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childcare.co.uk - is it worth paying?

(106 Posts)

I am registered as a chidminder on the site, but if i wanted to reply to any parents it would be £25 a year, is anyone else registered and is it worth paying the fee? There are a couple of parents on there at the moment, probably too far away from me.

leonifay Thu 16-Apr-09 13:30:44

?? i'm registered with childcare.co.uk and i contact and reply to parents, it doesnt cost me anything. but i can only send 5 messages a day, which if you include a e-mail adrees or phone number in one is enough.
personally i havent had any business from the site, but have a friend who had 1 parent contact her through it.

oh how strange. I have had contact from one parent, who i was able to reply to, but if i go onto the list of parents then it askd me to pay

Upgrade your Account
Join our other exclusive Gold members
In order to send messages you must upgrade to childcare.co.uk Gold Membership.

childcare.co.uk Gold Membership is an essential tool for childcare providers:

Send secure messages to local parents introducing your childcare services

Send unlimited replies to parents who have enquired about your service

All messages you send to parents can be read and replied to for free

Contact other local childcare providers to share advice and information

Choose your plan 1 Year childcare.co.uk Gold Membership £24.99
Best Value and Most Popular. Equivalent to around £2 a month!

3 months childcare.co.uk Gold Membership £12.99
Great value. Equivalent to around £4 a month.

leonifay Thu 16-Apr-09 13:45:20

ahhh, i see, thats new, i've managed to send messages to parents before with out paying.
i'll just update my profile page and make sure that i have a strong page then just wait for parent to contact me.
personally i dont think it would be worth it, not for me any way.

hmm, i have even just tried joining as a parent, but you still have to pay to send messages, i doubt a parent is going to pay to send us messages hmm

RachieB Thu 16-Apr-09 17:36:18

i thought this was a really good site before they started charging!

I am a Nanny & had lots of enquiries and messages sent back and forth.

then they started charging !

I am not sure whether to sign up or not

it doesnt work out that much per month etc,and if you get work out of it ? .... hmm

no i agree it doesnt seem that much, but when parents register they now have to pay to send messages, so thats not likely is it hmm so i spose it would be up to us to pay and then scour the site

SarahLondon1 Thu 16-Apr-09 19:01:41

You only have to pay to initiate contact with another user. It's free to read and reply to messages. So only the person that starts the message conversation has to pay.

There is actually a 20% discount voucher code that I saw advertised on another forum if you enter save20 in the discount voucher box which makes it really good value. I used the voucher and got a year for £19.99.

As a parent I don't find that too bad as it means I can find and use different babysitters for a year. I work around the country in different offices so it is useful for me to access babysitters all over the country.

If you are a childminder or babysitter then I should think it would be reasonable value as you can search for parents and contact them before they contact you. If you only get one customer then you would probably get your money back.

RachieB Thu 16-Apr-09 19:18:07

Thanks Sarah
i have used the code to sign up

missymoo2411 Thu 16-Apr-09 19:29:14

well im on there and a parent contacted me i tryed to reply but it still said i had to pay and she styarted the conversation

SarahLondon1 Thu 16-Apr-09 19:31:22

Glad it worked RachieB

When was the missymoo2411? I think it changed in the last week so it is free for everyone to reply.

RachieB Thu 16-Apr-09 19:56:35

i am contacting parents and putting my contact details in the message
so as long as they can read the message for free? it will be ok

nannynick Thu 16-Apr-09 20:41:29

I didn't get any enquiries when it was free, so not expecting any now that its a subscription service.
All posts on mumsnet by SarahLondon1 have been about that website, so that poster may work for that site. However Sarah, the discount code may be useful to some, so I won't winge too much smile

Parents: Your local Families Information Service will provide childcarer information for free. childcare.direct.gov.uk

SarahLondon1 Fri 17-Apr-09 16:08:39

I don't work for them, am just a customer who has used the service.

fabhead Tue 28-Jul-09 21:25:51

I am a parent looking for local babysitters and there are quite a few on there so I am considering paying as fed up of never going out - is there a current voucher and I might go for it?

Failing that if you are on there and can babysit in Reigate, Surrey contact me for free on here! wink

shellchildminder Tue 28-Jul-09 22:54:07

I am a childminder and i had the same problem i was sending and receving messages for free then it changed and you had to pay ,ive already seen a few adverts from parents saying there not using the site because there not willing to pay to send messages not when there is so many free sites now such as gumtree , netmums findchildminders.com etc.
It was a good site shame! i know everything cant be free but they could at least do a one month payment i sent them an email enquiring about this and they said no the least is 3 months, and as far as im aware you cant send any messages for free!

shellchildminder Tue 28-Jul-09 22:58:38

I am a childminder and i had the same problem i was sending and receving messages for free then it changed and you had to pay ,ive already seen a few adverts from parents saying there not using the site because there not willing to pay to send messages not when there is so many free sites now such as gumtree , netmums findchildminders.com etc.
It was a good site shame! i know everything cant be free but they could at least do a one month payment i sent them an email enquiring about this and they said no the least is 3 months, and as far as im aware you cant send any messages for free!

