Starting a Child Care Referral Agency

Interview with Candi Wingate, President of and

Calling on her experiences as a nanny, Candi Wingate started, a child-care referral service. She later expanded the idea to start for elder care, pet sitters and other caregivers.

Interview with Candi Wingate, President of

Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly? 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 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. also gives you advice, tips and information that will help you and your nanny connect on a social and personal level. is an online database for families and caregivers to search babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, elder/companion care, pet sitters and other miscellaneous service. 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 Once you are a registered member, you will be given immediate access to caregiver through email and phone.

What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?

I was a former nanny for 5 children. In 1994, I purchased Nannies of Nebraska, a full service nanny placement agency. is based in Norfolk, NE.

How did you come up with your business idea?

I started my career as a nanny, working for a family with five children. I quickly learned what families need, and applied those real-life lessons to my business. I've been a nanny, owned a nanny agency, started 3 online nanny databases, and wrote 100 Tips for Nannies & Families. Plus, I'm a wife and mother of two young boys, so I know first-hand what it's like to balance work and a family. I believe that women can have it all, but they need help to do so! My company provides that necessary help and support.

Since I was young, I've always been a motivated, outgoing self-starter. My parents were self-employed, which motivated and inspired me to do the same. I had a great idea for a business, and I've experienced tremendous growth by meeting the needs of other families like my own - who need a little extra help at home.

Finding employees to work in a new and growing business can be a challenge. How did you find your employees?

One of my employees was with me before the business even started and the other employees were hired through word of mouth and referrals.

What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business? and have been affiliated with the nanny industry since 1987 and have ongoing relationships with Dr. Phil and TLC's "Jon and Kate + 8".

How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?

I knew what I was getting into; I already ran a nanny placement agency. The biggest challenge for any family is finding the right nanny for their family. We encourage every family to hire the right nanny for their family - not just any nanny.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?

When things in business don't go the way they should, don't give up and stay positive.

Thanks so much for your time, Candi.

Share this article

Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Lists of Venture Capital and Private Equity Firms

Franchise Opportunities


Business Glossary


Conversation Board

We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.

Leave a Reply

Questions, Comments, Tips, and Advice

Email will not be posted or shared
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code

Problem Viewing Image? Load New Code