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Planning an On-demand App for Childcare: Trends, Must-have Features, Tech Choice, Costs

Mobile development caused a real hype in creating a total randomness of app categories. From communications, social media and just-for-fun apps to the ones which refer to business, healthcare and lifestyle.

There’s a specific app class, the one we would like to debate on a bit more broadly.

Babysitting apps. Trends and everything to know about

Do you have kids? If so, then you’re obviously familiar with this scenario: 'I'm going to need a babysitter today to stay with my child while I'm out for business.' We’ve got a question then: how you managed to find a proper person to stay with your kid?

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Apps for parents, babysitting apps, and childcare apps mostly refer to theFamily/Parenting categories and don’t show much popularity over app markets (at least, in Google Play).

baby-sitter-app-stats

Source: "Market reach of the most popular Android app categories worldwide as of March 2017" by Statista.com.

Another statistic by AppBrain displays that there are 181 (7%) apps with >50k downloads (Google Play) as of 2017

parenting-apps-stats

Generally, we consider 3 reasons of childcare apps low-to-medium distribution:

  • A. Such apps are at their very ‘dawn’ only

  • B. Lack of the necessary functionality and inconvenient UX

  • C. Trust. People trust their friends and family more than the strangers represented in the app

Another research conducted in 2013 among 2,500 parents across the U.S. states that nearly 58% of parents use gadgets for babysitting, while 15% say they have never babysat their kids this way and 27% answered that they would want to use tech to watch their children.

Next, we will consider developing and marketing strategies for both parenting apps for Android and parenting apps for iPhone.

How can apps for babysitting and childcare be of help?

If you have already used a similar app, you probably know how things are arranged there.

For parents:

  • Comfortable way to find and choose a trusted nanny from the ‘nannies marketplace’ to spend time with your kid(s) while you’re not home

  • Ability to perform remote payments (pay your babysitter from ‘inside’ the app)

  • See the recommendations of other parents who have used such app

For babysitters:

  • Ability to get enlisted in the app, receive reviews, add skills and get offers based on the profile info

  • Flexible working schedule

  • Communication with parents to know who is hiring you

Are there any popular daycare apps to pay attention to?

UrbanSitter. Short overview

UrbanSitter was founded in 2010. It is active in 30 American states. The app allows a parent to find a babysitter in the home area, browse their profile and chat with a nanny. There’s also Facebook integration present to build a personal network and see the reviews of nannies from your friends. In their turn, a babysitter can browse and apply for jobs with ease, get reviews, communicate with parents, build their own flexible timetable and improve their profile (like adding certificates) to get more visibility. If we talk about security, both babysitters and parents are obliged to provide their profile credentials, like adding a video or identity verification. You can sign in and use the service for free, but there are in-app purchases available. There are two pricing plans, for sitters and parents.

Sitters can either sign up and manage their free account or upgrade to the premium account to create an advanced profile:

urbansitter-app-babysitter-app

There are 3 paid options available for parents:

urbansitter-app-babysitter-app

The app has an overall rate of 4.1 and has been reviewed by 486 users.

urbansitter-app-babysitter-app-g-play urbansitter-app-nannies-app-g-play urbansitter-app-daycare-app-g-play urbansitter-app-childcare-app-g-play

Quick note: Take a look at other babysitting apps. Have you noticed that apps of such kind are mostly targeted to provide services in specific countries only? Why not to make an international app then?

JSSolutions team has experience with childcare apps too. Recently we’ve developed an app called Wibl. (You can also check it on Google Play).

Wibl is slightly different from typical babysitter apps since instead of finding sitters or nannies, you can book someone from your friends or family (people you trust the most) for childcare.

How does the app work?

You can add your friends/family to the app. Then, whenever you’ve got a night out, you can fetch a child care request among your friends and browse who has agreed to sit with your kid. Or vice versa, you can take the role of a babysitter for your friends. The working principle is the same. You look who among your friends has requested the childcare and either accept the request or miss it.

