A New Way to Request a Caregiver

Requesting a Caregiver is Now Easier and More Transparent

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Poppy connects families to the best caregivers when they need them. Behind the scenes, it’s a complex process, involving schedules, preferences and qualifications.

We’re excited to share a new process that makes requesting a booking easier and more transparent. Now, when you click Request a Poppy, you’ll see a list of caregivers who are likely a good fit with your neighborhood, needs and preferences. Choose the best options for you, reorder, add details to share directly with your caregiver.

How it Works

1. Use Filters to Customize Your Request
Use the Date/Time, Kids, Address filters to add details for your request. You can also specify desired Tiers or favorite caregivers from the additional Filters tab.

2. Select Caregivers to Ask
See all the caregivers that are a fit for your parameters based on their inputted schedule. Select as many caregivers to ask as you’d like. TIP: adding more caregivers increases your chances of getting a confirmation, because schedules can change. 

3. Reorder Caregivers Based on Who You Want to Ask First
Before you send out the asks, you can change up the ask order – each caregiver will be given 30 minutes to respond before the next caregiver is sent the request.

4. Add Details for the Caregivers to See
If there are important notes to share you’ll be able to add those details so caregivers are able to see that when they review your request.

5. Check Status of Your Request in Your Account
The most real-time way to find out about the status of your request is in your Poppy Account. We’ll show the status of who has been asked, and will also show if the booking has been confirmed.

With this new process we hope you’ll be able to connect more easily and directly with the caregivers that work best for your family’s needs. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

Request a Caregiver

Get Your Poppy Payments Reimbursed Through Your Dependent Care FSA

Many employers offer Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (often referred to as a Dependent Care FSA) as a benefit. It’s a way to earmark pre-tax dollars, so you can put those funds toward childcare. For those of you who are taking advantage of this benefit, did you know that Poppy spending is often an eligible expense?

 

Poppy makes it super easy to download a history of your charges as a PDF, so you can submit it to your (likely pretty old-school) FSA provider.

 

  • Step 1: Log into your Poppy Account
  • Step 2: Go to the main menu and select “Bookings” 
  • Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of your bookings to “FULL YEAR BOOKING SUMMARY”
What’s a Dependent Care FSA?
Poppy is not the expert on this — we just focus on providing amazing childcare! Here’s what we do know: 
Every little bit helps when it comes to covering childcare, we’ve all felt that. There’s so much American companies and law makers could do to help lighten the load, but there actually is an existing U.S. benefit that can help a tad with caregiver expenses…. and it is shockingly undersold and under-utilized.

 

About 70% of companies offer this benefit, but only a tiny fraction of employees sign up, and even among those signed up, a lot of people don’t submit the claims to get that money back.

 

Many employers offer “Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts” (often referred to as a Dependent Care FSA) as a benefit. It’s a way to earmark pre-tax dollars, so you can put those funds toward childcare. If you’re familiar with Health FSAs then you probably can make some guesses on how this works, but because there are many options for childcare, it’s currently a very manual, pretty annoying process. 

The catch is that super-busy parents, and you forget to submit those claims by the deadline… the money goes away. Poof. (You do typically have a grace period after the end of the year).

Many companies are actually now in Open Enrollment Season, so it’s a good idea ask whoever manages benefits if they offer a Dependent Care FSA and how you might enroll for it. If your company needs some education on the Dependent Care FSA, two companies we know of that offer managed programs are Gusto and Kinside.

 

P.S. Poppy also often partners with Seattle companies to offer Poppy as a benefit to their employees, so feel free to put them in touch with us at hello@meetpoppy.com

The more the merrier – check out Poppy Share and Group care options!

Dinner party? Double date night? Nanny share? We love it when Poppy can help care for the kiddos when multiple families come together. Many Poppy families have already been doing this informally, and we’ve worked with our caregivers to formalize 2 offerings that we hope you’ll take advantage of.

