Sitters set their own rates, and the market decides if they’re appropriate. If a sitter sets their rate too high, they won’t get requested. On occasion, we’ll contact sitters and advise them to lower their rates, but ultimately we let the market prevail.
How does the vetting process work—for both babysitters and the parents who hire them?
As parents, we are ultimately responsible for the well-being of our children. Whether you’re hiring a babysitter through Bambino, one of our competitors, a nanny service, or simply from a friend’s recommendation, common sense and a parent’s gut cannot be replaced by any background check or third-party vetting process. We often suggest that if a parent has any trepidation they should hire a sitter for an in-home visit or meet the sitter in a neutral setting like a park or coffee shop before booking them for a night out. The parent can then watch how the sitter interacts with their children and gain a greater level of comfort when leaving them alone.
Bambino sitters are organized based on who you know, who your friends know, and then by distance, so in essence, you’re selecting from sitters that have been babysitting for your friends and neighbors. Every sitter has to log in with Facebook, and they have to have a recommendation from someone in their community. In addition, sitters go through random checks of their social media footprint and get reviewed for the quality of their profile. We have a fairly strict process for activating sitters and only one-third of those that register actually become active.
Have you found that the app is more successful in some neighborhoods over others?
We’re providing a marketplace to bring parents and sitters together no matter where they are. All things considered, we’ve found that Bambino works extremely well in neighborhood settings near big cities. Areas where parents are active but often don’t have tons of family around. Some of our top performing communities are Dallas, Indianapolis, Austin, Charlotte, Westport (CT), and West LA.
We typically launch a new community by hiring a community manager to, first, recruit stellar sitters and then market it to parents. However, if a parent or a sitter is interested in getting their community started, they simply need to register and use the refer-a-friend link to start building a network (and get paid on each active recruit!). Once the seeds of the initial network are planted, the marketplace grows legs and expands on its own.
What has been your biggest learning about the needs of families today?
Parents work hard, and sometimes they just need a break…whether it be lunch with a girlfriend, date night, errands, or some time alone. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for wanting some free time, and we shouldn’t have to pay tons of money for a professional nanny service to help out on occasion. We started Bambino because we wanted to find good, honest, trustworthy babysitters in and around our neighborhoods that our friends had used, and it’s worked. We’re now bringing that to communities all over the country and the response we’ve gotten has been tremendous.