Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect that Jody Stephenson started SitterTree in 2000.
Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and the other fictional gals of “The Baby-Sitters Club” may have been the ultimate babysitters, but Atlanta-based SitterTree has some real sitters who are way more impressive—based on their interpersonal skills, steadfast reliability and passion for entrepreneurism.
SitterTree is a babysitter request and scheduling tool that connects busy parents to top sitters throughout the city. This month, SitterTree’s network of trusted babysitters is making its first expansion to Athens, Georgia.
“Athens was an easy decision for us, as it is close to Atlanta and we already work with a number of sitters who are enrolled at the University of Georgia,” Jody Stephenson, founder of SitterTree, said. “Expanding to Athens will allow us to serve more families between Atlanta and Athens, and will allow our sitters access to jobs, whether at school or at home in Atlanta.”
Stephenson founded SitterTree as a student at Oglethorpe University in 2000; she relaunched the company in 2014. SitterTree has approximately 4,000 users, including an army of over 1,400 babysitters. Families log in and purchase “sitter requests” (placements, based on a sliding scale on how many times you use the service), then request a sitter for their needed date and time; SitterTree assigns the babysitter. Sitters are paid $14 per hour (plus $1 for each additional child). At the end of the job, SitterTree charges the credit card on file and pays the sitter directly. The company boasts of its 99 percent fill rate and a rigorous interviewing and vetting process for all their babysitters.
“While our website uses a combination of filters and algorithm, at the end of the day it comes down to the personal care and judgment of our coordinators,” Stephenson said. “Local SitterTree coordinators keep a close eye on which sitters work best with each family. We assign each job as if we were selecting a sitter for our own family.”
About 97 percent of these babysitters, recruited from leading college and universities, as well as young professionals, receive five-star ratings from parents. Besides requesting sitters on the platform, parents can leave feedback about their babysitters, manage their favorites, pay directly on the site and earn rewards for referring friends
A majority of SitterTree’s revenue comes from placement fees and fees paid by sitters. Though Stephenson has yet to raise venture capital, she plans to begin conversations later this year, calling all VCs interested in a female-led tech investment.
“In five years, SitterTree will be the go-to app for scheduling reliable, quality babysitters,” Stephenson said. “Our community of sitters will be an even more diverse group of women committed to serving families, groups and businesses throughout the United States. We plan to start by expanding our community throughout the South, but hope to be in the hands of moms in other regions as soon as the end of 2019.”