As a mother with three young children living away from family in Westport, Connecticut, Elizabeth Aronson always relied heavily on babysitters. She said she had tried many services and had mixed luck before a fellow mom recommended Bambino, an app that connects families and babysitters based on a social network of recommendations.
“I found sitters I felt like I could trust last minute,” said Aronson. “It’s very convenient.”
Aronson said the added layer of parent reviews helped her feel confident that the sitters would do a good job.
“As a parent, a friend recommendation is so much more powerful,” said Seane Greene, the founder and CEO of Bambino Technologies, which launched in Los Angeles in 2016 and has since gone live in more than 50 cities across the country.
The app builds community by having managers in each neighborhood. When Aronson and her family relocated to Austin, Texas, she saw that there was an opportunity to grow a Bambino community in her new town.
She was so taken by the service that today Aronson is a market manager and head of training and development for Bambino in Austin.
“I enjoy connecting sitters with families,” Aronson said. As a mom, she takes her job personally and knows how important it is to find a last minute sitter on a Saturday night.
Bambino charges 10 percent for use of its app, and all prices shown include those fees. For example, if a sitter sets his or her rate at $10 an hour, the parent will see the cost as $11.
For babysitters, technology has added ease to finding jobs as well. Brianna Rocha, 34, is a Bambino elite sitter in Dallas, Texas. She started babysitting to make extra money outside of her daytime job in insurance.
Before using the app she was booking one babysitting job every few months. Now, she books jobs three to five days a week.
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“I don’t have to do any leg work,” Rocha said. “It’s a one stop shop.”
In about a month, she was able to buy a new refrigerator with the extra money she made babysitting.
For parents looking to find babysitters, here are some helpful tips.
- Look to your local community. Most apps do not allow sitters under 18 to join their platforms; Bambino is an exception. If you’re comfortable with a younger teen watching your children, there are other ways to find childcare. Religious communities are always a good place to find a network of sitters, especially if there is a local youth group. If your child is involved in sports or takes swimming lessons, ask if you can leave a card for the coaches at your local YMCA. You can also reach out to local babysitting classes in your area and ask for resources or recommendations. Both the Red Cross and Safesitter have classes for babysitters across the country.
- Have your own background check protocol. While apps like Bambino do verify parents and sitters and include background checks for added security, parents can and should assess the character of any babysitter they hire. There are free resources available that parents can check, such as the National Sex Offender Public Website for registered offenders, facts and statistics as well as other resources. Parents can also search their state registries. In addition, parents can ask for social media handles a resume or LinkedIn profile as well as professional references from potential sitters. It’s also a good idea to ask if your sitter has taken a babysitting class or has done any other training that teaches emergency skills and CPR.
- Do a test run with one or both parents present. Have an introduction with a new sitter and your children while one or both parent is at home. This gives you a chance to see how a sitter will interact with your children and help familiarize them to a new face.
- Discuss fair pay up front. How much you should pay a sitter will depend on many factors, such as where you live, how many children you have and how old they are. Parents and sitters can consult babysitting apps such as Care.com, Sittercity, Urbansitter or ask friends about how much they pay. Care.com says that the average hourly rate for sitters across the country is $11.75. The site also has a free calculator that will assess a sitter’s age, years of experience and the number of children to determine a pay rate.