Parent
What checks does sitterstars carry out on its registered sitters?

We understand how critical it is that you can trust sitters who you book through sitterstars. We have dedicated page on our website explaining the processes we go through, which is here.

All of our sitter candidates are subjected to rigorous checks before they appear on our website.

Firstly, all candidates have to complete an application form, which tests their skills and their motivation for working with children. All of our sitters have past experience working with children. Many of them have formal qualifications, and these will be listed on their profile.

Unless candidates can show us a current DBS certificate (less than 2 years old) we require them to have a DBS check. We use Onfido – the award-winning background checking company. Onfido checks the following:

  • They take copies of each candidate's formal documentation, such as their passport, identity card, work permit, driving licence and/or utility bills.
  • The candidate's current address and date of birth are checked against credit agencies. We also check addresses for the past 5 years.
  • The candidates are all subjected to an Enhanced check with the government's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, which has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)). This checks to see whether they have police records of convictions and also checks to see whether the candidate appears on the Education Act list or in the DBS Children Barred list.

The candidates are personally interviewed by one of sitterstars' founders. You can arrange an interview with your chosen sitter also through our system.

We also require candidates to provide two references, which we follow up on.

The candidates then write their profile that appears on the website, which is also checked by us to ensure it is accurate.

You can find more information on our "Trust & Safety" page.

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Can I read reviews of the sitters?

Yes, every time one of our sitters completes a booking we ask for a review and star rating from the parent. These are put on the sitter's profile. This happens transparently, so you are able to read the real feedback given.

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Can I interview the sitter beforehand?

Yes you can. Many parents like to arrange an interview beforehand, or ask the sitter to arrive a short while before the first booking begins. We also have a messaging feature which enables you and the sitter to ask any questions you might have beforehand.

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What if I have a problem?

If there is a problem, then you can contact us through our website or by phone on 0844 376 0064 or by email at hello@sitterstars.com. We are always available to assist.

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How do I register with sitterstars?

Registering with sitterstars could not be simpler.

The quickest way to register is by connecting through Facebook, by clicking the button on our homepage. Don't worry – we do not post anything on your Facebook. Registering through Facebook will also enable us to deliver you enhanced features in the future when you are searching for sitters.

If you don't want to register using Facebook, no problem. You can register by simply entering your email address in the box on our homepage.

Either way, you will then be able to search our sitters by entering your postcode. You don't pay anything to carry out a search.

Once you are ready to book, we ask you to become a member of sitterstars first by providing us with some further information and choosing either a monthly or annual subscription.

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Do you have a mobile app?

Yes we do. You can download our iPhone app in the Apple App Store, or by clicking here. You can download our Android app in the Google Play store, or by clicking here. The apps are fully functional and we are currently developing improved features.

You can also receive bookings through our website.

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How do I search and book a sitter?

You can carry out a search for free without becoming a member, but you will need to join us to make a booking.

If you are a member, you can search for sitters to come to your home or elsewhere. Simply type in the postcode on our search page. Once you've found a sitter you like, you can request a booking or an interview by selecting the date and time, and sending them a message on our platform. The sitter will either accept or reject the booking, and you will be notified instantly. We keep a check to ensure your request is dealt with promptly.

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When will I first meet the sitter?

It’s up to you when you first meet your sitter. Many parents like to arrange an interview beforehand, or ask the sitter to arrive a short while before the first booking begins. We also have a messaging feature which enables you and the sitter to ask any questions you might have beforehand.

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Is there a minimum booking period?

The minimum booking period is an hour. However, sitters decide themselves whether to accept a booking request and so if you are making a very short booking it might not be worthwhile for the sitter, and your booking may not be accepted by them.

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How much notice do I need to book a sitter?

The more notice you give, the more likely your chosen sitter will be available.However, we have developed our system so that it’s simple to find last minute childcare as well, for the unpredictable moments in life.

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Can I have the same person each time I make a booking?

For convenience, you can mark particular sitters as a favourite and these will always show up first in your search results. The more notice you can give, the more likely it is that your favourite sitter will be available.

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How do I view my bookings?

Please go to your dashboard page on the website or on the app. From there you can see all of your current and past bookings, as well as any booking requests which are awaiting acceptance.

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How do I cancel a booking?

Please go to your dashboard page on the website or on the app. From there you can cancel a booking. We do not charge for cancellations made with more than 4 hours' notice. Otherwise, cancellations made within 4 hours of the start time are charged at 50%.

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How should I choose a suitable sitter for my children?

When you carry out a search on sitterstars, you will be shown a profile preview for all the sitters who cover your location. Click on the sitter's name or photo to read detailed profile information.

