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Review of Care.com Babysitting Site: One Nanny's Experience

So far, my experience babysitting through this site has been very positive. Here, I share the pros and cons.

My review of Care.com, from the caregiver's perspective.

My review of Care.com, from the caregiver's perspective.

Care.com: The Best Job-Searching Experience I've Ever Had

All in all, my Care.com experience has been very positive. Back in high school, my friends and I had to fill out dozens and dozens (no exaggeration) of job applications before getting an interview. With Care.com, it was a relief to have such an incredibly simple method of applying. You write a simple email to the parent and they look at your profile for the rest of your information and credentials. I had much more success in finding jobs on Care.com than I did when I filled out applications for boring cashiering positions.

My conclusion: try it. It will probably work, but if it doesn't, you're not losing any money over it (unless you choose to). I got my first job offer after only two days after joining. I can't guarantee that everyone will have the same success, but the odds look pretty good from here.

Note: Although my experience has been positive, many people have had much worse luck than I did and even call it a "scam"—read the comments below and search online to see stories of people's one-star reviews and other negative experiences.

Babysitting on Care.com

For starters, I'm writing this review from the perspective of the babysitter—still, parents will find it helpful as well, since I've interacted with many parents through Care.com and I am happy to share a little of their experience, as well.

No Membership Fees for Applicants

As a poor college kid, I chose the Care.com because it didn't require me to pay for membership (unless I opted to upgrade to a premium membership in order to become a "featured member," which I definitely didn't). At first, I was very excited. As soon as I put together my profile, I started emailing parents and I hoped they'd be just as excited about me as I was about them.

Connecting With Parents

However, none of the parents I emailed responded to me. It was a little discouraging, but things turned around very quickly. I got an email from a woman whom I had never actually emailed. She said she was looking for someone to babysit her eight-week-old for three days a week, and we agreed to meet the next week for an interview. The job turned out great, and I am still there after seven months.

A few weeks later, I got an email from a parent who wanted me to tutor her two sons after school, and a few weeks after that, I received an email from a woman (again, one to whom I had never applied) who had me babysit her one-year-old on weekends.

I actually had such a full schedule that I ended up quitting one of the jobs so that I could continue taking classes at community college.

Applying for Babysitting Jobs on Care.com

All of this brings me to a key point: if you choose to use Care.com, then by all means be aggressive in applying to as many jobs as possible, but don't expect a response. The right family will eventually find you.

The first family that contacted me explained it this way: "When we posted the job, we got at least eight offers from potential babysitters, but none of them were what we were looking for. When a parent advertises for a sitter, they already have in mind their own idea of the ideal babysitter for their family."

What Parents Are Looking For

I began to see the truth of this as I worked for more families; parents are looking for a sitter who can be an extension of their own parenting style, and it is very important to them that they find someone who will seamlessly blend into their family's system.

A screenshot of my "stats" section.

A screenshot of my "stats" section.

How Does Care.com Work?

Membership Fees?

Care.com allows you, the job applicant, to use a free account or to pay for a featured account. I suggest you try the free version before paying, but if you're curious, here are the numbers: $39 for one month, $78 for three months, and $156 for six months.

Background Checks?

All applicants have the option to pay for a background check as part of their profile. I was a little hesitant to take advantage of this feature because my previous retail job had taken about five weeks to finish my background check, but Care.com took about thirty seconds to confirm that I had no criminal history. I recommend that you get your background check ASAP, because families expect you to have this and they will be unlikely to hire if you don't.

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How Do References and Reviews Work?

The References feature of this site is pretty interesting: you give Care.com the contact information of someone that you have worked for, and they schedule a phone interview with them, which will be recorded and posted on the website. There is also a review section, which allows other Care.com members to leave a written review for you.

Calendar and Stats?

You can fill out a weekly calendar of your availability; however, I've found that some parents don't bother reading it before contacting people. Additionally, each member has statistics listed on their page about how frequently and promptly they respond to messages from other members.

What Types of Jobs Are Available on Care.com?

Members choose to list themselves as caregivers for children, pets, the elderly, or special needs children; they can also list themselves as tutors or housekeepers. The best part is that you aren't limited to just one of these options; you can list your profile in as many categories as you like.

The "availability" section.

The "availability" section.

