I haven’t gotten out much in the past 5.5 years. My husband and I talked a big game about weekly date nights and not losing ourselves completely after having children. But the reality of not having family in town to offer (free) help set in quickly.
And over time, when you only book a sitter once a month or so, you don’t develop a great sitter network. So when we do want a night out, our one or two options often can’t help.
Enter the opportunity to experience and blog about a local babysitting service, The Sitter Tree. I knew these types of services existed but hesitated at the cost.
As with most things, however, I was open to changing my mind, so I gave it a try.
First things first, I registered online and provided information about myself and my family. With some similar sitter companies, this is where the orientation would end. Not The Sitter Tree! I received a personal email asking for a time to chat, and Sarah spent several minutes on the phone with me to learn more about my family and needs and to explain how it all works.
Of all the things she shared, I most appreciated the recruiting and screening process they use for its sitters. Every sitter undergoes an extensive background check and interviews in-person with the staff. They also use a rate and refer system on the website so parents can check out what others are saying about their sitters.
Purchase a Sitter Request & Request a Sitter
This part of the process was surprisingly easy: I simply logged onto the website, clicked “Payment,” and selected one sitter request for $20. The Sitter Tree has a system where the more sitter requests you buy at a time, the cheaper they are. In fact, I met a woman just last week who uses the unlimited package – for $300 per year she can make as many sitter requests as she likes. This is huge for moms who work odd or on-call hours and need fill-in care, have weekly commitments, or just like to make consistent time for themselves.
Once I had my sitter request, I then clicked “Request a Sitter.” The site asks for details about your job so the sitter knows what to expect. Within a few minutes of submitting my request, I received an email stating the search for my sitter had begun! And within a few hours, another email that they had found one and she’d be in touch soon, which she was. I was all set with the least amount of effort I had ever expended on a sitter search.
Relax – You are Covered!
The day of the event arrived, and I couldn’t help but be nervous and skeptical. This was a “can’t-miss” event – a surprise party for my husband – and I was anxious the sitter would cancel or no-show. But I should have relaxed, because she showed up, bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Even my anti-social youngest child took to her immediately.
I’ll add, even if the sitter had canceled last minute, The Sitter Tree had me covered. Their coordinators are available to find last-minute care if at all possible, whether it be due to a cancellation or your urgent need. While they can’t guarantee it, I’ve heard that, more often than not, they come through for their families.
We had a wonderful evening, receiving a few texts from our sitter indicating that all was well. We arrived home to a hand-written note describing all of their fun activities, the food they ate, books they read, and what time they went to sleep.
Call me a converted skeptic. As an entrepreneur, I respect and appreciate The Sitter Tree’s business model and the superior quality of customer service they provide for the minimal additional cost to families. And as a mom, I learned that time is money, peace of mind is money, and The Sitter Tree offers both.