Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Sells.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As soon as I was a working mom paying for daycare, I noticed there were some pretty big gaps in childcare options. First of all, what do you do when they get sent homesick? Talking to other moms, I realized this was just the tip of the iceberg: nannies get sick too, as do stay-at-home dad’s and grandma’s who normally would love to watch the little ones; schools also close for random Fridays throughout the year or snow days, In-home daycare ladies and nannies as well both deserve to go on vacation once in a while. There are endless reasons that even a well thought-out childcare plan can fall apart and it’s often at the last minute. There are great childcare search sites out there, like care.com, but you still have to have the time to scroll through hundreds of potential childcare providers, then pay additional fees to run their background checks, then you can begin the process of communicating to see if that person would even be a good fit or if the time timing works out – basically the entire process you already went through to make your original childcare plan. Who has that kind of time?
The first week my son started kindergarten, I quit my job and started my backup childcare business, Sick Kid Sitters. I have a small team of Sitters, including myself, who are all up-to-date on first aid and CPR, thoroughly background checked, references checked, face-to-face interview, and willing to work on a moments notice.
As we were getting started, I was really focused on the parents perspective. I just knew that someone needed to provide a service that parents could trust in their moments of need. However, I knew that in order to do a good job of coaching my Sitters, I would need to go out on many of our initial sitting calls myself, at least in the beginning. It turns out, the childcare itself is my favorite part of the whole business! I get to hang out with cute little ones for a living and to be a hero to parents at the same time!
A funny twist in the whole story is that my mom has become my number one employee! Jo, as the little ones call her, had recently retired from her job as a legal assistant when I decided to start my company. She agreed to update her CPR and immunizations, just to help me get going until I had enough business to bring on more full-time employees. Well, she’s very creative, has tons of experience, loves to play board and card games, and can’t stand sitting around during nap time so the clients always come home to a house cleaner than they left it. And she had the same, I can’t believe how much I love this, reaction that I did to the kiddos.
As we head towards the end of our first full year of business, we can proudly say that we’ve only ever had to turn down two families, once after 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when all Sitters were booked, and the second time was during the Bomb Cyclone when our Sitters legitimately could not get to the client’s home. The other fact that we are very proud of is that over 50% of our clients use us again within four months. Sick Kid Sitters can be to just about anywhere in the Denver metro area within 2 hours of your call including Castle Rock, Elizabeth, Morrison and Lafayette. We have plans of expanding into Colorado Springs and the Fort Collins area in our next year. In addition to our standard weekday service, we are available for pop-up daycare at events or the office, and even the occasional date night.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Like I’d always heard from other small business owners, staffing is one of the biggest struggles! First of all, these are people’s babies we’re talking about so I’m very selective in my screening process. Even if they pass all other requirements with glowing marks, if I leave that face-to-face interview and don’t feel like I could comfortably leave my own child with that person, I’m not sending them to a client’s house. The other piece that is unique to this particular business is its very hard to predict. We’ve had weeks where we’re scrambling to accommodate the ringing phone and then we’ve had a couple weeks go by without a single phone call. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to find quality care providers that are willing to work on call. Unfortunately, I already lost one really great Sitter to a more predictable, stable position. The good news is, I’ve built room into the business model to allow for pay increases much more quickly than an other care settings so that I can reward the gals that our clients just rave about.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sick Kid Sitters – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a backup childcare business. With one phone call you can have a rigorously screened, experienced, CPR certified Sitter to your home within 2 hours, Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. We also can set up a pop-up daycare at events, such as weddings, company picnics, or just a day where it’s easier to bring the little one to the office with you. We even have Sitters that are available for nights, weekends, and overnights by appointment.
Our clients will tell you some of the things that they love about our service are, the fact that someone answered the phone and was available right away no matter when they called, the excellent ongoing communication and photos sent throughout the day, the activity tracker left behind leaving specific details on the child’s day and the TLC that they can tell their little one’s received throughout the day.
What sets us apart from other companies is two things: one – we’ve already done the searching and screening for you, by a mom, who’s probably just as diligent and nervous about leaving their kiddos with strangers as you are, an two – unlike some new companies popping up, we will never send a stranger to your home. It’s not difficult to find care providers online, run background checks, and make a few phone calls to see if they actually worked where they said they worked. What is tricky and time consuming is scrolling through all of their social media platforms to look for anything that seems like a red flag, scheduling and getting people to show up for first phone interviews and then face-to-face interviews and actually going through the gut check moments where you’re looking the person in the eye and deciding If you think you’d trust that person with your own child.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our biggest plans are for expansion. We’ve had calls from as far away as Rock Springs Wyoming so there is a definitely a need for this type of service. Also, because we are positioned to partner with businesses to provide backup childcare as an employee benefit, we will need to be adding elder care as part of that package soon. Children aren’t the only reason that employees have to miss work due to family matters.
- Website: Sickkidsitters.com
- Phone: 7207450098
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: Facebook.com/sickkidsitters
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