Why I Didn’t Love Care.com

When I had my son, I asked how my sister had found such great nanny care when my niece was young, and she recommended care.com.

I had unfortunately assumed that finding a nanny would be easy and I’d have similar luck, but it’s a different world today, and care.com might not be the best resource anymore.

I tried it for nearly 9 months on and off. Here’s why I am unlikely to use it moving forward, and what I’m using instead:

Needle in the Haystack

Who wouldn’t want to hang with this cutie?

Finding a good nanny on this service is like finding a needle in a haystack. I did get lucky and find a great part-time nanny, who is still with us, early on. For that I’ll always be grateful to care.com, but it was unfortunately a fluke.

I appreciate that you can at least look at the person’s qualifications, read reviews (if they have them), see a photo, and get some sense of their experience and availability prior to reaching out.

But actually finding someone who is the fit you’re looking for is tough, and I’m told it goes both ways. It doesn’t seem like the absolute best people are on there, and from what I’ve heard, some of the families are awful, too. I believe the issue is these days, unless someone is new to town, they use their connections to find nanny jobs and never end up on care.com.

Candidates Bulk Message (Over and Over)

Expect that most candidates will send out bulk messages without personalization. While this may seem efficient on their part, it leaves parents feeling disheartened and uncertain about the level of care their child would receive. It’s like getting a generic cover letter for a job you’re hiring for, except this is your child and it’s the most important job ever.

I prioritize candidates who take the time to understand my unique needs and demonstrate genuine interest in our son, but they’re few and far between.

Annoyingly, the same candidates will send that same bulk message over and over even after we have already chatted and found it wasn’t a fit. It happens so often I’ve stopped reminding all of them that we’ve already talked.

People Are Unreliable

I could get over all of that if people were more reliable, but I’m truly shocked at how bad it’s been. This isn’t completely care.com’s fault, but again, I wonder about the caliber.

I’ve started asking prospective nannies to call me instead of me calling them so that they have to take a tiny bit of initiative. That has weeded out 9/10 nannies. I wish I were joking. They often never call, miss the call and ask to reschedule, or completely disappear.

Some of the reviews for candidates who applied said similar things. Either the person never called, didn’t show up, or didn’t cancel until the last minute. It’s good to be able to see these reviews, but it also prevents me from following up with them.

I think this is largely a sign of the times, and it seems like every industry has a tough time with hiring right now. Still, it’s made me lose faith in the quality and professionalism of candidates on care.com

Difficult to Cancel

In order to cancel the service, you’ll have to go through 8+ pages continuously explaining why you’re canceling and checking boxes to finally get to the end. I didn’t totally realize this before and ended up getting charged for two more months thinking I had canceled when in reality I hadn’t made it through all of the pages. It was confusing and involved.

Care.com refunded me for one of them, but still, canceling should not be that complicated. Parenthood is already wild enough, and one or two pages should do it.

Alternatives

I’ve found some alternatives to care.com that, though also imperfect, have been great resources for finding care.

Facebook Mom Groups

I’m part of a local group for moms in my area on Facebook and when I asked on there, people really delivered! Many members offered info of family members who were career nannies or applied with me directly from my post. Sometimes admins will let babysitters and nannies join these groups even if they’re not moms, too.

Look for one in your area and apply to join. They can also be great resources for things like swim lessons, local events, places to meet new friends, or in the case of my town’s page, a place to ask for advice, as well.

Friends/Colleagues

Word of mouth has been the other best way for us to find care for my son. My partner asked his colleagues at work if they could recommend anyone, and we have found a few people that way.

It’s also a great way to do something like a nanny share, where two families share the hours of a full time nanny. I love this idea for finding more reliable care, since my assumption is it’s easier when it’s a full-time nanny and their income is solely dependent on their nannying job.

Paid Nanny Finders

For those seeking professional assistance in finding reliable childcare, paid nanny finders or agencies can be a valuable resource. They often have established networks of qualified caregivers, perform thorough background checks, and offer a tailored matching processes. They may go as far as helping you interview nannies to remaining available to replace them for up to a year if it doesn’t work out.

While there is a cost involved, sometimes it’s just a monthly retainer of $25-150, or it’s a percentage of the nanny’s salary. One in my town charges $5000 for a full time nanny placement. That said, if you don’t have the time to search yourself, the peace of mind and expertise they provide can significantly alleviate the stress and uncertainty of finding reliable childcare.

It can be tough out there finding the right person, but personally, I won’t spend any more time on care.com. It may eventually be worth the cost to just try a paid nanny service in the hopes of finding a more professional person.

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