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Jovie Review

Sunday, April 14th

2024 Babysitter Agency Reviews

Jovie Review 3.5 Star Rating

Jovie

3.5 Star Rating
  • Babysitting agency with franchise locations in 30+ states
  • Wide range of childcare, from on-demand babysitting to full-time nannies
  • All babysitters undergo a local/state/federal background check
  • Caregivers receive ongoing training
  • Can take up to a week to be matched with a sitter
  • Requires a meeting with your local Jovie franchise to get started
  • Set-up fee plus hourly rate paid directly to Jovie
  • In business since 2001

Jovie, rebranded from College Nannies and Sitters in 2022 and a subsidiary of Bright Horizons, is truly a babysitting agency. They hire caregivers as their own employees (which means they may actually get benefits) and then match them with families like yours. Whether you need on-demand help, part-time care, or even a full-time nanny, Jovie will find the right fit for you.

Not available nationwide

Before you get too far down the track with Jovie, you should know that they don't offer their services in all 50 states. The company operates through a franchise model, which means that local franchisees independently manage their operations in different regions. This allows them to cater to the specific needs of their communities. At the time of this evaluation, there were about 30 states (plus Washington DC) where this babysitting agency could connect you with childcare; notable exclusions were Utah, Maine, North Carolina, and Louisiana, among others. We recommend that you scroll down to the bottom of the main page to enter your zip code, even before you start filling out the form about your childcare needs.

Answer some initial questions to get started...

Once you've determined that Jovie is offered where you live, you'll get started by answering a few questions: the kind of help you need (after school, summer, occasional babysitter), how soon you need childcare (from ASAP to "within months" ), and your basic contact info. Pretty basic, right?

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...and now you wait

But, from there, you'll have to wait: there's no browsing of potential babysitters or even getting a preview of what you might pay, because the next step is having a Jovie team member reach out to you. As you might have already guessed, your experience from that point forward will completely depend on the Jovie franchise in your area, both with respect to what you'll pay and to the sitters on the roster.

Jovie does most of the heavy lifting

However, regardless of where you live, you can expect a few things to take place. First, you'll have a meeting (either in person or over the phone) with a rep from the Jovie franchise in your area. Once that's done, you'll be able to download the MySitters app and start scheduling. Any sitter you see on Jovie's app will have passed a thorough background check that looks for criminal records at the county, state, and federal levels. And, Jovie trains their babysitters at the beginning and throughout their employment with the franchise, including topics like child safety and age-appropriate fun. Finally, all payment is done through Jovie - mostly because Jovie hires babysitters as their own employees, so they take care of payroll, taxes, insurance, and any other benefits they choose to offer their caregivers.

More expensive than most

We know what you're thinking: "Sounds expensive... " You are probably correct. Again, what you pay will depend on what your local area charges, but we did a little digging to give you at least a ballpark. We found that in one Colorado area, the hourly rate charged to families varies from $28 to $40, with a 4-hour minimum charge per babysitting appointment. And, in every Jovie franchise, there's a one-time setup fee for new families, but we didn't find anyone revealing what that amount could look like. You'll find out the specifics in your area with your consultation, but at least now you have a bit of a heads-up.

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Reputation depends solely on your local Jovie office

All of this can make Jovie's reputation tricky to summarize, with so much depending on how the local franchise operates. We've found families who rave about their Jovie babysitters and how easy it is to work with them and with the company, but also those who say that their sitters were often double-booked (which would be the franchise's fault) or that their concerns weren't appropriately addressed. The same goes for how babysitters and nannies feel about working for Jovie: some say that the experience has been fantastic and their supervisors genuinely care about them, and others complain about how they barely make minimum wage even though Jovie is charging families a lot more than that.

Do your homework first

Overall, we like the idea of Jovie: fully-vetted and trained babysitters, bookable through an app, and plenty of oversight if support is needed. That's a big step up compared with websites that just let people sign up as caregivers (and families) and do nothing to help ensure that things go smoothly. But, because it's not currently available in all 50 states and your experience is so dependent on the quality of your local franchise, we can't quite put Jovie at the top of our list of babysitting agencies. We recommend that you see if there's a franchise in your area by entering your zip code on the main website, and then do your own sleuthing to see how that location is doing reputation-wise.

Where is the Best Place to Find a Babysitter for Your Children?

Finding a trustworthy babysitter can be a daunting task, especially if you're a parent with a busy schedule, or you're in a new town where you don't know who to ask for a recommendation. Fortunately, the digital age has made it easier than ever to connect with reliable caregivers through babysitting agency websites.

