Care.com is a popular childcare platform many parents and nannies use in the United States and worldwide. It offers services in childcare, senior care, pet care, housekeeping, tutoring, and daycare. When most parents need to hire a nanny, Care is one of the first sites to be brought up besides Sittercity and UrbanSitter. The company just unleashed its newest rebrand in the hope of refreshing its image. However, Care started to show several issues in recent years that are affecting both nannies and parents. As someone who has used Care and Sittercity for nearly two decades as a nanny, I have seen the changes and their impact on the industry. In this blog post, I will discuss the problems with Care.com that nannies and parents should be aware of.
Care is No Longer Free
One of the major issues with Care is that it is no longer free for parents or nannies to use. The platform that was once free for both nannies and parents to use is now charging fees for almost everything, from memberships to mandatory background checks. Parents and nannies complain that they cannot get out of their memberships once they sign up, and customer service is non-existent. Some nannies have lost entire profiles with years of reviews for no reason. Frankly, as a parent, it’s pretty deceiving when you can create and post a job listing but then find out you must have a membership to contact any nanny who has answered. These changes have made many parents and nannies feel like they are being "nickel and dimed" by a subpar product.
The Corporate Benefit Is Causing More Harm Than Good
Another problem is that the platform is catering to corporations as a childcare benefit, causing an influx of parents who do not understand what hiring a nanny entails or what they need. This benefit is aimed at medium to large businesses. It is often a free membership for the platform, reimbursement for backup care booked through the platform, or access to their concierge service to find temporary or consistent care. Care seems to be more parent-focused than advocating for nanny wages and standards. Most parents have found the benefit useless because they can’t find reliable care with it. Clients have been charged for nannies who never showed, or the reimbursement isn’t enough to even put a dent in some cities' high hourly rates.
Safety Has Always Been An Issue
Safety has always been a problem with Care.com, whether you are a nanny or parent. Many have had uncomfortable and scary interview situations that have caused them to stop using the platform. Unfortunately, multiple clients of mine have hired a nanny that used someone else's information to pass a background check. Parents have also canceled with Care due to safety issues with the nanny and have still been charged. The Care background check is not good enough, and they admit it. In the fine print of the background check information, they write, "else'swhile background checks can be helpful and uncover potential red flags, they are not always 100% accurate, and no background check should be relied upon to determine a member's complete criminal history or suitability as a caregiver." But as busy parents, very few are reading this fine print, and this is actually true for most childcare finding websites. Therefore, it is crucial for parents to do their background checks through a reputable nanny agency like Nanny Village Agency to ensure their child's safety.
Care is Notorious for Low Hourly Wages For Nannies
Any nanny will tell you that Care's Nanny Wage Calculator is completely off. It's so off that some nannies refuse to use the platform. I've personally checked it for multiple cities and seen it be anywhere from $3-$10 off in hourly pricing. Qualified nannies are closing their accounts because they are exhausted from arguing over their wages. Especially when the parents are referring to Care's wage calculator or their recent wage survey, it's leaving the platform full of newcomers who jumped into the industry during the pandemic or those who are stuck in areas where there are no other options to find a nanny. In the Choosing Childcare 101 guide, we discuss how you can find the proper hourly nanny wage for your area.
Nannies Are Charged 10% of ALL Bookings
To add insult to injury, nannies are now reporting that Care is taking 10% of all hours booked and paid through the platform. While 10% doesn't seem like that much, it does start to add up for the nanny, and frankly, you are lowering the nanny's hourly wage even further. Where is the 10% going? Care states that it goes back to fund the platform, which includes its concierge service for corporations. Several nannies and sitters are now asking Care parents not to book them through the site, pay cash, or enroll in another payroll company. But if the parent has a corporate care benefit, they face being unable to get reimbursed for that care because it's not booked through the platform. So Nannies, be aware that if a parent needs to hire you through care for benefit reasons, make sure you account for the 10% charge into your hourly rate.
Care is Ruining Agencies for Nannies
Nannies are already apprehensive about working with agencies due to shady practices and a lack of advocating on the nannies' part. But rumors were flying during the pandemic that Care was buying up nanny agencies for their nanny roster and to gain more nannies for their corporate clients. As a childcare coach, I quickly learned this was true when our largest local nanny agency in the area was bought out, and the entire staff went to another childcare platform. The agency was and still is running under the same name, but all jobs being put through are from Care's corporate concierge service. To make matters worse, multiple nanny agency owners have told me Care has also called them about filling nanny positions. Meanwhile, Care charges agencies a HIGH monthly fee to do any postings on their site.
Care Marketing Team Is Not Listening
Pick any of the multiple Care.com ads or posts published on social media, and they are FULL of bad comments ranging from "I can't cancel my membership" to "Worst Platform Ever." There are even some terrifying comments and stories about safety. The responses from Care's customer service team are cookie-cutter and offer zero help. I would hope that Care will use its platform for education or to better itself. This is one thing I have to applaud Sittercity for hiring people like Jada Rashawn to share the nanny side with parents. It's this kind of education and changes that are going to improve childcare for everyone. This is why many nannies believe this new "brand refresh" won't do any good for Care unless it starts listening to the childcare industry and its customers.
Don't get me wrong, Care.com has been an excellent resource for many parents and nannies for years. My career started on that website and grew because of it. However, in the last few years, it has started to show several issues affecting both nannies and parents. These problems include the platform no longer being free for nannies or parents to use, catering to corporations as a childcare benefit, safety concerns, low hourly wages for nannies, and not listening to what its customers need. If Care truly cared (no pun intended), they would start listening to the feedback that everyone is giving them.
If you are having trouble with Care.com or need help assessing your childcare options, please schedule your free consult with me NOW!