Are Babysitting Agencies Worth The Hassle?

by | Parent Guides

When asked who their ideal babysitter is, most parents will reply: ‘Mary Poppins!’. In reality, sitters and nannies who are practically perfect in every way tend not to blow in on the east wind. With a world of sitters to choose from, parents have traditionally relied on babysitting agencies to filter through the candidates and find the best-suited applicants, conduct interviews, check references and sort the paperwork.

For an agency to find the Poppins for every position is time-consuming and expensive, but when it comes to children’s happiness, safety and wellbeing, parents are understandably prepared to pay a premium.

Thankfully, however, the Bubble app makes it possible to find the perfect fit for families without a huge investment of time and money. It allows you to find personalised, at-home childcare, without any of the hefty agency fees.

Babysitting Agencies vs Bubble

Many people believe that babysitting or nanny agencies will provide them with the perfect childcare for their family – for a substantial fee. It’s true that agencies can take the guesswork out of finding childcare, as they match you with people who they think will fit your requirements.

However, agencies are not the only way that parents can connect with local sitters and nannies. In fact, they can sometimes be limiting as they don’t enable parents to browse through and make their own informed choices. Considering the fact that our children are the most important people in the world to us, it makes sense for parents to be the ones in control of who looks after them.

Bubble is a platform that was created by parents who wanted to find a better way of doing childcare. It is an app that allows parents to connect with local sitters and nannies in their area, so that they can find the childcare that fits their needs.

Unlike agencies, Bubble puts the parents in control. You can see what qualifications sitters have and what their interests are, enabling you to find the best person for your family. Every sitter is verified, local and insured, allowing you peace of mind when finding the right person for you.

Modernising childcare

Our working and social lives have been completely revolutionised by technology, but to the founders of Bubble, it felt like the process of finding quality childcare had been left behind. They set about creating an app that could put parents in touch with trusted sitters used and trusted by their own community, with every aspect from job postings to payment happening within the app.

Not just ad hoc childcare

Bubble allows parents to book ad hoc, flexible childcare or make more regular bookings. The app is free and parents can choose to pay fees per sit. However, most Bubble users are members of Bubble Plus, our subscription service, which runs on a three monthly and six monthly basis. 

Bubble Plus users can book unlimited jobs paying no booking or cancellation fees. They also have access to the ‘Regular Help’ tool, allowing them to book longer term childcare. It’s an ideal way to find an after-school nanny, a sitter to cover a regular appointment or find a nanny for the school holidays and half term.

Trust on Bubble

The Bubble app gives parents direct access to sitters who’ve undergone a rigorous verification process – only 15 per cent of applicants make the cut. Parents can read reviews from other parents who’ve used the sitter, and also find out who friends, colleagues and fellow school parents have booked, with the option of contacting them in-app to find out more about the sitter. They can also meet with or video call the sitter before a first sit. Find out more about our rigorous verification process here.

Meet the locals

Badges on every sitter’s profile tell parents at a glance if they have their own car, experience with newborns, children with SEN, DBS checks, if they speak other languages and have first aid training. It’s easy to scroll through their written and video profiles, verifications, reviews and mutual friends.

Pain-free payments

All payments are made from parent to sitter through the app so there’s no money-related awkwardness, no need to worry about chasing invoices, having the right cash, or remembering to pay. Sitters and parents corroborate start and end times and parents can add a tip in the app.

Self-employed nannies

Bubble is not an agency, but a platform where verified sitters connect with parents. Bubble is not the employer so it’s the responsibility of parents to ascertain the sitter’s employment status. Generally speaking, sitters on the app are self-employed, working for multiple families and it’s therefore up to them to pay taxes incurred on earnings from the app. However, if a relationship with a sitter becomes more exclusive and long-term, it may be classified as an employer/employee relationship. It’s always best to seek advice and this page of the government website is a good place to start.

A great childcare alternative for employers

As well as individual families, Bubble works with companies who wish to help their employees with ad hoc and regular childcare by giving them Bubble Plus membership and Bubble credit. It’s an incredibly easy and cost-effective way for employers to ensure their staff have the flexible childcare they need, giving control to the parents and avoiding expensive agency costs.

To find trusted childcare near you, download the Bubble app on iOS or Android today.