So you need someone to watch your children and have decided to look into online babysitting services. However, there are so many to choose from, including Sittercity, Care, Care4Hire.com, GoNannies, AuPairCare and 4Sitters.com, that it is overwhelming. To find the best fit for you and your family, you need to check out an assortment of sites. Each one will vary in everything from their fees and services, to their applicant filtering system and reputation, to the number of caregivers in their database. Some even provide contact information for pet sitters, housekeepers, tutors and eldercare services.
There are two ways in which online babysitting services work. With the first method, parents post a job and then the sitters who are interested and nearby contact them. This may be done via email or telephone. The parents can then respond accordingly. With the other method, parents can look at the profiles of potential babysitters and then contact the best ones. When searching, you get immediate access to babysitters. Simply type in your zip code and a list of local sitters pops up. When you click on a sitter, you may get a brief bit of information or their entire profile.
Some sites will let you preview and look for sitters without registering, so you can see the options. However, if you want to get the contact information, you need to be a member. Subscriptions may be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. The best sites will give you a free trial period, perhaps for a week, so you can try it out first. If you like it, you often have to pay an initial registration fee, in addition to the subscription costs.
Be aware that not all sites do the same things. Some may simply interview the babysitters to create a profile but do not check references. Others provide the option of doing extensive background checks. However, it may cost extra or require you to increase your membership level. The best sites will have a multi-step screening process. In addition, the online babysitting services should have comments or referrals from people the caregivers have worked for in the past.
Most online babysitting sites also have a search filter that lets the parents narrow down the candidates. For instance, if you have a child with special needs, you can locate a babysitter who has previous experience with this type of child or someone with specific medical certifications. This search filter will help you save time. They can also help you find back-up sitters at the last minute, in case the scheduled sitter gets sick or you get an unexpected dinner invitation. Some sites, like Sittercity, even offer nannycam and video monitoring options.