Other extremely useful articles about finding (or being) a nanny/sitter:

Sitters-Only Survey!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Brandy on April 15, 2020:

This site is just a huge scam for both sides, the family and the caregiver! I would never use it again. Please use another option as care.com is a terrible company

Cristina on January 04, 2019:

I used care.com to hire a nanny/babysitter to help us out a couple times a week and for date nights. On New Years I come to my babysitter DRUGGED OUT ON MY COUCH AND TOTALLY INCOHERENT WITH MY 3-MONTH-OLD SON!! SHE DID DRUGS IN MY HOUSE AND PUT MY CHILD IN DANGER. I WILL NEVER USE THIS SITE AGAIN OR ANY SITE FOR THAT MATTER. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CLEAN BACKGROUND DOESNT MEAN YOUR CLEAN. YOU JUST HAVENT BEEN CAUGHT YET. VERY UPSETTING AND DISAPPOINTED.

Jessica Tormos on December 17, 2018:

I have been a nanny for over 15 years and joined care.com 6 years ago. I had an impeccable profile 17 reviews at 5 star ratings. This of course I came across a gentleman posing to be a parent. He wanted me to nanny for his children at a hotel room. I was in guard as I do not deal with too many men who seek childcare. Nevertheless I ask to speak to his wife he msg back saying she was busy. We never communicated in the phone only email and txt. So he told me he wanted to hire me for $30/hr but I will have to meet him at a hotel. When I declined and told him I felt uncomfortable he began harassing me via phone. I woke up the next morning to care.com removing my profile after this party made false and slanderous statements. Care.com deletes profiles of its members without doing investigations.

Disappointed Mom on August 21, 2018:

Nope. I am a responsible adult using the site in an attempt to find a Mother's Helper. It didn't work out for me from both a quality of care AND billing perspective. I didn't realize I had signed up for *automatic renewal* at the premium rate. I am super careful to avoid anything that resembles 'auto-payment'. Must have been in the fine print. Bogus.

Shawn on May 29, 2018:

I would recommend against the site. I travel with family a lot, and the site requires a membership per country visited! Ranges from $30 USD to almost $50 AUD per month

Cj on April 13, 2018:

This company is a SCAM!! Don't use it!

raincoaster on October 22, 2017:

I'm a pet-sitter and tried Care.com because I thought it was a good business model. Having seen word-for-word identical postings, put up at the most ridiculous hours (like 4am every day, literally every day a new job with identical wording goes up), over and over from purportedly different people in slightly different locations, I now think it's like Ashley Madison, where most of the postings are fake. They just want you to pay to communicate with these people. I've been a full-time professional for seven straight years and I have yet to receive one genuine message from a single person on Care.com after six months. They won't get another penny of mine. Kijiji works for me, and it's really free, not just pretend-free.

Yukiko on March 08, 2017:

Thank you for this review. I joined the Care a few weeks ago and have been trying to figure out how to be involved. Your thorough review was so perfect!

Michelle on February 17, 2017:

This website won't let you interact with families, view your messages, or correspond in any way without paying for premium membership.

SilverMoonGoddess on January 22, 2017:

It's sad that two years later, I see that nothing has changed with Care.com, even with the legal issues that they are having. My advice is the same: Have your potential caregivers undergo a fingerprint test offered by your local law enforcement officials and as a careseeker, you need to be prepared and willing to do the same. My last job through Care.com was almost 2 years ago and it nearly cost me my leg and my life; and it could have been avoided had the family been required to do a background check. I would have known that the family, from the Philippines, had an open case with the county for the conditions of the house (child's room and other bedrooms that I had no access to and was unaware of the health violations involved) and the fact that there were pending neglect charges that would have shown up on a background check. If the person you want to hire will not do a criminal check, or if the family will not, don't hesitate to say NO. NO job is worth the cost of your life. Here I am 2 years later and I'm still recovering from a life threatening injury that destroyed my life. Please do not use Care.com, and please protect yourself and your family.

Patricia on January 17, 2017:

Care.com used to be so nice to get jobs but they have changed so much. I used to get so many great opportunities . Now you have to pay just to get any answers or replies from any families. It is not a at all very user friendly r helpful anymore. Very disappointed with this company. Oh yea and just try to find a way to call care.com and talk to a person . You can forget that too,

Oink Oink Carecom on September 18, 2016:

I don't know where to start. After 4 years of successfully making tons of money on Care.com working for 300 plus families maybe more doing date night with 5 stars and great recommendations for my services my account was closed. I called 877-227-3115, press 1, press 1, press 3 and finally 4 to speak to a human this took about 15-20 of holding for a human. When I finally got a person on the line, they said I’m not eligible to use the website. When I asked why? The person said that Care.com is not required to release specific details as to why an account is closed. I asked to speak to a Supervisor who did not call me back but emailed me and said that:

“As per your request I have reviewed your case and unfortunately the decision to close your account is irreversible.”

