I’m a parent who would love to rely on my kids’ grandparents to be the sole babysitters when my wife and I need to get away from our ankle-biters have an event to attend in the evenings or on the weekends. We don’t want to always lean on “Granny & Pop-pop” when things come up, but we don’t want to skim a Google search results page to randomly pick a babysitter either.
Enter Tonightish, an iOS app that looks to use your network of friends, and their babysitters, to find trusted after care for your little ones. The app encourages users to build a network (the app calls it a “sitter circle”) by sharing your trusted sitters with your friends. The idea is that your friends will follow suit and use the app to share their trusted sitters with you as well.
This all works by opening the app, building your own profile, and identifying your sitter(s) from your contact list. The app notifies your sitters via text message, and encourages them to set up a profile. Once your sitters create a profile, the app can make it easier for you to manage, contact, and book your sitters. Once you have your sitters populated within the app, you can share them with your friends and encourage them to add their sitters.
Power in numbers – The more friends you add, the more sitters to choose from. It’s a safe bet that you and your friends are only going to add trusted babysitters, since you don’t want your friends to have a bad experience based off your suggestion. So in a sense, the Tonightish app will force users to be more picky about what sitters they add to their “sitter circle”. Coincidentally, that may force users to be more picky about what sitters watch their own kids.
One notable feature is Tonightish doesn’t immediately share phone numbers between your sitter and your friends until both parties have come to an arrangement. The app uses burner temporary numbers to initiate the transaction. Another handy feature is a sitter can communicate solely via text message, since I’m sure that’s still the communication of choice for kids today. Once a sitter sets up a profile, they will get job requests via text message. A sitter can reply 411 to get more information, YES to confirm, or NO to decline. A sitter will recieve a text with dates, times, address, and real phone numbers if they accept a job.
Tonightish can also be a good place for sitters to work with a group of trusted parents as well. Sitters set up their profile by adding their name, number, profile pic, age and rates so parents know who they are dealing with. As a result, sitters won’t have to work as hard to book jobs, because parents can quickly get the basic information they need to start communicating.
Future plans for Tonightish include an Android version, an app for sitters, and the ability to pay sitters/collect payment via the app.
Now, of course there is no guarantee that a babysitter referral from a friend will automatically result in a pleasant experience, but a digital “word of mouth” using Tonightish, in my case, is certainly better than getting on my in-laws’ nerves every time my wife and I need a sitter.