Poppy Share:
Bookings that have children from more than one family will be considered a Poppy Share.

The base rates will stay according to regular tiers – High school, Sitter or Pro but to appropriately compensate caregivers for the extra responsibilities of working with multiple families, there will be +$2/hr for children 4 years and up. If there are any children under 4 years old, that will be +$4/hr (the main rationale simply tied to the complexity of care for younger kids from feeding to potty to play).

This includes all of the following situations:

  • Full day booking shared with another family (eg. nannyshare)
  • An evening booking with friends from out of town
  • Playdate where a neighbor’s child comes over for a couple of hours (only those specific hours would have that rate)

When requesting a Poppy, please indicate in the notes that there will be additional children from another family so that we can update the rates and send the other family information to provide consent. The usual maximum # kids still apply – 5 kids at the Pro level and 4 kids at the Sitter level, 3 at the High School.


Group Care (or Event Care):
Situations where adults will be on-hand/ on-site but need Poppies to entertain and engage kids will be considered Group Care at a flat rate of $30/hr. The maximum ratio will be 1:6 ratio of Poppies: children (unless there are infants/ toddlers in which case the maximum will be 1:4 children).

Timage of Poppy request with option to skip this step and send your open request to PoppyHQhis is for instances like birthday/dinner parties, PTA meetings or church nursery care. To request Group Care, make the request for the time needed and send the request to PoppyHQ (instead of asking specific Poppies). Indicate in the notes the details of how many and rough ages of the children that are expected to be there. Then based on the expected number of children, we’ll help with finding the right number of Poppies, who will all be $30/hr.

For example, a birthday party with 12 kids would have 2 Poppies. A PTA meeting expecting 15 kids would have 3 Poppies and will be based on the expected number of children (vs. the number that end up being there).


We talked directly with parents and Poppies to structure these two offerings to ensure safety and quality of experience. Kiddos always come first. If you have any questions, please reach out and ask. We’re happy to chat it out with you.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and dialogue as we work to build the modern village that supports our families.

Yours in community,
avni
founder | ceo

Policy changes: paying for time booked and cancelations within 2 hours

Poppy is committed to creating a community that works for both families and caregivers alike.

This is no simple task given the different needs of both sides. But in every case, we work to assess what the right solution or policy is based on what is the best for the overall community to operate in a safe, respectful and sustainable way.

As we have grown and evolved, we’ve encountered situations that need updates on how we handle them. One such situation is making sure these highly qualified caregivers feel that providing care is a viable and sustainable job opportunity and that their time is valued based on the time they commit.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve found two areas that don’t adequately address this:

  • Parents currently pay only for the time used, not for the full time they booked a caregiver.
    • One of the reasons Poppy caregivers are so wonderful is because they treat these jobs as professionals. They arrange their schedules and commit to the time of the bookings while calculating the expected earnings towards what they need to earn. When parents return home early, there is significant disruption to their schedules and expected pay.
  • Cancellations within 2 hours. In the same vein, when parents cancel within 2 hours of the booking start time, there is a significant impact on the caregiver’s schedule and earnings.

Our mission is to create an environment where wonderfully experienced people want to and can help parents out in times of need. To do that, we need to advocate for policies that make it worth doing for them.

To address these two concerns, we will be making two policy changes that will go into effect June 18, 2018.

  1. Bookings will be charged based on the time booked. As parents, we get that it’s hard to estimate time needs but we ask that you make as accurate an assessment as possible so that caregivers can accept based on what the expected time will be. We also know that plans change so if you do need to request time changes, please do so with as much advance notice as possible. Once the booking starts, your card will be charged for the time booked (with a 15min grace period if necessary – eg. if you come home 30 minutes early, you’ll be charged only for an extra 15 minutes). Overall, we ask that you think about the caregiver’s time as you would any other professional – both in returning early or asking to extend time.

