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These days, kids and parents are busier than ever. Finding a reliable babysitter to fit your schedule is tricky.
The teenager next door might seem like a convenient option for watching your kids, but they might be occupied with school, sports, and their social life, leaving you without the childcare you need. Thankfully there are many services that specialize in helping families find available babysitters in their local area for date nights, errands, work functions, or whatever the occasion may be.
Wednesday, July 28th
Sittercity was founded in 2001 and provides caregiver services for children, seniors, people with special needs, seniors, and even pets. Although there are a range of resources they offer, their primary service is childcare.
Focus on trust
Their focus on trust and safety by offering detailed profiles, ratings on candidates, interview booking, secure messaging, background check options, scam prevention, and family watchdog screenings make Sittercity a fantastic option for finding safe babysitters.
Babysitters and nannies
Sittercity helps families find babysitters and nannies. According to Sittercity, a babysitter is someone local who can help temporarily with childcare to fit around a family's schedule for last-minute appointments, date nights, or special occasions that happen infrequently. On the other hand, a nanny would be used long-term and might live with the family, work full-time, part-time, or overnight on a regular basis.
Browse your candidates
Before posting a job, we recommend quickly browsing the candidates that appear in your area. To do this, you can choose the state and city you live in and view a list of potential candidates. You'll see their picture, a short bio, their babysitting experience, specific qualifications, desired pay range, and reviews (if they have any) from previous families they have nannied or babysat for. Sittercity has a nice layout that makes it fast to gauge initial interest and decide if you want to get in contact with anyone you see.
3 step process
The process for using Sittercity to find a babysitter can be understood in three simple steps:
Without paying for a membership at Sittercity, you have just a few options as to what you can do on the site. There are a few free articles that parents might find helpful that focus on topics such as making childcare more affordable, a doctor's perspective on home child care, the importance of reference checks, babysitter interview questions, outdoor educational activities for children during the summer, and many more. These posts might help parents feel more confident about hiring someone online.
3 subscription plans
To fully take advantage of what Sittercity has to offer, including getting your job posted and accessing babysitter contact information, you have three subscription plans to choose from. They can be purchased for 1 month at $35, 3 months for $49, or 12 months for $98. All memberships are non-refundable, but they can be cancelled at any time if you are done using Sittercity's services and don't want to renew your subscription.
Ideally, background checks would automatically be done on all of the babysitters through Sittercity, but unfortunately this is not the case. Families can choose to run checks on any candidates they want and the date of the background check will appear on the babysitter's profile. If you find a candidate that has had a background check run in the past, you can request to view it or run another one if it is outdated. The price for the enhanced background check is $60, the motor vehicle check is $30, the enhanced check (background + motor vehicle report) is $80, and a basic background check is $15. An extensive list of what is included with each report can be viewed on the Sittercity website.
We really like the services offered by Sittercity because their platform makes it easy to browse babysitters in your local area and quickly get a feel for each candidate. There are many candidates who use this platform all throughout the United States, so families should have quite a few babysitters to choose from. Pricing is affordable even if you have to run a couple of background checks during the interview process. Sittercity's A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau is another reason we highly recommend their services and have given them our highest rating.
Bambino was started in 2016 by a family who realized that it is harder for neighbors to get to know each other these days, thus making it more difficult to identify local babysitters and get to know them. Families can find, book, and pay sitters on the Bambino app. The app is professional, easy to use, and has high ratings from thousands of families who use it.
4 step process
Bambino works a little bit differently than the other babysitting services out there. The following steps give an overview of how to book a candidate through Bambino:
Browse the babysitters
It is free to download the Bambino app and free to set up an account. When you are browsing sitter profiles, they will list their own hourly rates. Before booking your babysitter, there will also be a booking fee included in the total price. For Junior sitters (usually 13-15 years old without their own transportation), the cost is $1.95 and for Standard (16-18 years old), Advanced (19+ years old), or Elite sitters (18+ years old with a cleared comprehensive background check, maintain a 4.8+ star rating, have an 85%+ reliability rating, and have babysat at least twice in the last six months), the fee is $2.95.
The vetting process for sitters on Bambino includes an ID verification check (for those 18 and older), a basic check to make sure they are not on any government watch lists, an Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of Treasury Check (ensures the sitter is not a threat to national security), MasterCard check (makes sure the candidate has not been flagged by Visa or Mastercard for fraudulent activities), Family Watchdog Sex Offender check, and cell phone verification.
