As a believer in the “path of least resistance'” and a fan of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, I’ve been with the same agency since we started with au pairs.
I chose the agency because it was one of the only two in my town at the time, it had a much larger cluster (and thus more potential pals for our au pair) and it was the agency that my best friend Jenny used (albeit in another state). Jenny’s recommendation, plus the other two ‘facts’, made the decision easy for me.
It wasn’t until we moved from Virginia to New Jersey, to a town with au pairs from at least 4 different agencies (not to mention the ones who are here without agencies), that I realized there was so much variation in host parents’ experiences with agencies themselves– not only in agencies’ matching procedures, but also in their fees, formal policies, informal policies, and overall ‘expressed values’. Since I’ve been reasonably satisfied with my agency most of the time, especially because we have a very experienced LCC who knows what she’s doing, I haven’t had the need or energy to switch. BUT, I’m not sure I’d choose the same agency if I was starting afresh.
One of our AP moms is switching agencies, and asked if we’d run a bit of a poll to see how common this is, and to get a sense of people’s reasons for switching. Now, you know that this is a “poll” and it is not scientific in the least… it will just catch the responses of people who feel like responding… NOT a scientific sample. Still, it can be interesting to see what other people are doing…
Tell us more about your experience switching, or choosing not to switch, below.