When I talk with parents about the importance of making time for relationships, one of the most common barriers I hear in response is that it's too hard to find a sitter. And I totally get it. We've been there and more recently, the sitters who took care of Laurel and Violet as wee ones have (obviously!) aged -- their lives are busier and it’s left me scrambling to find a sitter on more than one occasion. So imagine my DELIGHT to learn about Chime, Sittercity’s brilliant new on-demand babysitting service. Read on to learn more and also receive a $50 babysitting credit!
And just so you know, when Chime first reached out, I was all like, Oh I don't know...maybe it will be hard! (cue aforementioned common barrier). But man, it couldn't be any more the opposite of hard! I recently tried out Chime and the experience surpassed my expectations. So, based on my experience, here are 8 ways Chime makes it ridiculously easy and awesome to book a sitter.
1. No homework required. Chime sitters are handpicked by Sittercity and undergo a vetting process that includes an application, in-person interview, enhanced background check, identity verification, and social media screening. Yay for no homework!
2. Nearby options. Once you sign up for an account (if you already have a Sittercity account you can use those credentials), all you need to do is plug in the date/time you’re looking for and Chime serves up 3 nearby options. You can then review each profile, which includes the typical background information, plus ratings, reviews, and video.
3. Video interviews. And speaking of video, what really made using this service possible for my (somewhat skeptical) family was the ability to watch the video interview with each candidate. Laurel and Violet have strong opinions (as do Jon and I!) and it’s a little nerve wracking to book a sitter just by reading a profile. Being able to see a video of each candidate was so helpful in giving us a feel for each sitter. So, no joke, when we were looking to book for the first time we all sat down and watched the candidate videos together, then went around and shared our votes. Thankfully it was unanimous vote! Yay, democracy!
4. Easy scheduling. Ever get tired of the multiple back and forth texts trying to lock a sitter down? Yeah, me too. It’s lightning quick to book evening requests starting at 6pm. If you need a time before 6pm, just submit a custom request -- I received a response to my custom request within an hour! After you complete your booking, you’ll receive the sitter’s contact information by e-mail. Chime provides weekly schedules so it’s easy to see upcoming availability for various sitters. So awesome.
5. No math required. Chime is currently available in Boston, Chicago, DC, and NYC (with other major metro areas forthcoming). It’s a flat hourly rate of $14-17/hour depending on city (+ $1 per extra child) and the total amount owed is calculated for you based on the time window. Also, if your time window shifts from your original booking, you can edit online within 24 hours of receiving your preliminary bill.
6. No cash required. Alll financial transactions happen online so YAY, no scrambling for cash! I will say that the one thing that threw me was the automatic gratuity inclusion. I’ve never tipped a sitter the same way we would at a restaurant (where you know the server is receiving a low base hourly rate and relying on tips) and given that Chime takes a small percentage from the sitter (5%, which works out to less than a dollar per hour) it just felt weird to me. Anyway, either way, you can edit the gratuity amount within 24 hours of receiving your preliminary bill.
7. No fees. There are no subscription fees and the service is completely commitment-free. Good news for my fellow commitment-phobes!
8. Awesome result. OK, so perhaps I can’t 100% guarantee you an awesome result but #1-7 above certainly prime you well for a good experience. Based on the profile + interview video, we were already feeling pretty confident about our sitter and she was exactly the same in person as in the video (the same can’t always be said for profile photos...ha!). And she was AMAZING. She developed an immediate rapport with Laurel and Violet, it made our transition out of the house a non-issue, and the girls LOVED her. We rebooked for a second sitting a week later and our sitter immediately noticed that Laurel had done her nails since the last time. Crazy! I'm beyond thrilled to have another sitter in our rotation, especially with the holidays coming up.
OK, have I convinced you that it’s time to give it a try and give yourself the gift of time out? No more barrier to entry, people! And given that another barrier to entry for date night can be paying the sitter, I also am going to hook you up with $50 of babysitting credit! If you book online, use code BOSTONMAMAS to get $50 off your first booking. Or if you download the iPhone app, you’ll automatically get $50 off your first booking. WOO HOO!
Disclosure: This post reflects a sponsored editorial partnership with Chime. Rest assured that I wouldn’t have agreed to write about it had I not tested it out and deemed it awesome.