Review of Care.com babysitting site: one nanny's experience.
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 can write a simple email to the parent, and they'll look at your profile for the rest of your information and credentials). It was an even greater relief to have so much more success in finding jobs than I did when I filled out applications to 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 of being on the site. I can't guarantee that everyone will have the same success, but the odds look pretty good from here :)
Note: Many people had much worse luck than I did -- read the comments to see stories of people's negative experiences :(
Not at all what I expected: success through failure.
For starters, I'm writing this review from the perspective of the babysitter-- however, parents will find this review helpful as well, since I've obviously interacted with many parents through Care.com and I am happy to share a little of their experience as well.
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 expected them to be just as excited about me as I was about them.
However, none of the parents I emailed responded to me. It was a little discouraging, but things turned around very quickly. As I kept emailing parents, I got an email from a woman who I had never actually applied to. She said she'd like me 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'm still there after about seven months. A few weeks later I got an email from a parent who had me tutor her two sons after school, and a few weeks after that I received an email from a woman (again, one that I had never applied to) who had me babysit her one-year old on weekends. I actually had such a full schedule that I ended up eventually quitting one of the jobs so that I could continue taking classes at community college.
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." 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 the hierarchy of the family.
Screenshots from Care.com:
An brief overview of Care.com's features:
- Care.com allows you 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: $20 for one month, $40 for three months, and $60 for six months.
- All members 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.
- The References feature of this site is pretty interesting; you give Care.com the contact information of someone that you have worked for, and Care.com will schedule a phone interview with them, which will be recorded and posted on the website. There is also a reviews section, which allows other Care.com members to leave a written review for you.
- You can fill out a weekly calendar of your availability; however, I've found that some parents won'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.
- Members can 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.
Have you had success with online babysitting agencies?
Other EXTREMELY useful hubs about finding (or being) a nanny/sitter:
- Tips for Beginning Babysitters and Nannies: Lessons I've Learned the Hard Way.
- Nannies Needed! What you Need to Know On Becoming a Great Nanny and Other Great Tips
- How to Find a Babysitter or Nanny You Can Trust
- How to Find a Good Babysitter by Kathryn Vercillo
- How to Choose Quality Childcare for your Baby
Visit the Care.com website.
- Babysitters, Nannies, Child Care and Senior Home Care - Care.com
Care.com - Find local babysitters, nannies, child care and senior home caregivers near you. Post jobs for babysitting, tutoring, home health care, pet care and housekeeping. Hire an available full or part time babysitter and nanny when you need one.