Ushering In Babysitting 2.0

babysitterclubWith our little babyguru getting older by the minute, it’s only a matter of time before Mrs. Guru and I are going to start needing a babysitter. We’ve got a good solution now, trading off nights with another couple that has a daughter Reese’s age, but finding a weekend that we’re all free gets a bit crazy. I hadn’t thought about it, but the whole process of finding a babysitter is pretty…..analog. Trust and recommendations are the number 1 priority – if this person is going to spend the evening alone in my home, with my child, I’d better be able to trust them more than I trust my own wife. So how do you find them?

Apparently, there are two new startups that are aiming to make this a much more……modern process. SittingAround and UrbanSitter are new sites that work somewhat like an online dating service, but they match up babysitters with parents who are itching for a night on the town without rugrats. GigaOm has a great rundown of the differences between the two, and it’s quite interesting to note the challenges that they’ve had to overcome.

The other factor is payment – the babysitting industry has historically been cash or check only – plastic need not apply. However, it’s 2012, and no one carries a checkbook anymore, and cash usually means a trip to the ATM. In a move of brilliance, SittingAround has actually partnered with Square to provide sitters with a Square reader device. The Square reader device is a small gadget that connects to your smartphone (Android and iOS) and lets anyone accept payments via credit card, anywhere. Square charges a fee per transaction, so there’s no annual fees or anything like that.

Brilliant. As my daughter grows up, it’ll be interesting to see the advances that we have in various areas of child-rearing. Just let me know when I can buy a robot maid to wash bottles and change diapers for me.

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