You can see at a glance whether a sitter has formal childcare qualifications, is first aid trained, what their rate is and how far away from your location they are.

Many of our sitters list their "Star Qualities". For example, if they are musical, sporty, good at cooking, etc. This enables you to choose a sitter who will match your child's interests and family's needs.

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Do all your sitters have previous childcare experience?

All of our sitters have previous experience of providing childcare, and we check this through the interview and reference process. Their online profiles will tell you about their experience and whether they have formal qualifications.

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Do your sitters have formal childcare qualifications?

Many of our sitters have formal childcare qualifications, such as a Level 3 NVQ and paediatric first aid. Some are OFSTED registered. Their online profiles will tell you about their experience and whether they have formal qualifications.

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What is a "Star Quality"?

Many of our sitter have particular skills and interests. For example, we have sitters who can play the piano, those who can speak French, and some who can help with homework. We call these their "Star Qualities". We believe this helps you to find a sitter who will match your child's interests and family's needs, whilst providing an opportunity to develop your child's learning. Please remember that our sitters are childcare providers firstly, and are not an alternative to tutors

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What is the hourly rate for a sitter?

We allow our sitters to choose their own rate based on their experience, knowledge and qualifications. Therefore, the hourly rate will vary from sitter to sitter. You can see each sitter's rate at a glance on the search results. We are supporting the London Living Wage as a minimum, which is currently set at £9.40 an hour.

We kindly ask that you round up to the nearest whole hour.

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How do I pay the sitter?

For convenience, you pay the sitter with our secure online payment system, so no need to run to the cash point. Payments go through after the booking has been completed. We use a regulated company called Stripe to process all payments, and they hold your card details in a secure environment. Stripe is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1, the most stringent level of certification. We do not hold your credit card details ourselves.

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Do I have to pay membership and booking fee?

You can carry out a search for free without becoming a member, but you will need to join us to make a booking. We charge a membership fee of £14.99 monthly or £149.99 annually. If you opt for the monthly subscription, there is a minimum 3-month term. We do not charge a booking fee. In addition to the subscription, you also pay the hourly rate for the duration of any booking (rounded up to the nearest whole hour).

We are currently testing new features with a small group of users, so if you would like to benefit from free membership in return for giving us feedback, please email us at hello@sitterstars.com.

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Do I need to pay the sitters tax?

All sitters on our website are responsible for paying their own taxes.

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Do I need to pay for a taxi home for the sitter?

Safety for our sitters is important to us. If your sitter finishes late, and public transport is no longer available, we kindly ask that you pay for a taxi to take them home safely. Your sitter should raise this with you as part of the booking process.

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How do I update my credit card details?

Please email us at hello@sitterstars.com.

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How do cancel my membership?

Please email us at hello@sitterstars.com.

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Sitter
How do I register with sitterstars?

Click on the “Register” button on the top right hand corner of the homepage, and select “Sitters”. You will then be directed to the registration page and our application form.

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What happens after I register?

Please complete our online application form. Once you have completed the form, you will be sent an email asking you to reserve a convenient date and time for your interview through our online system.

We will review your application form and decide whether or not we think you are suitable for interview.

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Why do I need a face to face interview?

We interview all of our sitters, so that we can have more of an understanding of your character, which is an important part of our decision process. We only approve the most trusted and reliable sitters who are qualified or experienced.

The interview is also essential to make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation. We will ask you to bring the following to your interview:

    • your original passport, and a copy of your passport for us to keep in your file;
    • your National Insurance number;
    • Proof of address,
    • Any other documents that you would like to show us, e.g. childcare qualifications, first aid certificate.

If you already have a current DBS Certificate (not more than 2 years old) please bring the original certificate, and a copy of your certificate for us to keep in your file.

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What checks does sitterstars carry out on its registered sitters?

We understand how critical it is that you can trust sitters who you book through sitterstars.We have dedicated page on our website explaining the processes we go through, which is here.

All of our sitter candidates are subjected to rigorous checks before they appear on our website.

Firstly, all candidates have to complete an application form, which tests their skills and their motivation for working with children. All of our sitters have past experience working with children. Many of them have formal qualifications, and these will be listed on their profile.

Unless candidates can show us a current DBS certificate (less than 2 years old) we require them to have a DBS check. We use Onfido – the award-winning background checking company. Onfido checks the following:

  • They take copies of each candidate's formal documentation, such as their passport, identity card, work permit, driving licence and/or utility bills.
  • The candidate's current address and date of birth are checked against credit agencies. We also check addresses for the past 5 years.
  • The candidates are all subjected to an Enhanced check with the government's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, which has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)). This checks to see whether they have police records of convictions and also checks to see whether the candidate appears on the Education Act list or in the DBS Children Barred list.

