tl;dr - If you’re responsible and reliable but with a silly streak — and love taking care of kids — you can find steady babysitting work via apps and websites. House Sitting gigs can also be found online for travelers. And even “carsitting” is a thing.
If you enjoyed babysitting in high school, now might be the time to revisit an old moneymaker. Maybe you love hanging with your nieces and nephews — or dream about being an au pair. If you’re responsible, reliable, but know how to bust out the silly string, you can find babysitting work on apps and websites. Demand is especially high right now with Covid-19-related daycare closures and parents returning to the office.
The ’sitting doesn’t stop there. You can also find work housesitting and carsitting. (Yes, that’s a thing.)
Back in the day, babysitters advertised through word of mouth and putting up flyers. Now, you’ll find apps and websites dedicated to connecting families with babysitters, nannies, au pairs, and childcare specialists.
Popular childcare platforms include Care.com, Bambino, UrbanSitter, and Helpr, but there are at least two dozen viable options to consider. Some platforms are app-based, some are web-based, some are a hybrid of both. Pay can range from $17 to $27 an hour and up.
- Don’t get overwhelmed.
- Be systematic about your search and do a deep dive into each platform.
- To stay organized, create a spreadsheet; dedicate each row to a different babysitting platform.
- Then list out the pros and cons of joining the platform, its wages, payment structures and schedules, any background check fees you have to pay, and locations they cover.
Other benefits to note include sick days and cancellation protection that covers you if a parent decides to stay home at the last minute. Sign up for an assortment of platforms with the goal of getting yourself in front of as many potential clients as possible. Consider registering for the larger platforms like Care.com to maximize your reach, while also signing up for a handful of smaller, more localized platforms that can yield jobs in your neighborhood, including last-minute ones.
How to Stand Out
There are some similarities to petsitting, virtual assistant, and physical task work platforms. You’ll need to create a profile, pass a background check, and build up a reputation. With good photos, detailed specialties, and good reviews, you’ll show up on more search results. Here are some more ideas for your profile:
- Get certified in first aid and CPR, and carry a first-aid kit. Seasoned childcare workers will tell you this is an excellent way to stand out from the competition.
- Don’t forget to tout other skills and services you can provide, like cooking, cleaning, music education, test prep, or even just being decent at geography.
- If you’ve worked as an educator with special-needs children, you couldn’t be more in-demand right now — even more so if you’re certified.
- Leverage your analog work. You’ll want to launch your profile with glowing reviews, so get parents you’ve worked for to vouch for you on the app. Starting off with five stars can mean the difference between a rocketship to the moon and fizzling out in your first weeks. Hang on to the phone numbers of your past and present clients.
- Parents know best. Ask friends who are also parents to help you with your profile — especially if their kids are in your target age range. Request brutally honest feedback from the POV of exhausted parents. Ask what phrases and skills they want to see in the profile of a potential babysitter. This could tip the scales in your favor with a new client.
- Consider holidays. If you’re willing to work on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, mention that too.
It’s on the House
Babysitting’s cool, but have you tried getting paid to sleep in a posh country house and check the mail? You’ll just have to resist the urge to throw a party. (Cue every Y2K coming-of-age movie.) Yes, you can get paid by the day or week to stay in other people’s houses — or simply stay there rent-free — in places you’ve always wanted to visit or live in.
Platforms for house sitting include MindMyHouse, TrustedHousesitters, Nomador, and House Sitters America. Responsibilities can include watering plants, caring for pets, horses, chickens, and livestock (!), keeping the place clean, and doing light maintenance. If you’re ready to make yourself cozy and maybe make yourself some money, here are some things to consider:
- No charge? Some house sitters charge money. Others don’t, calling it an even trade. The idea is that you’re living somewhere rent-free and saving money, in exchange for helping homeowners maintain peace of mind while they’re away.
- Get your passport. Places to housesit include Fiji, Hawaii, New Mexico, the UK, Spain, Sweden, and beyond.
- Members only. “Housesitting matching services'' often charge a membership fee for both house sitters and homeowners, or sometimes just housesitters. On the lower end, it’s $29 a year at MindMyHouse. Any site or platform asking for $40 or $50+ a year is overcharging and could be scamming you.
- Eurozone. You might sign up on a European site even though you live in the US. Housesitting is more popular in Europe, where people get a decent number of vacation days.
- Be cool. You’ll probably undergo a background check. If someone was staying at your house, wouldn’t you want to make sure they’re legit?
- Raise your profile. Just like with babysitting above, your profile — from your photos and bio to your reviews — need to be thoughtful, glowing, and good quality.
- It’s a numbers game. Like with babysitting, you’ll want to diversify. You might sign up for a dozen platforms, end up using six, but only find gigs on three.
Dude, Where’s My Car?
Ready for a wildcard? Car sitting. If you live anywhere with street parking and weekly street sweeping, this will make perfect sense.
You “host” someone else’s car while they’re away — usually in your own parking space or your easy-to-park neighborhood. You could also offer to take their car to get cleaned and/or maintained. Car sitting hasn’t really caught on in the US vs the EU where having a car driven across a country or two is more common. Right now, it alone won’t pay the bills. But if you already drive for Uber, there’s a car sitting program you can join to earn driving credits.
Now get out there and sit your way to riches and highly recommended new parent customers!