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Sittercity? We Tried It And This Is What I Have To Say ...

While Sittercity came highly recommended, as a parent, I felt that it was my responsibility to do my due diligence on this service ...

 

A Parent's Concern

Every parent — regardless of whether you have a spouse or are a single parent — sooner or later, will be in need of a babysitter. Whether it's because you need to be at work, have an important appointment that you can't miss, or simply need to have a break from family life to keep your sanity ... having a babysitter that you can trust your precious little ones can sometimes (or is it most of the time?) be a challenge.

For the lucky ones who have family members, relatives, or their neighbors to depend on for baby sitting, I envy you. For parents like us who need outside help for baby sitting or do not want to hassle others, we have two options: find baby sitters the old fashioned way through recommendations from family and friends or find baby sitters the modern way via the internet.

Most recently, my husband and I were faced with a situation wherein the only option we had left was to go online to look for a babysitter. We initially had three options and visited the sites of Sittercity, Care.com, and Nannies4Hire.

As parents, one of the most important criteria we have in mind is the safety of our child.

After visiting these websites and checking out what they all had to offer, we decided to further look into Sittercity mostly because the site appeared to be more user-friendly, had more features that we thought were handy and useful, and most of all, was highly recommended by a friend of ours. Upon further comparison with the other two sitter sites, we also found that Sittercity had more available sitters to choose from not only within our city but in most areas in the US, which was confirmed by other Sittercity reviews such as this.

As parents, one of the most important criteria we have in mind is the safety of our child. Can we trust the babysitter with our little girl? Do we feel comfortable leaving our child with the babysitter alone in our house? Can the baby sitter take care of our child and at the same time be a mentor and sort of a role model? Since we are using an online service, are the baby sitters screened at all? Are they certified to be baby sitters? What about first aid ... are they knowledgeable just in case an incident occurs and they need to be able to administer fist aid.

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I Felt Compelled to Do My Due Diligence

While Sittercity came highly recommended, as a parent, I felt that it was my responsibility to do my due diligence on this service. My husband and I initially combed the web to find out what others had to say about Sittercity. Based on what I have seen, most of those who actually used this service provided positive feedback about Sittercity. Those that had negative feedback on Sittercity pretty much focused on the fee that they had to pay.

Sittercity's homepage

Given that we have seen quite enough actual Sittercity user feedback, we decided to do some background check on Sittercity. Through our research, we found out that Sittercity was started by Genevieve Thiers back in 2001 while she was a Boston College student. She modeled Sittercity after successful online dating services wherein you can try to match those who need babysitters with those willing to provide the service.

From its small initial base of clients in the Boston area, Sittercity has grown and now serves more than half a million users nationwide in cities all across the United States. Sittercity has also expanded the scope of its services to pet sitters, elder care, tutors and more. For us, our interest is just for babysitting for our seven year old. 

So ... What Can Sittercity Do for Us?

My husband and I were impressed by how Genevieve Thiers was able to grow a simple idea into a service accessible by people on nationwide. After learning about the company's background, we thought that it was time to learn more details about their service. So the main question in our minds was: "What can Sittercity do for us?".

You can refine your search to find your ideal sitter with over 40 major search criteria that includes educational levels, certifications for first aid and CPR, spoken languages, special needs experience, and more.

Aside from being able to look for babysitters from the comfort of my home or office, I have access to a number of sitters searchable by zip code. We thought that this was so simple and really made it easy for us to start our search. You also have the option to post a job and let the babysitters contact you.

So after we punched in the zip code, we were taken to a page where we were able to further narrow our search by distance, whether the babysitter has transportation, whether the babysitter is willing to do light housekeeping, has experience with special-needs kids, etc. Sittercity also allowed us to further narrow down our search to see who has first aid and CPR certification. For us, we think this is very important, just in case something untoward happens (of course, we hope that such a situation does not happen but it is good to know that whoever is watching over our child is capable of really taking care of her).

We were also able to browse through a babysitter's profile, see her availability, do a background check (Sittercity uses LexisNexis for this at $14.99 per background check person), and read through available references, and most importantly, their reviews. For us, the $14.99 background check was well worth it considering that we are insuring the safety of our precious child. As far as we are concerned, this is also an investment for our peace of mind so that we can at least relax knowing that our daughter is safe. Sittercity's background check includes an identity check, a national criminal search, traffic violations, and a check through the sex offender and violent crime registry.

