Which is the best Babysitting Website in the UK?
As parents, it is essential to know where to find the best babysitters. We’re used to turning to the internet to solve most of our daily issues. It’s no different when it comes to babysitting. The beauty of babysitting websites means you can browse and understand which site will work best for you.
However, pinning down the best babysitting websites in the UK isn’t actually that easy. You have to wade through a great deal of marketing hype. This is made worse by the fact that you can’t clearly tell if you’re comparing like with like.
This article looks at the four main babysitting websites which will come up in an online search: Bubble, childcare.co.uk, Yoopies and Sitters. We’ve taken a birds-eye view to compare the services they offer, the costs, and the ‘trust’ factor. We also look at what you can expect to achieve in terms of planned babysitting and emergency childcare.
Understanding Babysitting Expectations
Before we leap in to discussing each babysitting website, we need to explain that not all of these babysitting websites view babysitting as the same job. Some are considerably more restrictive than others.
For example, Yoopies pretty much defines babysitters as ad hoc childcare for the evenings so you can go out. Sitters, on the other hand, take a broader view, more in-keeping with a modern family’s needs. They see babysitting as ad hoc childcare which can be planned, as in the Yoopies example, however, they also see it as ad hoc childcare for daytime use, holiday cover, and emergency care if your regular childcare has fallen through. It also includes babysitting away from home eg in a hotel or holiday let.
This is important to bear in mind so that you know which website to go to for different needs.
We’re including Bubble although it is predominantly an app based service. It’s been mentioned frequently in mainstream media as it’s the relative newbie on the babysitting scene. Bubble focuses on babysitting alone. It’s billed as being good for booking a babysitter quickly, via the app.
You can look at recommendations and make your choice based on the feedback of others. You can also see how many ‘sits’ a sitter has done before, through their profile (bear in mind these are Bubble ‘sits’ only).
You do need to remember to log the ‘sit’ start and end times with the app. This processes the correct payment. You pay the hourly rate, as discussed directly with the babysitter through the app. They make their money by the babysitter paying a fee for each booking, so bear this in mind when looking at rates.
Pros: It’s an app, it’s in your palm when you need it. There is an ‘Express Book’ feature for emergency babysitting needs.
Cons: This is purely a matching service. Babysitters go through an online identity and background check, but no one talks to them or vets them in advance. As it’s purely babysitters, you don’t get a wide pool of potential sitters from a range of childcare backgrounds. You could simply be getting your neighbour’s 16 year old.
Childcare.co.uk has a string of awards behind its name. It bills itself as an online networking platform. Its role is to match parents with available child carers. This includes babysitters, but also childminders, nannies and a big focus on tutors. They don’t just match parents to individual childcare providers but also group and educational settings like nurseries and schools.
The basic premise of childcare.co.uk is that both parents and the provider make themselves a profile. As a parent, you use the profile to state what you need. Creating a profile is free and gets it published on their website and various mobile apps.
This makes it seem appealing. At first glance there is no commission taken from the babysitter, and no fees charged to the parent. However, a free profile ties your arms quite considerably. You can only respond to child carers who contact you. You can’t send a message to someone else who you like the look of.
If you want to be more proactive in your babysitting search, and contact babysitters without them getting in touch with you, you’ll need to upgrade to gold membership. This is currently £24.99 per month.
Pros: They cover a huge range of childcare types and are a well-known name. Combined with their free profiles, there are a large number of potential candidates. You arrange what to pay to the babysitter, you pay them directly, and they see all of that money
Cons: To really get the best service you have to pay for gold membership which is prohibitively expensive when all you’re looking for is a babysitter. Furthermore, they are simply an advertising platform. They do not carry out any checks or go through any vetting procedure. You need to do all of this yourself, including verifying qualifications and documentation. This can be tricky, particularly when hiring a babysitter. In a short-notice scenario, you simply don’t have the time. You need to know your babysitter is trustworthy and reputable, so this is can be a problem for most parents peace of mind.
Yoopies don’t specialise in childcare, rather in a broad range of services you may need in your home. This includes pet sitting, housekeeping and senior care. The site is billed as a way of browsing local childcare providers. You can filter a search based on your needs.
To do this you need to set up a profile and an advert based on your immediate childcare needs. The soonest you can book a babysitter is for the next day, so isn’t really suitable in an emergency.
Like with childcare.co.uk, you are restricted with regards to what this free ad and profile does. To get your advert seen more easily, and to contact babysitters directly, you have to upgrade to a premium membership plan. This currently cost £19.90 for 3 months.
Pros: You book directly through the website meaning that you won’t need cash on the day, but benefit from a secure online payment system.
Cons: They also do not vet the child carers who register with them. You’ll need to do the vetting and verifying yourself, which can be tricky to do. Furthermore, they have quite a restricted definition of ‘babysitters’, referring to them as only evening solutions.
At Sitters you are getting a babysitting website which specialises only in babysitting. However, they have a broad interpretation of what babysitting is, understanding that modern parents may need ad hoc care for their children during the day or at weekends. They also only recruit sitters who are childcare professionals with at least 2 years' experience.
You can quickly and easily enter your postcode and see profiles for babysitters who are available in your area. You can also see the reviews from other parents for each babysitter. It’s a simple and free process to register. This makes it quicker when you need to then make a booking.
Sitters have a recruitment team who vet all of the babysitters that are available through them. Potential sitters go through a rigorous process. This involves a written application, interview, reference checks and employment verification.
When you need to book a babysitter, you then enter the details of the booking online. You can view profiles of potential babysitters and make the most appropriate choice for your family. Once a booking has been made, you will receive email notification and a welcome call from their team.
You pay the babysitter in cash at the end of the booking. Only at this point do you become a paying member of Sitters. You’ll pay just £14.95 quarterly and a small booking fee for each booking you actually make.
Pros: Sitters specialise in babysitting and take it seriously. Their recruitment team vet babysitters meaning that you don’t have to do the hard work, but know you’re getting someone you can trust. They are really clear about expected rates. You can use their tool with your postcode to see the going rates in your area. This isn’t just for evening babysitters but also for day care during the week and weekends. They can also fulfil bookings for short-notice and emergency childcare, capable of meeting your needs within a few hours, sometimes less. If you are a member you can also use the service in any part of the UK, including at hotels and holiday lets.
Cons: As with every other platform, it’s not always possible to get a repeat booking with the same sitter. However, you can easily choose from other vetted sitters who are available.
Choosing the Right Babysitting Website for Your Child
In our experience, parents need to know two things: that their child is being cared for by someone trustworthy with childcare experience, and; that they know exactly what it will cost and that the cost is fair. Sitters have developed their business being absolutely clear on how they meet these two needs.
We hope this article has been helpful to you for understanding which are the best babysitting websites in the UK for your needs. Register for free with Sitters here.