Parents, SafeCircle

Babysitting agency vs DIY options – the pros and cons

There are so many options when it comes to finding a babysitter, and each has its own pro’s and con’s. In this blog we are focusing on just the two major options; using a babysitting/nanny agency or DIY searches. After all it usually comes down to these two, depending on a few factors for parents such as; how much time do they have to search, do they know what to look for, and how much it costs. We will cover these in this blog and much more as we discuss the pro’s and con’s for finding a babysitter.

DIY searches

Do it yourself (DIY) searching for babysitters is a hugely popular option for parents, after all, this means you don’t pay someone else to do this for you, right? Well the truth is with a DIY search, you won’t be paying someone to find you a babysitter but you will be paying for access to the search website or app which can sometime cost you more than you planned.

A well known UK based childcare search website, allows you to search for profiles online, and they have millions of members to look through. This search can be free if the other person has a gold membership but this isn’t always the case and you could end up having to pay for gold membership yourself to contact people. With the huge number of profiles online you could spend hours searching, and messaging people to then receive no replies because they haven’t logged on in 4 years, or you start contacting them but this doesn’t work out and you have to go back to searching, and purchase another gold membership to do so. By this point you’re well out of pocket with no babysitter lined up, and have had to do all the check on the sitter yourself as this is not offered by the website before they are registered.

Other similar options including a recognised search app gives you the option to DIY and have again thousands of profiles to look through and you just pay a booking fee, but again as they don’t complete checks on these babysitters its down to you as a parent to do your checks on the individuals before booking them and again you have paid for the simple option to search their profiles, which can build up over time.

All of the DIY options are great if you have lots of time and knowledge of how to search through profiles, contact individuals, interview them, do reference checks and are happy to do it all over again when that babysitter is no longer able to babysit for you. However if this doesn’t sound like the best use of your time and money then perhaps DIY options aren’t for you. DIY can be cheaper long term, if you find good babysitters but some are unlucky and the cost of repeat memberships and time taken to search and interview can put parents off using a babysitter.

Babysitting or nanny agency

Some parents choose to use a babysitting or nanny agency to find a babysitter, as this option means they don’t have to spend hours online searching and doing checks on potential babysitters.

Nanny agencies have huge databases of nannies who are available for babysitting. Something to consider with nanny agencies however is that not all nanny agencies have exclusively childcare qualified nannies, and many haven’t had checks in years as they haven’t been in contact with the agency. A nanny agency will usually send out mass emails to their database with the babysitting booking on and whoever responds will be given this booking. This means that you may have a babysitter who hasn’t got a qualification or been DBS or reference checked or even spoken to the agency in years.

With a babysitting agency, many of the same rules above apply, with some agencies accepting individuals who don’t have childcare qualifications, or completed DBS checks and references, leaving hole in the vetting process. This is something which should be checked with the agency before you book any babysitter with them as a good are reputable agency would have all their policies and recruitment procedures including their review of babysitters available for you to view online.

SafeCircle Sitters only recruit childcare qualified individuals, with a DBS and paediatric first aid. We only accept exceptional childcarers on to our team of babysitters.

Keeley Black – Family Consultant

Using an agency either babysitting or nanny can be a slightly more expensive option depending on how they charge. Some only charge a booking fee where as others have membership or subscription costs. You will need to consider these when looking at options and consider how frequently you plan to book a babysitter. With a reputable nanny and babysitting agency the price for the service will reflect the efforts put into finding good quality babysitters and for parents who don’t have the time or knowledge to go down the DIY search approach this is money well spent to be able to enjoy evenings out having booked a babysitter you can trust.

Why is SafeCircle different?

With SafeCircle we take the safety of our member families and babysitters seriously and it is the core of what we do. Our babysitters are vetted against our Assurance Framework at the point of registration with us and we go further than any other babysitting agencies, websites or apps by ensuring we re-check every babysitter against our Assurance Framework every 3 years. Our Assurance Framework goes beyond the basic vetting checks to ensure that our babysitters match our ethos and the personality traits expected of a professional childcarer, meaning we have babysitters that children are waiting at the window to see.

Our high standards are maintained year after year, and this allows SafeCircle to say that we have the highest quality babysitters in our operating areas, giving parents the ability to book a babysitter and enjoy worry-free nights out. We believe that a truly worry-free night out can only come from having babysitters you can trust and our exclusively 5 star babysitting service achieves this on every booking.

SafeCircle applies regulation-level standards to the otherwise unregulated world of babysitting, for the protection of your family. Visit our website to find out more and see the babysitters in your area.

Next step?

Whichever option you choose to go down on your search to find a babysitter, make sure you take the time to look into the website information, contact the people ‘behind the curtain’ for a sense of who they are and always follow your instincts.

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