Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The K. Grace Experience: Flexible, Convenient Babysitting in Chicago -- Part Four

Sara and I hope that we have given you a good feel for the client experience at K. Grace Childcare, but we recognize that a few questions may remain. Based on the feedback we've gotten from readers, we thought that we would create our very own "FAQ" (Frequently Asked Questions) post to try and tie up any loose ends.

(1) How much does K. Grace cost?

Once your application is accepted, fees are collected on a monthly basis based on hours used in that calendar month. After the first three months*, the fees are as follows:

1-25 hour placement (in a given calendar month): $55
25-100 hour placement (in a given calendar month): $100
101-140 hour placement (in a given calendar month): $125
140-400 hour placement (in a given calendar month): $200

* For the first three months that you are a client, an additional $100 per month fee applies.

Additional fees also apply for last minute placements, overnight placements, and cancellation fees. And if you don’t use any hours in a month (say, like if you take an extended vacation or your mother-in-law comes to town and becomes your live-in babysitter), then you aren’t charged anything at all for that month. So you just end up paying for the service hours that you actually use.

Is this service cheap? No, but it’s true what they say: you really do get what you pay for. K. Grace is licensed by the city and state, fully insured and bonded, and all staff are licensed employment counselors. And of course, they put every sitter through an intensive screening process. The fees that K. Grace charges its clients covers the costs of providing first-rate childcare to Chicago families.

(2) What do the sitters think about this process?

K. Grace obviously wouldn't exist were it not for the extremely well-qualified babysitters they employ. Here is what some of the K. Grace sitters have to say about their experiences.

K. Grace's thorough interview process not only let me know that I would be
joining true professional childcare providers but also made me feel proud
because I knew my accomplishments in the childcare field were valued. The
mutual respect and high standards make K. Grace a great fit for me.
As someone who came to K. Grace for a second income, I more often find
myself making time (in my already full schedule) because of the families I
get to work with as opposed to a financial goal. The families are truly
great and each experience has been wonderful! - Susie Fogle
K Grace's interview process was the most rigorous of any other job I've had.
There is clearly great care in choosing sitters for jobs as each job I have
been assigned to through K Grace has been a perfect fit! If I were a parent
looking for a babysitter, I would not hesitate to call K Grace.
- Jami Garton
When going through the hiring process for K Grace, I was amazed at how
thorough it is. With two online applications, a group interview, an
individual interview, a background check, and quizzes, I have to admit that
I thought it was all a bit much. However, after having gone through it all,
I can't help but think, if I were a parent, I would want all my sitters to
have to go through the same process! It serves as K Grace's promise to
their families that they aren't willing to settle for anything but the best.
I would go through it all again in a heartbeat!
- Jenn Walton
I chose K Grace because it does what I feel are the hard parts--scheduling,
organizing, putting together important information, etc-- and lets me do all
the fun stuff! What more could a sitter ask for? I feel so supported by
the management; it was clear to me on the first interview (and very clear
after the third) that I was going to be part of a very, very capable team.
It was as if the staff at K Grace went to the produce section in the grocery
store and looked at EVERY SINGLE apple twice before deciding on the best twoor three. The questions I answered were carefully chosen, very conscientious, and each time I was asked back, my confidence in myself grew because I knew that K Grace thought I was special enough for a group of equally special kids.
- Leah Ellenbogen

(3) How can my family get to know the babysitters beforehand?

Let’s be honest – leaving your kid with someone that you don’t know very well can be stressful for everyone involved. K. Grace always wants to do whatever it can to make this introduction process go as smoothly as possible. When the new K. Grace website launches this spring, clients will receive emails from new sitters along with a photo so that your kids know who to expect when the door bell rings. K. Grace can also arrange “play dates” (with plenty of advance notice) so that your kids can spend some time with a new sitter before the first official babysitting date.

As with all areas of the K. Grace experience, the management encourages you to bring any questions or concerns to their attention. They want to do whatever they can to ensure a happy experience for you, your kids and your sitter.

(4) What can I expect when I work with a “team” of sitters?

For families who are accustomed to relying on only one or two regular babysitters, the idea of working with a “team of sitters” might be kind of intimidating. As I mentioned in last week’s post, K. Grace goes through great lengths to match your family with sitters that are right for you. They are taking into account all of the information in your detailed application – plus all of their knowledge about each individual sitter and making the best possible matches.