Here is also something to keep in mind regarding the background checks — sometimes you might not even have to pay for a background check. If you find a sitter who does not have a background check in her/his sitter profile, then you have the option to have a background check done, and of course, have to pay for it. However, if a current background check exists in a sitter's profile, then obviously there is no need to have a background check done. That background check might have been done by other parents or subscribers, or by the sitter themselves.

According to Sittercity, usually a babysitter would pay for their own background check so that they can have a profile complete with a background check. By having a background check on their profile, sitters usually have a better chance of getting a job since it makes it more convenient (and cheaper) for the hiring party. Remember, the background check is conducted by a third party, LexisNexis, so the sitter cannot in any way influence or tamper with the findings.

Sittercity also has some great resources on how to hire a babysitter, a rate calculator to determine how much we should pay the babysitter based on the going rate in the area and her background, and an indicator which tells us the last time a babysitter candidate signed into the site. If it has been a long time since the babysitter signed into the site, then she probably might no longer be interested in babysitting.

 
 

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Sample Sitter Profile

Below is a typical example of what you will find on a Sittercity sitter's profile page. I know that this is tough to read because the fonts are pretty small and not too clear. However, if you want to see a bigger page and have a better idea of how it looks like, simply click on the image or Click Here.

Sample sitter profile. Click Here to see bigger page

Did We Find Our Ideal Babysitter?

Just like the process in looking for your "ideal" employee, Sittercity helped screen through potential candidates so that we can get to the next stage in the process the interview.
 

Interviewing a Babysitter?

Avoid the common pitfalls of babysitter interviewing. Learn to ask potential sitters the right questions with this important, yet

FREE Babysitter Interview Checklist.

For my husband and I, we arranged for separate face-to-face interviews with potential candidates on Sittercity who matched our criteria. For our final picks, we also arranged for them to just hang-out with our daughter while we're at home just to see how they interact with her. To make a long story short, we eventually settled on someone we can truly trust to look after our daughter whenever we needed a babysitter.

Our Bottom Line Thoughts

A common negative feedback that we have seen about Sittercity is the cost. Sittercity has three payment options: an annual plan that comes down to $7.50 a month billed upfront ($90); a 3-month membership plan that cost $23.33 a month billed upfront ($70); and a monthly plan costing $35 a month. Obviously, the annual plan is a better deal since it cost less (79% savings compared to the monthly plan annualized), which means that you get more bang for your buck.

Top Free Tips and Tools for Parents

»

Key questions to ask a potential babysitter during the all important interview

»

How to check babysitter references to make sure you are hiring the right babysitter

»

Learn the right babysitter pay rate in your area

»

Step-by-step process for hiring a babysitter

»

Four-step screening process to find a babysitter

Do we find the $140 up front fee and additional $14.99 charge for background checks sort of overboard? Personally, not at all. For the convenience and time savings that this service has provided me and my husband in our search for a baby sitter, I believe that this service provides such a great value for our money. We would not have been able to find a great pool of candidates to chose from if it wasn't for Sittercity's extensive list of babysitters within our area. And if it wasn't for the ease of use of  Sittercity's screening process, what would take us hours and hours to do on our own can be done within minutes.

We think of it this way. How much of our time, as well as other people's time, will we be spending just to find a baby sitter the old fashioned way? Well, maybe it's just us but the whole process of finding a babysitter by calling friends and neighbors is, based on our experience, is just a lot of work. Sittercity scores high with us in terms of the convenience and value for your money factors. We definitely would be willing to pay that $7.99 a month for the convenience Sittercity provides us.

Also, if you are not willing to invest $14.99 for a comprehensive background check on people you will be entrusting to look after your kids, we think that for a minimal investment, you are taking too much of a risk, especially when it come to the safety of your precious kids.

Based on our overall experience with Sittercity, is this online babysitter service something that we would recommend to other parents? By making the search process for a babysitter more convenient to do, Sittercity is a service that parents should seriously look into. In short — yes, we would highly recommend this to other parents.

Just in case you are not aware of the other services that Sittercity has, the site also offers searches for petsitters, nannies, housesitters, tutors, and senior care. These are all part your membership, which makes the deal even sweeter. For us, it's nice to know that we have access to all these services within the convenience of our home.

 
 

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Visit Sittercity Now

Final Piece of Advice

As a final piece of advice, if you decide to use Sittercity and end up finding a potential babysitter who you think might be perfect to take care of your kids, we suggest that you really spend time learning more about this person. Regardless of how and where you are looking for a babysitter, whether through friends or online, you are always bound to run into some risks. Sittercity has the tools to help you minimize the risks.

