Juggling child care needs?

Sitter-ASAP aims to tackle the child care shortage

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Marissa Geopfert, owner of Sitter-ASAP, tosses a plastic toy football into the air in The Messenger studio. Geopfert’s business staffs babysitters and nannies to help families struggling to find day care. Sometimes, it’s a juggling act.

Parents who need to get to work, but can’t find a babysitter or just want a date night away from their children, have another option for child care in the Fort Dodge area.

Through Sitter-ASAP, a nanny staffing agency, parents can call the company and be placed with a babysitter immediately, according to Marissa Geopfert, owner of Sitter-ASAP.

“We staff nannies and babysitters for working parents in the comfort of their own home, which we find is very important for the child,” Geopfert said. “We take care of all the legwork that goes with finding quality child care.”

She added, “We have an extensive background check and interview process where we verify identification, run motor vehicle records, and require drug tests.”

Geopfert, a Fort Dodge native, thought of the idea for Sitter-ASAP in October 2018 after she struggled to find child care for herself.

Sitter-ASAP opened officially in April.

“I basically started this company after seeing how stressful it is to find reliable child care around the Fort Dodge area and how short we are on day care availability,” she said. “I am also a mother of three and I come across wanting to go out on a date or if my husband and I work long shifts.”

She’s not alone.

In Webster County, 81 percent of the population is working parents who have children under 6. That’s according to information from Child Care Resource and Referral.

“There’s a huge shortage on child care right now, so I wanted to bring something to the area to help that need,” Geopfert said. “The day cares around here are often full.”

According to Elizabeth Stanek, executive director of Linking Families and Communities, as of July 2018, there was a need for about 2,000 child spaces in Webster County.

Geopfert said her service aims to close that gap.

In addition to Fort Dodge, Sitter-ASAP serves Webster City, Ames and Des Moines.

Geopfert said five nannies from her company are working in Fort Dodge. Ten babysitters are working in the city.

She plans to expand the company’s coverage area to include other communities in the coming months.

Sitter-ASAP will provide a babysitter for short-term needs or a nanny for longer-term needs.

“So when you call you either want a nanny for long-term or a babysitter for short-term,” Geopfert said.

In the past, Geopfert has served as a nanny to military families while she lived in Texas. She was a babysitter at the age of 12, she said.

The company has a pool of 75 nannies available in Fort Dodge.

“Anytime you can call me and I send you a babysitter,” Geopfert said. “You still pay that hourly rate for the babysitter, but you have everything as far as background checks and you don’t have to waste your time looking, you just call and one is sent to you.”

In terms of cost, Geopfert said there is a membership fee of $200, which gives the client services for one year.

That client still pays an hourly rate, she said. Those rates can vary based on which service is used.

For nanny services, the rate is negotiated between the nanny and the client.

For a temporary babysitter, the hourly rate ranges from $7.25 to $10, depending on experience, Geopfert said.

The needs of clients varies, she said.

For example, she said one client is a mother working two jobs.

Geopfert hopes her service will help bring peace of mind to parents.

“Helping people get to work and know that they are going to be OK,” she said. “That’s a tough thing to deal with to call in to work when you don’t have a babysitter. And you can eventually be fired for it. So helping to prevent that makes me happy.”

To contact Sitter-ASAP, call or text 515-227-0514 or send a message to Sitter-ASAP on Facebook.

5 questions for the owner

Favorite movie? “Gone In 60 Seconds”

Last song or artist you listened to? Kehlani

A place you want to visit? Paris

Dream dinner guest? Barack Obama

Favorite food? Mashed potatoes

COMMENTS