There are times when a date night is in order. You remember them, right? A kid-free evening, away from distractions at home, adult conversation over a nice glass of wine, someone else doing all the cooking and cleaning. But usually that means booking a sitter weeks in advance. But thanks to UrbanSitter, you can be spontaneous and actually have a date night the same night. Before you go on OpenTable to make a reservation at that hot new restaurant you’ve been dying to try, head over to urbansitter.com and book a sitter. Thanks to UrbanSitter, booking a trusted sitter is pretty much as easy as making dinner reservations.
So what is UrbanSitter? UrbanSitter is an online service for parents and sitters to connect. Think SitterCity meets Facebook meets OpenTable. Here are my top five reasons you should book your next sitter through UrbanSitter:
1. Friend-tested sitters: I often hear from other parents that date nights happen infrequently because they don’t trust anyone to watch their kids other than family or friends. And there’s only so many times you can ask them to babysit your little darlings before they start avoiding your calls. UrbanSitter gets this. So after you create an account online, UrbanSitter will look for sitters recommended and booked by friends and family using Facebook Connect.
I should also mention that I had an opportunity to attend an UrbanSitter Speed-Sitting event (yes, you just read that), where I had the opportunity to meet over a dozen potential sitters at a neck-breaking 3 minutes each. These ladies were impressive – all local college students with a ton of experience, and a ton of enthusiasm.
2. Search by experience and rates: UrbanSitter allows you to browse profiles and narrow search results based on hourly rate, language, experience based on kids age or special needs, just to name a few. I’m a big fan of how most profiles include the sitter’s average response time, background check, and number of repeat families.
3. Book in real-time: Similar to OpenTable, UrbanSitter lets you search sitters by date and time. You’ll see in real-time which sitters availability is confirmed. You also have the option of interviewing a sitter (phone, paid working, or in-person).
4. Find, book and pay online: UrbanSitter's website and iPhne App is incredibly intuitive and pretty fun to use. I also liked all the follow-up emails: when my job offer was accepted, explanation of paying by credit card, job reminder, confirmation of hours worked and payment receipt. And then of course they get pretty smart with their marketing as I also got a “how did it go” and “book so-and-so for your next night out.”
5. It’s free: unlike other childcare sites, UrbanSitter is free. The only charge (besides the hourly rate to the sitter) is a $7.50 flat service charge if you pay with a credit card. I think this is a reasonable fee so I can avoid having to run to the ATM or write out a check (groan).
I love my kids and I love to cook (not always in that order). But sometimes a night out is just what everyone needs. And it’s nice to know finding a trusted, reliable sitter is only tap on my iPhone away.
Disclosures: Thanks to UrbanSitter, Social Craft and Bread & Chocolate for hosting the speed-sitting event, which I received free of charge. I have no material connection to the brands, products or services mentioned. I was given an UrbanSitter credit to be used on the site. As always, all opinions are my own.