I’ve personally had good fortune finding babysitters using both Sittercity.com and Care.com,
national services which help members match up with trustworthy child
care providers. In fact, that’s how I found our current beloved nanny
who’s been with us for two years.
Now it’s rare that my husband is home for any of the major holidays given his work (including Christmas, unfortunately). But this year, he’s going to be home for New Year’s Eve. This is big news, people! And big enough for me to start hunting down a babysitter so that we can ring in 2013 outside of the comfort of our couch for once.
Whether you’re looking to get a date night over the holidays and New Year’s Eve like me, or are hoping to find someone for a more permanent position, here’s the rundown of each of the sites so you can choose the best one for you.
I’ve used Sittercity.com for many years now, and have found many excellent sitters through their helpful service. If you’re not familiar with how it works, you can either post a job that sitters can respond to, or peruse the available babysitters in your area. Their profiles include a bio, experience, and interest areas (in terms of kids’ age), as well as their qualifications, certifications, and availability. There’s also a handy calendar which outlines exactly what days and times during the week the sitter is generally available.
I’m a big fan of the Sittercity rating system, which allows families that the caregiver has worked for to leave a rating and comments. Plus, certain sitters who have a background check completed as well as high ratings are clearly distinguished. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for someone on short notice and might not have a chance to conduct a longer interview process.
You can join for one month, starting at $35, or you can purchase a whole year membership for $90, which works out to just $7.50/month along with three free background checks. (This does not include the cost of the sitters.)
While you can’t peruse the sitters available in your area before you join, they are offering a free one-week trial, which will allow you to take advantage of the service. It’s worth giving it a whirl if you’re not willing to commit to the $35 just yet.
I actually used Care.com when they were offering a free weeklong trial and found a wonderful babysitter that we have used several times. The website works quite similarly to Sittercity in that members can either post jobs or peruse the available sitters in their area; however, I do like that with Care.com you can actually see who’s in your area even before you sign up.
Of course, you will have to upgrade your membership in order to get the sitter’s contact information, but this is helpful when you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to take the plunge and join.
After a quick search, I found over 1300 sitters in my area, and just like Sittercity, you’ll get all sorts of helpful information about them, including their skills, interests, and certifications, as well as their reviews and references. Care.com also integrates daycares and child care centers into the findings, in case you’re looking for that sort of care for your children, so it is a bit broader in scope than Sitercitty.
And I do like that there are a few more options for users, particularly the “back-up care” option, which allows you to blast a message out to sitters in your area quickly, if you’re in a rush to find someone. Although they do guarantee a sitter will respond within 3 days or you get your money refunded, for so many moms, it’s helpful to have this sort of “emergency” option too.
The cost for Care.com for just one month is the same as Sittercity.com at $35, but the yearly membership is $120, or about $30 more. They do have a 3-month membership option, which is $24/month. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a free trial like Sittercity. However, you are able to see a lot more information before you join to help you make the decision.
You’ll get a few more options on Care.com in terms of finding help, though for me, their site is a little overwhelming when all I want to be able to do is find sitters or post a job. And I am not a fan of it giving the impression of a free trial, only to send me to a sign-up (and pay) page. Conversely, you do have to join—or do the free trial–on Sittercity.com before you can even get to see the actual site, which could feel a little more like a risk.
Given my positive experience with both sites, I’m pretty certain you’ll be able to find someone fabulous, whether you’re just looking for one night out or a sitter to stay with your family for the rest of the year.
And if you do? Especially on New Year’s Eve, well, congratulations. Hope you get to make the most of it. –Kristen