A Monte Vista mom and her colleague are bringing on-demand baby-sitting to on-the-go, 21st-century parents.
Homegrown entrepreneurs Tiffany Murgo and Katie Rakowitz run Time Out Sitters, a digital service connecting parents with reliable, qualified, vetted baby sitters across the San Antonio area, as well as in Austin and Waco.
Murgo, a Monte Vista Historic District resident and mother of two, said the creation of Time Out Sitters gives her a chance to work from home and be with her children.
It also “brings meaning to my life personally,” she said.
“I think a lot of moms struggle,” she added. “When they feel they’re ‘just a stay-at-home mom,’ they feel they’re missing out on something for themselves.”
Her longtime friend Rakowitz, who lives in Boerne, agrees.
“This has been a huge blessing, being able to work from home,” Rakowitz said.
Parents can connect with the service at timeoutsitters.com.
The home-based business has expanded its operations, parent-client base and circle of qualified, vetted baby sitters over the last seven years.
Murgo and Rakowitz have been friends since meeting at Bradley Middle School.
Rakowitz has a 7-year-old child and a second on the way. When it came time to consider day care options for her firstborn, Rakowitz felt strongly about wanting to stay at home with her child and still contribute to the household income.
Thus, the concept for Time Out Sitters came into being.
A web domain name and an existing local client list were acquired. Rakowitz appreciated the flexibility of caring for her child, attending school functions and building a business.
“We’re helping other moms in town who may not have the support, so it’s been very rewarding for me to help them do what they need to do,” Rakowitz said.
There’s an increasing number of web-based businesses that link baby sitters with parents in their community. At Time Out Sitters, Rakowitz and Murgo said they personally interview each prospective sitter and ensure the sitter is the right fit with the parent.
“There’s a thorough process that (sitters) go through in order to become a sitter with our team, which would include certification,” Murgo said. “We do background checks and reference checks.”
Parents register with the company and create a profile, sending a request to Murgo and Rakowitz. The women then assign a job to the available sitter best qualified for the situation.
“It’s a hands-on matching process,” Murgo added. “We always say we’ll never send a sitter into the home without the right experience or background.”
The parent then gets an approval email that includes the assigned sitter’s photo and background. The process saves moms and dads a lot of time.
“Especially with parents being so busy with after-school activities, dinner, grocery shopping, laundry — this makes things easier,” Rakowitz added.
Aside from traditional home child care, the service has members able to provide: care at an office, church or multi-day event; pet and/or house-sitting chores; care for special-needs youngsters; and care for group functions, such as sleepovers.
In San Antonio alone, the business averages 1,000 assignments monthly, and has links to more than 200 sitters and 3,000 clients citywide. The service covers several suburbs and towns, and has expanded to Austin and Waco.
Rakowitz and Murgo want to develop a mobile app in the near future.
The pair is happy to see some longtime sitters use their wages to pay for college, including buying books, funding sorority fees or financing a new car.
“There are sitters who came from college to getting married to having children,” Murgo added. “And some still work for us. They’re moms themselves.”
As a St. Mary’s University freshman in 2013, Nancy Rangel started working for the service. She has been a baby sitter for more than 400 local families.
Over five years, she graduated from college, began her first full-time job and developed friendships from the Time Out Sitters gig, which Rangel said readied her for adulthood.
“I didn’t realize that my growth as a baby sitter would help prepare me to be a young working professional,” she said.
Rangel still works with the company, earning extra cash that provides “a nice escape from my ‘big girl’ job and continued connection to those families I have grown to love.”