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Babysitting Agencies: What You Should Know

Jul 18, 2008
Babysitting agencies can help you a lot. If you're looking for a sitter, then the best place to look for one is in an agency. Getting a sitter from an agency will give you some assurance that procedures have been followed to ensure that you have a qualified sitter. Different agencies however have different methods and procedures. You would want to be with an agency that can source the best sitters. How do you know that you are with a good agency?

Source of Sitters

Agency Background - Finding out about an agency's background is a given. Your next step should be finding our exactly where they get their sitters. It would be good if an agency can get sitters from various sources. After all, this is not a question of discriminating against certain places as sources for sitters. It's about finding out how they screen their applicants.

A good agency would typically conduct preliminary checks, investigation and screening. This includes verifying a sitters real identity and checking for past records of cases of misdemeanor. Determine how an agency conducts its checks.

Agency Requirements for Sitters

What are the agency's requirements in accepting sitters? Are sitters required to have certificates in first aid courses? In some cases, sitter applicants aren't required to have these certificates. This is because not every sitter would have the motivation or resources to take these courses. Some agencies however take it upon themselves to provide learning opportunities. A sitter who is well-versed in emergency response is valuable. You would want a sitter who can respond to emergencies and accidents.

Sitter Matching

Good babysitting agencies shouldn't just offer you any sitter. They should be able to offer you a sitter who can respond specifically to your needs. Your sitter for example should be able to work well with kids who have the same ages as yours. You may also have special requirements such as sitters being able to cook as well. Find out how an agency will help you find the exact sitter that you need. Some agencies will help you interview their sitters so you can find a good match. Others will interview you personally so they can determine your needs and find a sitter who fits.

Agency Guarantees

Ask about some form of guarantee. Products typically have money back guarantees. Agencies on the other hand have guarantees for replacements. This is important because there will be instances when your sitter will be unable to come in. It is also quite possible that you may not be satisfied with your sitter and would like a replacement. Will your agency replace a sitter at no extra cost?

Cost

The price is a crucial factor. How much do you have to pay your agency for a sitter? You may have to pay an initial fee whether or not you finally decide to get a sitter from them. Some agencies have non-refundable initial fees. You then have to pay for a placement fee. This amount covers the costs for agency services include background checks. In some cases you may have to pay extra for transportation costs. Once you have your sitter, you have to pay her an agreed sum every month.

Babysitting agencies may be a bit expensive. If you think about it though, the cost may be worth every penny. Just think about it as paying a large amount for the safety of your kids.
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