What Is Care.com?

Learn everything before you try it, including how it works, how to get jobs, how to hire, costs, safety, whether it’s worth it, & more

By Corbin HartwickUpdated on July 14, 2024

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We all sometimes could use a little help. It can be tough juggling taking care of kids, pets, and relatives who are elderly or have other special needs – all while keeping a household running. This is especially true if we have to work, go to school, or do other things we have (or at least want) to do in life.

That’s why Care.com was created. It’s a job search website specifically designed to connect people looking for domestic help with local job-seekers who can provide it. Whether you are looking for care or looking to offer it to someone who needs it, we’ll give you a rundown of what Care is all about.

Did You Know

We have even more information in all of our guides to Care.com for how much it can cost, how to stay safe on it, how to use it as a careseeker or caregiver, and more – be sure to check out the full list!

What is Care.com?

Care is a platform for connecting people who require caregiving help with local caregivers who can provide it. It provides functions such as public job boards, direct bookings, caregiver profiles, an internal messaging system, and other resources to help hirings and jobs go smoothly.

Care caters to caregiving jobs in a number of broad categories. These include child care, pet care, housekeeping, senior care, tutoring, and special needs care. Some types of care may or may not be available, depending on the country where Care is available.

Important

Care has websites for over 15 countries worldwide, and they can differ in terms of their interface and functionality. We base our instructions on the US version of the website where possible. For additional information, consult the US Care.com Help Center.

Care works mainly like a classified ad website specifically for caregiving jobs. Careseekers can post jobs on a public job board, and caregivers can reach out if they’re interested. In some cases, careseekers can directly book caregivers, and caregivers can accept or decline these requests.

How does Care.com work for caregivers & those looking for work?

Care allows caregivers to create an account with essential information (postal code, email address, password), and then create profiles based on the primary type(s) of care they want to offer. Then they can apply to jobs on Care’s public job board, and receive direct requests from careseekers.

How does Care.com work for careseekers & those looking for help?

Careseekers on Care can create an account with their essential information (postal code, email address, and password) and then post jobs on Care’s public job board. If they have a premium subscription, they can also directly request to book specific caregivers for certain jobs.

How to use Care.com

You can use Care as a caregiver, a careseeker, or both (but you’ll need separate accounts).

As a caregiver, you must pass a background check before you can fully use your Care account. Once you do, you can create a profile for each main category of care you wish to advertise yourself as offering. You can then search for jobs on Care’s public job board and submit your profiles to them as applications. You will also sometimes receive direct booking requests for jobs.

As a careseeker, you can post jobs on Care’s public job board and see if any caregivers are interested in taking them. Or, if you have a premium careseeker account, you can request to directly book caregivers for jobs.

Public jobs are usually longer-term arrangements where careseekers and caregivers must work out the details on their own. This includes conducting interviews to select the right candidate and formalizing the terms of the job in a contract. Direct bookings, on the other hand, are usually short-term jobs needed on short notice. So Care automatically handles most of the details for them.

Important

Booking requests are not available in certain countries, and are not available for all categories of care.

How to get jobs on Care.com

We have a full guide on how to become a caregiver on Care.com, but here’s a basic rundown of how to apply for or accept jobs on Care:

  • Sign up for Care as a caregiver with a postal code, email address, and password.

  • Submit your full name, address, birth date, and social security number so Care can run mandatory background checks on you. You must also pass a background check, as well as input your credit card information in order to pay the annual fee for background checks that Care charges.

  • Create a profile for each different primary type of care you are offering.

  • Search for jobs posted on Care’s public job board, and submit a relevant profile to them.

  • Respond to direct requests for job bookings from careseekers.

  • If booked for a job, arrange the details of the job with the careseeker.

How to find help on Care.com

If you’re looking instead for how to hire someone on Care.com, we have a complete guide on that, too. However, for reference, here are the general steps:

  • Sign up for Care as a careseeker with a postal code, email address, and password.

  • Post a job for your desired primary care type on Care’s public job board.