Using this app, you can invite and chat with your friends, browse a calendar and see your and your friends’ childcare requests dynamics.

wibl-childcare-app wibl-childcare-app wibl-childcare-app wibl-childcare-app

Let’s create and get a better nannies app

Remember we mentioned 3 reasons (such apps are at their very start line only, inconvenient UX and the trust issue) on why people don’t exploit parenting apps much? Here we will try to give some ideas for the development strategy which is aimed to overcome the mentioned issues. Let’s discuss how the download rates of daycare apps can get higher.

Why is there so much fuss over Uber-like apps? Uber-like babysitter app development

People are impatient. We want everything right away. After the emergence of Uber app, everyone just went crazy looking for and developing similar in features technologies. On-demand apps, if to be exact. Babysitting apps and apps for childcare perfectly fit into the category. Why? Sometimes even you don’t know how plans can turn and twist. And in the very moment of need, here comes an on-demand app that allows you indicate your location, browse the babysitter’s profile + pricing and hire a nanny near you instantly. Comfortably, isn’t it? This is why Uber-like apps continue to win users’ hearts. It’s important to remember about User Experience though; the app should be convenient in use and represent the most necessary features in the way users could understand what to do. When trying to build the project meant for childcare, we recommend bearing in mind the concept of a real-time app.

Trust and safety thing

childcare-apps-security

Seal is not an option. You need real security guarantees, right? :)

To ensure that your kid is in safe hands or that you can trust people who have hired you as a babysitter, such apps should include proper trust and safety functionality.

What security measures can you implement?

  • Phone and mail verification as a minimum;

  • Add functionality that triggers the emergency call with a single button press;

  • Enable video/voice recording or other tracking options (like map tracking);

  • Social media integration, to connect with your friends or family with no efforts;

  • Make some fields in the profile obligatory to fill out (home address, phone number, email, social media profiles, certifications, schools and experience, personal short video placed on the profile page, etc.);

  • Safe payment methods and integration with your credit card are a separate broad topic. Recently we’ve published the article on developing a personal finance app, where we have included a portion of profound security measures universal for almost all apps which require finance-related options to implement.

To wrap this part nicely, take a look at this infographic by American Red Cross Organization:

security-infographic-babysitter-app

Source: American Red Cross Organization

What features does a typical nannies app have to include and what app technology to choose?

If you ask us what app technology to opt to create an app like Uber, our advice is whatever you like. In fact, tech choice depends on your needs. Take, for example, that Wibl app we’ve mentioned already. Our technology stack included Cordova in combination with Meteor and MongoDB. It’s no problem, though, if you decide to create a childcare app using, for example, React Native (Why React Native? Seems like this tech is becoming trendier with every day thanks to its outstanding features) or any other technology that you think will suit your product the most.

Let’s shortly summarize how perfect babysitting and parenting apps should look like. If your intention is to build a babysitter app like Uber, pay attention to the following features to include:

  • Integration with Social Media, sharing included.; This option assists well when the plan is to: a) develop the proper authentication system; b) find your connections/friends to see their informative reviews and common interests. You can use here two React Native modules, one for authorization, another for social media sharing.

  • Skills and certification options for babysitters;

To get a better visibility, enable babysitters to display their proficiency level (offer a list of competencies to fill in and an option to add taken certification tests);

  • Trust and safety verification

Include here email/phone verification/ necessary profile data to enter and reviews system to know who you are dealing with;

  • Booking option functionality

Manage the time you want to arrange the meeting, no matter if you’re a parent or a babysitter. This will add flexibility feature to your app; include a calendar along with a clock, so that both parents and babysitters could see the date and time and adjust to it.

  • Chat room and communication features

Messaging option will help to establish a better communication process between parents and babysitters when there’s no opportunity to talk over the phone. You can also think about adding other communication options, like enabled video chat. Give a try to Gifted Chat, React Native-based chat module.

  • Payment methods

Introduce such options as credit card connection and implement the feature(s) like ‘pay with one click’ (after you’ve entered all the credentials needed) or something similar.

  • Babysitter based on reviews

Include an AI feature which would fetch you the list of babysitters based on reviews and your shared connections;

  • Ability to get advanced features by upgrading the account

Add extended functionality right after a user upgrades their account (like representing the list of more experienced babysitters, video chat option or time-tracker, or embedded video in profile;).