    If you need to extend time beyond the requested end time, please reach out to the caregiver with as much notice as possible to make sure they’re okay with extending. If it’s fine with them, then you will be charged for the time used, including the extended time.

  2. Cancelations within 2 hours will be charged 50% of booking or $30 (whichever is greater). Again, we are sympathetic to the fact that last minute things come up and plans change but when a caregiver has planned on a full day of work that is canceled last minute, it isn’t just a matter of filling the time with something else – it’s a very disruptive experience on one’s day. The regular late cancel fee of $30 for canceling within 24 hours will remain in place.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and dialogue as we work to build the modern village that supports our families.

Introducing Poppy Sitter!

Childcare professionals can come in many shapes and sizes. They are particularly varied when it comes to their experience. Some have nannied for 8 years while others were camp counselors. Some have graduate degrees related to children and others just informal know-how.

At Poppy we pride ourselves in working to understand each caregiver’s experience, qualifications, and strengths. For the past couple years as we developed that expertise, we chose to work with the most experienced caregivers.

That has meant not only highly experienced caregivers that can deal with the most complex of situations but higher rates to fairly compensate these professionals.

We are committed to finding different options that work for families’ many different needs. Which is why we are introducing a new Poppy Sitter tier, to supplement the existing tier, which will now be called Poppy Pro.

What’s the difference?

Poppy Sitters are vetted the same rigorous way we vet all caregivers, but their childcare experience has been in more informal settings like occasional babysitting for a handful of families. Their experience tends to match well with caring for kiddos 2 years and up.

Poppy Sitters are $17/hr for one child, $18/hr for two kids and $19/hr for 3 kids.
Our original tier will now be called Poppy Pros and these will continue to be those caregivers that have extensive experience in more formal childcare roles (i.e full-time nanny or working in a professional setting) and they’re able to work with a more diverse range of ages and needs. Poppy Pros start at $20/hr and include Infant Specialists that start at $24/hr.

Meet a couple of our Poppy Sitters!

Are Poppy Sitters a good fit for my family?

Every family is different so we suggest asking these questions and assessing what Tier is the best for my needs.
  • Are my kids over 2 years old? Generally Poppy Sitters have experience with kids over 2 years old, so if you have younger kids or are looking for someone experienced with diapers, naps etc, Poppy Sitter won’t be a fit for you.
  • Do we have simple routines and needs? Things like consistent bedtimes, simple meals and no discipline concerns? Then consider a Poppy Sitter. Otherwise having a Poppy Pro will help put you at ease if there are tricky bedtimes or special needs involved.
  • Do I want more of a responsible playmate than a professional that should be an authority figure? Poppy Sitters are typically younger college students less experienced in different discipline philosophies while Poppy Pros have some type of professional experience whether it’s as a nanny, teacher, therapist etc.
  • Do you need caregivers that have experience with specific skillsets (eg. Infants or special needs)? If so, Poppy Pros will be a better fit.


How do I request a Poppy Sitter?

Now, when you submit a request, you’ll be able to select which tiers you’d like us to match you with. If you’re flexible, choose both. (Just a note that as we get up and going, the availability of Poppy Sitters will be more limited than Poppy Pros but we’ll let you know and ask if you’re okay with getting a Pro instead.)

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Poppy Sitters are a wonderful addition to the Poppy family. Caregivers that bring a great energy and passion for childcare and who are perfect for many of the families in our community.

Feel free to text us if you have any questions or if you wonder if a Poppy Sitter will be a good fit for your family.

Or, try it out and request a Poppy Sitter now: Request a Poppy

As always, we’re committed to building the modern village with the options that work best for today’s families. 

PS Anytime we mention Sitter it’ll mean the Poppy Sitter tier. Our general term will always be Poppies” or caregivers”.

