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Sunday, March 3rd
Founded in 2006, Care has emerged as a prominent player in the for-hire caregiving industry, catering to various forms of assistance, such as nannies, special needs caregivers, senior care providers, pet sitters, tutors, and housekeeping help. Notably, over 4 million families across the United States have availed themselves of Care's services to meet their caregiving needs.
Lots of hoops to jump through at the outset
Beginning your nanny search on Care involves providing your zip code and specifying the type of assistance you seek, such as child care or pet-sitting. You'll be prompted to indicate the timing of your need, ranging from "right now" to "just browsing." Care then asks whether you require a recurring nanny, a one-time babysitter, or perhaps a daycare center. Once you've entered your child(ren)'s age, your email address, and name, you may expect to get the green light to start browsing profiles. However, even if you've chosen "Just Browsing," Care will request a start date for a one-time or weekly recurring nanny appointment, your intended pay rate range, and a brief family profile.
You can browse for free - but that's a little hidden
From there, you'll see a push to jump right into Care's Premium package, but you can also scroll down and click "stay limited" to browse nanny profiles near you. You'll be taken to Care's curated selection of caregivers, or otherwise choose "exit to the full directory" to see everyone in your area. Be sure you click the dropdown under "showing results for" and select "nannies/recurring sitters" , because Care defaults to listings for one-time babysitting.
Many nannies have no feedback from clients
Within the search results, filters are available to narrow down results based on factors like the number of children under care, professional skills (such as CPR training), and spoken language. However, you can't arrange results by criteria such as distance or hourly rate. In a mid-sized metropolitan area we explored, around 100 nannies were within a 20-mile radius. Regrettably, only about 25% of them had received ratings and reviews from clients, and the feedback was often limited, with the highest being 20 total ratings for a nanny.
Look at response rate info
Each nanny's profile reveals detailed information, including the date of their successful completion of Care's mandatory background check. Should you wish to view the results of the background check or opt for a more extensive investigation, like a motor vehicle or criminal records check, those options are accessible on the profile. One commendable feature at Care is that each nanny's profile displays their response rate and average response time, allowing you to approach caregivers more likely to respond promptly.
Membership isn't cheap
When you're ready to reach out to a nanny candidate, you'll need to invest in a premium membership to unlock the full suite of Care's features. Care charges $38.95 per month, but during our last visit to the site, clients could also opt for a quarterly membership at $24.95 per month or an annual subscription at $12.95 per month.
Reputation is less than great
Is subscribing to Care a worthwhile investment? Unfortunately, our answer leans toward the negative. Care's rating from the Better Business Bureau has dipped from an "A+" to a "B," with nearly 1000 complaints filed within the last three years. Trustpilot also displays almost 2500 absolute-worst one-star ratings. What's disheartening is that these complaints have persisted for years, revolving around issues like double charging (requiring both caregivers and clients to pay for background checks), challenging subscription cancellations, and the presence of inactive nanny profiles that waste prospective families' precious time. It's rare to find individuals, whether nannies or parents, who would enthusiastically recommend the Care platform.
Doesn't meet our expectations
Considering the extensive name recognition Care enjoys, it's disappointing that the platform doesn't always live up to expectations. While its visibility might suggest a top-tier caregiving referral service that delivers results for both nannies and clients, the reality doesn't quite line up with that. Care might be a viable choice in places with limited alternatives for finding nannies, but be prepared for potential drawbacks and challenges should you choose to use it as your nanny agency.
It can feel a little overwhelming when choosing a nanny to watch your children. You have to figure out how to even find a nanny, let alone several candidates to choose from. And then you have all of the searching, screening, and interviewing to zero in on the right person to be your parenting partner. That's where online nanny agencies can take a lot of the weight off your shoulders.
Many online nanny agencies conduct background checks and verify credentials, providing an added layer of security. Families can then search for nannies based on specific criteria, or agencies may provide recommendations based on your requirements. Platforms can also facilitate communication between families and nannies, allowing you to ask questions, schedule interviews, and negotiate terms.
When planning for a nanny, consider what you'll need for childcare from day to day and week to week, your expectations regarding housekeeping, and any special skills you may need in a nanny, such as CPR certification or multilingual capabilities. Next, determine your budget for a nanny's salary and additional expenses, such as benefits, taxes, and agency fees. This will help you narrow down your options.
As you've been thinking about hiring a nanny, you may have also come across the term "au pair" . Do you know the difference? In brief, nannies are professional caregivers who typically have formal training or significant childcare experience. They work in exchange for a salary and are considered employees. Nannies often work full-time and may have more extensive responsibilities, including housekeeping and transportation.
On the other hand, au pairs are young adults from other countries who come to live with a host family for a cultural exchange. They work for a set number of hours per week in exchange for room and board, a small stipend, and the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture. Au pairs are not professional caregivers and may have limited childcare experience. Only you can determine which option is right for you and your family, but there are pros and cons to each arrangement.
So - choosing a nanny is a significant decision that requires careful consideration, as the well-being and development of your child are at stake. To make an informed choice, it's essential to understand the process of hiring a nanny, how online nanny agencies work, and even the distinctions between nannies and au pairs.
How can you decide which nanny agencies are worth your time? Keep in mind these criteria to help you focus your search:
The experts at Top Consumer Reviews understand how important it is to know that your children are in capable, loving hands while you're away. We've carefully evaluated and ranked today's most popular nanny agencies, so that you can quickly find a reliable caregiver who will hopefully come to feel like a member of the family. Whether your perfect fit is more like Mary Poppins or Mrs. Doubtfire, the right nanny is out there for you!
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