Also ment to say you cant leave your contact details on your advert it wont let you otherwise there is no need to pay!

moomillion Wed 29-Jul-09 20:32:40

Tip put your business name or full name or postcode somewhere in it and the parents can search for you on google if they wanted to so always worth putting an advert in..... But I have paid as a childminder but also have a parent profile and me childminder sent me parent a message and then I the parent replied in the last week so can reply for free so worth sending message to local parents

RachieB Wed 29-Jul-09 23:26:23

and breathe!

SarahLondon1 Tue 01-Sep-09 07:47:07

I am a paying member as I travel around a lot for my job and I often find myself ending up somewhere I don't know and requiring a babysitter at short notice. The site is great for that as they have over 9000 babysitters.

It's true that there are quite a few other sites offering a similar service but I have tried them all and none of them work as well as this or have the number and quality of people on there.

Even if you don't want to pay the minimum of £12.99 for 3 months, it's still worth joining as you can wait for someone to contact you and it's free to read and reply to messages.

If you are a childminder then I should imagine you would get a good return on your money as there are over 18,000 parents on there currently seeking childcare and many of them say they are looking for a childminder.

AvadaKedavra Tue 01-Sep-09 19:25:58

Wow you seem very keen on them Sarah wink

Parents! Why pay for it when as Nannynick points out you can get the info for free from your local CIS/FIS??

www.childcare.direct.gov.uk



I am a member (before they sprung the charges on us) and have been since it started and have to date 0 enquiries.

I too am registered on this site as a babysitter and maternity nurse but refuse to pay a membership fee to contact people as there are many free sites such as gumtree and netmums.

SarahLondon1 Wed 09-Sep-09 09:00:52

There are other free sites but in my experience none of them work as well as childcare.co.uk.

I find the quality of the babysitters on childcare.co.uk to be much higher than I found on Gumtree.

If you can get extra business as a result of paying a small free then surely it is worthwhile? Just because you may advertise on gumtree and netmums, doesn't mean you are also targeting all the parents on childcare.co.uk. There will be parents on childcare.co.uk that never use gumtree or netmums.

The local babysitter I use when I am at home (which I found from the website) works for me about two evenings a week but she gets work other evenings too by looking out for new parents in the area and sending them a message shortly after they have joined. In total she is working about 4 nights a week from the site.

The goverment sites are great but they generally only cover childminders and nurseries not babysitters.

AvadaKedavra Wed 09-Sep-09 10:11:55

You should be paying for this advertising ;)

I have had work from childcare.co.uk but where parents have sent me messages.

TwoCupcakes Wed 09-Sep-09 11:00:45

i actually discovered the site by accident a few nights ago so i registered as a parent. They sent me a link for me to "complete my registration" (and pay, i suppose). i have yet to do it but despite that, i can still send messages to potential candidates and receive replies. What seems to happen is that the site send me an email to say that a message is waiting for me on childcare.co and i log on, retrieve it, reply and give them my email address and then we contact each other via email from then on.

so far, so good so not sure where the 'pay' element is coming from. having said that, maybe the other party pays to contact me and since i'm only replying rather than initiating, i don't have to pay.

£25 would be lot to pay in my opinion unless i found someone i really liked

luckylou Wed 09-Sep-09 16:31:50

Is it worth paying? Yes and no.

I work as an ad hoc nanny on a self-employed basis, and I've had much more serious interest and more results from childcare.co.uk than any other site. It pays for itself.

But it's infuriating to use. Having done an advanced search for parents seeking childcare in your area, and noticing there are more entries than last time you looked, you then have to wade through every single page - most of them made up of people who haven't visited the site for months - trying to find the new entry/entries.

I've just been there, noticed there were 17 pages of parents within 5 miles of me - there were 16 pages yesterday. So I waded through 15 of those pages to find the new ones, neither of which was suitable.

A simple 'most recently added' facility would fix that. I want to search for parents within 20 miles, but I don't have the time.

sophiapaull Wed 30-Jun-10 19:24:23

I signed up to www.thesuffolkbabysittingco.co.uk which was free and they just text me when famillies need a babysitter. I think I heard they are going to start covering Kent soon too. Might be helpful to parents/babysitters in those areas?

I was on childcare.co.uk and I think my profile was pretty strong but I didnt get any enquiries and it asked me to pay to contact famillies so I havent. Babysitting doesnt earn much anyway so its not worth me paying a fee!

JenniPenni Wed 30-Jun-10 22:39:39

I have been signed up on www.childcare.co.uk for a while... and pay (got a big discount through being a member on www.childmindingforum.co.uk).. and it's been VERY worth it. I have had loads of inquiries through it, and taken on some mindees through it too.

genequeen Wed 15-Sep-10 21:12:36

I have just registered and paid my money...looking for someone to do after-school care. All looks good initiially but actually about 90% of people one finds on searching have long expired: they registered 6 or 12 or 18 months ago and have long since found other employment/gone to university etc. Actually rather a waste of time. Just post an ad on gumtree (~£34 inc VAT): feels like a rip-off but at least one knows that those replying are actively interested.

