Boulder Mom’s New Sitter App Radically Simplifies How to Book, Pay and Find Trusted Babysitters
posted by: Amber Johnson
We’ve all been there. Parents want to go out on a date. Parents text babysitter. Don’t hear back. Parents text another babysitter. Radio silence. Date night turns into take-out with the kids.
I recently sat down with Boulder mama of two boys Kristen Stiles who developed the ultimate solution to your babysitting woes: The Sitter App. There are plenty of apps on the market that help you tap into professional childcare but this is the only one that works with your existing network of babysitters and gets results…fast. Since the Sitter App’s launch last summer, it has thousands of users across the nation and bonus: it’s completely free!
Kristen’s husband is constantly on the road so anytime she needed a babysitter for her own work events or a last-minute date, she was frustrated with the laborious process. Her background in tech as a developer at Hewlett Packard led her to think “there’s got to be an app for managing my babysitters” but there wasn’t. So she built one herself.
How It Works
After downloading the Sitter App, the first step is to add the contact information for your own sitters, which is completely private. Then, when you are in need of a babysitter, select the date, time, hit “send” and the request gets sent as a text message to all your sitters at once. The first to respond gets the job. Once the position is filled, a friendly text message is sent to the other sitters to inform them.
“The amazing thing is that response times are super fast because it has created a game among the babysitters and our record is 13 seconds response time,” says Kristen.
Why not just send a group text? “Though the app, it streamlines the whole process–just one tap and you’re done. You don’t have to write out texts and go back and forth which you do even in a group text situation. The app sends reminders to you and the babysitter of an upcoming appointment. You can use the app to keep track of the time you’re out and have it do the math for you at the end of the night, even if you pay cash. Group texts can’t do that, plus they often create socially awkward situations.”
It gets better. If you don’t receive a response from your pool of babysitters, you can create a network with your friends. “I don’t feel comfortable having a random stranger babysit my kids but I do trust my friends’ babysitter recommendations.” Kristen says there is an option on the app to network with your friends. “If I have three sitters and my friend has three sitters, that means we have six sitters between us. I always start with my favorites but if needs be, I’ll branch out to whoever is available from my friends’ networks.”
Kristen now has a pool of 58 possible babysitters.
What is the going rate for babysitters?
Of course, the amount you pay your babysitters is up to your discretion. In Colorado, the average hourly rate is $11 for the first child and an additional $3 per hour for each additional child. Kristen says that may sound like a lot but it is inexpensive compared to many East coast markets that average about $25/hour.
The Solution to the Cash Dilemma
In a world of credit and debit cards, many of us seldom have enough cash to cover the cost of a babysitter and often end up scrambling to find an ATM.
The Sitter App saves the rate you pay each sitter and also has a built-in timer to track the time you’re gone. It even lets you add a tip or reimburse them for pizza. The app gives you the option to charge your credit card and directly deposit the money into the babysitter’s bank account or Venmo account, which is similar to PayPal and is frequently used among babysitters nationwide. Register using the promo code MHMAMA and they’ll waive your service fees when you pay your babysitter with the app.
Colorado Mom Rave Review
“Easy. Seamless. Communicates for me. Boom. It takes my contacts that are already in my phone and connects them to a system that keeps track of my request. I can also share my sitter list with my friends! I seriously can click a few buttons and the mom megaphone blasts my sitters (whom I choose) and first one who responds wins a chance to be with my littles. Not sure who’s winning though? We all are!!”
-Heidi H. Broomfield, CO
The Best Unexpected Perk of the Sitter App
Dads LOVE It. Kristen says, “My husband had never booked a babysitter in his life and didn’t even know their names. With the app, he’s connected to my private circle of friends and babysitters. Now when he wants to take me out, he can plan a date night without me knowing about it, from start to finish.
Dads: please take note and plan accordingly.