We all need a break once in a while for a date night with our other half or to have fun with friends, but many parents feel a bit stuck as they can’t find a sitter that they trust or rely on to be available when they need them. A new service called UrbanSitter offers parents the ability to find and book trusted sitters online through friends and connections that they know via Facebook. The company founded by three Bay-area moms launched in September in and around San Francisco and is launching in Marin this month!
UrbanSitter was founded by three Bay-area moms: Daisy Downs; the mother of a 16-month old daughter, Lynn Perkins has 3-year old twins and Andrea Barrett has a 15-month old son. They started the business with the hope that they will make parent’s lives easier and more enjoyable.
We can do just about everything online these days, but when it comes to finding a trusted sitter that is available when you need her (or him), there’s just no easy way to do it. Booking a dinner reservations can take just two minutes on OpenTable, but it can take days to find a good sitter.
UrbanSitter.com is an OpenTable-esque site that makes finding and booking a trusted sitter more efficient. When moms log in to the site using a Facebook Connect they can see sitters that their friends have used and reviewed. UrbanSitter also includes affiliations (like Southern Marin Mothers Club (SMMC) and Golden Gate Mother’s group, for example) so that if a direct friend hasn’t used a particular sitter, you can see that someone from your group may have, a friend’s recommendation is the ultimate endorsement.
By using UrbanSitter you can search for sitters for a particular day or time and see a list of who is available, and which friends have used them. When you book, the sitters gets an email and you get one in return when they accept the job. You can then view and manage all your babysitting jobs in one place online. What’s more, the site allows parents to view and contribute ratings and reviews for sitters.
Daisy Downs explains more to The Marin Scoop:
How and why did you and the founders come up with concept for UrbanSitter?
“It seemed to us that parents should be able to find and book a trusted sitter as quickly as you can find and book a date night restaurant reservation. So we put their heads together and ultimately, created UrbanSitter.”
How does UrbanSitter work?
“It’s easy! Parents sign up for UrbanSitter using Facebook and can view sitters known through friends or affiliations like schools, sports teams and parents groups. They can search for a specific date and time to see which sitters are available, or plan an outing when they know their favorite sitter is open. Jobs or interviews can be booked in minutes. After the fact, parents can contribute written reviews, ratings and Facebook “Likes” to sitter profiles.
It’s just as easy for sitters, who simply post their credentials, as well as availability, hourly rates and location preferences. The ability to see who parents are connected to fosters trust and familiarity and helps them decide which jobs to accept. To protect privacy, contact information is exchanged only after the booking is confirmed, and, unlike with childcare agencies that skim a percentage of wages, sitters keep all the money they earn. What’s more, positive reviews posted to the site help them gain more work.”
What makes UrbanSitter stand out from similar sitter services?
“We take a unique spin on the childcare services that exist today in that our focus is connecting parents to sitters through people they know. So, first and foremost, UrbanSitter offers trust. We use Facebook Connect and affiliation groups so that parents can find sitters they are connected to. For example, when a parent registers they can select groups such as Southern Marin Mothers Club (SMMC), their child’s school, or a sports team. When searching for a sitter, parents can see all the parents from their various affiliations that have used a specific sitter.
Second, the site increases efficiency. Booking a sitter with UrbanSitter is as easy as booking a dinner reservation on OpenTable. Parents can search by date and time. Only sitters who have availability during the requested time will show up as available. For example….let’s say you want to buy tickets to see the latest play in town. Should you go Thursday or Friday? A quick glance at US and you can see that two sitters that you know and five sitters your friends know are free on Thursday so you buy the Thursday tickets.
Third, UrbanSitter offer parents a much larger network of babysitters. For parents, more babysitters means flexibility to enjoy more nights out without having to plan so far in advance. Many of our parent members say they love that ability to be more spontaneous!
Do you have any affiliations with mother's groups in Marin?
The three founding moms live in San Francisco and are part of Golden Gate Mother’s Group. They know how important and influential opinions from mothers in their groups can be, so they've built those affiliations into the site. When parents in Marin sign up, they'll be able to indicate which groups they are a part of, like Southern Marin Mother’s Club or a sport team or a school, so that they can see which sitters have been recommended by moms in their groups.
So make life easier for yourself by signing up today on UrbanSitter's website!
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