On-demand apps are exploding in usage and popularity, with 86.5 million Americans having used at least one on-demand service, according to a recent survey by TIME and the global strategic firm Burson-Marsteller. Now the industry has uncovered an untapped market — kids, or more specifically, their time-starved parents. A wave of new on-demand startups is helping parents tackle the most challenging aspects of raising young kids in the city.
Uber-style apps for children face an uphill battle, in part because trust isn’t something the on-demand economy is known for and people aren’t as willing to entrust their children with a stranger as they are their laundry or their take-out. But creative solutions abound, and startups are using everything from background checks to crowd sourced reviews to help parents feel more comfortable using their services.
Here are six examples of on-demand platforms aimed at parents and their children.
1. Zum: Individual rides, carpooling, and last-minute childcare
Zum is an on-demand ride service for kids between the ages of 5 and 15. In addition to rides, Zum also offers scheduled pickups and home care. The service matches families to “personalized trusted drivers” for scheduled picks-ups and drop-offs, and it relies on driver consistency as a way to differentiate itself from competitors. Users are able to schedule one-time or recurring rides, they receive photos and profiles of their drivers in advance, and they’re notified as pick-ups and drop-offs occur. Zum also offers a carpooling option for friends with kids heading to the same activities. Zum charges users based on use, with rides starting at $16 and care costing $6 per 15 minutes.
2. Helpr: Babysitters on-demand
Helpr is a mobile app where parents can connect with babysitters on-demand. Every babysitter on the app is screened and CPR certified. Parents can view photos, videos, and profiles of their babysitters ahead of time, and they can read reviews written by other families before the babysitter arrives for the gig. Helpr guarantees that a babysitter will be available when parents book with at least three hours notice. In exchange for this last-minute flexibility, Helpr charges a premium price. Parents pay $21 per hour for one child, with 15% added for last-minute bookings. Currently, the service is only available in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Orange County.
3. Tutors: Finding qualified tutors nearby
Busy parents can use the Tutors app to hire qualified tutors for kids as young as kindergarten. The mobile app shows a list of tutors located nearby, however parents also have the option to search for tutors by subject, price, or rating. Parents can select a gender preference and set a maximum rate they’re willing to pay. Tutors has profiles of each tutor, including the tutor’s education, hourly rate, and years of experience. Tutors also undergo background checks as a safety assurance. Tutors who use the app set their own rates, and generally respond to new requests within a matter of minutes. Sessions can be booked at people’s homes or public spaces. Tutors is currently available in Los Angeles, however the company plans to expand throughout the nation.
4. Date Night: An all-in-one care solution for parents
Date Night is a mobile app from Care.com. In addition to booking last-minute babysitters, parents can also use Date Night to plan virtually every other aspect of their evenings out. They can buy tickets to the movies and make reservations at nearby restaurants all from the same app. Because Date Night was created by Care.com, the childcare component takes center stage. In addition to checking the availability of local babysitters, parents can conduct in-app video interviews and they can book and pay the sitters they choose from within the mobile app. The Date Night app is free. Parents pay hourly rates for the sitters they book through Care.com.
5. HopSkipDrive: Ridesharing for families
When families schedule rides with HopSkipDrive, they’re sent bios and pictures of their drivers and a special code word that the child is required to use before any drive begins. Drivers also have flags on their cars and wear branded t-shirts to indicate their affiliation with the company. Parents can track their children’s drives in real-time and they have multiple methods of contacting their drivers. HopSkipDrive aims to differentiate itself on security. All HopSkipDrive drivers must go through a certification process, they must have at least five years of childcare experience, and they must be fingerprinted. HopSkipDrive provides booster seats for children 7 years and up. Parents can purchase rides individually or as packages, with one ride costing about $20.
Know of other on-demand platforms for busy parents and kids? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.