Why is it so expensive to extend an Au Pair for an additional year?
A reader emailed to raise the concern that it costs almost as much the second year as the first, because there are fewer special discounts. (For one agency, that’s about $5,600). Not only that, but the au pair herself or himself has to pay an extension processing fee (almost $300).
All of the costs of getting an au pair into the selection process (e.g., recruiting, interviewing), the au pair’s training & orientation, and the au pair’s flights to and from the USA, are connected to that au pair’s first year. The only incremental costs that the Agency has to bear are the costs of medical insurance for the au pair, and the support of the Agency staff and LCC.
So, why are these incremental costs nearly $6,000?
Do the agencies want us to extend with our initial au pairs, or choose to match with an extending au pair, so that they can generate higher revenues off of extension au pair placements.
It doesn’t seem to make sense that the au pair and the host family should pay so much, when the Agencies’ incremental expenses for that au pair are so dramatically reduced.
The high fees for an extension year lead host families to feel like they’re being treated as ‘deep pockets’ and not as families who want affordable childcare and a cultural experience.
But wait, there’s more.
Some agencies “suggest” that the host family pay the nearly $300 processing fee “on your au pair’s behalf”.
And to top it off, some au pairs are told (or hear, or expect) that for their second year most host families will increase the au pair’s stipend.
If the agencies want to charge so much for the second year, writes this reader, why don’t they offer something additional to the host families or the au pair (like extra training, or a larger completion bonus back to the au pair)?
I wonder if the logic isn’t a bit more abstruse —
Maybe the “benefit” to the host family is the “savings” of stress, time, and work that accrue when we don’t have to look through applications again, interview over skype again, agonize over whether we’ve made the right choice again, or teach some one how to drive and use the TV remote again. More or less the same dollar payout, but an energy ‘savings’.
This is the same kind of logic that twists me up when I find myself buying a second pair of tween jeans at Delia’s because I can get “two for the (un-discounted) price of one”, when all I really want is 20% off the one pair.
Are this reader and I on a rant, or does the relatively high Agency fee for an au pair extension annoy other host families too?