SitterCity & Scammers

Mr. Gig

Dec 6, 2018
I was just reading a bunch of reviews for Sittercity and at first I thought they were bogus complaints. But then I saw SitterCity responded to some of them and confirmed they were true.

Sittercity makes money in a bit of an unusual way. They make money off of the workers. Okay, I know all the gig companies make money off the workers, but they usually make it by taking a cut from any business they send the workers.

Sittercity on the other hand actually charges the workers a monthly fee - whether they get any work or not! As long as the workers are paying the monthly fees Sitter City is sittin' pretty! They have no incentive to care whether or not they actually send them legitimate work.

You'd think they'd send legitimate work anyway - just to keep the sitters happy so they'd keep paying the monthly fee. But apparently they don't care enough to screen the people who sign up to keep the scammers from getting through.

A lot of sitters here and here are bitterly complaining about what they're calling a scam. They say they have to pay anywhere from $98 to $150 a month just to respond to requests that come in from customers. If a sitter charges $15 an hour - she'll have to work nearly 7 hours just to break even! $98-$150 seems really high for workers who aren't making all that much to begin with. Imagine they get a 5-hour job and then they get no more business for that month. They're losing money. And how long will people who are losing money continue to be loyal to the company that's making them lose the money?

Sitters are complaining that they're being contacted by Nigerian scammers who send them rather large advance payment checks that if they deposit, will result in the scammers learning all their bank account information as well as bad check fees from their banks.

While charging the sitters is bad enough, they also charge the customers to contact a sitter. That at least sounds reasonable. But why do they charge the customers and the sitters? Don't most companies charge their customers and pay their workers!? It seems to make sense to get your revenue from real customers and to get your product from your workers who you pay - not charge. That's the way business used to work anyway.

Personally, I don't like the worker-pays-upfront model. SitterCity and Thumbtack both use this model. Both companies make workers pay BEFORE they know whether or not they'll get a job. And the weird thing is SitterCity is charge the workers three to five times more than they're charging the customers. Customers pay $30 a month.