When you’re a parent, fun nights out can be extremely few and far between. It usually takes days of meticulous planning and maneuvering — which is why having a babysitter cancel on you at the last possible second is such an utterly soul-destroying experience.
Entrepreneurs Kasey Edwards and Becka Klauber Richter have set out to ensure this never happens to parents again.
On Demand Babysitting App
Earlier this year, the duo celebrated the launch of Helpr — a dynamic iOS app designed to connect highly qualified and screened babysitters to parents in as little as three hours on a per-booking basis. Each babysitter is vetted through an in-depth screening process that includes in-person interviews, submitting to background checks, being double-referenced and obtaining CPR certification.
The easy-to-use app is free, and the service has no subscription fee. More important still, parents can save money booking childcare through Helpr by using FSA (pre-tax) dollars to pay, and they can earn points for travel and rewards with their credit card payments for care.
But Helpr’s platform isn’t designed solely for parents in a hurry. The business is also currently in the process of working with a wide range of employers and HR departments by creating comped and subsidized childcare programs in order to provide companies of all shapes and sizes with substantially more family-friendly work environments at companies.
In doing so, Helpr is already successfully disrupting local childcare industries across a number of trial regions in California. But the newborn start-up has already got lofty ambitions in terms of expansion – and according to cofounder Kasey Edwards, the platform’s true success is its grounding in experience.
“After eight years running a successful small business called University Sitters, our reputation became so strong in our industry that we began to get requests from major corporations to provide babysitting to employees across many areas,” she told Small Business Trends.
“These clients were looking for quality across the map in an industry known for wild swings in variety from babysitter to babysitter. We took note of our success and overlaid that knowledge with a technical platform that could support scale.”
Bearing that demand in mind, Edwards and Klauber decided to trial a project called Helpr New Years 2016, which deployed 75 sitters working on that one night alone.
That success inevitably pushed the team to develop and rollout a more permanent childcare solution — and while the service is a fantastic new opportunity for desperate parents, it’s also proving a unique source of steady income for area babysitters.
“Helpr is great for babysitters, because for the first time with any scalable platform of its type, a one-time screening and job history substitutes hours of unpaid interviews with families when they meet,” Edwards explained.
“On other sites, you’d meet 100 percent of new families for an interview, but may only end up with paid hours with a small portion of those people. With Helpr, if you’re screened, you’re offered jobs on a daily basis with protections in place for cancellations and guaranteed pay, which is still a struggle for many sitters.”
The warm reception Helpr has received by both parents and sitters across the Los Angeles, Orange County and Santa Barbara areas has already pushed the start-up’s busy team into developing rapid expansion plans elsewhere in the country.
“We think that the childcare industry is ripe for disruption,” Edwards said.
“In a cash-free world, it’s still one of the reasons people hit the ATM. And the direct exchange between parents and sitters means that price will always be a point of friction, which we’re cutting out. We’re excited to be at the forefront of making childcare more affordable, raising the quality, and simultaneously reducing cost for parents.”