Rach109 Wed 15-Sep-10 21:16:56

I like childcare.co.uk I have got a few babysitting jobs, and my last nannying job from there

You can now search by newest or last logged in etc, and you can see who has looked at your profile too

nannynick Wed 15-Sep-10 21:29:23

Genequeen - use advanced search. Then you can restrict the search to mileage distance and order by last login date.

It's a pain though still as some people don't keep their profiles updated, yet may still login.

For childcarers there is not a way to search for parents who are looking for a specific type of childcare - bit of a pain if someone is looking to babysit, as the listing contains parents looking for a nanny, or childminder as well as a babysitter.

jogee80 Sat 25-Sep-10 14:55:12

I have been registered as a babysitter/childminder with childcare.co.uk for 4 months I am NOT a paid member but I have found three jobs which I do around each other and it leaves my evenings still free to be able to babysit if anyone asks. I thinks its a great service and well worth registering for free! x

RichardChildcare Sat 09-Oct-10 11:17:39

nannynick -

childcare providers can use the Advanced Search facility to search for parents/families seeking childcare and you can also add a keyword such as 'babysitter' into one of the keyword boxes to show only profiles for parents that mention they are seeking a babysitter.

The recently launched Tags feature allows both parents and childcare providers to add extra details to their profile and in the case of parents it allows them to tick a box to specify the type of childcare they are seeking.

The keywords in the tags are also searched when doing an Advanced Search with a keyword so even if a parent hasn't mentioned 'babysitter' in the custom written text of their profile but they have ticked the tag to say they are seeking a babysitter then their profile will still show up in the search results.

The Advanced Search feature now also allows users to search with up to 3 different keywords.

If you have a profile and haven't updated it for a while I would recommend logging in and updating your tags.

Sandym3g Sat 09-Oct-10 11:44:48

I have paid for the site and have got a mindee from around the corner from it.

Beware of the distance on the site though. We were ment to have a interview with someone yesturday who was "less than a mile away" and when she found out we were not in walking distance she had to cancel. Which was fair enough.

I look on it every day and use the last logged in feature. I then see anyone who is less than a mile away and look at their profile. It's like a calling card for some of them as they are not looking for imediate starts. At least that way we are on their list of "who's viewed my profile." Those who do fall into what we can offer I message. You never know what might come out of it.

nannynick Sat 09-Oct-10 12:25:07

Thanks for adding the new Tags feature Richard. That should help with making searching easier. Will have a play with that.

Richard - does the messaging system not always show that a message has been read? I can send messages but they don't seem to get read... some do show the open envelope icon, others do not. Any ideas why... maybe people just don't check their e-mail.

Sandym3g - Distance estimates on websites are often As The Crow Flies, as that is how distances are often calculated by the computer system (It knows the point on the earth of the two locations and draws a line between the two points, then measures the line - it's a mathematical formula).
Therefore the actual distance by road/paths will be different. If you know the actual postcode of the person, then you could use Google Maps to show the distance by road - but you won't know the postcode initially, as that detail is not provided (it is hidden).

RichardChildcare Sat 09-Oct-10 14:20:42

nannynick - It should show you every time a message has been read. The envelope icon under Sent Messages changes from closed to opened.

If a message shows as unread then it would mean the recipient has not yet read it.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rach109 Sun 10-Oct-10 12:43:44

lol yeah I have checked mine and some messages I sent from last yr, have not yet been opened / read!
why do people sign up, and place an ad and then never go back on / read messages etc?!!

nannynick Sun 10-Oct-10 14:31:13

Glad it's not just me Rach109 - Does seem strange that someone would sign up, gets sent a message within a couple of days of signing up, yet they don't then open the message. Even when they do open it, they never reply. Would be nice even just to get a No Thanks Your A Bloke grin

RichardChildcare Sun 10-Oct-10 17:28:56

I know it can be very annoying when you take the time to send someone a message and they sometimes don't reply.

An email alert is sent to a member when they receive a new message, unless they have opted out of receiving email notifications of new messages.

We are working on new logged in members page that will appear when a members logs in and this page page will also highlight any unread messages that they may have in their account.

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Sun 10-Oct-10 21:01:55

I have had lots of work from it so for me it has been great!

In fact, I get more from there than any other website!

MrsMooh Mon 11-Oct-10 13:27:36

I have been on childcare.co.uk for a while. i paid for 3 months when I 1st registered then they took the money for the next 3 months without telling me. It wasn't until i asked a friend to look at my profile and give me some feedback that i discovered that parents can't contact you unless they've paid too. Whats the point in that!!
I have had loads of people view my profile but if they can't access my details it's pointless.
i even tried to put a link to my web address in my profile but childcare.co.uk removed it.
I really think it's a money making scam and although i've had a couple of people contact me i really don't hink it's worth the money.

RichardChildcare Mon 11-Oct-10 13:51:07

I don't think it's very fair to call the service a money making scam. You are entitled to your subjective opinions but such a remark goes beyond that and is without foundation.

Gold members can initiate contact with other members and free members can read and reply to messages. This is clearly detailed on our website.

If you were not happy with the service then you would have been more than welcome to get in touch with us via our website and we have provided you with a refund.

Childcare.co.uk has put in touch over 100,000 parents and childcare providers.

nannynick Mon 11-Oct-10 14:57:30

When making payment you would have been told it was an auto renewing subscription, which you can stop at anytime by logging in to paypal. So hardly fair calling it a scam.