Sittercity Background Check

Sittercity background check

As parents, our kids' safety should always be top priority. Hence, we strongly advise that parents should not cut corners and should always do their due diligence on potential candidates such as checking references, reviewing online ratings and feedback, conducting in-person interviews, and most importantly running background checks. We urge you to never be complacent about any potential safety concerns that you may have, especially when it comes to hiring someone you will be entrusting your most valuable asset ... your kids.

I hope my review of Sittercity will help you decide if this online babysitter service is best for you and your family. 

Gigi S.

PS. Aside from getting all the great features that Sittercity has to offer, the following benefits also come with your subscription to Sittercity:

As parents, our kids' safety should always be top priority. Hence, we strongly advise that parents should not cut corners and should always do their due diligence on potential candidates such as checking references, reviewing online ratings and feedback, conducting in-person interviews, and most importantly running background checks.

» Automatic membership access to Sittercity Pet Care, Senior Care, Tutoring, and Housekeeping services

» A Sittercity Perks program offering you discounts on everything from clothes to restaurants

» Articles on how to hire a sitter, what to ask in the interview, how to monitor a sitter and much more

» Blogs filled to the brim with advice, humor, news and the latest caregiving trends

» A monthly newsletter with exclusive special offers, new products and cool websites

PS2. If you are still not sure whether Sittercity is for you, we suggest that you give it a try. Sittercity allows you to do some searches on their site for free so that you can have a feel for how their site works. Furthermore, the trial search also gives you a chance to scope out some potential sitters within your neighborhood. The trial search does not require any credit card so feel free to take advantage of this special offer. Simply click on the link below:

Free Trial Search on Sittercity

No credit card required. No strings attached.

Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate

 
 

Find the best local sitters at Sittercity.com

Visit Sittercity Now

More Actual Customer Reviews

Below are actual user feedback that we found on Sittercity.

Positive Sittercity Review

"As a working mom and manager of employees, hiring a nanny is the single toughest position I've ever had to hire for. I've had the best luck with sittercity.com ..."

»  tori, ibomoms.boston.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"i have had good luck with sittercity; currently interviewing 2 sitters for evenings from there too and hoping i like them as much as the last one i hired from there."

»  anonymous, urbanbaby.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I have used it and its great! Although this second time I am having a hard time finding a good candidate, but I do think its worth it."

»  S.M., mamapedia.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"My girlfriend told me about www.sittercity.com - what a great resource for finding a babysitter in your area! I am always on the lookout for a good sitter I can call on for meetings or a doctor appointment on weekdays - this could save my life!"

»  GrandRapidsAdmin, momlikeme.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"... So, I went back to sittercity to find a temporary for the summer. Ended up finding a graduate child psych student living in my town who was interning as a teaching assistant at one of the elementary schools. She did a great job as a temporary and we continue to use her as a weekly tutor and occasional sitter."

»  anonymous, isawyournanny.com

Have you used or are you using Sittercity? Let us know what you think. Contact us at CustomerCare@papoom.com

 
 

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Article Contents

1 A Parent's Concern

2 I Felt Compelled to Do My Due Diligence

3 So What Can Sittercity Do For Us?

4 Sample Sitter Profile

5 Did We Find Our Ideal Babysitter?

6 Our Bottom Line Thoughts

7 Final Piece of Advice

8 Actual Customer Reviews

Visit Sittercity Now

 
 
 

Important Limitations: Promo Code

ONLY Applies With This Link

 

Actual Customer Reviews

Below are actual user feedback that we found on Sittercity.

Positive Sittercity Review

"LOVE Sitter city. I've found all my sitters thru the site. It's a great place to meet girls in college or in their 20s and not being paid much (and therefore desperate to work.) I'm SAHM so the students that need flexible schedules works great for me. You can easily vet them from their appearances and bios. I also always do the background check as well. Never had a bad experience. (Plus it's fun to see what the young are up to these days....)."

»  urbanbaby.com feedback on Sittercity

Negative Sittercity Review

"I've been on the fence about sittercity a long time now because it looks so amazing ... but paying to have access to sitters that I'm paying is weird. I'm not saying they should provide the service for free, far from it, it's just a personal thing."

»  Atypical VA, zrecs.blogspot.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"We found our full time nanny on Sittercity when I had to return to work and she instantly bonded with our baby. She is extremely professional, always on time and keeps a complete log of the baby’s activities each day."