I now have a Sittercity account and just like I had no issues with my background check or my DMV report on Care.com, I now have settled into Sittercity and other sitter sites on Mommy Groups, Facebook and Google. The moral of the story is that at the park with the other Nanny’s none have background checks and fifty percent of the girls on Care.com are here illegally and they work illegally with no license or background check and yet, I get blocked while my Nanny friends are still searchable. What does this tell you? I could actually show you the profiles of all my illegal friends that have no papers but pay and appear as PREMIUM care providers and give you all the names of the numerous sitters on Care.com with no papers to work in the USA but yet they all are employed by and are all employed by families who found them on Care.com. All the Nanny’s at the park have a Care.com and all pay premium fees to appear first in searches but none are legal to work in the USA. Care.com you have to wake up and smell the coffee. Yet, I’m block for life for what? I would really like to know why? And, some of these Nanny’s are expected to work from 7am to 7pm Monday thru Saturday for $9 an hour and if it’s 120 degrees outside you have to wash the Master’s car while the children nap and clean the toilets and be a maid and Nanny for $9 an hour, 6 days a week working for $600 a week being a SLAVE, with not OT and no rest for the SLAVES that agree to work for the horrific people on Care.com. I could write a book.

I think someone else mention it on this comment page. Sittercity does not have one million clients that I’m use to on Care but I need to move on and I have plenty of clients that are now my clients that will still use my services regardless of Care.com. I am so honest and awesome that I created an empire with the constant help of GOD. Also, on Facebook there a secret pages for Nanny Services. Also, if you Google, sitter services you can find other Sitter Services. On FB you need to know someone to allow you to join the different private Babysitting Services. I texted my clients as soon as I realized after not being able to log in to my Care account (only to find out after a phone call to Care that I had been kicked out or removed or terminated) about the decision of Care to terminate me for God knows what/why reason. I don’t know if my clients received an email saying not to touch me or use my services. I’m not sure if they did, none have said a word about an email stating not to touch me or use my services, as none have had the heart to tell me and I have been in their life for five years or longer and maybe that is why.

I don’t know why I was terminated or removed? That bothers me. I would like to have an idea of why please? I can’t think of anything and I’m a pretty smart individual. My only thought is I’m very popular so maybe someone out there was jealous of how successful I am. And, I am. Regardless, of this terrible news and decision from Care you have to move on and if someday there is a class action lawsuit, contact me, as I would love to join in. This is unacceptable after 4-5 years I expect to know what or why Care.com.

Patricia on November 16, 2015:

Sittercity and Care.com sites are fraught with scammers, in two weeks posting as a nanny on Sittercity I received a dozen emails from check scammers. Google this site and Care.com via BBB, Sittersity or Care.com complaints, Nanny complaints, etc, and you will be shocked at what you find. Both Sittercity's and Care.com's income is from selling memberships to parents, and background checks to nannies. Getting jobs is simply a byproduct of that, if you get lucky. Once Sittercity has your debit card info for a one-time background check, you can't get them out of your bank account for recurring charges. In the details of your bank account, they will show up as a Recurring billing, under the name of "Computer Stores Miscellaneous." I had to close my bank account to stop recurring billing by them. My friend has had the same experience of fraud from both the website, and the users, with Care.com - from fake check scammers to pedophiles. Beware, beware, beware...and Google them extensively before using.

KenPeters2015 on May 15, 2015:

Another baby has died in the hands of a Care.com babysitter. A 2 year old this time. It irks me to see these blogs about Care.com but at the same time it is a platform to let others know not to leave babies or children with Care.com or any other babysitting site that is internet based with no proper pre screening.

Sarahmiller1970 on May 12, 2015:

I wanted to let people know especially nanny's how fraudulent and unethical Care.com really is. Care.com will terminate any member, parent or caregiver for any reason or no reason at anytime with out warning or explanation. I did do an investigation to see how true this really was. OR are people just breaking the rules and whining?

People are not whining. I am sure some did break the rules but for the most part the ones that take the time to make a review about it are telling the truth. I myself have been shut down by care.com a few times.

Here is what happens: Care.com will not allow for many negative reviews on a caregivers page from any and all parents. (WHY EVEN HAVE REVIEWS THEN?) That was my question.

Care.com will only allow no call no show or 1 star reviews of little importance and lacking detail. Care.com will terminate both the parents account that wrote the review and the caregivers account as well and then ban both parties for life.