MrsMooh Mon 11-Oct-10 18:55:08

I'm not calling it a scam for taking my next periods subscription. it was fair enough as i didn't cancel it in time. just wished they had sent me a message reminding me it was up for renewal..
My annoyance is with the fact that i paid my subscription to increase my chances of finding clients but they clearly can't contact me unless they also pay up which is a very expensive email just to get in touch I think you would agree. I feel it's fair for me to pay as i'm marketing my business but it seems a little pointless if parents have to pay to get in touch.

MrsMooh Mon 11-Oct-10 19:02:24

Sillymillysmummy, I would say go with the direct.gov website as i've had more enquiries from there and people seem to look at it more as it's government run and childminder MUST be registered as all info is uploaded directly by ofsted. I have one a lot of marketing and my other major line of enquiry has come from having magnetic ads on the side of my car.

RichardChildcare Mon 11-Oct-10 20:14:28

If a childcare provider gold member contacts a parent member then the parent member can read the message and reply for free even if the parent hasn't paid.

MrsMooh Tue 12-Oct-10 13:59:05

yes they can but that means i have to email every parent in my local area to ask if i can help which is totally ridiculous. I think it's a fantastic idea in principle but in reality it doesn't work as no parent is going to pay £25 just to ask a simple question about my services. I paid expecting to get a full service but if people can't contact me it's only half a service.

RichardChildcare Tue 12-Oct-10 15:48:47

If you would like a refund then simply contact us via our website and we will be happy to provide you with a full refund.

Our service does work and we have thousands of parents paying to join every week.

I am not sure where you got the £25 figure from as the minimum payment is £12.99 for 3 months access which is good value for money.

The gold subscripiton fee includes lots of other benefits such as free legal advice from our legal partner on any childcare or family related legal matters, free access to the online version of Creative Steps magazine and lots more.

Jenbob12 Tue 12-Oct-10 23:00:12

I have found babysitting work and my current nanny job through childcare.co.uk but do find the charge excessive.

I have now started my own website which costs me £3 a month to run, to advertise my babysitting services, as well as my friends, so it's free for parents to use. Wr mainly cover Twickenham, Richmond, Teddington, Hampton, Whitton & Feltham.

Take a look!

www.twickenhambabysitters.co.uk

nannynick Tue 12-Oct-10 23:26:40

Jenbob12 - While a website may not cost that much to run initially, once traffic levels are high the webhosting costs start to increase. It's all about how much data a site uses. Your webhost will have various data plans and can stop your site access if you exceed monthly data limits.
Also the bulk of the cost for any business in this sector is in Advertising to parents.
Childcare.co.uk has grown very quickly over the past year or so from what I've noticed (will state at this point that I have no connection with Childcare.co.uk, other than that I have a listing on there myself). When browsing various websites you see their adverts, including on Mumsnet. Those adverts are not free. They cost money - either as PayPerClick or CostPer1000Impressions, possibly as a combination of both.
I've had my own website for over 10 years... it does not cost much to operate. However if I wanted lots of local parents to know about me, I would have to be paying out a lot of money for online and traditional print media adverts. As an example for you... have you asked Twickenham area NCT how much they would charge for you to advertise in their branch newsletter... that certainly won't be £3 per month, and it won't have a high readership... but will be highly targeted.

Before the internet became widely used... I used to have an advert in a local newspaper. I can't remember the cost but it was a fair amount for a very small ad... could well have been £20+ per week. That was just a small local paper with low circulation and a cheap classified ad. So I was wondering... when you say the charge made by Childcare.co.uk is excessive... what is that in comparison to? As I would love to know what other low-cost ways you have found to advertise to local parents. An advert in the local newsagents will probably cost £1 a week these days.

End of the day, if someone feels the price of a service being offered isn't what they are prepared to pay - they don't need to sign up for the service.
In the same way, if what is offered isn't what someone wants, then they don't need to sign up.
It's not as though anyone is making anyone sign up to Childcare.co.uk or any of the other childcare listings websites.

Parents are free to use whatever method they like to find childminders/nannies/babysitters. Childcarers can use whatever methods they like to make parents aware of the service they offer.
If you don't want to pay the money, don't feel the service is valuable to you... then you don't need to sign up.
I don't see what the problem is... it's a service being offered... at a price. Either you pay it, or you don't.

RichardChildcare Wed 13-Oct-10 07:27:05

Jenbob12 - Congratulations on finding both a nanny job and babysitting work via childcare.co.uk

Given you have had such a good success then I am surprised that you find a fee of just £12.99 for 3 months "excessive" because presumbaly the amount you have earned from the nanny job and babysitting jobs has far exceeded the £12.99 cost.

Of course anyone can get up a website sith little or no cost these days. The success of childcare.co.uk is, in part, due to the volume of people using it - Over 400,000 visitors a month and growing. To get that kind of volume you need to invest a significant amount of money in marketing in the order of tens of thousands of pounds per week.