Babysitters who are 18 years or older can become an elite sitter by choosing the option of having a comprehensive background check completed. This is a more thorough report that browses more watchlists, criminal reports, and verifies their identity. It should give parents peace of mind that regardless of the age of the babysitters on Bambino, they all have to pass a few background checks to be featured on the website.
Bambino has a 4.8 star rating from over 8,600 people on the app store. Although they do not have a Better Business Bureau profile, they have great recommendations from families who have used their services and written about them online. Best of all, we were surprised and impressed with how many sitters you can find through Bambino! It felt like we could scroll endlessly on the app and browse the many qualified candidates in our city and the cities surrounding us.
Not everyone will be excited about using an app to find a babysitter. Some might prefer using a website, but we know that once you get familiar with the app's platform, you'll find it is easy to browse and get all the information needed to find someone to watch your kids that you are comfortable with. We highly recommend downloading Bambino's app and using it to browse sitters near you.
Care was started in 2006 with the goal of helping families find child care, special needs care, senior care, pet care, tutoring, and housekeeping assistance. They are an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, where they hold an A+ rating.
Over 140,000 caregivers
They have over 140,000 care providers in their network, with an average experience over 5 years. This is an impressive number of caregivers, which makes finding one in your area much easier.
Easy to browse
When navigating the Care website, you'll see that it's very professional and easy to browse through caregivers and post job listings. By posting jobs, families can get responses from babysitters who feel they meet the criteria set by the parents in search of a caregiver.
Simple 4 step process
The process for finding a babysitter works simply in four steps:
Narrow down your search
You can browse through some babysitters in your local area and narrow down the list of candidates by how soon you need a sitter, distance from your home, the hourly rate you're willing to pay, if they have a car, and many other specific details. This gives you an idea of how many babysitters might fit your criteria through Care before deciding to pay for the full membership.
Free to start
To use the basic features of Care, like creating job postings, you don't have to pay anything. Once you get responses to your job post and start browsing through the caregivers available for hire, you will need to pay to use the screening and communication tools to further get to know the babysitters. There really is no way to "use" Care's services without paying for a membership.
3 subscription plans
If you plan on using Care for the short-term and pay month-to-month, your cost for the premium membership is $38.99. If you need to use Care for a three-month period, you'll save a bit and pay $25.99/month, which comes out to $77.97 total. To use Care's full services for a year, your monthly cost drops to $12.99/month which comes out to $155.88 in total. The premium membership includes a basic criminal background check on babysitters, but does not include running motor vehicle checks or an extensive investigative criminal check on the potential sitters for hire.
Care has a lot going for them and seems like it would be a great place to find babysitters. But we were concerned when we discovered how many customers were unsatisfied with their experience through Care. Some of the complaints were that people had a hard time canceling memberships and were continually charged even after they thought their membership was cancelled. On top of this, unhappy customers said they had a difficult time reaching customer service to get their issues resolved.
Keep your eyes open
Care has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the past, as evidenced by their BBB rating. So, we're not sure if the customer issues are a result of a recent change in business practice or something else. For now, our advice if you want to proceed with Care is to keep your eyes open. They have a great database of caregivers and excellent communication tools - you just don't want to end up paying more than you agreed to.
Babysits is a platform that connects parents with childcare providers. They were founded in 2008 and now have over 1,700,000 people that use their services to find babysitters for their families or to find employment as a babysitter.
Not much customer feedback
There are over 28,000 cities in 38+ countries that have local caregivers available. Unfortunately, Babysits isn't as popular as some higher-ranked babysitting platforms, so they aren't ranked by the Better Business Bureau and don't have much customer feedback.
Straightforward 3 step process
The process of finding a sitter through Babysits is fairly straightforward. The following three steps give a basic overview of how their services work:
Lots of search filters
There are over 9,190 active babysitters to browse through at Babysits. By putting in your zip code, you can view a list of babysitters in your area. You can set a range from 3 - 30 miles around your location to get the biggest list of candidates possible. You can filter results by age, experience, type (nanny or babysitter), gender, household work requirements (pets, cooking, chores, homework), skills, availability, language, pay, and more. We always found at least a couple of babysitters to choose from that met our requirements in different cities around the U.S., but not as many as there are on some other babysitting sites.
Negotiate your own rate
Users on the Babysits site can create a profile, read community resources, search babysitters, and save searches for free. However, if you want to communicate with the babysitters or nannies you are interested in, the cost is $19.99/month. You can cancel at any time so that your fee does not recur monthly and even get a refund on your subscription within the first 14 days if you don't contact anyone. The hourly rate for the babysitter you hire is negotiated between you and them.