  • If you have a premium careseeker account, book caregivers directly for short-term, short-notice jobs (only available in some countries and for some primary care types).

  • Review caregivers who apply for or accept your jobs, communicate with them, and decide which one(s) to (potentially) hire.

  • For longer-term jobs, interview candidates and work out the details of the care job with them.

How much does Care.com cost to use?

Care is essentially free to use for careseekers, but Caregivers have to pay an annual fee to cover mandatory background checks, which costs $10-20 / month depending on the subscription period. They also must pay a service fee when a careseeker directly books a job with them.

Both careseekers and caregivers can also buy premium membership subscriptions. Premium memberships give additional benefits to careseeker and caregiver accounts. For careseekers, the most prominent benefits are being able to book specific caregivers for short-term jobs directly through Care (though this also incurs a booking fee), as well as being able to review the results of caregivers’ background checks. These memberships cost $13-39 / month depending on the subscription period. Premium memberships also allow both careseekers and caregivers to communicate via Care’s secure internal messaging system.

For more information about the premium memberships and to evaluate whether they are worth it for you, see our complete guide on Care.com’s costs, memberships, and fees. You should also check out our guide on how to cancel a Care membership and delete your account, to understand some of the implications of having a paid membership.

How safe is Care.com to use?

Care has some safety features, such as requiring caregivers to pass a background check before they gain full functionality on their accounts. It also screens profiles, jobs, and internal messages. Furthermore, it has a safety center with helpful advice on how users can protect themselves.

Some interactions between careseekers and caregivers must (or at least can) take place outside of the Care platform. This is usually where safety issues arise. Scams commonly involve job postings or applications that:

  • Are “too good to be true” (low work, high pay jobs or high work, low pay applications)

  • Try to hire or apply “sight unseen”, or otherwise rush negotiations, due to unfortunate or extenuating circumstances

  • Offer or accept payment in advance , often to purchase items for the job and/or exchange for other financial instruments

  • Ask for personal information in advance, usually under the guise of requesting an extended background check

For more information on how to stay safe while using Care, and to get more details on the most common scams run through the website you need to watch out for, check out our thorough guide to staying safe on Care.com.

How to download the Care.com app

The Care app allows caregivers to manage their search for caregiving jobs while on the go. Some types of direct booking requests can only be viewed and responded to in the app. The app also lets you do other handy things, such as:

  • Draw custom catchment areas for your job searches

  • Write and share summaries of your Care job experiences

  • Request reviews of your caregiving work

Important

The Care app may not be available in all countries.

How to download Care.com on Android

If you’re currently viewing this guide on an Android device, you can download the Care.com app for Android here.

If you aren’t, you can open the camera app on your Android device, scan the QR code below, and open the link it provides to go directly to the Care app on the Google Play Store.

QR code to download the Android version of the Care.com app

(Image source: Care.com US Help Center)

How to download Care.com on iPhone / iOS

If you’re currently viewing this guide on an iPhone or iPad, you can download the Care.com app for iOS here.

If you aren’t, you can open the camera app on your iOS device, scan the QR code below, and open the link it provides to go directly to the Care app on the Apple App Store.

QR code to download the iOS version of the Care.com app

(Image source: Care.com US Help Center)

Is Care.com worth it?

Care is one of the biggest online job boards devoted specifically to caregiving jobs. It provides careseekers with access to trusted caregivers who are required to pass background checks. It also provides caregivers with a way to easily find caregiving jobs in their local area.

However, careseekers and caregivers still have to do most of the work, especially when arranging long-term care jobs. Care can smooth out the process by providing secure messaging, as well as direct booking of caregivers for jobs (which takes care of most of the details upfront). But these features require premium subscriptions for caregivers, careseekers, or both.

It can be difficult to assess whether it’s right for you or not, so be sure to check out our full review of Care.com, as well as our full list of guides to using Care.com.

Don’t just take our word for it, though – discover what Care can offer for yourself! Click here to go to Care.com to explore everything they have to offer now.