Park Cities and Preston Hollow residents now need to look no further than a free app on their phones to find a babysitter.
Designed in University Park but expanded into Plano, Fort Worth, Prosper, Trophy Club, and McKinney, Bambino Babysitting is “Uber for babysitters,” said Sarah Brown, Bambino’s director of business development.
By downloading Bambino Babysitting on a smartphone and creating a free profile, residents can find babysitters that live close by – which, Brown said, adds to the familiarity a family might want with someone watching their children.
“This app shows you sitters based on the distance from your house, and we’ve found that you feel comfortable having people in your home if they live close to you, and you know them,” she said. “Then, after they are done sitting for you, you can go online and rate the sitters, so other Bambino users can see how well we thought they did.”
There are 150 local babysitters in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, Brown said, with a majority Highland Park High School and SMU students. Several sitters are also pre-school teachers and teaching assistants, Brown said. Potential babysitters also will post how much they charge per hour on their Bambino profile, as well as how old they are, where they live, and where they go to school if they are a student.
While the app is free, it does charge fees: $1.95 for booking a junior sitter, $2.95 fee for standard, advanced, or elite sitters.
The summer months were busy, Brown said, with parents at work and children out of school. Business is expected to remain high this fall with parents needing after-school care for their children.
The tight-knit, neighborhood feel of Park Cities and Preston Hollow is “highly conducive” to a babysitting message board, she said.
“Most of the families around here know each other, so it’s pretty common to get a babysitter that lives just down the street or a couple of houses over,” Brown said. “I was able to help the company grow just by word of mouth because people know I’m always going to be at football practices, at the YMCA, everything with my kids, so they hear about it.”
Safety is one of the main concerns of Bambino – for the children and the sitters.
“Most of our sitters are young women, so along with parents finding the right fit for their children, we want the sitters to know who’s house they are going into,” she said.
It’s all accessible with the swipe of a finger, and for no charge.
“Ninety percent of all parents get sitters based on a friend’s recommendation, and if you ask a mom for her favorite sitter, the joke is she’ll never tell you, because they don’t want to lose the sitter,” Brown said, laughing. “Now, all that information is on an app.”