Good luck with your website.

kenobi Wed 27-Oct-10 11:21:45

RichardChildcare:
I used childcare to find a lovely babysitter, so yay. Though one thing that annoys the PANTS off me is that you have to wade through loads and loads of profiles of people who haven't checked in for over a year. Would you consider you sidelining/removing those profiles, and have them activate again if they subsequently check back in?

BlueKat Wed 27-Oct-10 13:54:37

I've been registered with childcare.co.uk since it began and have received many requests regarding my services. I have always endeavoured to reply as soon as possible as I am aware how stressful the recruitment process is for both parents and

At this stage I have not found a position yet, but then I am always so booked up, I'm not surprised. I have never paid but if I was activiely seeking work, I would have no issue doing so.

It's a great site in it's early stages and as mentioned above, changes are occurring often in order to improve.

I keep a profile active on a few sites and I definitely have had more interest from this one then any of the older and more established sites.

LoveMyGirls Wed 27-Oct-10 15:02:42

I have found it useful though I agree with posters who say members who haven't used it for a certain length of time should be removed from searches until they log back in and then it could re-activate their account.

Also maybe you could design a list of questions for parents to answer such as the age of their child, how many hours/ days they need care for, what qualities they are looking for etc as some people don't put anything or just put irrelevant information so it would be good to know exactly what they are looking for before I waste time sending them a message.

RichardChildcare Wed 27-Oct-10 15:18:41

You can display the search results by newest members first or most recently logged in members first so the oldest members appear at the end of the search results.

EvaLongoria Wed 27-Oct-10 15:36:18

I was registered on childcare.co.uk last year and paid a reduce fee for 12 months. I had so many people contacting me and potential clients. Unfortunately I left the childminding business and then needed childcare myself. I only had to change my profile from childcarer to parent and again quickly found a childminder for my DC. Even now I still get people contacting me and it costs me nothing to reply to them (you never know when you might need childcare again).

As a childminder I contacted a parent if I saw that they viewed my profile or added me as their favourites. That meant that they never had to upgrade and pay the fee. I would highly recommend it. Also you can display results for members last logged in and therefore do not need to see members that have not been on the website for ages.

PinkChick Tue 15-Feb-11 11:22:32

£49.99 per year now!!!
Was just about to re join but thats definatly not feasable for the handful of enquiries i got last time!

RedRose1969 Sun 20-Feb-11 10:55:50

I have join the website as a parent and find it very frustrating shock that I have to pay to contact nannies, as before I register I did not know you have to pay, and yes the price is very unreasenable to me as I have just got back to work and as a single parent a I very little resources to cover this expensive, also I like to take my time to find a good person to look after my kid, and I do not like the pressure of making decision fast.

3 monthly* childcare.co.uk Gold Membership £19.99

1 Year* childcare.co.uk Gold Membership £49.99
noot good unless the nannies contact me! it wont work for me!
ho yes then after you find someone that you like you discover that they last log in one year a go...

nannynick Sun 20-Feb-11 11:56:05

But an advert in a local newspaper would cost you quite a bit and not guarantee any replies. Even advertising via a postcard in a newsagents window will cost money.

Other forms of advertising are not highly targeted, so get mixed results. At least by using a website dedicated to childcare, you know that people looking on there are either looking for a childcarer or are looking for childcare work.

Personally I've had no work via the site (advertise myself as a babysitter). I do wonder why I keep paying to contact parents... maybe the parents should be paying. See it's tricky... either parents pay, or childcarers pay. Advertising isn't free, someone pays.

cinpin Sun 20-Feb-11 23:00:09

Its a lot cheaper than a nanny agency, they are offering a service, everybody has a choice.

nannynick Sun 20-Feb-11 23:03:45

Especially the nanny agency that charges £3000!

nannynikki Mon 21-Feb-11 16:28:42

Are there any current special offers for joining?

I noticed that there used to be a code your could add for reduced membership.

Laura233 Mon 21-Feb-11 18:33:34

I have had loads of business from it, well worth the money for me!

grandmainmypocket Wed 23-Feb-11 23:06:12

Worth the money

Mummy22lo Mon 28-Feb-11 16:01:54

Does anyone know of any voucher codes for the site?

jaffacake79 Tue 15-Mar-11 14:18:23

Does anyone have a current code for this please?

deliakate Tue 15-Mar-11 14:24:49

I had exactly the same experience as the poster somewhere above - when signing up, it was NOT made clear that it was recurring payment, and I didn't realise that they would take £12.99 every 3 months. I think it should definitely be clearer to anyone signing up through PayPal. Warning - be aware of this!

NickyRG Tue 07-Jun-11 12:18:01

Does anyone have a discount code for this site?

Looe Tue 04-Oct-11 10:35:33

HI there everyone, I am a childcarer and paid to join childcare.co.uk gold membership as it is the only way to initiate contact e.g to send messages to parents etc. (they don't make this very clear on their help page e.g they say it is free to send messages BUT they don't say it is free only if the person contacts you first and is a paid up member already, so they fail to include the words "NOT FREE to INICIATE ANY CONTACT") At the beginning of July this year it was £19.99 for 3 months gold membership. I checked today to see when my membership runs out only to be shocked to see that it is now £19.99 per month!! To be a gold member. Also the site does not make it clear your first payment is on a subcription basis so is on going unless you cancell it yourself on paypal. Just wanted to let you all know the rather shocking news about there price rises. Cheers

Looe Tue 04-Oct-11 11:48:21

Oh and I left a comment on Smarta 100 website as childcare.co.uk won first prize 2011 about their price rises and it wansn't rude just informative and they removed it! what ever happenmed to constructive criticism!

