The idea for Care.com was born in 2006 when the company’s CEO and Co-founder, Sheila Marcelo, and her husband had a lot of difficulty finding a caregiver for their two children and two dogs. Although the couple finally found a wonderful nanny through a combination of perseverance and luck, Sheila recognized the need for an internet caregiver matchmaking service. Her three co-founders, who had had similar experiences, agreed. Today, both caregivers and care seekers can register on the website in one of a number of categories, including:
- Child care
- Special Needs care
- Senior care
- Pet care
Some of the above categories have subsets. For example, the search for a child care provider can further be refined to “babysitter,” “nanny,” “child care center,” “camp,” or “au pair.”
Is Care.com Worth It? – Key Features and Benefits
I would use Care.com to find a caregiver for the following reasons:
The basic matchmaking service provided by the website is free. This even allows me to view the provider’s profile information, including his/her picture, if any, and read any reviews that other clients have provided. This is a lot more information than I will often get if I simply “know someone who knows someone.”
Care.com allows me to filter my search for a provider by a number of different factors, including age, gender, hourly rate, smoker/nonsmoker, years of experience, and availability. I don’t have to waste my time looking for someone who is not a good fit for me, such as someone who is too expensive or whose schedule doesn’t match my needs.
The website allows me to look for providers who are interested in “gigs”–one-time or temporary positions. Since I am not in need of a full-time, or even a regular part-time, caregiver, providers who are interested in “gigs” are exactly what I want.
If I refer a friend, Care.com will give me an Amazon gift card valued $25. The person that I will refer will get a 20% discount on their first month of Care.com membership.
- The “News and Views” is a live, frequently updated section of the site that contains informative and educational articles written by family experts and caregiver professionals, that deal with topics such as: “Talking to Kids about Death”, “How to Stop a Kid from Cursing” and other interesting family issues. Their video library features caregivers who talk about the challenges of the job, and working moms and dads discussing the importance of being role models to their children without neglecting their own relationship. The following video shows the perspective of various couples on the importance of date nights.
One of the website’s greatest benefits is the “free exchange” feature that it has recently introduced. Users can search for other users interested in a childcare exchange or a pet care exchange. This is great for those who are low on cash and couldn’t otherwise afford childcare or pet care—and even for those who can afford to pay for it. I can have someone walk and feed Fido for a week while I’m on vacation, and I don’t have to feel guilty about his being locked up in a cell-like structure for the duration. In return, I agree to provide similar services for that person’s cherished pet while he/she is away.
Care.com Cons – Disadvantages
I saw no way in which I could filter the caregivers by client rating. I would prefer to look first at those providers with whom clients have been impressed enough to take the time to write a review.
- Caregivers or providers who sign up for a paid account must actively cancel their subscription or it will be automatically renewed for the same time period as the original subscription at the current rates. I abhor automatic renewals of any nature as do a lot of people, and I believe websites that do not engage in such practices are viewed as more credible in most instances.
What Baby Care and Pet Care Might Be Better Than Care.com?
Key competitors of Care.com are:
- SitterCity (Read review and get SitterCity coupon)
- Helping Hero
- Kid’s Nite Out
- Home and Pet Sitters
How Does Care.com Compare To Similar Companies?
I looked at a couple of other companies that are in direct competition with Care.com. The first was SitterCity.
Care.com vs Sittercity
Like Care.com, SitterCity provides child care, pet care, senior care, housekeeping, and tutor matchmaking services. The website also provides care seekers with background checks, references, and reviews for potential providers, as does Care.com.
Both websites have identical fee structures for care seeker memberships, and both have the automatic renewal feature to which I am adamantly opposed. I was able to refine my results by reviewer rating on SitterCity.com, however, which I wasn’t able to do on Care.com. I could also access more information on the available providers in my area on SitterCity.com without registering on the website (although it was not initially obvious how this could be accomplished; I stumbled on it by accident) while I could read only a partial description of the providers on Care.com if I didn’t register. However, I could access all the same type of information on available providers on Care.com just by registering, and registration is free.
Care.com vs OurSitter
The second company I investigated was OurSitter. This website, too, provides a matchmaking service for babysitters, pet sitters, house care services, senior care services, and tutors. In contrast to both Care.com and SitterCity.com, it was very easy to view the full profiles of caregivers on the website without registering, but both caregivers and care seekers can register on the website for free. There were not as many caregiver search filters on this website as on the other two, and there did not seem to be as many providers in my area in any of the categories that I searched as there were on both Care.com and SitterCity.com.
What Is the Cost at Care.com?
Registration for basic services is free for both individual caregivers and individual care seekers. The free service allows care seekers to post jobs and conduct refined searches for caregivers. It enables caregivers to apply for jobs on the website. To obtain contact information, references, and background check details on a provider, care seekers must upgrade to the premium package.
The current price schedule is as follows:
- One month = $45
- Three months = $75
- Twelve months = $150
You get a 30% discount if you use the coupon provided on the top of this page. Caregivers can also subscribe to a premium package. This enables them to contact a family before a job is posted, allows them to be featured in searches, and provides them with a fee background check. The fee structure for caregivers is:
- One month = $20
- Three months = $40
- Six months = $60
Payment can be made with any of the four major credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, Discover, or American Express. As mentioned previously, you must actively cancel your subscription or it will automatically be renewed for the same period as your original subscription at whatever the going rate is at that point in time. Care.com does not offer any refunds or credits for account cancellation requests that are made after the account has been billed although the company indicates a refund may be granted under extenuating circumstances.
What Are Others Saying? Testimonials – Feedback – Comments
Although some users indicate Care.com provides a decent matchmaking service, a great number of reviews are negative. Some complain about the automatic renewal feature that was one of the issues I had when I researched the website. Of course, Care.com does send you a notification a few days before your membership auto-renews, in case you want to discontinue the service.
“They sent an email a week before the auto-renew, reminding me that it was coming and instructing me on how to close my account if I wanted to do so. I was very impressed,” said a mom from Philadelphia.
Others—and these were CareSEEKERS—complained that their accounts were closed because of inaccurate information that had been “uncovered” when a background check was conducted on them by a company that these reviewers felt was less than reliable (for obvious reasons). Customer service representatives were not considered to be of any help in resolving this problem.
From the caregivers’ point of view, some of the negative reviews are not against Care.com but against the people who hired them though the company. One lady said she was hired by a family whose father attempted to sexually harass her. When she quit her job, the mother retaliated. She attempted to spoil the caregiver’s profile on childcare sites by posting negative, false comments about her. “Within a few hours, my care.com profile had been deleted”, says the young baby sitter.
Any Promotional Coupons for Care.com? How to Buy at a Discount
As affiliates of Care.com we regularly check for coupon codes and promotional deals that work so that you will get the best prices. If there are any Care.com promotion codes or discounts available today you will find them at the top of this page.