FAQs

Below are some of our most commonly asked questions. If your question is not covered, please contact us.

  • How do you recruit your babysitters?

    In order to register with Babysitters of Southwark, applicants must first ensure they meet our criteria (see register as a babysitter for details). A member of our team meets each candidate for a face-to-face meeting to discuss their childcare experience in depth as well as establish they are reliable individuals who your children will feel as comfortable with as you do.

    Babysitters can only join after providing two references: one from a current or recent employer and one from a family they have recently babysat for.

    Please note, our babysitters are not required to undertake a DBS check in order to register, however, some babysitters may hold this qualification through other work such as tutoring.

  • Are all of your babysitter’s police checked?

    Our babysitters are not required to undertake a DBS check in order to register.

    However, some babysitters may hold this qualification through other work such as tutoring. Any qualifications a babysitter holds (such as the DBS check or first aid certificate) will show on their profile.

  • How can I find out more about each babysitter?

    Each babysitter has an individual profile, which can be viewed under Our babysitters

    Each profile details the babysitters’ childcare experience, qualifications and general availability. If you have any questions about a specific babysitter, please feel free to contact us.

  • Can I meet a babysitter before the appointment?

    All babysitters complete our strict registration procedure before they can babysit through Babysitters of Southwark to ensure that they are reliable, experienced and professional.

    We get a lot of requests from parents asking to meet babysitters before an appointment. Unfortunately this is not something that we can generally accommodate as our babysitters would then spend a lot of time doing meeting new families and not a lot of time babysitting! If you would like to meet a babysitter before an appointment, then you must book them for this time.

    We suggest that you book your babysitter to arrive 30mins-1hour before you need to leave so that you can get to know your babysitter and make sure you and your children feel comfortable in their company.

    When you book your babysitter, you will also be given their email address as well as access to our internal messaging system via our website.

    We also occasionally host coffee mornings to which we invite all of our families (including children) and babysitters so that everyone can meet each other in an informal setting.

  • How can I find out which babysitters are available when I need one?

    Our babysitters are a mix of those who work full-time, part-time, are freelancing or studying. The general availability of each babysitter is displayed on their profile. However, their schedules aren’t fixed and change frequently!

    When you create a job request, you will be asked to select the babysitters you would like to send your request to and only those who are generally available during the times you have specified will be listed.

    Our babysitters are pretty prompt in marking their availability so you will generally know whether anyone is available within a few hours.

  • How far in advance do I need to book a babysitter?

    Bookings can be made up to 5 weeks in advance and with as little as 3 hours notice. Our ability to fill appointments depends entirely on our babysitter’s schedules, which often aren’t fixed.

    Weekends are a very busy time for us so we would recommend booking your babysitter as soon as you know you will need one or with at least 4-5 days notice.

    Weekday evening or daytime slots are less pressured and can often be booked 1-2 days in advance.

    It is always worth loading a job request if you need a babysitter and we will try our best to help!

  • Can I book a babysitter for an appointment during the day?

    Absolutely! Our babysitters are available to book between 7.00am-1.00am each day.

    The reasons parents book a babysitter are varied. Sometimes they need to attend an appointment, sometimes they need an extra pair of hands when looking after young or lots of children at the same time and sometimes it’s for a stay at home parent who needs some peace and quiet to get some work done!

    Many parents also book babysitters during the school holidays or in instances where their nanny or usual babysitter falls ill.

    The beauty of not being locked into registration or subscription fees is that you can book a babysitter for a one-off appointment as needed (although we bet that you will be so delighted with the service that you will return to us again!).

  • How do I book a babysitter?

    1. Create an account: it’s free and only takes a minute or two
    2. Create a job by selecting the date, start time and end time that you would like a babysitter for
    3. Select the babysitters you would like to send your request to (we recommended sending your requests to 10+ babysitters to give you the best chances of availability)
    4. Receive notifications from babysitters as to who is or isn‘t available
    5. Choose your babysitter and book your appointment online. You can pay with credit or debit card or PayPal.

    Job requests expire after 48 hours if a babysitter is not booked in order to guarantee up to date babysitter availability. Our babysitters are pretty prompt in marking their availability so you will generally know whether anyone is available within a few hours.

  • Can I add more babysitters to a job request once loaded?

    At the moment, parents aren‘t able to add further babysitters once they have loaded their job request. This is because job requests expire 48 hours after they are loaded (if a babysitter is not booked) in order to guarantee up to date babysitter availability and adding further babysitters would skew this timing.

    We recommend that you send your job request to as many babysitters as you feel comfortable with, in order to give you the best chance of finding an available babysitter.

  • What do you charge?

    We charge £10 per hour for appointments between 7am-1am and £15 per hour outside of these times and on public or special holiday’s (e.g. New Year’s Eve).

    We also charge for appointments cancelled less than 24 hours before (50% of the value of the booking) and 12 hours (100% of the value of the booking) before the appointment.

    We believe that our tailored service giving you access to local, experienced and reliable babysitters is excellent value. Unlike other services, we do not charge registration, subscription or booking fees.

  • How do I get in touch with my babysitter once they are booked?

    When you book a babysitter, you will be given their email address and this will show on your email booking confirmation and on your profile under ‘bookings’. We strongly suggest that you get in touch with your babysitter to confirm your appointment, clarify any specific instructions or directions to your home and take the opportunity to ask any questions.

    We also have an internal messaging system built into the website which you can activate by clicking on ‘bookings’ then ‘manage job’ (blue button) and then ‘Message my babysitter’. Messages will be sent via email.

    Your babysitter will also be in touch with you (either by text, call or email) ahead of your appointment to confirm that they will be babysitting for you.

  • How do I change the start or end time for my appointment?

