Babysitter Solutions: Perfect Timing

If you've resolved to be a more organized mom, no doubt that includes getting your sitter relationships on track. Remember that timing is everything '- especially when you're booking for holidays or managing last-minute cancellations.

When to Hire?
When Sittercity.com first went online with its job posting options, we saw all kinds of responses from parents. Some posted jobs two months in advance, and some posted for that very same night! Not surprisingly, they all had very different response and success rates.

Sorting through it all, we learned that online jobs need a little more advance time than offline postings such as in schools, in community centers or through your own social networks, and that two weeks is the winning time frame overall for booking your sitter. This time frame allows parents one week for posting and hearing from sitters and one week for screening references and interviewing. Parents with the highest success rate shared two criteria in common. First, they were clear about exactly what they needed and when. Second, they wasted no time in following up with sitters who responded: 40 percent of the parents responded to all applicants within 24 hours of getting their application, and 90 percent responded within three days.

It's important to remember that sitters are often students, and their schedules are constantly changing. For this reason, when you hear back from a potential sitter, quickly reply and get your gig locked into your sitter's schedule before something else takes its place.

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