Care.com is a pretty popular means of connection that brings caregivers and families together in an efficient and reliable way. Care.com is like the Amazon of finding family care.
Its market has been growing since 2007, and it has built a huge database with 4.5 million caregivers and more than 9.7 million members from 16 countries. It’s evident that it has grown both in a financial sense (revenue) and social sense (members). So, how did that happen? How does it make its money and ensure its growth? Well, keep reading to find out.
What Is Care.com?
As I previously mentioned, Care.com is an online website that connects families with caregivers they direly need. It was founded in Massachusetts on the basis of being a huge shop filled with resources for families and sitters.
A caregiver can post what services they’re able to provide when they’re available, and the rates they charge. Similarly, families can post their needs, whether they need services regularly or just a one-time thing.
It’s true that Care.com is often associated with babysitters, but there are many types of caregivers available, including nannies, tutors, house-sitters, senior care specialists, pet-sitters, or even people that run your errands for you or help you clean the house.
How Does Care.com Make Money for Themselves?
The clever founders of this company receive their revenue from multiple streams that we’ll discuss throughout the following section.
Subscription and Memberships
Like any service-providing website, Care.com charges their clients for different types of plans, including:
- Family Basic Membership: This one would be suitable for a family that’s looking for a free basic membership. Quite self-explanatory.
- Family Premium Membership: If you’re a family that’s looking for a full premium subscription to get all the services that Care.com has to offer, you can try one of the plans it offers: $39 for one month, $78 for three months ($26/month), or $156 for a year ($13/month).
- Background Checks: To build more revenue, Care.com gives its users the option to run background checks on the candidates they have in mind. The depth of the background check depends on the amount of money you pay, and some of them can be as expensive as $300.
- Caregiver Premium Membership: As a caregiver, you can opt for a premium monthly package that costs $20. This gives you access to plenty of extra services, including background checks on families you’re going to provide your services for or paid promotions. The latter puts you on top of people’s lists when they search for the caregiving service you provide and sends you email notifications when a relevant job listing is created.
Moreover, caregivers can search the “Families Seeking” categories to view the families that checked their profiles, contact families that have yet to post a job and get a free preliminary background check.
- Care.com HomePay: If you want help with your tax-filing and tax payroll management, you can opt for this service. It works by charging $175 per quarter for every household employee and costs an extra $75 for any extra ones.
- Workplace Solutions: This is an employer program provided by Care.com; they enable companies to pay to subsidize the price of plans for their employees as a benefit plan for said employees. This is based on a customized option for this service to provide each client with whatever they need instead of having a set fee for any and all companies.
- Business Services: This service provides companies that work in the caregiving industry to hire staff or advertise their services on Care.com. Companies can pay either a variable rate that depends on the number of referrals they receive (and any applicable sales or other taxes) or a set rate disregarding the number of referrals.
Though you can create a basic membership for free to start job posting, looking up, and getting applications from local caregivers, there’s still so much to be desired from a free membership.
However, if you want to reply to employers or candidates who try to contact you, you must pay for the premium membership. Not to mention, all memberships have a specific term basis and charge you until the end of the membership term, even if you cancel the services.
And of course, there’s the sneaky auto-renewal of memberships without sending notifications. So, I’d highly recommend thinking well before you decide on subscribing. And when you do, make sure that you’ve canceled auto-renewal if you don’t wish to be a long-term member.
What Else Is There to Know?
How Can Users Benefit from Care.com?
Any online marketplace comes with a set of features to help meet your needs and make your experience more seamless. Here are the ones that Care.com has to offer:
If you aren’t well-versed with the caregiving scene, it might be tough to decide on the rate that best suits your services. Likewise, it could be tough to determine what to pay to the service you’re asking for if you’re someone seeking caregiving.
This is exactly why Care.com provides its users with multiple rate calculators that aid them in determining the appropriate price to ask for or provide, depending on several factors such as the service itself, level of experience, zip code, and hours per week.
What’s unique about Care.com is that they have a dedicated team of writers that work on covering all topics that are related to caregiving and care-seeking.
They have a blog that’s divided into four categories: Home Care, Senior Care, Child Care, and Pet Care. In each category, you’ll find an organized list of the contents, including articles, topics, and guides, divided based on topics relevant to caregivers or to care-seekers.
