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babysitter recruiting agency

(16 Posts)
user1468863258 Mon 18-Jul-16 19:37:40

I am thinking to create an online babysitter recruiting agency in London.
I have done some market research and it looks like there's no service that provides high quality, intelligent, pre-screened, pre-vetted babysitters. I would be targeting upper middle class families that are willing to pay higher price for guaranteed quality.

Would be interested to see what others think about this idea. Any suggestions/ideas would greatly be appreciated.
Thanks

kathrunneth Tue 19-Jul-16 19:18:46

Hi user146etc, there are several London businesses doing this. I'd definitely recommend doing some more market research at this stage to understand the market players and what they offer, how you'll differentiate your service, and what price people will really pay for any additional vetting/additional quality.

Hope that helps,
Kath
Runneth London - we advise startup and growing businesses

user1468863258 Wed 20-Jul-16 11:54:12

thanks for the message Kath,
Yes i know there are few players in London but they mostly offer nanny services. Even the companies that do offer pre-screened babysitters don't have easy means to search for babysitters with specific qualifications or interests.

I am thinking to have a service for families that are interested in quality babysitters with specific qualifications.
Some of the ideas I have: college students, multilingual sitters or sitters with higher education that have excellent english and can help with homework.

I also would like to encourage and foster standardized childcare service by offering monthly discussion topics, support, bonuses, and classes to my network of babysitters.

Again, any thoughts or suggestions would be really appreciated.

mouldycheesefan Wed 20-Jul-16 11:58:37

I don't live in London but there is definitely a gap in the market for babysitters that will do something a bit extra whilst they are babysitting. My children go to bed at 8pm if I could get a babysitter who wpuld then do the ironing, cleaning rather than watch to I would pay extra for that.
I guess most people want babysitting in the evening so will kids still be doing homework and learning languages then? The type of families you mention presumably have nannies, tutors , private schools so would they need a babysitter to do homework with th children?

kathrunneth Wed 20-Jul-16 13:11:57

I agree with mouldycheesefan (not about the cheese tho!) that babysitters are not usually used for the type of thing you're thinking about.

Babysitters typically come when the children are getting ready for bed/in bed in the evening. It may be a naming/classification issue, but most people I know who have help during the day with their children call them nannies - even if they aren't trained nannies or are only providing a few hours of help. And there are lots of nanny agencies that will help such families find educated or multilingual nannies - plus tutor agencies of course.

I don't want to be negative but, having seen it before, I worry when a business wants to launch a completely new product or service, or when it has to re-educate the masses about what it does. Both those things can make it slower and more costly to start, and the business can fail before it gets going. My sense is that people pay very little for babysitting services (approx £8 per hour for one big babysitting agency in London vs £60 for 45 minutes I heard one tutor charging) and that it's hard to make money without big scale. Given that you will presumably have limited marketing funds to start with (like most startups), you'd want to be sure that this is a big problem, and that people will want to pay for it to be solved.

The other question to ask is, if this is a big and lucrative market, why haven't the big nanny/babysitting firms moved to fill that gap? Or how are they filling that gap for their clients - are they calling it something different perhaps?

So I'm back to my original point - more research! It's the best thing to do that this stage and it's completely free (I use SurveyMonkey). I'd ask people (as many as possible) what issue they have around childcare/babysitting/nannying that needs to be solved, and see if your idea is one that many people have. If they do, then you can explore more - how much would they pay to have it solved, how often, what type of people exactly, how many clients/placements would that give you in a year. Then you can start to build a business case to see if it will work for you.

I'm all about the research so it helps you hone your idea quickly and do a business viability assessment before you've spent your first £. Hopefully it will prove that there is a market (and fair price) for your product and then you'll be off and racing!

TinySalmon Wed 20-Jul-16 13:19:05

OP, there a loads of online/app companies offering babysitters-on-demand.

I had this very idea about 6 months ago until I did some thorough research.

titchy Wed 20-Jul-16 13:29:56

there's no service that provides high quality, intelligent, pre-screened, pre-vetted babysitters

Apart from Sitters who are huge and operate nationally. Not sure you've done your homework OP...

user1468863258 Wed 20-Jul-16 21:44:03

Thanks for the feedback.
The only real differences between nanny and babysitter is that they are considered contract workers and payed only for hours worked. So if I want to have a childcare for odd days/evenings it would be a babysitter and not a nanny.
I agree with Kath , before you start any business venture you need to do your homework. I am in the process of creating a survey to help me identify the problems/difficulties most parents face when it comes to finding/using babysitters.

If anybody knows any agencies in London or UK that offer babysitters with high education then pleas let me know because I could not find anything like that.

Thanks again for all the comments!

titchy Wed 20-Jul-16 22:01:20

But why would someone want a highly qualified babysitter? If someone wants a tutor they'll go to a tutor. If they want someone to look after the kids when they're out for the evening and the kids are asleep then Sitters will find someone.

mouldycheesefan Thu 21-Jul-16 09:19:10

Even if the babysitter is regarded as intelligent or at college that doesn't qualify them to support a child's homework or teach them another language. My babysitter is not highly qualified. But she is a great babysitter. That's all I need.

user1468863258 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:03:35

Hmm maybe its just me - needing occasional child care during the day and prefer somebody with qualifications and education to look after my child.

pippitysqueakity Thu 21-Jul-16 10:19:26

So would you pay your sitters on a sliding scale depending on relevant qualifications? There may be a market for such sitters, but would highly qualified people want to be the sitters instead of, as has been said, nannies or tutors? Where is the benefit for them?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 21-Jul-16 10:21:05

I've used 3 nanny agencies in London solely for babysitting services rather than for nanny recruitment. With each, I was able to specify the sort of person I wanted to sit. I only ever wanted someone who was pleasant and caring towards my children though, rather than someone academic, but I recall in particular one woman who was also a teacher and provided 11+ tutoring. When we got home, she said she felt our then 7 year old should start having tutor sessions ASAP. My children all said the next morning that they didn't like her, that she'd been unkind and made them cry. Needless to say, I asked the agency not to send her again.

When I'm out, I want my children to be happy and safe, otherwise I will worry about them and not enjoy my time away from them. So all I really require from a babysitter is kindness and patience. But that's just my own opinion/circumstance.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 21-Jul-16 10:24:46

Actually, can I suggest this book written by a woman who set up one of the agencies I used? I think she's written another one too, about nannying/babysitting, but I don't know what it's called.

Book

Tralala33 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:41:24

I agree with a post up thread. What's in it for the actual babysitter? How will you find these highly qualified babysitters? If you're a highly qualified personwith the additional skills you mention, then you probably already have a good job and will unlikely be looking for babysitting work. People with those kind of qualifications/skills that want to work in that field, will likely be nannies.

mouldycheesefan Thu 21-Jul-16 11:03:06

My babysitter is qualified, she is a qualified nursery nurse. But she doesn't speak multi languages, hasn't been to uni and isn't highly educated. Which is fine as I don't need her to teach the kids anything just to babysit them.
NB most people don't use babysitters for daytime childcare. That would be a nanny.

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