Backup Nanny on short term notice?Try Urban Sitter - great for finding last minute help!
SitterCity or Care.com - does anyone use these or have advice?I have used Care.com and Urbansitter.com to look for afterschool babysitters, and generally found higher quality applicants (and more applicants in general) on Urbansitter.com.
Urban Sitters reviewsI have found UrbanSitter useful and have found some great help here after some trial and errors. I think it's important to find people that have at least several positive reviews and repeat families. I've had luck finding some lovely sitters who are teachers, former nurses or current med students. And if somebody is going to be flaky about scheduling then I write them off immediately. I've learned the hard way.
Re: [PSP] Sittercity vs care.comUrbansitter worked great for us.
Re: Emergency sick-day Sitters - What do you do?yesterday I was in this situation when my son was sick. We have a back-up childcare benefit via my husband's job and often use that, but they didn't have any available sitters due to unusually high demand. I ended up trying UrbanSitter and found someone within an hour. It cost a a lot, but I needed to be at work and felt it was worth the expense.
Re: Care.comI have used Urban Sitter and Care.com - with mixed results. We have a lovely sitter who we met through Care but ended up using the Urban Sitter app because it was SO MUCH BETTER as a way to contact her and figure out availability quickly. Both sites have the same issues: it's hard to judge the "fit factor" from the online postings, and setting up "get to meet you" dates is a really great idea. I've gotten emails from both sites saying that members had been removed for violating this or that, which is nice, but gives one the heebie jeebies because you know simple word of mouth isn't vetting candidates the way the sites are. Most of our initial meetings have been really underwhelming (even after doing phone interviews first), but if you exclusively go after ones that ask for a bit more money and have realistic, multiple good reviews, you'll likely have to meet/interview fewer of them before finding great matches. In the end, I liked Urban Sitter best for simple every now and then sitter needs, and care.com because it seems to cast a broader net in NYC. I guess that's a cautiously positive review of online babysitter dating in general?
Urban Sitter FeedbackWe've been using Urban Sitter on occasion for the past few months and overall I'm very happy with it and think it's a fantastic service. We even found a great sitter for New Year's Eve who didn't inflate her rates for the occasion (although her transportation home cost as much as her services since she lives in NJ!!!). I think that it can be great when used well -- I was fortunate to attend a Park Slope-based speed sitting event in October where I met 15-16 sitters from the site, so at least had had brief chats with a few before bringing them into our home -- so that made me more comfortable with it and I found several of them to be impressive in that short meeting. We have also hired a few sitters via the site without having met them first, and for the most part they've been great, though if I had more time or were more organized I would have taken advantage of the ability to interview a sitter first (which can be arranged through the site). I should also say we've had a couple of mishaps: one was just a dud sitter (in fact one of the ones I had met in advance who seemed perfectly lovely at the time; but was sound asleep when we came home at about 11:30 and it took a little too long for my comfort to rouse her -- what if one of our kids were crying or we were trying to call her or something?); and the other case was a youngish sitter who was booked for 6:30 but somehow got confused by the fact that in my communications with her I had said we had an event at 7:30 to attend -- somehow she transposed that time with her expected arrival time and called 20 minutes after we were expecting her to say she'd be there in a half hour -- on time in her mind, but which would have made us totally late for our event so we just told her not to come. So, other than those two hopefully anomalous events, we've been happy with it and have met a few great sitters who we would happily hire again (and who our girls loved). I also think the social media aspect of it is theoretically interesting. If in fact you had many friends who also used the service and you trust their judgment, and they recommend sitters on the site, that would seem to effectively broaden the pool of prospective sitters for you and your friends. So, overall -- give it a try, proceed with caution, and post good reviews of the sitters you like, and we'll all collectively benefit!
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