There’s little doubt that one of the most important thing in anyone’s life is their family. People will go to extremes to make sure their children are safe and happy, or to give their own parents comfort in their older age, or to fuss over their pets. But you can’t be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days of the year and so that’s when a bit of help can be a real lifesaver.
Whether it’s a babysitter for the evening, a live-in au pair from another country, a little help around the house or someone to check in on a relative now and then, we’ve compiled a list of the very best websites to help you find the help you need.
There are a lot of things to consider when thinking about hiring help, or even becoming a carer if that’s a career that you’re interested in pursuing. Carers can become an integral part of family life and can offer a lot more than just a bit of spring cleaning or giving the kids a microwave meal. If you are looking to become a carer then take a look at our reviews, they offer our opinion on which sites are best to advertise yourself on and how to promote your services using them. If you’re looking to hire someone to help you then read on, we’ve several things for you to consider before you start looking...
What sort of service do you require?
Many of the sites we review are offering child care services, but some also offer a greater variety of service including personal chefs, care for elderly people, specialists who care for people with disabilities or even personal assistants. Take a look at the reviews and see which sites offer the sorts of services you require. Most of these sites will allow you to choose specific tasks for anyone you hire, including light cleaning duties, cooking or running errands, which can be particularly useful if they’re going to work in your home.
Are you hiring an individual or paying a company?
This is particularly relevant to people who are looking for an au pair, but it also applies elsewhere. If you hire a child carer you need to check whether you are hiring them privately or through a company. If it’s through a company then you generally don’t need worry about issues such as tax and insurance because the company will have this covered. However, if you’re hiring someone privately these may be issues that you need to look into. Au pairs in particular will require that you keep a check on legal issues: they will need a visa, travel insurance, health insurance and so on. If you’re unsure on the situation then contact the website help team, they ought to be able to guide you in the right direction.
How much is this going to cost you?
There are several layers of cost involved in hiring a baby sitter or carer. In the first instance the website you’re using will charge a fee, much like a finder’s fee because you pay them to allow you access to the contact details of whoever they have on their system. This might be a one off fee or a rolling contract. If you do sign a contract then check whether it will renew automatically. You might find the person you’re looking for after a week, but then your monthly contract might renew and you’ll be stung with the bill! Also keep in mind how much you need to pay a person if you’re hiring them privately. This will of course be best discussed prior to the interview, or during the interview if their rates are flexible. Lastly, if you are hiring someone from abroad you may need to consider the cost of things such as a working visa, travel costs, health and travel insurance, providing a room (if they are living with you) and any additional fuel or household bills encountered by having another person about the house. It all adds up! Some sites will offer advice on this, particularly on how to budget if you’re hiring an au pair. They might even allow you to cover all of these costs through their company, and then to pay them back a little each month.
How legitimate does a site seem and what help do they offer?
Of course in a perfect world everything would run smoothly. But that isn’t always the case and you may find that a carer simply isn’t working out, or that they have to leave for some reason. What kind of safety net does each site offer you? Some will provide money back guarantees, though most don’t. Check out the site’s FAQ and contact details. Does it look as though you’ll get useful advice if something doesn’t work out? Most of the sites offer a checking service which will check the criminal record and references of anyone you wish to hire, should you be concerned about letting someone with a criminal record into your home. Read each profile carefully, we’ve even seen under 18s with childcare profiles on sites before, which can be a difficult area to tread in terms of the law (depending on your location). Generally you shouldn’t have an issue and most sites seem flexible enough that you can simply discontinue a person’s contract and hire someone else, but it’s best to make sure you know where you stand and what sort of support you will have. Some companies have drop in centres, as well as their websites, which could be useful.
Becoming or hiring a carer can be a truly gratifying thing to do, and whilst it can come with its own challenges it also comes with great rewards. Take a look at the sites we have reviewed and see which one will work out best for you.