New app helps parents find on-demand babysitters

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Chime is an offshoot of Sittercity.com, an international online service connecting millions of caregivers to families. (WLS)

Technology is now making it easier to get on-demand childcare.

The new Chime app allows parents hire baby-sitters on-demand, but many busy parents are raving about the convenience.

Others worry about hiring a stranger to watch their children.

"As a stay-at-home mom, I don't have a wide list of sitters yet," said Katie Donner, who said it's tough to get out of the house for date-night with her husband, Jesse.

Donner said Chime was the perfect solution for finding a sitter for her daughter, Jessica.

"It was a very simple, easy process," Donner said. "The idea that you are able to enter in the dates that you want and the times and you don't have to call a list of people you might know."

Chime is an offshoot of Sittercity.com, an international online service connecting millions of caregivers to families.

"Chime is excellent if you need someone in an hour, Chime is also amazing if you need someone Friday," said Genevieve Thiers, founder of SitterCity.com

Users download the app, enter a zip code, some basic information and payment information. Pick date and time for when a babysitter is needed and the app finds three sitters who live nearby.

Parents can watch the sitter's video interview and check reviews from other parents.

Chime prides itself on the company's vetting process and says it has an elite group of 150 sitters in Chicago.

"It's very intense," said Thiers. "Only 1 in 5 make it. We actually do an in-person evaluation at the office, then we do ID verification, enhanced background check and we scrap over 300 social media sites. So if something is out there, we are going to find it."

Many moms said they would definitely use the app, but some worry that the background checks and other investigating done by Chime is not enough.

The Donners found sitter Sarah Fader through Chime.

"It's just an easy way for sitters and families to connect," Fader said.

Caregivers and families rate each other, but parents don't see what rating the sitters give them.

Payment happens through the app, similar to ride-sharing.

Chime is available in Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston.

A flat rate is charged per hour and varies depending on the city.

In Chicago, the flat rate is $14 an hour compared to $17 in New York City.

The company takes a 10-percent cut.
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