  • Location targeting and personalized recommendations

Another AI perk. You write the needs in your profile, the app automatically collects the data and introduces you possible offers. Using React Native, you can implement this feature with the help of Geolocation API and reading React Native documentation. (Also, you might want to read informative Medium blog post on how to deal with RN Geolocation by Spencer Carli).

  • Real-time monitoring (a ‘nanny near you’ feature)

The ‘sandwich’ made of identifying the location and real-time map monitoring will make your app a real hype. As of this feature, you can use something from React Native Firebase module.

  • Intuitive UX

Take a look at Uber app. There are: map, several buttons only which do all the job and the menu. The rest is on you - wait for the car, begin the trip and pay for it. For now, we consider Uber example as the most fitting UX design concept for on-demand apps:

uber-ux-babysitter-article uber-ux-2-babysitter-article uber-ux-babysitter-article-3 uber-ux-babysitter-article-4

Timeline and how much do the best apps for babysitters and parents cost?

When considering a price sheet, include the following stages of app building:

Development. We think that a 3 months-period should be enough for this stage.

The price list is different and may vary depending on your needs and features you want your app to bear. Let us in short break down the development prices by countries.

  • If we consider the USA, the average price here ranges from 150$-250$/hr.

  • European developers usually charge approximately 70$/hr.

  • As of Eastern Europe, the average development price number is 35$-40$/hr.

  • Asian average app development prices vary from 25-30$.

Design. To make your app look A-class and outstanding, give it 3-4 weeks;

Here is a price list for design services

  • $50-250/hour and up – The United States

  • $35-170/hour – Western Europe+UK

  • $25-150/hour – Eastern Europe

  • $10-80/hour – Asia

Marketing and advertising. This part might be continuously repeatable, the same as the innovations in technology. To show users how your project is different from the rest, give a 6-8th-month try for the effective marketing campaign to expose the project to the public and then boost it over the targeted market and audience.

Take a look at the promotion costs for an app to make it to the top 25 across the world:

fiksu-app-how-much-to-market-your-app-research-on-demand-app-for-childcare

Source: Fiksu

Once again, prices of these 3 stages of app creation process strongly depend on what kind of product you’re planning to develop.

You might want to check this out: here’s a fancy calculator to know the price of your future app: How Much to Make an App.

How to gain revenue from apps?

Ever wondered how to earn money on apps, especially on the free ones? Here are several tips to bear in mind.

- Enable in-app advertising. One of the greatest advantages in-app ads have is the customers’ effortless geolocation targeting. It helps analysts and marketers to access and digest such important data as the current apps trends in this or that country. For this, you can use tools, like Google’s AdMob or search for any other alternatives.

- In-app purchases (like accounts upgrading, buying additional premium features, subscriptions, etc.); our advice is to include a freemium model which means that some of your app’s features are free, but others, more advanced ones are paid by means of account upgrading or purchasing a certain feature or the collection of features.

How to estimate the pricing for the app?

Determine the pricing strategy for your app using such guidelines, as:

  • What amount of self-repayment are you expecting?

  • What is the demand rate for your app on the market? How badly does the target audience need the product?

  • How is your app valuable and how is it different from the rest? What are the most valuable features people are ready to pay for?

  • Conduct a short comparative analysis between your competitors’ services costs and features and your app’s pricing and functionality aspects.

App marketing strategy

Take a look at this incredibly detailed mobile growth stack table by Andy Carvell which displays the ways and ideas on how to market your app effectively. Don’t forget to include some (or all, which would be ‘perfectly perfect’) of these:

mobile-growth-stack-2017-babysitter-app

Marketing is not about just sharing over social media, right? Investigate each stage of marketing activity introduced in the table we represent here. Invest in the most fruitful spectrum of activities and get the desirable result.

The finish line

Project planning and its further strategy concept do not always come as planned. If you’re in the process of creating a babysitter app like Uber, here we’ve tried to include not-to-forget things to make the complete development process clearer. We hope that this article will serve you as a small cheat sheet on your way to the successful daycare app for parents and babysitters.

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