• Sarah Blackson with her 3-year-old daughter. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
There seems to be an app for everything these days, from finding a ride, to getting food delivered to your door. Now, thanks to Sittr, you can hire a babysitter or nanny to look after your little ones.
Douglas Smith

SBS Small Business Secrets
17 Apr 2018 - 3:42 PM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2018 - 2:43 PM

While they were travelling the world with their three young kids in 2014, James and Samantha McKinnon came up with a unique idea that would help thousands of families back home.

The first on-demand app of its kind in Australia, Sittr was developed in 2015 by the Sydney-based wife and husband team out of frustration. 

“We were in Japan and it was James’ birthday and we decided to leave the kids with a babysitter to go out, and we couldn’t find any babysitting agency to help so we asked the concierge in the hotel," Samantha says. 

“So that’s where the idea was born for Sitter.

"They quoted us, 400 AUD for two or three hours of babysitting in the hotel room, and we just looked at each other and gawked and said ok, no birthday present this year,” 

“Once we arrived back in Australia in 2015, we launched the app, and we’ve never looked back,” she said.

Not the usual way to find someone reliable to look after your children, Sittr simplifies the whole process with already vetted babysitters and nannies.

Carers are required to meet strict guidelines with background checks and first-aid qualifications, making the app as safe as possible.

The service also offers public liability insurance, as well as reviews and ratings of sitters and nannies who work in the industry.  

“We were able to create the first marketplace based public liability insurance for carers, definitely in Australia, potentially anywhere in the world,” says James McKinnon.

Sarah Blacker and Peter Balinksi used to rely on people they knew to look after their three-year-old daughter until they discovered Sittr.  

“We both work full-time, and our schedules kept being very varied, so it’s not just nine-to-five,” Sarah Blacker told Small Business Secrets.

“Often you do have that gap where there’s no daycare and no one that you can really turn to for week-day sitting."

“Your child is the most important thing to you in the whole world so you need to know that who you’re leaving them with is trusted and reputable, otherwise you just wouldn’t do it,” she said.

The traditional methods of finding a babysitter have gone out the window, as families now have access to a database of a thousand carers all over Australia.

Sittr rejects 95% of all carer applications to their platform, giving it a strong reputation among users, and helping carers become familiar with kids too.

Watch this story at the top of the page, or catch the full episode on SBS On Demand.