This is a guest post by the founders of AuPairAds.com, two sisters from Sweden who want to create the best au pair service on the net.
In 2006, I returned to Sweden after an exciting year abroad as an au pair in London. It had been a great experience and I had learned a lot! When I came back from England I was full of ideas of what an au pair should do in order to maximize the au pair experience; how to choose a host family, where to live, and how to use spare time. So while completing my business degree at university, my sister and I decided to create a web guide for Swedish au pairs (Aupairguiden.se) since there was a lack of non-commercial information. In connection with this, we also started a forum for au pairs (Aupairforum.se), which helps au pairs find friends and offer them an opportunity to discuss issues with other au pairs.
We began getting requests from families wanting to get in contact with the au pairs. In general, Swedish au pairs have a very good reputation of being trustworthy and friendly. We evaluated the market of au pair agencies and matching sites with one question in mind; how is a great match between an au pair and a family made? Finding mutual interests between the au pairs and the families is a good start, so our aim was to create a site that enabled a high level of involvement from both sides during the matching process, sort of a cross-over between an agency and an ads site. We wanted it to feel modern and personal.
We also saw a gap in the market of au pair sites in terms of quality. We simply wanted the matching process to be enjoyable, safe, and easy for both the au pairs looking for an adventure abroad and the families looking for a new reliable family member. We then launched Aupairads.com in the spring of 2011.
Currently, 99% of our au pair members are Swedish. The service is easy; families create an ad describing themselves and what they are looking for, and au pairs apply to families of interest. The families also get to search and contact au pairs of interest. So far the response from families has been very positive and many express a genuine relief when finding our site. So far we have a unique and very large network of Swedish au pairs, unlike other agencies. This is exactly what other agencies are unable to offer their host families.
The very best advice we have to families looking for great au pairs for their children is to be sure of the uniqueness of your family, the specific needs for your children, and what qualities you are looking for in the perfect au pair. Then communicate this to potential candidates. A good, honest and welcoming ad will naturally attract the right au pairs.
Our site is growing, and we are currently devoting all our spare time it and our other sites. We also get support from others in our team, such as Bill, who is in charge of programming, and John, who helps us with search engine optimization. We also have another team member, Maria who is in New York, working to establish co-operations in the US. We are very excited about what the future holds!