    To adjust the start or end times for your appointment, click on ‘bookings’ and then ‘manage job’ (blue button).

    You will see a link that says ‘need to adjust times?’. Where you can choose to adjust your start and/or end times.

    Please note: You will need to have credit on your account in order to do this.

    Your babysitter will be sent a notification and is able to accept or reject the request. If they accept, the extra time will automatically debited/credited. If they reject, you will be notified.

  • What do I do if I need to cancel my booking?

    If you need to cancel your appointment, please do so via the website (click ‘bookings’ and then ‘manage job’).

    We do not charge for appointments cancelled 24 hours or more ahead of the start time.

    For appointments cancelled less than 24 hours before the start time we charge 50% of the booking fee and for cancellations less than 12 hours before, we charge 100% of the booking fee.

    In these instances, any remaining booking fees will be credited to your account to put towards a future appointment.

    This policy is to protect our babysitters who may miss out on other appointments once they are booked and to compensate them for this lost time.

  • What happens if a babysitter cancels my appointment?

    Babysitters understand that when they are booked, they are obligated to commit to the appointment. However, there are occasions when cancellations unfortunately cannot be avoided.

    If a babysitter must cancel an appointment, they will do so via the website and send you a message to explain their reasons.

    Your job request will automatically be sent out to our other babysitters to try and find a replacement as quickly as possible. A replacement babysitter would only be confirmed with your permission and you will of course be given the option to cancel.

    For cancelled appointments, the value of the booking will be credited to your account to be put towards your next appointment.

  • What happens if I am home early or late back?

    If you arrive home early you will still be charged the full amount for the hours booked.

    After each appointment, your babysitter will record their hours and if you returned home late, the additional amount will be requested from you.

    Estimates for start and end times should be made as accurately as possible. Babysitters mark their availability for bookings based on the number of hours and will plan their schedules accordingly.

  • Do I need to arrange transport home for my babysitter?

    As our babysitters live in your local area, there are generally no travel expenses to cover.

    However, babysitters accept appointments based on the start and end times and will plan their journeys accordingly. If you are back later than expected and your babysitter is unable to take public transport home, we do request that you kindly cover the cost of their taxi home.

  • Do I need to provide a meal for my babysitter?

    We do not expect parents to provide meals for babysitters. However, any snacks/drinks etc. are always much appreciated and if a babysitter is with you for a full day, we do expect them to be given time to buy/eat meals as appropriate.

  • What do the babysitters’ responsibilities entail?

    Our babysitters are there to provide an extra pair of hands or to keep an eye on your children when you need to leave the house.

    We do not expect our babysitters to cook meals from scratch but they are happy to prepare meals or help out with cooking as needed.

    Babysitters are happy to supervise homework and help with basic questions but are not expected to act as tutors.

    Although your babysitter will of course tidy up after themselves and the children, we would not expect them to do any ironing or household tasks which do not relate directly to the looking after of the child/children for the time they are with you.

  • Can I book the same babysitter each time?

    Our ability to fill appointments depends entirely on our babysitters and their schedules, which often aren’t fixed.

    We find that parents get to know 2-3 babysitters and that one of these babysitters will generally be available on their required days/times.

    When you create a job request, you will be asked to select the babysitters you would like to send your request to and only those who are generally available during the times you have specified will show.

    Babysitters that you have booked before will automatically be selected (unless booked by another parent) to help maintain consistency.

    Our babysitters are pretty prompt in marking their availability so you will generally know whether your babysitter is available within a few hours.

  • Can I book a babysitter for regular appointments?

    We primarily cater for ad hoc appointments although the request for a regular babysitter is one we get a lot! We are always more than happy to discuss your requirements with our babysitters. If you contact us and let us know what days/times you are looking for a babysitter, we would love to try and help!

  • Is there a maximum number of children a babysitter can look at a time?

    We want to ensure that your children and our babysitters are safe at all times. A babysitter should only look after a maximum of 4 children at any one time but this will also depend on the individual children (personality, requirements and ages) and the babysitter.

    You will only be able to record up to 4 children via your profile so if you have more than 4 children or need to book a babysitter to look after more than 4 children at one time, please contact us.

  • Do you only cover Southwark?

    No! We cover all of South and South East London. Our primary areas are:

    • London Bridge, Bermondsey
    • Camberwell
    • Canada Water
    • Crystal Palace
    • Denmark Hill
    • East Dulwich, West Dulwich
    • Kennington, Oval
    • Nunhead
    • Elephant & Castle
    • Peckham, Peckham Rye
    • Greenwich

    Our ability to fill appointments depends entirely on our babysitters and where they are happy to travel to/from. If you live outside of South or South East London, please contact us and we would be happy to find out availability in your area.

    We are working to expand to North and East London in 2016 and hope to be UK wide soon!

  • What happens if I am unhappy with my babysitter or the service I receive from Babysitters of Southwark?

    We constantly review our procedures and are pleased to say that the vast majority of feedback we get from parents and babysitters is extremely positive.

    All feedback is taken on board and helps to improve the quality of our service. If you have any comments, please contact us.

  • When did Babysitters of Southwark start and what makes you different to other agencies?

    Babysitters of Southwark launched in 2015. We are a sister branch to Babysitters of Kensington and Chelsea (BOKAC)

    We believe that our personal service and friendly, experienced babysitters are what makes us stand out from other agencies. We also don’t believe in hidden fees so charge a flat rate per hour with no registration, subscription or booking fees to pay.

  • How do you make money?

    We make money by taking a commission on each hour a babysitter is booked for.

    We charge parents £10 per hour and pay our babysitters £8 per hour. For appointments after 1am or on public holiday’s, we charge parents £15 per hour and pay our babysitters £12 per hour.