There is nothing more important to parents than the care of their children. You want them to be safe, happy, and healthy at all times. While you can’t prevent every case of the sniffles or every meltdown, you always do your best to protect your child. This is why hiring a nanny or babysitter can be such a daunting task. You want to find someone who will provide that same level of love and care.
It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to finding this person, but the rise in popularity of sites like Care.com and SitterCity has made that search easier. These sites go well beyond a simple Google search, because both Care.com and SitterCity are designed to connect you with a qualified sitter in your area who meets your specific needs. This is an amazing tool to have right at your fingertips, but how do you know which one to choose?
What You Can Expect From Both: Reliability and Assurance
One thing to keep in mind is that both of these companies have been around for awhile and are well known. They have also evolved over the years to fine tune their offerings. This is good news for parents, because it means they are the leaders in the field. They’re highly regarded for a reason, and you can count on them for high standards and reliability.
Another benefit of choosing either of these over newer, smaller sites is that they have large networks of providers. This means more choices for parents — and a greater chance of finding the perfect match for you.
How It Works
The general idea behind how each of these sites works is pretty much the same, with just a few differences in the signup and search processes.
Because Care.com can be used to find all kinds of care, you start by selecting that you’re looking for care for your kids and your desired timeframe. After answering these basic questions, you will have to create an account and provide a little more information before continuing. At this point, you will have to select from payment options or continue with limited service for free. Some people find this helpful, because it gives you the chance to see general information about sitters available in your area and get a feel for how it works before committing. However, you can’t check references, get contact information for a potential sitter, or request background checks without upgrading to a paid account. If you’re fairly certain you want to use the service, it’s worth upgrading.
Either way, after creating your account, you can provide more information about your family and start searching for caregivers. Drop-down menus give you the option to select candidates based on features that are most important to you.
When you get started on SitterCity, you are prompted to provide your location and the frequency you anticipate needing a sitter. You then have the option to connect with your Facebook account or sign up with your email address. Some people like the convenience of connecting with Facebook. Either way, it’s free to create your account and browse.
After creating your account, you’ll answer a few more basic questions about your care needs and then have the option to write a description of what you’re looking for. You can also skip this step and come back to it later. At this point, you can see available caregivers and filter by more specific needs, just like you can with Care.com. Another similarity to Care.com is that you are required to upgrade to a paid account before accessing references and other information.
What Do Customers Say?
We’re all busy parents, so one thing you definitely want is for the process to be user-friendly. Both of these sites are formatted to be simple and straightforward, and reviews of both sites show that most people agree they are easy to use.
Besides some slight differences in formatting, there are a few other differences that customers have noted.
Safety and Background Checks
Both sites have procedures in place to screen people before they come to you as potential caregivers. According to Care.com’s Safety Center, the company does some preliminary checks of all applicants. SitterCity provides a little more information about how they screen applicants, which includes the Family Watchdog Database and identity authentication. The most important thing to know is that even with these preliminary measures, things can fall through the cracks, so it is up to you to request more thorough background checks. Performing a complete background check on a babysitter or nanny you’re considering hiring is something you should do any time you hire a new caregiver, regardless of how you heard about them.
Another key point is that both of these sites offer background check services for an additional fee. One important note is that SitterCity allows you to filter potential candidates based on whether they have a current background check available. This is a nice feature, because it makes it easy to select only candidates who have a current background check, giving you the option to avoid paying extra for that service. A minor difference is that Care.com doesn’t have this as a search option, but you can see whether or not a candidate has a current background check when you’re browsing.
Both sites offer several payment options, including one-month, three-month, and 12-month plans. The pricing structure is pretty similar for both, but the biggest cost differences are found in the access to background checks. Reviews show that SitterCity offers more affordable options for background checks, but the checks included at Care.com’s highest level are more comprehensive than those included at the same level from SitterCity.
Each of these sites provides a comprehensive list of features you can use to narrow down the perfect sitter for your family, including experience with special needs children or infants, sick care, and special qualifications and certifications, among many others. One primary difference is that Care.com is somewhat of a one-stop shop for all kinds of care. If you see yourself needing to search for a pet sitter or a caregiver for a senior loved one in addition to childcare, you may appreciate the convenience of using Care.com for all of those services.
Range of Options
Because both of these companies have wide networks, most users find a good list of potential caregivers with either one. For example, if you live in Charleston, South Carolina, and want to know how many potential sitters are available before searching for specific criteria, both Care.com and SitterCity allow you to search by location.
Is It Worth It?
All in all, most customers are very satisfied with both of these companies. Parents who have used SitterCity appreciate the ease of being able to search specific information about potential caregivers before meeting them. This makes the whole process simple for you and makes it more likely that you’ll find the right match. Reviews of Care.com report similar satisfaction.
Another great benefit of these sites is that they both give you the option to find a trusted caregiver if you need someone last minute. You should still conduct background checks and interview candidates, but the fact that so many potential caregivers are in a single database makes it easy to find a babysitter online when you’re in a pinch.
Like with anything you search online, there is positive and negative feedback out there. Your best bet is to trust your gut instincts and always take the extra steps to interview and get to know a candidate before hiring them. You may even want to ask people you know if they have used either site and what their experience was.
Some users prefer the format and general features of SitterCity, and it has an impressive reputation for connecting a family to a caregiver every nine seconds. Overall satisfaction of both companies is positive, though. Other than minor differences that could make you lean toward one or the other, you truly can’t go wrong with either option. You want to know your children are in good hands, and both SitterCity and Care.com can be a busy parent’s best friend for making that happen with ease and reliability.