Marketplace: Bambino app connects parents to babysitters
December 11, 2018
For parents of young kids, having a babysitter can make or break plans for an evening out.
A failed attempt to find a last-minute babysitter is what prompted Sean Greene to create the Bambino app in 2015, and a similar experience pushed Sarah Ervin to launch the app in Park City.
Ervin recently moved to Park City and is the community coordinator for the Bambino app, which is based out of Southern California. She is charged with bringing the hyper-local babysitter app to the Park City community.
Bambino allows parents to easily find and book babysitters. It was founded in 2015 after Greene, the founder, had a babysitter cancel on him and was forced to call off his plans for the night. He was frustrated because he figured there were potential babysitters in his neighborhood — he just did not have the means to contact them. So, he created an app so parents would never have to be in his same situation.
Ervin, who later became friends with Greene, was one of the early adopters of Bambino while she lived in California.
She liked that the app recommended babysitters based on both physical and social proximity. Since the app uses Facebook to verify users' information, it pulls data to suggest babysitters parents might know due to their Facebook friends or social networks.
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Parents can send out a request for a specific babysitting gig to a selection of possible sitters. The sitters can accept or deny the request, but the parents have the ultimate say on who they choose. Babysitters set their rates and parents can pay the sitters through the app.
Ervin used the app consistently until she and her family moved to Park City in August. They had visited the ski town for several years for ski trips and Ervin and her husband decided it was time to call their favorite winter destination home.
Ervin arrived ready to take a break from work and get settled in the new area. But a few weeks after stepping into her new home, Greene reached out to Ervin to see if she would be interested in heading the expansion of Bambino into the Park City market.
Still wanting to get her feet under her, Ervin denied the request. But a few weeks later, she changed her mind.
She had plans to go out with her husband and needed a babysitter to watch her kids, but she did not have anybody to call. For a split second, she thought about using Bambino, but then she realized the app did not exist in Park City.
She reached out to some friends, who provided recommendations for their sitters. She frantically called 10 sitters until she finally found someone.
"I went back to Sean and said, 'I want to launch Bambino in Park City,'" she said.
In October, Ervin began the search for babysitters who could join the app and started spreading the word to parents. There are about 20 sitters on the app now, she said, and she hopes to eventually grow the pool to 30 or 40 babysitters.
Each of the sitters on the app must receive at least one recommendation from an employer or past babysitter in order to have their profiles approved. Once the sitters start getting work, parents can rate them and provide comments about their experiences working with them.
Ervin said running Bambino has been a fun way to get involved in the community only a few months after moving in. Although it has been a challenge to get it off the ground, she is excited at the prospect of it being the "go-to way to find a sitter."
"I think it's going to be a great tool for both parents and sitters," she said.
Plus, she added, the app can be beneficial to visitors. If a family is in town for a ski trip and the parents want to have some time on their own, they can hop on the app and find a sitter.
Ervin said the app is currently active in 70 different communities around the U.S., with more than 35,000 registered sitters and 40,000 parents, so Parkites who travel to other cities might be able to use the service there.
To kick off the launch of Bambino in Park City, Ervin is hosting a CPR and first aid training course for both parents and sitters on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Park City Fire Department. The fire department will be teaching. The event is free and open to the public.
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