Care.com clearly states : "We welcome all feedback and encourage all parties to report any issues either by review the report button or phone call to the customer service center" This is Why: Care.com targets all accounts that have issues and will throw that issue out the door within 15 minutes of reporting it by closing both accounts. This gets rid of all legal issues and is much less time consuming then investigating any complaint. Care.com could not care less what happened.

Care.com reps will say "Thank you for letting us know we tall all reports very seriously" Then they will look up both accounts and send out an auto generated message to both email addresses that they both have been removed and banned.

If you look up Sitejabber, Reviewopedia, The dollhouse, Complaints board, Hiya, Waffles at noon even the BBB (the BBB also only allows for a few negative remarks as well) there are over 1000 reviews from parents that said they were banned for reporting a bad babysitter. Also babysitters reporting abusive parents were banned as well. How could 1000 people be making this up? They are not. That is only one issue of many.. Auto renew billing that is hidden in very small print with no E receipt..Unsupported background checks from Care.com. Care.com uses as NO ID system to run checks...Criminals are running rampant as well as scams. Minors, prostitution and all sorts of illegal activity is going on. Since Care.com does not properly monitor anything they run the business like a reckless rudderless ship and close down any issue that they come across. STEER CLEAR!!

Tracey on May 11, 2015:

When you sign up for a 30 day membership, you think that it expires in 30 days, right? Nope, it's a scam. If you read the VERY SMALL print, you realize that you are actually agreeing to a monthly subscription, for which your credit card will be automatically charged. This practice is actually illegal in some states. When I finally realized how much I was being charged (long after I stopped using the website), they stood by their practice of scamming people and would not reimburse me. Being in the business of childcare, I would assume that being ethical and establishing trust with your customer is a priority. Care.com has failed miserably in this domain. Do not fall victim to this scam!

Deborah Hemsworth on May 09, 2015:

Ok lets be honest then. It is a taboo subject to talk about other people's kids. It always will be. No matter what is said, the general public will most always be favorable to the parents with kids, not the nanny. With that being said, that is why it makes no sense to air your opinion about children. As for the parents being being dirty, I agree. There are dirty people in this world and there are some nutjobs that put the house way before the kids. I have been through the wringer with special needs kids if you want to get real lets get real. I have worked for parents that put the house and their own needs before the kids so blantantly it was disgusting. Would come home and be concerned about a spot on the carpet that was the size of a dime, and not ask about their child that had a feeding tube.I have worked for parents that the kids were so out of control I have bite marks on me an bruises at the end of the day. I have worked foe some very rich families in Annapolis Maryland that were clearly out of their minds and put the kids completely last on their to do list. (And Chuck if you ever read this this is not about you) I plan on using you as a reference for years... You were always fair and honest with me to a fault. Being a caregiver is not easy emotionally, its not for everyone.

SilverMoonGoddess on May 09, 2015:

Yes I said bratty because Deborah, some are. Most are not, but many of the ones I have worked with, IN MY AREA are. You say that you would never blame the family, especially online, so why is it most posts blame the nannies and caregivers and the families take no ownership of their roles in the dynamics? I have worked for families elsewhere that were wonderful and amazing, unfortunately I didn't find that where I was up until recently. Was my last employer dirty? Yes, are most? No. I had bad luck. But to imply that ANY nanny who speaks out is uneducated and ignorant doesn't say much. Perhaps had you been through what I have been through, you MIGHT have more compassion. I hope that you never have to go through what I have been through however, I wish you and everyone else nothing but the best.

Deborah Hemsworth on May 08, 2015:

I have also been a nanny for 20 years and a parent for some years. I would never blame a family, especially online for anything. Calling kids bratty? I am lost for words. Kids are kids. Care. com is a fraudulent misrepresenteed company that allows uneducated, ignorant caregivers on board.

SilverMoonGoddess on May 07, 2015:

My experiences went from bad to life threatening due to the family that I had been working for off the site. I just came out of 2 months in the hospital for a severe staph infection which I contracted from this dirty family. I let Care.com know and I've never heard from them. I see all these complaints about the caregivers, some of you families NEED to look at yourselves and your behavior and habits. I've never been so sick in my life, and now I'm looking at a recovery period of no less than a year and a half because of how bad the infection got. I have decided to give up being a caregiver due to this, and it kills me because I have been doing this for 20+ years, but watching some spoiled, bratty, children is NOT worth my health. I do apologize if this offends the decent families on here that have had issues, but in 4 years I have yet to meet one decent family in my area and honestly, after 2 months in the hospital, I'm not interested in meeting any more