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SittingAround Is Giving Babysitters Free Square Readers, Helps Them Find Jobs

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SittingAround, the new service that allows parents to quickly and easily find and schedule a babysitter online, is now getting their sitters clients equipped with Square credit card readers. CEO Erica Zidel tells us that, starting now, all sitters are being offered a free Square dongle as a part of the signup process on the website, and can then indicate whether or not they accept credit cards in their online profile. Parents, meanwhile, can now search and hire sitters based on the payment method they accept.

Granted, this may not be huge news, but it’s a perfect example of Square’s momentum and potential for disruption in the industry. In this case, Square isn’t the one that’s marketing directly to the babysitters – it’s the babysitting service that is. (And frankly, as a parent myself who never carries cash, it would be great if all sitters carried a Square. Having to make an ATM stop part of date night is kind of a bummer.)

Zidel also says that SittingAround is working to add other payment options in the future and plans on integrating these into the company’s forthcoming mobile app, due out soon.

Boston-based SittingAround has doubled its user base and now has over 7,000+ families on the site and 1,500 registered sitters since its launch at the beginning of this year. The site has coordinated over 3,000 bookings to dates since then as well.

While newer than more well-established players in the online child care space (like UrbanSitter, Care.com, etc.), SittingAround isn’t about leveraging Facebook to find social recommendations, but is rather about helping you bring your current “trust network” online – including both parents and sitters alike. It also offers unique features like support for babysitting co-ops, free background checks for parents and sitters, and a “date night deals” section so parents can fully plan their night out.

The site is free to use, as it’s currently ad-supported, unlike the paywalled Care.com. “We want sitters to look at their SitterProfile as their online babysitting resume,” says Zidel. “Because we have an open platform, this profile can be used wherever sitters respond to parents – on Facebook, through a local newspaper, from Craigslist, etc.”