Online babysitter platforms offer a range of features and benefits that can simplify your search for the perfect babysitter. These websites provide a convenient way to find childcare services at your fingertips. You can browse profiles and contact potential babysitters from the comfort of your home. This eliminates the need for time-consuming interviews, begging for referrals in community Facebook groups, or searching through classified ads, making the process far more efficient.

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Babysitter Agency FAQ

A babysitter takes care of your child (or children) while you're away - at work, on a date, at the gym, or for any other reason. Babysitters can be male or female, old or young, but some states have statutes regulating the age that minors can be left in charge (usually anywhere from age 12-16).
A mother's helper is usually there to help with the kids while at least one parent is still present: maybe taking care of lunch and activities while Mom works from home, or doing the laundry while Dad gets the kids to bed. Nannies work on a more fixed schedule, either part-time or full-time, and there are usually employment/tax considerations to keep in mind. Au pairs come from other countries and live with the family, watching the kids and tending to other household responsibilities in exchange for room/board and sometimes a monetary stipend. Compared with those three situations, babysitting is much less formal and more of an as-needed childcare arrangement.
Word of mouth is the most common way to vet a new babysitter. It's great to have someone that's already taken good care of your friends' children with no problems! The downside is that these sitters will be in high demand, and you might not be able to get them on your desired schedule. You can also ask for references or run a background check, if you're considering a babysitter that isn't known to you personally.
When you're new to an area or don't have any available sitter referrals from friends, you could put the word out in local groups on social media. Unfortunately, that could attract less-than-reputable individuals! Instead, consider using a babysitter referral service: these platforms allow prospective sitters to create a profile, complete with client reviews and information about their background and any certifications they have (like infant/child CPR). Some referral services make it possible to get a background check, though the sitter may have to opt in before you can access the results.
You can expect to pay a membership fee in the neighborhood of $20/month to access most babysitter referral services. That gives you unlimited access to the database and to making connections with the sitters you find. Some platforms give you limited free access to get started, or a trial period to see if there are enough potential babysitters in your area to make it worth the membership fees.
That varies widely by geographic location, the number of children you have (and their ages), the expertise level of the sitter, and what you expect your sitter to provide. You can ask other parents in your area what the going rate is: underpay your sitter and they're not likely to come back! In the past, the reported average hourly rate for babysitters in the US ranged from $15-$20, but in less urban areas it tended to be closer to $10/hour.
Yes. You can make whatever arrangements you like with your babysitter. It's not uncommon to ask a sitter to fix a light meal, take care of the dishes after the kids are in bed, or tidy up the playroom while the children are watching a movie. Just remember that their primary focus should be on keeping your little ones safe, not housekeeping.
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Continued from above...

Additionally, babysitting agency websites prioritize safety and reliability. They often vet their babysitters through background checks and interviews, giving you access to trusted caregivers. This extra layer of security can bring peace of mind to parents, knowing that their children are in the hands of experienced and thoroughly screened individuals.

Moreover, these websites provide a wide selection of potential babysitters. You'll have access to a diverse pool of caregivers, allowing you to find someone who matches your family's specific needs and preferences. Whether you require a babysitter for a one-time event or regular childcare, agency websites can accommodate your unique requirements. This flexibility is particularly valuable for parents with varying schedules and childcare needs.

When choosing a babysitting agency, it's not always easy to know which ones will best suit your situation. Here are some key comparison points that can help you narrow it down:

  • Availability. First, you'll need to verify that the website operates in your area and can connect you with babysitters in your locality. Then, check if the platform offers babysitters who are available when you need them, whether it's for date nights, weekends, or weekdays. Finally, some websites may offer additional services, such as tutors or pet-sitters, so choose one that aligns with your family's unique needs.
  • Reputation. Look for websites with a strong reputation for connecting families with reliable babysitters. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from other parents. And, of course, look at the ratings and feedback on each individual sitter, regardless of the babysitting agency you're using. The best babysitting agencies conduct thorough background checks on babysitters to guarantee the safety of your children.
  • Fees. Compare the fee structures of different platforms. Some charge you a membership or sitting fee, while others take a percentage of the babysitter's earnings.
  • Scheduling and communication. Evaluate the platform's scheduling tools and messaging systems to determine how easy it is to coordinate with babysitters.
  • Customer support. Consider the level of customer support provided. Responsive support can be invaluable when you have questions or encounter issues. If your babysitter doesn't show up (or worse, you have a bad experience), you want to know that the agency will have your back.

To help you find the perfect babysitter for your kids, Top Consumer Reviews has checked out and ranked various babysitting agencies. We hope this info boosts your confidence as you search for someone to look after your little ones when you're not around!

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