Hard to know
Without a lot of customer feedback, it's hard to know how satisfied families are overall. Babysits is not an agency and therefore they aren't the ones directly choosing caregivers for you. Rather, families can view babysitters looking for jobs and interview, negotiate terms, and do the hiring themselves. There is a dispute policy in place in the event that you are unsatisfied with the platform services. If a dispute arises, customers are asked to reach out to Babysits' management to work out a solution.
Room to improve
Overall, Babysits has a professional website that is easy to navigate. However, we didn't find very many babysitters to choose from around the areas we searched. We also don't feel like there is anything about this service that outshines higher-rated sites. Most disappointing of all is that there are no background checks conducted on candidates here, so there is definitely an issue of safety when it comes to hiring babysitters from Babysits. It might be worth checking out the potential caregivers available in your area here, but Babysits is not our first pick.
Bubble is a babysitting marketplace app in the UK that allows parents to find short notice and regular child care assistance. Whether you need someone to sit with your child in the evening, daytime, or after school, Bubble has candidates that are there to help, regardless of your schedule.
Not available in the U.S.
Thousands of families promote Bubble's services online by saying that they are a "life saver", "easy to use", "very effective", "friendly", and "efficient". They have been featured by Wired, The Observer, The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and other well-known media outlets. Unfortunately, their services are not available in the United States at this time, so that is a major limiting factor for people looking to use their app.
Every babysitter found through Bubble passes an online identity and background check before their profile is posted. Bubble puts an emphasis on transparency and safety, so they are good at allowing parents to get plenty of information on available caregivers and have them leave reviews about the services they received from the sitters.
Other measures they have in place to make sure families are able to find trustworthy babysitters include:
Payment is made through the app once a babysitter has completed their agreed upon duties. The least expensive route when using Bubble is to pay for "Bubble plus" which is £9.99/month to book unlimited babysitting sessions and never pay cancellation fees. Without Bubble plus, each booking fee is £5.99, last-minute booking fees are £9.99 and there is a cancellation fee (the normal booking cost) if you cancel within less than 24 hours.
Great service - for the UK
People in the UK really appreciate the services that Bubble provides. Unfortunately, if you are in the United States, you aren't even able to browse their mobile app because you need a UK phone number for sign-up verification. Bubble has earned a low rating from us because they are very restrictive at this time as to who is able to access their platform, so this app won't be helpful to anyone outside the UK.
You may have heard of UrbanSitter through Forbes, CBS Working Mother, Business Insider, Parents, CNN, Mashable, or The Wall Street Journal. They were founded in 2010 with the goal to reinvent the process of finding a babysitter by simplifying all the processes associated with browsing candidates, matching schedules, and payments. They have over 150,000 caregivers (babysitters and nannies) on their site available in over 60 cities.
3 steps to find your babysitter
The way UrbanSitter works is similar to many of their competitors:
2 subscription plans to choose from
Signing up to post a job is free at UrbanSitter. Once you've been contacted by a babysitter (sometimes in as little as three minutes), you'll need to buy into a membership to continue conversations and make bookings. If you want access to UrbanSitter month-to-month, the cost is $34.95 and is good for 30 days. For yearly subscription plans, the cost is $19.95/month or an upfront cost of $124.95 for the year. Memberships can be cancelled at any time, although lots of families report issues with cancellation and claim their card was continually charged after they tried to end their membership..
Babysitter fees are extra
The cost for individual babysitters on top of the fees to use the website range from $11 - $16/hour for one child. Babysitters and nannies keep 100% of their earnings when they work for you. Parents can pay with cash or with a credit card on the website.
By inputting your zip code after creating a free login at UrbanSitter, you can browse babysitters near you. We found a few babysitters that ranged from next-door cities to 20 miles away. There were fewer candidates here than we found at higher-rated sites. Each profile shows a name, picture, bio, availability, rates, experience, recent bookings, and background check verification. Basically, you should be able to quickly get details on everything you'd want to know before deciding if they could be a good match for your family or not.
Mixed customer feedback
There is mixed feedback about UrbanSitter's services from parents. Some families claim it simply works great for them while others are upset over bad customer service, inability to cancel memberships, and few candidates to choose from. On top of this, they have an F rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is extremely concerning. We don't think UrbanSitter shows anything that makes them better than their competition, so we recommend looking elsewhere for babysitters.
