Need Childcare? There’s an App for That

If you’re an NYC resident it’s almost a requirement that you have just a little bit too much going on. However, there are plenty of businesses here that want to help lighten your load — and more and more, those are companies from both Silicon Valley and Manhattan’s own tech community, Silicon Alley. And now, just as you can get take-out and cars and cleaning services and kids classes at the touch of a few buttons on your phone, you can also order up personalized, vetted childcare on demand through the new app Hello Sitter.

Lauren Mansell photo: Hello Sitter

Meet Hello Sitter
Like many, many entrepreneurs in the kid and parenting market, both tech and otherwise, Hello Sitter founder and CEO Lauren Mansell was inspired to launch the app by her experience finding childcare for her now three-year-old daughter. (We all know the issues that can arise when it comes to booking coverage: your go-to is busy, got a full-time gig, or is moving; people get sick or flake; you were never over-the-moon for the current options, you need someone at the very last minute, etc.)

The app, which just launched out of beta on June 22, promises to not only help parents find  reliable and safe childcare quickly and with ease, but also allows users to specify the characteristics of a sitter most suited to their child.

photo: Hello Sitter

Hello Sitter Basics
Hello Sitter can be dowloaded for free and no membership is required to use the app; it’s currently available for use in Manhattan and the select areas of Brooklyn of Park Slope, Williamsburg, Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Clinton Hill.

Parents begin by setting up a profile that includes essential info such as the child’s age, allergy information, food preferences, bed and bath routines and any special needs. They can then select from a predetermined list up to five unique qualities that they would like a sitter to possess. Examples include “patient”, “healthy/active”, “understanding”, “creative”, “disciplined”, and “funny.” (The sitters themselves select the traits they feel best describe them.)

photo: Christine Schmidt via Flickr

Safety First!
Of course, sparkling personalities are great, but every parent’s first concern when booking childcare is his or her child’s safety.

Hello Sitter promises to have that covered too, with a screening process that includes a personal interview with candidates, the checking of three references, a background check and the review of applicants’ social media accounts.

Book it!
To book a Hello Sitter childcare provider, users enter the date and time they need someone, and the app’s algorithm then matches three sitters with the user preferences and booking. Bookings can be made in as little as one hour in advance and as many as seven days ahead of time. All sitters suggested are guaranteed to be available, so all users need to do is review the choices and select a caregiver; a notification will be sent out to the caregiver, who then will confirm the booking within minutes.

Should you find a sitter the whole family loves, the provider can be saved as a “favorite,” allowing them to have first access to your bookings, as well as notification of when you need childcare. Additionally, parents can view their favorite sitter’s calendar to help with planning nights out, events, etc. in advance.

The Cost of Convenience
Hello Sitter childcare rates are $21/hour for one child, $23/hour for two and $26/hour for three or four children. All payments are made through the Hello Sitter app, so you never have to worry about having cash on hand.

Hello Sitter

Think you’ll give Hello Sitter a whirl? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor


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