»  Heather, feedback on Sittercity

Positive Sittercity Review

"SitterCity, for example, offers 40 criteria from which parents can choose, including whether the sitter smokes, knows certain languages, or is available on holidays (New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are the most popular)." The sites provide contact info, references and, as with sellers on eBay, feedback from other sitter seekers on specific sitters' quality of care."

»  Anne, netfamilynews.org

Positive Sittercity Review

"Thank you for providing this service! We were new to our area and had no idea what we were going to do for babysitting. We found the most wonderful babysitter who goes to college 7 miles from us. This was a great experience and I've been recommending you to all our friends. Thanks again!!!"

»  Trina, feedback on Sittercity

Positive Sittercity Review

"I've hired 2 nannies in the last 4 years and the last one I hired through SitterCity.com. A few of the questions I always ask are related to their background and experience. You can tell whether their "style" will be a good fit for your family based on what they've done before. I like to make sure that they are CPR and First Aid certified. I have a daughter with a nut allergy and it just makes me feel more secure ... After all of the background checks and reference checking you can also do a test run with them to see how it works. I love doing that! "

»  stressless1, community.babycenter.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"Since I've joined, I have found a number of amazing babysitters for my two children. Sittercity does all the hard work for me and allows me to just search profiles of potential sitters from an easy to use database! The process is simple and the girls that I have found are highly qualified and wonderful!"

»  Erin, feedback on Sittercity

Free Trial Search on Sittercity

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Positive Sittercity Review

"I joined Sittercity.com a few weeks ago and I can't express how I pleased I am with the service! Having four children, we have always had to rely on family or friends to take care of all of them. Desperate for last minute help, I joined Sittercity.com at the advice of a friend and almost immediately heard from several wonderful babysitters. This service has been ..."

»  Natalie, feedback on Sittercity

Negative Sittercity Review

"... I did find someone and used her for a day. She wasn't that great. But, it's not the fault of the service and it connected me to many qualified sitters, this girl included. I will use it again and am hoping to find someone better next time around."

»  WhitneyMWS, family.go.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I found a part-time nanny on sittercity and so far, so good. Although you have to pay to post a job, I will tell you that I was overwhelmed with the amount of applicants, at least where I live. Good luck!"

»  DPGirl08, babycenter.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I used Sittercity when I moved to Frankfort because we knew no one. I was apprehensive at first but it was my only way to find a sitter. I met the most wonderful gal. She still sits for me - it's been over a year. We emailed a few times, met for an interview (we did it at my house but she (sitter) said that she's done it in public places....you never know about people) and she was hired. I would recommend Sittercity for finding your next sitter. Good luck."

»  A.B., mamapedia.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"yes to find college age babysitters and all 3 great. now looking for nanny/housekeeper on sittercity."

»  urbanbaby.com feedback on Sittercity

Positive Sittercity Review

"Sittercity.com has been a great resource for me (Boston area). I've found three really dependable sitters over the last 18mo. They also have rate calculators based on your zipcode and with the ability to fill in details like number of kids watched, first aid certified, etc. There is also an area with interview questions and checklists."

»  cocoagirl, ask.metafilter.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I used it to find my nanny/babysitter. She is AMAZING!! Sitter city will also provide background checks. Most of the applicants will already have applied for a background check when you view their profile. I appreciated that. And there's information about CPR certifications, etc... I would highly recommend it. You'll likely get a ton of replies (I did), but it's relatively easy to weed people out just based on how they respond to you ..."

»  caits, babycenter.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"...  the site seems to have reached critical mass in my area and many great local college students post their sitter profiles. During the summer, tons of students home for the summer posted profiles as well. Add to this local nannies who are willing to sit when kids are in school during the day or on weekends and Sittercity opens up a world of sitting choices I wouldn’t have found otherwise ..."

»  heather, mommytruths.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"The first sitter we met could not be a better fit for what we needed: she’s personable, professional (she’s actually an elementary school teacher) and loves kids. She’s not so young that we’re worried about leaving her with all three kids, and she’s been incredibly responsive. Our house was actually cleaner when we got home than when we left. That’s nutty.So… if you haven’t already given Sittercity a try, head on over there ... I couldn’t be more impressed with the site."

»  Rick, rklau.com  feedback on Sittercity

Positive Sittercity Review

"I used their service when we lived in the Cleveland area with no family in the area. I really liked it and found some good sitters. A little pricey but considering they are watching our kids very worth the piece of mind. Liked you could see their majors if they're in college, interests, etc. Hope that helps."