Sitter is part of a CareGuide, a family of companies that connect individuals with more than just babysitters. Through CareGuide, people can find accountants, electricians, landscapers, renovators, plumbers, nannies, chefs, roofers, tutors, senior care, and much more. There isn't a lot of information about the history of Sitter, when they were founded, and what their company mission is on their website. We would like to get to know the company better before trusting their services.
3 basic steps
Sitter's website is pretty straightforward. Finding a babysitter here works in three basic steps:
Over 10,000 babysitters
The babysitting directory claims to have over 10,000 sitters for hire. We aren't sure how accurate this number is or how active all the profiles are on the site. Families can search through candidates by location, age group, availability, duration, pay, required services, training, work eligibility, and more. We were surprised to find over 60 babysitters within 10 miles of our area that we could browse through.
3 pricey subscription plans
To contact the sitters you're interested in, you'll have to sign up for Sitter's membership. To do this you'll provide your name, email, phone number, zip code, babysitting needs, and a credit card number to pay for a subscription. There are three plans available depending on how long you want to have full access to send and receive messages from babysitters. If you go month-to-month, the cost is $45/month. If you agree to use the platform for three months, you'll pay $90, and for a full year the price is $180. This is more expensive than some competing sites and there is no refund once you've paid. You can cancel at any time to prevent recurring charges, but you're locked in for at least the initial time frame you pay for.
No background checks
Background checks are not done on babysitters through Sitter when they create and post a profile. Sitter does recommend that families run background checks before making a hiring decision, but they refer parents to third-party sites because they don't actually provide background check services themselves.
Too many complaints
Sitter's parent company, CareGuide, has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, Sitter alone seems to provide generally dissatisfying results to families who have left reviews on their service. There are quite a few caregivers who claim that they get messages from fake families looking for babysitting in order to get them to pay fees to use their services. There seem to be a lot of scammers on Sitter's site for both families and babysitters, which is unnerving.
We aren't overly impressed with this site as far as company transparency or customer recommendations. We feel you're better off using a higher-rated babysitting agency to find childcare.
Babysitter's Registry is an online platform where families can find babysitters, nannies, senior care, pet care, house cleaning, and tutors. Their website does not tell much about the background of the company, but simply lists that they have caregivers in your area that you can browse through. There is no Better Business Bureau profile for Babysitter's Registry and hardly any information to be found elsewhere about their services, so we don't have complete confidence in their company.
Complicated, confusing links
Babysitter's Registry has profiles that sometimes link to other online babysitting agencies, which is a little confusing. Some links to sign up take you to Sittercity while others redirect you to Care. It seems that this site is more of a catch-all site that finds sitters registered in other places and aims to help families find them all in one place. Unfortunately, all this does is add a middle-man and makes finding a babysitter more complicated.
To get a quick idea of whether there are babysitters near you, parents can enter their zip code and see a list of photos with brief descriptions of caregivers "nearby". In one major metro area, we found that most were 10+ miles away and had odd snippets from their bios that left us unimpressed. When you click on a profile, you see their desired price range, reviews from other families, age, and years of experience. To view anything more than that, you have to join the platform they are registered on - such as Care, Sittercity, or Babysitter's Registry.
For babysitters registered through Babysitter's Registry, you must register on their site by providing basic information like name, email, zip code, username, and so on. From there you are supposed to post a job to their site explaining your babysitting needs. Unfortunately, the link to actually post the job is broken, so we hit a dead end here.
Don't waste your time
To sum up our experience with Babysitter's Registry, we'd say this is pretty much a useless site. You won't find very many candidates for hire here, but you will find multiple reasons to be frustrated. With an unreliable website, non-transparent company background, and small selection of babysitters to choose from, we suggest not wasting your time with Babysitter's Registry.
These companies allow parents to browse their database of candidates to find a babysitter that matches the needs of the family. Some sitters specialize in working with infants, special needs children, or kids with behavioral issues. Seeing all the local caregivers in one place makes it easy to sort through them and find someone you trust.
Babysitting agencies vary in price, services, and ease of use. Ideally you'll want to find a service that has a professional website and is well-known by families and sitters alike. The more widely-recognized a babysitting agency is, the more likely you are to have plenty of candidates to choose from. As a parent, it's understandable that you will be picky when deciding who to trust in your home with your children, so being able to browse multiple babysitter profiles online is important.
Before using a babysitting agency to find someone to watch your children, we suggest you take the following things into consideration:
To help you identify the best babysitter for your children, TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best babysitting agencies available today. We hope this information gives you confidence as you find someone to care for your little ones while you are away!
Select any 2 Babysitter Agencies to compare them head to head
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