How to Start a Babysitting Business (Without Being a Sitter)

Start a Babysitting Business

Today's episode is all about how to start a babysitting business. This is my interview with Cristina Twigg, the owner of Easy Care Sitters, a NYC-based babysitting business/agency.

Three years ago, as a receptionist at an advertising agency, Cristina started her own NYC-based babysitting agency. She has been running it on the side for the past three years now, and as it's been doing great!

She's been growing at her current job as well (she's now a copywriter) and with her babysitting agency she has opened a second location in DC, and now has plans to make it profitable enough in the next two years so that she can leave her full-time job.

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Detailed Summary of the Episode

After working for nearly 2 years running the babysitting division at a childcare company, Christina Twigg started afresh as a receptionist elsewhere.

However, she reflected fondly on her time at the childcare company and often thought about how she would like to run a babysitting agency one day. She knew she could give parents focused and personalized service if she ran a scaled-down version of the childcare company.

Since she had great connections with the sitters at her previous employer’s office, she convinced herself to brand out and try it. She figured trying and failing was better than never having tried it at all. That’s how Easy Care Sitters was born.

Here’s how Christina’s babysitting business works:

  • She has a pool of sitters who have cleared background checks and are CPR certified. Sitters are hired based upon a friend, other sitters, or parent referrals so she has some level of connection with them.
  • Christina basically functions as a babysitter broker. Parents email or call her for a particular date and time. She contacts her group of sitters and arranges for one of them to fill the need.
  • Christina then gives the sitter the information and sends the parent a picture of the sitter along with a bio that lets them know more about the person charged with keeping their child.

As her company began to grow, Christina would see anywhere from 5 to 20 bookings in a week. Each time a parent books a babysitter, Christina is paid a standard booking fee of $10 by the parent. They can pay per booking, or they can buy a bundle of 12 bookings for the price of 10. The parent then pays the sitter upon services rendered.

Starting a business like a babysitting company required some personal investment, but when compared to other businesses, her type had little to no start-up capital that often accompanies other entrepreneurial endeavors.

Christina had to set up an LLC. She was able to do this using LegalZoom.com for around $300. She also needed to set up a website. She found Wix.com, a free website solution (we recommend WordPress for starting a business website).

Christina’s biggest investment: time. On average, she would spend at least 3 hours a day emailing parents, sending confirmations to the sitters, and managing the schedules. Some days it could take up to 6 hours.

However, Easy Care Sitters was low maintenance enough that Christina could continue to work as a full-time copywriter and run the business. She sees the money she’s earned as a secret savings account that she will not access unless it’s an emergency.

Eventually, Christina would like to see Easy Care Sitters become her full-time job, though. She envisions it expanding to other large cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco. She knows that won’t happen until she is able to devote more time to advertising.

Parent message boards, Yelp, Google AdWords—all are examples of advertisements Christina believes would benefit her company. Word of mouth has been her primary advertising vehicle.

Quotes:

“I actually recently started a partnership with somebody who runs her own CPR certification in the neighborhood, so we provide each other discounts. That way the sitters are able to get CPR certification for a little less than usual and her clients are able to get babysitting through me at a discount.”

“I would say the thing that I have done right is my ability to communicate with the parents effectively. I over-communicate almost. I make a point to reply to them as soon as possible. I give them as many details as I can and I’m always eager to make sure they know what’s happening. I don’t ever want them to feel any doubt about anything, so I’d say it’s my customer service that’s the reason why the business has done so well, being responsive and available.”

Highlights from the Interview

0:00 Intro and What motivated Cristina to start the business.
2:00 Cristina explains the business setup/process.
3:30 Why people in the city use her vs sittercity.com or other service.
6:00 Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur.
8:00 The personal finance aspect of starting this business.
10:00 The number of sitters she has and the number of gigs each week.
10:30 How she makes her cut. i.e. the booking fee.
11:15 Getting CPR certifications and background checks.
11:45 How she deals with the legal issues involved with this business.
13:45 The agreement she has with the sitters.
14:45 How she will grow the babysitting business.
15:15 Where she plans to advertise her business.
17:15 Forming an LLC, getting a Tax ID, and building the website.
20:45 Doing taxes and accounting.
21:15 Revenue and hours spent on the business.
22:30 Taking payments from parents.
23:15 Services to use for background check and CPR certification.
25:30 The key to the business: solid communication with the parents.
27:00 Mistakes she's made along the way.
29:00 Her plan for going full-time with the business.

Mentioned in the Interview:

Watch the How to Start a Babysitting Business Google Hangout

Thank you so much for listening!

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Transcription: Just click show

Listen to PT's podcast with Cristina. She started EasyCareSitters.com and business is booming. She has already expanded her business and is looking to make it full-time. Find out what it takes to start your own babysitting business!

About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.