Liff Tue 04-Oct-11 13:25:00

I have just signed up as a parent and have contacted around 15 potential nannies and to date had 3 responses. Had to say I didn't know that people who hadn't up-graded couldn't reply so maybe I need to track down their email addresses...

RichardChildcare Wed 05-Oct-11 12:28:26

Thanks for your feedback.

All free members can receive, read and reply to messages.

We do not increase the subscription rates for continuous subscribers so if you subscribe at one rate then even if the price increases for new subscribers we do not increase the rate for existing members.

In addition to contacting members via our web based messaging system gold members also get access to the direct contact details of other members, where available, so you can also phone or email them directly.

JamesTobysMum Wed 05-Oct-11 14:45:43

I have just signed up (not paid any money) to Childcare.co.uk gave all my details (inc my date of birth why???? data protection is an issue thesedays!) I then found an ideal person wendy88 to tutor my son only to find that I'd have to pay £19.99 for one month to contact one person. WHAT A RIP OFF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's disgraceful. On principle I would not pay it as it is unreasonable. £5 to contact 5 people maybe but no more!
needless to say I won't be signing up, and will probably remove myself from the site.

RichardChildcare Wed 05-Oct-11 15:51:06

Hello James. I am sorry that you feel our website is a "rip-off". There are a lot of costs associated in running the website, especially the marketing costs which amount to several hundreds of thousands of pounds per month.

Whilst it would be lovely to provide a total free service, or one that costs justs "£5 to contact 5 people" that unfortunately is not possible.

nannynick Wed 05-Oct-11 17:00:05

I feel you need to compare it to the cost of advertising elsewhere... say your local newspaper. I can't find rate for 2011 from my local newspaper, have found 2007 rates where it was £16.85 per column centimetre. I guess a small ad might at a push fit 2cm but the amount of detail that could be included in that is minimal. That was for one appearance in the newspaper, didn't include online - that would be extra.

James - how about putting a postcard in a local newsagents shop window? That would probably cost £1 a week or perhaps even less. Would possibly get seen by local people.
As you are looking for a Tutor, perhaps local tutors are signed up so they can send you a message... so add wendy88 to your favourites, that way the tutor gets sent a message saying you have added them as a favourite and they can then perhaps contact you.

nannynikki Wed 05-Oct-11 17:40:35

I have been using childcare.co.uk for years to find work. I have found it to be extremely good value and would be much cheeper for me than placing an advert in the local press and reaching many more parents. With the added advantage also of being able to contact parents who are looking for nannies and not only waiting (like with a newspaper ad) for them to find me.

I think for parents it is even better value. The cost of getting a nanny for example through a nanny agency would be much much more.

apotomak Wed 05-Oct-11 18:13:48

I'm happy to pay the fees ... I have had a lot of business via childcare.co.uk and just 10 hours of my work paid for the annual membership. I have earned a lot more. Sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate. In my case it has paid off .... many many times. And I must add that Richard has always been extremely helpful and responded immediately to any questions I had.

For any parents looking for a nanny the fee is a bargain.

Flisspaps Wed 05-Oct-11 18:22:09

I've had no custom via there. I've had a couple of enquiries but no business. I don't pay my subscription, I won 12 months free Gold with a Twitter competition - follow them on there, they seem to run quite regularly wink

Most of my business has come from Facebook!

RichardChildcare Wed 05-Oct-11 19:07:10

Thanks again for all the feedback. Our service definately works if you are prepared to spend time using the site to contact other members.

Just having a profile on the site isn't usually enough to generate lots of enquiries. This is because we have over 125,000 childcare providers and parents have a large number of carers to choose from. Some parents will find a childcare provider they are interested in and contact them (and childcare providers can read and reply to the message for free) but the childcare providers having the most success with our website are the ones that take time to login regularly and view the details of the latest people seeking childcare. Then they contact them to introduce themselves and offer their services.

Childcare.co.uk has the largest number of childcare providers and parents seeking childcare anywhere in the UK so it is worth at least having a free profile on the website even if you don't think it is worth paying to be a gold member because you can still receive, read and reply to enquiries without paying.

However if you have an immediate childcare requirement or are looking for a childcare job then it is definately worth investing £19.99 for a month's membership. The vast majority of people that do pay think it is worth it because they are seeing a good return on their investment in the membership fees.

ChitChattingWithKids Wed 05-Oct-11 19:12:28

As a parent when I was looking for a couple of regular babysitters I signed up for a month then went on a contact blitz. Didn't receive replies from all that many potential babysitters, but the ones I did receive replies from where pretty good. Worth it IMO, it was the price of babysitting for one night out, and I now have several babysitters who I use regularly. Better than paying a continuous monthly fee to Sitters!!!

