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It used to be easy to find child care by asking a trusted adult if they knew of any teenagers who might be interested in working for a few hours watching the kids. However, due to the transient and dispersed nature of modern life, many families now find themselves living a great distance from their extended networks of family and friends. Or, maybe nobody you know is a good fit to watch the kids, or might be busy. In a bind like this, consider hiring professional sitters or care services. Understandably, leaving your child with strangers is nerve-wracking, and parents will want to ensure that they pick a reputable care service. Should you choose Care.com vs SitterCity, or Care.com vs UrbanSitter? Consider some of the following providers for your childcare needs.
Services for Professional Sitters
All babysitters hired by a family’s childcare service should go through a thorough screening process that includes background checks, proof of identity, and other certifications.
Care.com offers child care, babysitting, tutoring, and elder care services. All are offered by Care.com, one of the most well-known names in the industry. For the most part, it serves as a marketplace, matching up individuals in need of care-giving services with those who can provide those services. On either the website or the app, users must agree to a background check prior to registering. The client is responsible for paying for this, so keep that in mind. Applicants for the role of caregiver can include a resume detailing their relevant experience and education, and must include a recent photo of themselves. The cost of a one-month membership for those in need of care is $39, but this price decreases if the client purchases multiple-month packages. This service has faced some issues, however, mainly with subscriptions and charges for sitters. There are reports of subscribers continuing to be charged even after cancelling a monthly subscription, and also being charged despite cancelling a sitter. Customer service is also somewhat lacking, and getting a hold of a live person is difficult.
Like Care, SitterCity is also a job board site where those in need of a sitter (child, pet, or elderly) can post jobs, and providers can accept them. There are options for hiring a regular babysitter on a fixed schedule or a one-time job. It is also a membership-based site, where clients pay a monthly fee for access to the job boards, in addition to paying the provider for work. To list on the site, sitters must agree to a thorough background check and verify their identity, and the service partners with Family Watchdog to monitor their sitters on an ongoing basis. A major difference between SitterCity and Care is who pays for the background check. On Care, the person signing up for the service pays for it. On SitterCity, the caregiver only pays for it. Because there may not be any sitters available in the client’s area, caregivers may have to travel a considerable distance to find work with SitterCity, which can be up to 50 miles away.
Unlike other sites that match caregivers with clients, UrbanSitter uses your linked social media accounts to suggest caregivers based on who your contacts have previously used. Even though this isn’t the only way to find a caregiver, it’s a useful feature for those who prefer to select a caregiver through the recommendation of family and friends. Potential caregivers’ previous clients can also be contacted privately by clients seeking feedback on their services. In addition to an extensive background check, UrbanSitter requires all caregivers to undergo a thorough screening and vetting process. It is a highly affordable option, as subscriptions cost $35 per month for pay-as-you-go plans or $20 per month for premium plans, with the option of paying $100 per month for a yearly plan. Most people comparing Care.com vs UrbanSitter state that Care.com has a more extensive network, but UrbanSitter provides better matches of sitters with families.
All of the services reviewed here offer parents in need of care many options, including mobile applications, multiple billing methods, and access to qualified caregivers who have passed extensive background checks. Choosing a sitter match-up service that works for a family’s needs might be a trial-and-error process, involving trying out different services to see which one works best.
1. How safe are these services?
Most care services know that they must maintain a strong reputation for safety in order to continue operating. Some of the background checks on sitters include criminal background checks, sex offender registry checks, and global watchlists.
2. What ages are the babysitters on these services?
All services require sitters to be over 18 in order to create an account, and accounts created for younger teens by their parents are weeded out and rejected. Sitters can be virtually any age after 18, so long as they are skilled and qualified.
3. Do clients pay for transportation for the sitter?
In most cases, no, but this is usually detailed in the job listing whether the sitter must pay for their own transportation.
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