What happens when two local moms bond in frustration over a lack of legitimate available childcare resources?
They take matters into their own hands and join forces to create a solution to not only their problems but the problems of many parents who have been thwarted by the search to find a sitter.
A little over a year ago, Tina Porter and Anthea Mouw decided to start a full-service nanny and babysitting agency.
When explaining how SLO County Sitters differs from all the other childcare agencies Porter said, “We both have two kids. We know and understand what moms look for, want and need.”
Each woman brought some degree of business savvy to the table: Porter and her husband own a local business and Mouw graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in business. After Porter and Mouw took additional business classes, SLO County Sitters finally came to fruition.
SLO County Sitters not only provides the normal babysitter and nanny services, but also wants to provide childcare for tourists coming to San Luis Obispo County.
“If a couple with a child came here on vacation, but just wanted to go on a romantic date night themselves, they can call us and we will send a sitter over to the hotel with things like games and toys to keep the child entertained while his or her parents are spending some time together,” Mouw said.
They’ll also offer on-call services for parents who can’t miss a day of work to stay home and take care of a sick child. Porter said one of the main reasons people miss work is because no one but the parent is available to take care of the child who can’t go to school because of an illness.
As of right now, the objective for SLO County Sitters is to hire around 50 people of all ages by March or April, and eventually do business countywide.
Porter said San Luis Obispo offers a great amount of diversity employment-wise because there are college students in addition to community members who may apply for a job.
To work for SLO County Sitters, Porter and Mouw said they implement extensive background checks as well as drug and tuberculosis testing on every possible employee. Applicants must also be CPR certified and have at least one year of childcare experience.
Porter said the background checks “take the awkwardness out of the hiring situations that parents would normally have to go through by themselves.”
To be a member of the service costs $16 a month, not including an hourly rate which is dependent on how many children are being watched and can range from $11 to $15 per hour.
The fact that each woman is a mother gives Porter and Mouw an edge over the other sitting agencies and one stand-out aspect of their business is commitment to clients.
Their fliers proclaim in bold type, “The goal at SLO County Sitters is simple: to exceed the expectations of our customers.”