»  SaraInWisc, cookinglight.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"... With all that being said, I LOVE sitter city. I have found all of my full-time nannies on there and also part-time nannies and weekend night out babysitters on there and love all of them. You do have to do your own interviewing/reference checking like someone else said vs. a nanny service, but it is a lot more cost effective ..."

»  E.S., mamapedia.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"As a parent of two children I can proudly admit I am an avid member (4 years) of Sittercity. Every babysitter I’ve had in the past 4 years has come from this fantastic website. It provides every piece of information a parent would request in a babysitter: age, proximity to your home, transportation, language options, certifications, experience, references, etc. ... Thanks for providing this life altering website."

»  An Oak Brook, IL family, operaceo.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"This web site is for anyone looking for sitters, nannies, pet help, elder care assistance, house sitters or tutors. You can rate a sitter and give feed back or read up on the person that you’re considering for hire and find out if they also do light housekeeping or can speak more than one language. Truly a terrific resource when you’re new to an area and haven’t yet joined your local pool."

»  Linda, enterthecircle.wordpress.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I call it "match.com for babysitters" You have to pay for a membership, but it's helped us get some backups, too."

»  sabimom, phillyblog.com

Negative Sittercity Review

"I tried sittercity but did not find anyone I was comfortable with. It didn't seem like many of the potential sitters I spoke with were very serious and I was blown off a few times ..."

»  roxani, 43things.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I love sittercity.com. That is where I found our nanny. She has been with us now for a little over a year. My daughter just adores her too. She is great with her. I would recommend it to everyone who needs a babysitter or nanny. In fact my bosses wife it the one who recommended it to me. The only thing you need to remember is to interview that is how you know what you are getting."

»  G.F., mamasource.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"After a couple misses, I've started to find a lot of promising local sitters on www.sittercity.com. For parents, it costs 10 bucks a month, or about $100 for a year membership to use the site. It's well worth it. I've wasted a lot of time on craigslist, getting zero response to my ad, and never hearing back from most of the people I reached out to."

»  Time Mom, blogs.tampabay.com

Negative Sittercity Review

"Anyway, someone in my playgroup, and my sister both have used SitterCity and been happy with it. It is expensive, so my friend joined, got a few names, and then ended her membership."

»  mst, cookinglight.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I also found this great calculator on sittercity that helps parents figure out the going rate for sitters in their area."

»  Ericka, arizonamoms.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"... I was a member of SitterCity last year and we used the service many times, with mostly amazing success. Even the sitters we did not consider a rousing success never made us feel that we were bad for leaving our kids with them, we just knew there were better sitters out there for us ..."

»  Jennifer, beyondmom.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"As a working mom and manager of employees, hiring a nanny is the single toughest position I've ever had to hire for. I've had the best luck with sittercity.com ..."

»  tori, ibomoms.boston.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"SitterCity is like an Amazon.com for finding babysitters. Not only are you likely to find what you're looking for, you're likely to find more than you'll ever need. The testimonials that other parents leave on the profiles of the babysitters they've used are the most powerful benefit of SitterCity."

»  Mary, parentplaza.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"Why as a mama of two do I like the "no kids" rule? I appreciate the bride and groom making the decision for me. All I have to do is find a caretaker for my children while I dance the night away with my husband. Depending on the location, relatives or family babysitters have watched the tots. In rare cases, I have used care services like Sittercity to provide me a nanny ..."

»  babysugar, lilsugar.com

Positive Sittercity Review

"I had a good experience with Sittercity. I put out one ad and receive a ton of e-mails so I felt I could be really picky about who I chose. You do have to check references but wouldn't you do that anyways? We are moving and I plan to use Sittercity again when I need a new nanny."

»  B.W., mamapedia.com

Negative Sittercity Review

"Sittercity.com identified 119 baby-sitters and nannies in my area, but getting a hold of them required me to pay a fee."

»  Virginia, spokesmanreviewcom

Positive Sittercity Review

"We found our occasional sitter through sittercity b/c we really didn't know anyone with kids to ask.... I believe (this was last summer) that I posted a "job ad" and got some replies. Looked at what the replies were and I picked one gal who lived nearby to check up on. I called her references and they were good. We met with her at our local coffee shop, I had a nice chat with her and my son met her. I had good vibes all around and we've been very pleased with her. She's our "go to" person at this point (though we don't go out that much)."

»  K., mamasource.com

Free Trial Search on Sittercity

No credit card required. No strings attached.

Have you used or are you using Sittercity? Let us know what you think. Contact us at CustomerCare@papoom.com

 

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