The candidates are personally interviewed by one of sitterstars' founders.

We also require candidates to provide two references, which we follow up on.

The candidates then write their profile that appears on the website, which is also checked by us to ensure it is accurate.

You can find more information on our "Trust & Safety" page.

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What if I don’t have a DBS certificate? Can I still work with sitterstars?

All of our sitters must be DBS checked before they can work with sitterstars. Without one, you won’t be able to work through us.

If you are not already DBS checked, we work with Onfido Background checks, so we can provide you with a new, or updated enhanced DBS check at any time.

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How will I find work through sitterstars?

Once your profile is live on our system, you will show up whenever a family carries out a search in the locations you cover. Families will be able to contact you and to request bookings.

Whenever a family contacts you or requests a booking, a request will pop up on your smartphone.

You will have the option to ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’ any booking request. If you press ‘Accept’, then you are booked, and the booking will automatically appear in your dashboard.

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How important is it to complete my profile?

Very important. Families will decide whether or not to book you based on your profile. This is your opportunity to demonstrate you are a star.

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Why do I have to upload a photo of myself?

By putting a face to a name, it makes your profile more personal and more appealing. Your photo should be a simple head shot of good quality. Remember that your photo is a part of your profile and will influence the family's decision whether to book you.

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What is a "Star Quality"?

Many of our sitter have particular skills and interests. For example, we have sitters who can play the piano, those who can speak French, and some who can help with homework. We call these their "Star Qualities". We believe this helps parents to find a sitter who will match their child's interests and family's needs. You are not expected to be an alternative to tutors, but listing your 'Star Qualities' will make you more attractive to families looking for a fun and possibly educational experience for their children.

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Am I guaranteed to find work with sitterstars?

Families will decide whether or not to book you based on your profile. We do not guarantee that you will find work with sitterstars.

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How do I update my profile?

After you login, click ‘View Profile’, and then click ‘Edit Profile’. Scroll down to update or change your profile, and then click on ‘Submit” when you’re finished.

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Will I meet the family before my first booking with them?

We do advise that you meet the family before your first booking with them. After your first booking with the family has been accepted and confirmed, the family and yourself will be able to communicate to one another through our messenger service on our App and website. The family might ask you to go over to their home for a first meeting a few days before the booking. Or they might ask you to arrive to your first booking about 30 minutes early. This arrangement will be made between you and the family.

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Will the family pay for a taxi home for me?

Safety for our sitters is important to us. If your booking finishes late, and public transport is no longer available, we do request that the family pays for a taxi to take you home safely. You should confirm this with them through the messaging system before your booking.

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Is there a minimum booking time?

No, there isn’t a minimum booking time. You decide whether you want to Accept or Reject a booking when the request comes in. If you feel it is not worthwhile then you may reject the booking along with a message to the family explaining why.

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How much notice do I need to give to cancel a booking if I can no longer make it?

Reliability is a critical quality of every sitter. You should only cancel bookings in exceptional circumstances, and you should give the family as much notice as possible. We advise that you give at least 24 hours, so that the family has time to find another sitter. If you frequently cancel bookings, we will deactivate your profile.

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Do you have a mobile app?

Yes we do. You can download our iPhone app in the Apple App Store, or by clicking here. You can download our Android app in the Google Play store, or by clicking here. The apps are fully functional and we are currently developing improved features.

You can also receive bookings through our website.

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What if I have a problem?

If there is a problem, then you can contact us through our website or by phone on 0844 376 0064 or by email at hello@sitterstars.com. We are always available to assist.

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What is my hourly rate?

We believe that it is fair for you, the sitter, to choose your own hourly rate, as every sitter has different experiences and qualifications, and your hourly rate should reflect that. You tell us your preferred rate during your application process and, if necessary, we will discuss this with you at interview. We are supporting the London Living Wage as a minimum, which is currently set at £9.40 an hour.

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How will I get paid?

For convenience, families pay our sitters using our secure online payment system. Payments go through after the booking has been completed. If your family is paying for your taxi, you will need to ask them to pay you cash for this.

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Why do I have to pay a 5% transaction fee?

Membership of sitterstars is free for sitters. However, we incur charges to process payments. We use a company called Stripe to manage our secure online transactions, and they charge a transaction fee for this service. The 5% covers the transaction fee, and will automatically be deducted.

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Why do I need to give my bank details if I’m a sitter?

So that we can transfer money straight into your bank account. Don't worry - the information you provide does not enable us to take money out of your account.

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Do I have to pay membership?

No. Membership for all sitters is free with sitterstars.

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Do I have to pay tax?

All sitters are responsible for paying their own taxes.

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