If you have a reoccurring needs (like every Tuesday afternoon), then you can pretty much expect to have the same sitter each week. If you have a one-time request, K. Grace checks with all of your previous sitters (according to how you have ranked them) before moving on to a new sitter. So as your “team” grows, the chances of having a new sitter decreases.

Plus, because K. Grace sitters follow certain protocols and procedures, you can expect a level of consistent quality from each and every sitter. As a client, I can tell you that my experience with K. Grace has encouraged me to think about my childcare needs on a more long-term basis. For example, K. Grace encourages clients to request their placements for a given month at one time whenever possible. This kind of advance notice allows for a great chance that the same sitter will be available to cover more of your family’s requests.

(5) How is this service different from just finding good babysitters on my own?

I have found that K. Grace not only saves me time finding sitters and then booking them for particular dates, but I’ve also realized that I could never do the type of thorough screening that they do on my own. I don’t have the time or resources for background checks, interviews and training sessions with every single potential sitter. I can’t really imagine myself asking each sitter for proof of their CPR certification. K. Grace does all of this for each and every client.

I’ve also come to really value the fact that I can always count on the K. Grace sitters (as opposed to running the risk that my own sitter might get sick or cancel). When K. Grace says that you will have sitter for a certain time and date, you can rest assured that a sitter will be there -- on time and ready to take excellent care of your kiddos.

Did we answer your question? If not, please feel free to email Kayme, the owner of K. Grace Childcare at info@kgracechildcare.com. Trust me, she will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have (she is super friendly and a parent of two herself).

Does this personalized and detail-oriented childcare service sound like something that might make be a helpful addition to your family life? Want to try it out? K. Grace is offering you the chance to win a $160 voucher towards placement services (which is fantastic -- because you will have the chance to use a few different K. Grace sitters and really get a feel for the experience over time). Note that, in order to provide the best level of service to their clients, certain geographic limitations apply and the winner is responsible for compensating the babysitter for her/his time).

There are two ways you can enter to win: (1) leave a comment on this post (be sure to include your contact information so we can reach you if you win! and (2) Become a fan of K. Grace childcare on Facebook. So 2 total entries per person. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Monday, February 28, 2011. We will contact all of the winners from all of the giveaways next week.

Disclosure: I am working with K. Grace to help spread the word about their services and I am being compensated for my time.


Julie said...

My experience with K Grace for "date nights" has been great. My boys (5 and 3) have given all their sitters rave reviews!

Rachel W said...

We hired K Grace to place a full time nanny in our home for our then 4 month old daughter. The process was very straight forward & personalized for our needs. Although it has only been 2 months, we couldn't be happier with nanny Nicole! She is so caring and has the natural instincts to improvise through the ever changing schedule of our daughters day!
K grace gave us peace of mind during a very difficult transition of mommy returning to work!!

Passport Family said...

I'm always on the lookout for good babysitters! Usually we count on a former student of mine, but as she gets older, her social life is obviously more vibrant than mine and it's hard to wrangle her in to sit the kids! I really need to find some sort of service - this sounds like a good fit and I'd love to try it out.

Megan Murray Elsener said...

I would love to find a good babysitter to make date nights more of a regular occurance!

Laura Kendall said...

We have been using K Grace for a couple of years now and love it. The online schedule is so easy and allows you to be flexible. We try to use the same sitters but if they aren't available they always assign someone that we really end up liking. I would highly recommend it.

Le, Elizabeth, Ryker and Lulu said...

My sister-in-law uses K. Grace and has loved all their sitters. I would definitely love to try it out.

Erika H. said...

KGrace is the best thing since sliced bread! I found out about them on accident and it has been the best accident ever! We have two main sitters that just are not available as much as we would like especially on weekends. I signed up with KGrace about a month ago and have been so happy with the quality of sitters that they produce. They are caring, professional, and unbelievable with my children. The process to become a KGrace sitter is impressive and makes me very comfortable with the people that are entering my home. To have the convenience of always being able to have a sitter sometimes even with only a couple hours notice is priceless to us. If you are looking for a nanny or just need occasional help, give KGrace a try. You will be so happy you did. They have made our lives a little easier and to that we are very grateful!

Sujatha said...

We have twins - nuff said! I'd love to try K Grace.

Meghan Murray said...

I would love to try K. Grace!

JLo said...

I love this idea, hope we can try it out sometime!