RichardChildcare Wed 05-Oct-11 19:24:38

ChitChattingWithKids - thanks for your feedback

As you correctly point out, once you have found a babysitter, they are yours to keep. No agency fees, booking fees or commission, even if you cancel your gold membership.

sunshinenanny Fri 07-Oct-11 18:50:55

I was a goldmember of childcare.co.uk but my membership ran out and I wasn't sent any reminders and when I looked to rejoin I certainly wasn't offered the same rate as before, they didn't even acknowledge that I had been a goldmember when I persued this I was told there was no record because I had paid by cheque!

So I don't know where Richard is coming from when he says you get the same rate you originally joined for confused

I may join again as a goldmember but at the moment I am dissapointed in the servicehmm

Dozer Fri 07-Oct-11 20:52:46

I used the site recently to contact nannies and CMs in Surrey. Really liked that could quickly see people by distance and see when they last logged in. I contacted lots of people, had lots of responses from promising carers, and found a great local CM. Miles better than the Council's service, and well worth the money IMO.

Also had a fair few people contact us. Perhaps it works here cos there're lots of childcarers in the area (Surrey)

I liked less the constant notifications when someone reads your profile, felt a bit stalkerish!

Am genuinely a customer (and spend too much time on MN). As with all services, obviously free is better, but in our area at least I feel that the site genuinely adds value.

RichardChildcare Fri 07-Oct-11 21:55:33

sunshinenanny - I am sorry you are disappointed. The same renewal rate is available to continuous gold subscribers that pay by PayPal. If you want to get in touch with us via our website then we will see what we can do to make you happy again.

Dozer - thanks for your feedback. We are pleased that you found the site helpful.

I think it's bloody ridiculous to charge us £19.99 for one month. Saying that though, I managed to get two interviews within 24 hours of signing up (but I went crazy and contacted about 20 parents of which four replied).

But, it's still too much money especially as you can't buy a week or two's worth. For a nanny who's out of work, £20 a month is a huge amount of money, and the fact that they upped it when they started getting popular is abysmal. It was certainly not that expensive a month or two ago.

I will also add, that a week later I have exhausted the list of parents looking for nannies within 20 miles of my location, contacted everybody suitable and am now just sitting around either waiting for replies, or waiting for more parents to join.

It only took me a week because I had a wedding take over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Definitely need options to join for less than a month.

JamesTobysMum Sat 08-Oct-11 20:25:08

Still not convinced

nannynick Sat 08-Oct-11 20:44:12

No one is forcing anyone to use the service. So up to every individual to decide if it's something they would use or not. Plenty of small shops still accept classified ads (my local supermarket has an ads board), as do local newspapers.

Tanith Sat 08-Oct-11 20:50:03

I don't like the notifications either. I think you shoot yourself in the foot a bit with them, Richard. A lot of people look at a profile, then wait for the minder to contact them.
It seems to me a bit like ringing someone then putting the phone down and waiting for them to dial 1471 and ring you back. I had a very mean friend who used to do this.

nannynick Sat 08-Oct-11 20:53:20

The government tried doing a website of this type, following them deciding to close ChildcareLink.gov.uk The result was a terrible mess and a waste of a lot of money (anyone know how much the non-working system cost?). Local authorities now have the control of that system again but it's got problems... it doesn't list all childcare providers, it doesn't always provide details of how close someone is. Surrey County Council has a version sort of working... here. It isn't very useful though, as it lists me in a place different to where I live (as it lists my registered setting address, not my home) and it does not say that I am available for evening babysitting, and I can't edit it. Flawed system... though the initial concept plans & database structure I saw were good.

So a commercial provider has come along and produced a system which works. Sure it's not perfect, it relies on data provided by the individuals on the system but that means it's easy for people to update. It costs money to advertise, to run the databases, that money has to come from somewhere, so someone has to pay...be that the nanny/babysitter/tutor or the parents.

Maybe local authorities should dump their systems and instead come to some deal with Childcare.co.uk to provide the service... never know, that might work.
For those childcare providers who don't feel the money is worthwhile, how about asking your local council if they will fund you a years subscription? The council funds other things, like first aid courses and other training, so why not help with advertising? Anyone asked their council Early Years dept?

nannynick Sat 08-Oct-11 20:55:18

Tanith - do you mean the email that is sent when someone views your profile? It can be turned off... Childcare.co.uk Email Settings

I find it useful as I can then take a look at their profile and then contact them if I think I might be of help to them.

nannynikki Sat 08-Oct-11 21:51:40

It is by far, the best method I have used of finding childcare work.

It WORKS for me where most of the local agencies do not. I have tried lots of local agencies who never reply or wont put me forward for a job they are advertising for one reason or another. Where for a very small fee paid to Childcare I have access to numerous parents all of who are seeking childcare. I decide which parents I contact not somebody sitting behind a desk in an agency.

I have found most of my positions through childcare.co.uk one of which was my dream job.

I would never go back to using agencies now that I have found it.

Tanith Sun 09-Oct-11 08:55:04

Thanks Nick!

