It feels like I never get out of the house. But believe it or not, sometimes it happens.
And sometimes I don’t even bring the kids. Do you want to have a night out? Then you have come to the right post, my friend. This is all about getting a babysitter and taking off. There’s even a giveaway here at the end, so stick around…
It seems like everyone is always having a rough time finding babysitters for those times when we actually get out child-free. If you’re like me, you’ve probably turned to the internet already. I’ve booked sitters that way. I’ve hired nannies that way. But I’ve never felt like it was easy.
But for the last month or so I’ve been using UrbanSitter. And I have no intention of leaving for any of those other babysitting sites.
I’ve been able to meet up with the UrbanSitter people twice now. I heard about them at Drool Baby Expo as they were just starting and then I got to attend a super fun speed-sitting event set up by my pal Cindy.
The idea behind UrbanSitter is great. You can connect it to your Facebook account (like everything these days, right?) but the beauty is that you’ll be able to use your social connections to find sitters. You’ll see sitters your friends have used and recommended. You’ll be able to see which sitters are friends with a babysitter you’ve already used. Babysitting has always been about networking and connections, and now it’s that way online, too.
Right now they’re still new and in Beta so the site is FREE. Yup. Free. Not like some of those other sites I won’t mention…
But you might be like me, without a lot of friends close by. I love my blogging buddies, but most of them don’t live close to me. Don’t worry, UrbanSitter is still a super-easy-to-use site that makes finding a good sitter easy. The website is what really sells me. It is so user-friendly, I can’t get over it.
Oh, and before we go on: YOU CAN PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD. That’s right, no more stopping at the ATM on the way home. You pay through the site, no exchanging information with the sitter. You can see if sitters accept credit card payments and you can search for a sitter requesting to pay by credit card. It’s awesome. The only downside is that there’s a fee associated with paying by credit card, but honestly, most of the time I’ll take the convenience factor. Sitters are expensive and I don’t like carrying a lot of cash. (Your first credit card payment has no fee.)
Let me run through a few of the things I love.
You can take a few different routes. Post your job or just browse sitters.
There’s a lot of information posted about each sitter. Their name, age, a little bio, years of experience, rates, and a whole lot more. They even include their experience with different age ranges. This is big for me. With an infant I definitely want someone who’s had experience with babies.
If you decide you want to look through sitters you can narrow it down a lot.
I love being able to search by experience with special needs, too. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised to see how many sitters have special needs experience, too.
If you like a particular sitter, you can see not only their extensive profile but their availability calendar.
Once you think you have someone you like, then what?
Well, the site lets you do more than book babysitting jobs. It also lets you schedule interviews, either in person or by phone. The messaging on the site is really easy to use, unlike other sites that have made me crazy with annoying messaging systems.
Personally, I prefer to list my job. I know that sometimes a sitter won’t have their availability up to date or something else may keep them from showing up in my search. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time before your booking, this way you can screen people quickly and know you’re only dealing with people who are available. I also find it easier to find sitters in my price range this way, since I can set a max hourly rate.
If you’re the kind of person who has friends and community and such, this is a great place for you. You can identify local groups or schools you’re a part of to see sitters who have worked for others in your groups.
You can see here there’s a lot already up for Boston, where UrbanSitter has only recently opened. And you can add more. (I added Early Intervention myself.) I know a lot of us use these groups to scout childcare anyway, right?
It was pretty easy to get all these screenshots because I’m using UrbanSitter again this weekend since I’ll be out on the town for an event before Eric gets home from work.
I’ve been singing this site’s praises since Day 1. As soon as I can get everything figured out (the holidays have begun, everything is crazy for the next couple months) I’m setting up an UrbanSitter event for a parent group I’m involved with so we can get a chance to meet a bunch of sitters in person. I feel really confident because the quality of sitters I’ve seen in the Boston area are top-notch.
UrbanSitter launched in the Bay Area in 2011 and is now available in San Diego, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, St. Louis, Chicago, NYC, Boston and LA. Very soon they’ll be coming to Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas and Austin. (I know tons of you in those upcoming markets. Keep your eyes peeled!)
And YOU can win a $60 credit to UrbanSitter, which should cover you for a good night out on the town.
So how do you win?
1. You MUST leave a comment on this post. Tell me what you want to do for your night out!
2. You can get ONE bonus entry by following Don’t Mind the Mess on Facebook. If you follow already, this is an easy one for you. To get your bonus entry, leave a comment letting me know.
3. You can get ONE bonus entry by following UrbanSitter on Facebook. To get your bonus entry, leave a comment letting me know.
Here are the full rules:
No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. Up to three entries per household according to the directions set out in the post. Limited to entrants over 18 in the United States. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Tuesday, October 13th at 6 pm Eastern Time. One winner will be chosen. The winner will receive a $60 credit from UrbanSitter. Prize valued at $60.00. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours to receive their prize. If a winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by UrbanSitter. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UrbanSitter. I basically lucked out because I was going to write about how awesome they are anyway.