October 30, 2019

“The best services allow parents to connect with other parents…”

You’ve heard about them, even know someone who’s used one, but here's how you can find one for your family.

Ginger Mayfield is co-founder of the on-demand babysitting app Wyndy, which now includes New Orleans in its lineup of available cities.

Things come up short-notice: work emergencies, family obligations, the much-needed kidless night out you forgot to get a sitter for. When the usual babysitter (mother-in-law/family friend) is unavailable, who else can parents trust? Ginger Mayfield, co-founder of the babysitter app Wyndy, provides some expert advice for local parents considering using an on-demand sitter service to help meet their childcare needs.

Why should I use an on-demand sitter service?
When it comes to finding babysitters, most parents still rely on their personal network for referrals, then use text messaging to try and book them. As a result, these busy parents spend a lot of time just trying to book a sitter, often with mixed results. Unlike five or 10 years ago, there are now mobile platforms that make it possible to hire a sitter in seconds. The key for parents is finding a platform that they can trust.

What makes an on-demand sitter service one that I can trust?
The best and most trustworthy services have a few things in common. First, they have a thorough vetting process, which includes understanding the sitter’s babysitting experience, conducting an interview, and requiring that every sitter pass a background check.

Second, the services enable parents to decide which sitter they want to hire rather than sending a sitter that the service chooses. Third, the best services help parents choose the right sitter by providing information on the number of previous jobs and ratings that other parents have given to the sitter.

Fourth, the best services allow parents to connect with other parents so that they can see which sitters their friends have used and the ratings their friends have given each sitter. Finally, the most reliable services provide parents with easy access to customer support staff who can help answer any questions or address any concerns by phone or through email.

Look for these things when screening potential babysitter apps:

  • How are sitters vetted? Interviews? Experience? Background checks?
  • Can you choose the sitter or does the service send one out to you?
  • What information is provided on the sitters? Past jobs? Ratings? Reviews?
  • Can you connect with other parents? Maybe a friend can provide more context.
  • Is customer support readily available by either phone or email?

Once I find a service I trust, how quickly can it provide me with a sitter?
How quickly a service can provide you with a sitter often varies by service and by the time of day. However, the best services enable you to post a job and receive interest from sitters in minutes, even for same-day jobs regardless of the time of day.

How do the best on-demand sitter services handle hourly rates and payment?
One of the most awkward parts of coming home to a sitter is trying to figure out how much you should pay them. The best on-demand sitter services enable parents to decide the hourly rate they want to pay before the sitter books the job, and enables the sitter to see and accept a rate before they commit to working a job.

In addition, the most useful services utilize mobile technology to enable sitters to time the jobs precisely. These services give parents the ability to see exactly how long they were gone, how much they owe, and securely pay the sitter through the app with a tap of a button.

If I’ve never used an on-demand service, what’s the best way to get started?
For parents who haven’t yet used an on-demand service, I recommend hiring a sitter, but explaining in advance that the parent will be at home working while the sitter is watching the kids. This approach gives parents the ability to try out a service and ensure it is a good fit.

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