Hello, Mary Poppins
Fort Worth nanny-entrepreneur invents new Uber-like babysitting app
UPDATE: QuickSit babysitting app officially has launched, the company announced August 21.
Need a sitter in a hurry? There’s an app for that. QuickSit, a new app that connects college-student sitters to parents, is set to launch in March thanks to TCU alumna Joy Kendle.
The Fort Worth native and full-time nanny has been babysitting since she was 12 years old, mostly looking after children under age 7.
After graduating in 2014 with a communications degree, Kendle wanted to find a way to take her babysitting career to the next level.
“One night I was brainstorming what I could do in this area that could give me a stable income but without being a nanny, because in the future I’d like to raise my own kids,” Kendle says.
With encouragement from her circle of families for whom she works, Kendle began working on the app in 2016. She’s now making final tweaks before it goes live on the App Store in a matter of weeks.
Here’s how it’ll work: Parents can use the app to schedule a sitter in advance — say, the next day or the next week — or post a job for a “quick sitter” needed that same day. The latter will notify available sitters immediately of the potential job opportunity.
“If a college student wants to try to find a job on a Friday night, they can click a button that says ‘available now.’ That will allow them to be notified when jobs are posted,” Kendle says. “So if a family sitter falls through or a parent is in a hurry, they can post a job for a ‘quick sitter’ on-demand now. The sitters who are available would get notified immediately. They can message with the parents or decline — maybe it’s too far away, the pay is too low, the hours are too late, or whatever it is.”
While the concept sounds like Uber for babysitting, parents shouldn’t expect a sitter to show up at their door with Uber-like speed, says Kendle.
“It’s not a sitter within 30 seconds, but more like 30 minutes to two hours,” she says.
QuickSit sitters currently are all TCU students. The app doesn't limit the location range for parents, so a family in Keller or Aledo could use it just like someone inside the Fort Worth city limits. But Kendle does stress that the farther the family lives from TCU, the harder it might be for a sitter to accept the job.
Kendle plans to expand the app to other colleges down the road — literally. She has her eye on University of Texas at Arlington and other North Texas college possibilities.
She says that in her experience, parents prefer college-age sitters for their little ones.
The sitters are also all background-checked, which they pay for on their own. They also create a profile on the app to share a little about themselves, such as “pet-friendly” or “outdoorsy.” They can market themselves by sharing that they’re CPR certified or willing to work late hours.
But Kendle believes sitters should know details about the families, too.
“It’s not as fair to the sitter that they have to walk into a house and that person hasn’t been background-checked,” says Kendle. “Sitters can also review the family. That’s usually not an option with babysitting agencies. Maybe they didn’t pay or showed up hours after you were supposed to leave.”
Parents can create profiles describing not only their children’s ages and preferences, but whether they have pets, prefer someone who’ll play outside, or only need a night sitter to stay quiet while the kiddos sleep. Parents will also have opportunity to review the sitter.
QuickSit will be free to download, and parents can choose from a one-month, three-month, or one-year membership. (Pricing will be announced when the app launches.) A background check on the parents is included in the membership fee, and typically takes 24 hours or less to complete, Kendle says.
Once a parent and sitter connect on a job, payment arrangements are left to them. Kendle says with payment apps like Venmo and PayPal, monetary transactions are pretty convenient these days. But she hopes to one day add a payment vehicle through the app.