Swansea100 Wed 12-Oct-11 22:23:27

I have just realised that I have been paying this every 3 months, it was not made clear when I signed up that the money would be taken every 3 months. I am really annoyed, whilst I don't mind the second payment that was taken as I have been contacting babysitters through the site, I certainly would not have paid again this month for another quarter. When it says in the terms and conditions that it is £19.99 for 3 months membership, that does not make clear that this payment will then continue to be taken until you cancel it. I certainly won't be recommending the site for this reason. I obviously didn't spot the payment that was taken in July but with a small baby at the time, I obviously didn't scrutinise every penny going in and out my account. Fuming!

nannynick Wed 12-Oct-11 22:32:56

Swansea100 - Didn't you get an email from PayPal when you signed up?
Mine clearly said in it "Your subscription will automatically renew at the rates stated above unless you cancel prior to the end of the billing period." Above that it gave details of the payment amount and the billing period.

At the end of the billing period (in my case a year) I got another e-mail from PayPal saying "You made an automatic payment for your subscription" which gave details of the payment and link to PayPal to cancel subscription if I wanted to stop future payments.

I'm wondering if for some reason your email system didn't put those emails in your Inbox. Can you locate subscription e-mails coming from PayPal?

Swansea100 Fri 14-Oct-11 10:48:05

I don't recall getting any such emails. I have contacted Childcare.co.uk to about this and to their credit it has been resolved satisfactorily. It would be easiest if they just stated this clearly on their website, that way no one can miss it or not realise!

nannynick Sat 15-Oct-11 12:40:58

Should anyone not know, Childcare.co.uk are doing a half-price offer, ends tomorrow. £9.99 monthly, £69.99 yearly. Account Upgrade Link (requires childcare.co.uk login)

Swansea100, good to hear you have got in touch with them and come to an satisfactory solution. I do agree that the "Gold membership via PayPal is a recurring subscription and can be cancelled at anytime." statement which appears on the account upgrade page should be put closer to the Choose Your Subscription section. It might then mean less people moaning about it, though might mean less people decide to upgrade. Maybe some AB testing is needed - maybe that's already been done. Ultimately on any select payment page on anywebsite, read the entire page.

firstname1984 Tue 24-Jan-12 22:30:34

I have found childcare.co.uk to be a rip-off. The functionality isn't intuitive and the number of child carers on there isn't that huge. Also be warned that if you do spend the £20 signing up, unless you remember to unsubscribe, you will be charged again automatically. Not worth the money in my opinion.

I just came across the site today. As a parent looking for childcare, I think it costs way too much and the sign-up process is very misleading.

I don't have an objection to it being a paid-for service as such, but I agree with other people's comments on here that it should be made crystal clear when you first access the site, and in the About Us section, that you can't actually contact any of the people listed without paying a fee.

In fact, it should be made clear it's a subscription service before you sign up at all - I'm miffed that I had to give a LOT of personal details to the site (including birth date etc.) just to register. Why do you need all this?

You should make full registration/payment part of the same transaction so people don't waste their time and risk their data security. Or at very least, when people register their details, it should be made clear they won't be able to contact anyone, only paid users can contact THEM.

As it was, I wasted about an hour favouriting people only to discover I couldn't actually do anything without paying up!

For a new parent, at this stage, I feel the cost is prohibitive. I can understand that people advertising their business should pay a fee - and get an enhanced listing from that - but for the end-user to have to pay as well... hmmm

An advertisement in a local paper or shop would be free for me to access (well, assuming the newspaper was free!).

Anyway, I am glad to hear the site works for many of you.

bbcessex Thu 09-Feb-12 21:05:11

I too won't be using it again.

I registered this month - £19.99 for an ad for "parent seeking childcare". (I immediately went to my PayPal account and cancelled the auto-renew, as I was stung on that last year).

My 'gripe' is that I am looking for a part time nanny, and the ones that advertise as that aren't necessarily actually looking for part time hours - just keeping their options open; there's also lots of nannies advertising who are no longer looking - but you can't find that out unless you actually pay to contact them.

I pretty much exhausted all potential candidates on the first day or two. I now think it's expensive for what it is (for parents, at least).

AbyN Wed 15-Aug-12 18:01:15

Today we have to pay £19.99 per month to have access to childminder details.... I guess you can see all you want within the month and not pay for a 2nd month.
seems a bit steep still!

fluffygal Thu 16-Aug-12 11:14:30

I have been trying to google the names I find on there, a lot have their phone number on yell.com but is so annoying as not all do. I am not paying 20 quid a month, that is ridiculous!

Tanith Thu 16-Aug-12 17:43:15

I'm seriously considering stopping my membership.

I've been on there a couple of years and not one inquiry has ever led to a contract: most of them seem to be time-wasters.
I think it's also open to abuse: nothing to stop the providers setting up a fake account, or lots of fake accounts, and posting their own recommendations.

ethanelliot Fri 17-Aug-12 13:49:14

Hi,
I registered on the website. Send 10 emails because I am looking for a childminder. And no one replied yet with a positive answer.
here is my advert if anybody is interested:

Our twin boys are going to a nursery called stonecroft Day Nursery from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
We would need a nanny/childminder to pick them up at the nursery and then take care of them until 7pm monday to friday.
We would like someone with at least 5+ years experiences

Ideally we would like the person to start the first week of September.
(17.5 -20 hours a week with possibilities of babysitting sometimes)
manu.risse@hotmail.co.uk

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