  

This guide covers everything you need to know, including:

  • Setting up your business
  • Following regulations
  • Finding au pairs and families 
  • Organising your finances 

Starting an au pair agency

Before you can start setting people up with their host families, you’ll need to consider how you’ll set up your au pair business. We’ll cover the essentials. 

Business plan

Creating a business plan will guide you through starting your business and help you develop your ideas. The business plan should include: 

  • Market research – Market trends, demand, and competition.
  • Target audience –  The people who’ll most benefit from your business. 
  • Company description – The who, what, how, when, and why of your business.
  • Business objectives – What you want to achieve and when. 
  • Starting budget –  What you’ll spend and earn for your business. 

Here are some questions to consider for your au pair business: 

  • Who will you offer services to? 
  • What services will you offer au pairs and families so they choose you over organising the process themselves?  
  • How will you make your business unique? 

Business registration 

Next, you’ll need to register your business with the UK government to turn it into a legal entity. You can either register as a: 

  • Sole trader – You’re personally liable for the business, but there are fewer regulations and taxes. 
  • Limited company – The business is a separate legal entity from you, but there are more regulations and corporation tax. 

To figure out which is the right choice for you, check out our article on how to set up your business: sole trader or limited company

Insurance 

The proper insurance will protect your business. You may need public liability insurance to protect your au pair agency from injury or damage you’re found responsible for.

You may also want to find a recommended au pair insurance to protect your clients.   

Knowing au pair regulations

To start an au pair business, you’ll need to know how to help your clients. To do this, it’s important to stay updated on the regulations of the process

UK au pair regulations 

Here are some of the main rules for au pairs in the UK: 

  • Be between 18-30 years old. 
  • Can work up to 30 hours weekly (pay extra for overtime). 
  • Earn a minimum of £90 weekly in pocket money
  • Families should pay for the au pair’s language lessons. 
  • Au pairs must be given their own private room with a window
  • Main duties should be childcare (up to 20% of duties can be light housework). 
  • Typically stay between 6-12 months. 
  • Must be given a written offer beforehand to outline the main expectations and agreement. 

Learn more about the rules here

Also, au pairs are usually not classed as workers or employees because they’re treated like family

Still, depending on their pocket money, au pairs may have to pay income tax or national insurance

Aur pairing and Brexit 

Brexit has impacted the au pair experience in the UK. Today, UK families can hire an au pair if they are: 

  • From the UK or Ireland. 
  • From the EU and have pre-settlement status or can apply for the EU settlement scheme.
  • Have a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

Accreditation 

To make your au pair agency more credible, you might want to accredit it with the British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA). 

As an accredited au pair agency, you will need to follow the association’s higher standards. As a result, you’ll become a reputable agency. It’ll also help you find families and au pairs and gain industry insights. 

Finding au pairs and host families 

You’ll need to market your au pair business to find host families and people interested in au pairing. 

Website 

If you want people to find your business, you’ll need to be accessible online. So, start by designing a website for your business

This website can outline your au pair services, provide success stories, and answer FAQs. Also, include pricing and contact information, such as phone number, email, and social media handles.  

You may want to use search engine optimisation (SEO) tools to rank on search engines. You could also incorporate a blog into your website and write articles about the au pair experience. 

Want to make your business stand out online? Check out our article on how to create a brand identity

Advertising

Targeted advertising such as Google Ads can help you get your business in front of the right eyes efficiently. This advertising helps you find people searching for similar content.

See also: What is a good advertising budget for a small business?  

Organising your au pair business finances

As you start your au pair business, you may juggle client fees, business costs, and potentially travel expenses to later invoice client’s for. To cover this, you’ll need a strong cash flow.

On top of that, you must keep business financial records for the HMRC (for about six years!). This data will help you submit accurate income for your Self Assessment tax return. 

The bottom line is, you’ll need to keep your finances in order. But don’t worry; it’s easy with the right tools.

Business current account

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal ones will help you stay on top of them. What’s the best way to do this? Open business current account, a bank account specifically for your business. 

Modern accounting software

Then, use accounting software to analyse your business finances. Accounting software lets you track what your cash flow and overall profitability

With software, it’s easy to manage your expenses and invoices so you can stay on budget, save time, and stress less. 

Countingup, a business current account and accounting app, can help you do all this and more. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Start your three-month free trial today

Sending au pairs on their way 

Once you know how to start an au pair business, you can start helping people towards their next great experience. Just remember to: 

  • Clearly define services that set you apart.
  • Follow the key regulations and get accredited. 
  • Organise your finances for profitability. 

And just like that, you’ve got a promising business on your hands.