The ‘Uber’ of babysit­ting

Sit­terzen a so­lu­tion to quickly find­ing lo­cal sit­ters that par­ents rec­om­mend

Herald on Sunday - - THIS WEEK - By Ophe­lia Buck­le­ton

AKiwi mum has set up an Uber-like ser­vice for babysit­ting where par­ents can in­stantly find and book sit­ters, just like the rideshar­ing app.

The idea for on­line child­care ser­vice Sit­terzen came to Auck­land mum-of-two Jane Haagh on a fam­ily hol­i­day in Bali.

Af­ter a long day in the sun, Haagh’s chil­dren Ri­ley, 6, and Tilly, 3, were ex­hausted and less than im­pressed with the idea of be­ing dragged out of the ho­tel room for din­ner.

One phone call and a lit­tle bit of re­search later, Haagh had booked a babysit­ter and was on her way out the door leav­ing be­hind two kids com­fort­ably curled up in their py­ja­mas.

“I was re­ly­ing on the ho­tel’s rec­om­men­da­tion. That’s what gave me that level of com­fort,” she said.

The stress-free process left Haagh won­der­ing how she could make find­ing a babysit­ter eas­ier for Kiwi par­ents . . . It’s quite a com­mon par­ent­ing prob­lem find­ing a source of reli­able and trust­wor­thy babysit­ters,” said Haagh.

So, the for­mer mar­ket­ing man­ager got to­gether with par­ents from her son’s school and asked them to rec­om­mend babysit­ters they had used, for the new ser­vice.

“I’m a mum and I’m quite care­ful who I leave my chil­dren with. Another par­ent’s rec­om­men­da­tion re­ally does hold quite a lot of weight.”

Sit­terzen al­lows par­ents to scroll through a list of babysit­ters trusted by other par­ents and have some­one at their door in as lit­tle as an hour.

If a babysit­ter wants to join the web­site, they must be rec­om­mended by a fam­ily who they have babysat for at least twice in the past. Then, in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing their photo, a short de­scrip­tion, age, rate, ex­pe­ri­ence and avail­abil­ity will ap­pear on the web­site.

The site also al­lows users to con­tact par­ents who have rec­om­mended a sit­ter.

Sit­terzen doesn’t cur­rently vet babysit­ters with po­lice. How­ever, Haagh said if par­ents asked them to start car­ry­ing out po­lice checks she would be happy to do so.

San­dring­ham res­i­dent Annabel Hur­man has used Sit­terzen twice and the lack of po­lice vet­ting didn’t worry her.

“Po­lice vet­ting is not some­thing that I would have rou­tinely done for babysit­ters that I’ve used in the past,” said Hur­man.

Since Sit­terzen started tak­ing sign-ups in Au­gust, 24 babysit­ters have joined the web­site.

The ser­vice has also ex­panded from Bal­moral into Mt Eden, Mt Al­bert, Mt Roskill and San­dring­ham.

While Haagh would like to see Sit­terzen be­come avail­able na­tion­wide, she is fo­cused on mak­ing sure it doesn’t grow too quickly.

“It’s grow­ing quite or­gan­i­cally. I’m happy to keep go­ing the way we are and build the tech­nol­ogy.”

Ja­son Ox­en­ham

HWatch video at nzher­ald.co.nz Jane Haagh with Ri­ley, 6, and Tilly, 3.

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