Want to learn about games that help you provide effective babysitting? Or how to become certified as a pet caregiver? Care.com has an article for it on their blog!
Am I Safe on Care.com?
Of course, anyone using a service that involves dealing with strangers would be worried about whether the person is trustworthy enough to let into one’s life. But you don’t have to worry about this with Care.com as they have a super helpful safety resource page to help you with the process of choosing the best candidate for your needs.
Thanks to their experience in the field, Care.com understands that working with someone you’ve connected to online might seem sketchy for some. That’s why it provides both parties (caregivers and families) with guides that help them maintain their safety throughout the various transaction processes from the screening part to the interview and beyond.
This deals with what to look for in someone’s profile, how to manage the first meeting, and how to understand the background checks they provide.
What’s more, the safety page on the website has frequently asked questions for both caregivers and care-seekers to view. Each of these questions comes with an in-depth and informative answer to help you understand everything without having to resort to customer support. But, in case you do…
Care.com provides customer support through ticketed email service as well as by phone (877) 277-3115. You can reach them from Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM EST.
Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages
Like any service-providing website, there are some pros and some cons to Care.com. Let’s go over them to help you form a better picture.
|Intuitive Interface||Repository of Resources||Database of Professionals|
|It’s not rare to find an online marketplace that’s cluttered and hard to navigate, but that’s not the case with Care.com.
It actually works on narrowing down the available choices with a survey that leaves you with the most suitable people in your area.
|Care.com doesn’t only provide you with care-related services but also care-related knowledge.
They have a team of well-versed writers who create articles and guides to help you understand the whole scene better.
With a blog and safety center, there isn’t much that you’ll need to learn about whatever topic you want to get more familiar with.
|Care.com has built itself a reputation with the help of the reputable caregivers that use it to find clients. So, there’s little to no chance that you’ll stumble upon someone who isn’t serious or reliable.|
|Limited Free Features||Not Very Transparent When it Comes to Pricing||No Anti-Scamming Promises|
|If you opt for a free membership on Care.com, there wouldn’t be much that you’d be able to do, whether you’re a caregiver or a care seeker. If you want to start responding to people and scheduling interviews, you’ll have to pay for a subscription.||Apart from having to pay to actually do anything effective, Care.com makes it a little hard to figure out the pricing for memberships and falls short on providing transparency.||While the website itself is genuine and does its best to ensure the safety of its users, it can’t guarantee that the people on it aren’t scammers. So, you have to be extra careful when using a service like this.|
Alternatives to Care.com
Just because they’re the most popular service doesn’t mean they’re the only one. If you want to check out other alternatives to see if you can find a better match for the caregiving you need, peep the list below:
Au Pair is French for a live-in nanny, which sounds quite fancy, but it’s the same purpose. GreatAuPair.com is an American company that has been facilitating the process of finding live-in nannies for people since 2001, and they have done so successfully with families both on national and international levels!
The team scans all potential live-in nannies to spare you the effort of doing so on your own and also spare you the need to run a background check.
It’s not the most affordable option, but it’s a great one for anyone that’s looking for an all-around hiring process of a live-in nanny for their loved ones.
Urbansitter.com uses the old-school marketing method of the “word of mouth”. The website prompts you to log in via Facebook or LinkedIn, and then it automatically generates a list of leads by scanning your networks and circles.
This means that any caregiver that’s recommended to you would actually be based on your connections.
And the best part about it is that you don’t have to pay anything to sign up, send messages, or even book the caregiver you think best suits your needs. So, if you’re looking for the easiest and most cost-effective way to book a caregiver, you can opt for UrbanSitter.com.
Not exactly an alternative for Care.com, but close enough. Rover.com focuses more on pet-care services like dog-walking or pet-sitting. Like I said, that’s not exactly the same as Care.com, but it’s perfect if you’re seeking someone to look after your pets or if you’re willing to offer services to a pet owner.
So, when all is said and done, the basis on which Care.com was founded is quite brilliant. They provide an often-sought service by the hands of people with caregiving skills that are looking for jobs and then get a portion of that payment for themselves.
Is it a successful business model? I’d definitely say so, yes, considering that they have managed to increase their revenue from $12.9 million in 2010 to $59 million in 2013.
Is it a useful platform? Of course! It’s connecting people who are seeking services with those who are willing to offer them. It’s a win-win situation for both parties and for the creators of Care.com itself.