Add a quick link to Poppy on your iPhone

We know that one of the best parts about Poppy is how easy it is to request a caregiver – whether it’s logging into your account at meetpoppy.com, texting @request to the line or just texting us the date and time you need. But we’re always looking for ways to make things easier for you so we wanted to share a little trick that could make requesting a Poppy even faster. Here’s how you can add an icon to your home screen that will take you directly into your Poppy account.

1. Log into your account using Safari on your iPhone

There are a couple ways to do this. You could navigate to meetpoppy.com/account on Safari and if you’re already logged in it will take you straight into your account. If you’re not logged in, log in on the page you see. You can also text @request or @login to the line and we’ll send you a link right into your account.

2. Go to the Request a Poppy page

You can add a shortcut to any of the pages on Poppy but we think the Request a Poppy page is the most useful. In your account tap the menu icon at the top right and choose Request a Poppy (you might already be on this page if you texted @request).

3. Add the page to your Home Screen

Once on the Request a Poppy page tap the Share icon at the bottom center of your screen. You’ll see a share menu popup from the bottom, on this screen tap the Add to Home Screen button on the bottom right.

Next you’ll see a page to name the icon, we called ours “Poppy” – then just tap Add. Voila! An icon that looks just like an app will be on your home screen.

4. Log into your account one last time.

The last step is to tap the new Poppy icon and log into your account once more with your email and password. You only need to do this the first time you use the shortcut, it will remember your login information for the future. Once you log in just tap the menu button at the top right and choose Request a Poppy. That’s it, you’re all set to use the button next time you’d like to Request a Poppy.

Android and Windows phone users – you can also add shortcuts to web pages. Follow steps 1 & 2 then find the share or menu option on your browser and look for the option that says Add to Home Screen (or something similar).

2016: the moments that stood out

Year in reviews – such tidy little wrap-ups to the year. They have been at everywhere over the past week, covering every highlight of 2016 imaginable. When I look back on year, I am thankful that we have our share of those. Going through Y Combinator, which led into closing our seed round of funding, which enabled us to build out our team and move into our very own office space. And we ended the year with the recognition as one of this year’s Seattle 10.

But for me 2016 was more about the little moments. The things that happened in the “between”. I’ve always found those to be most worthy of reflection and review.

So these are my top 5 moments of that so fully captured the year.

  1. PoppyHQ family holiday.
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    Last year there were only 3 of us and not a lot of money to spare, even for the little celebrations. So we didn’t have a holiday “party” or anything close. We were just gearing up for intensity of YC and the holidays were spent getting ready. But I promised myself that next year we would not only do something but that we’d include our families.

    The thing that often gets overlooked is how much our families sacrifice for us who choose to work on something as intense as a startup. And it’s not just the hours. It’s bringing work into every part of our lives – from weekend hikes to soccer practices. It’s telling our husbands to take the kids during Sunday brunch so we can help a caregiver that’s woken up sick but has a booking later in the day.

    I took this photo when it hit me that we were actually able to do it – to get our families together for a weekend of fun and rest. That we had not only doubled the team, but that we were now in a place that we could say thank you and celebrate a great year properly.

    2. “This is where Mama works.”
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    I feel like every day is “take-my-kids-to-work” day because in this business, I’m always wearing my “mama” hat. And when I work from home, my girls are in and out of my home office. But I rarely bring them into our PoppyHQ offices and this moment captures the first time I did.

    It was a Saturday and we had just finished one of our caregiver meet-ups. The girls were more interested in the screens and pens on the desks than anything else. But it was a big moment for me.

    Because 2016 was a tough year to reflect on from a “work-life balance” perspective.

    I was in Mountain View for my first-born’s 4th birthday (something she still likes to remind me). Our nanny has watched and dutifully recorded many a “recital” and class activity. My parents have stepped in to rescue us on countless occasions.

    I sometimes wake up at 3am panicked that, in the quest for making other families moments easier, I’m missing out on all of their little moments.

    Anyone who asks me about the topic knows that I don’t believe in the balance but in choosing to do one thing well and just alternating what that thing is so the overall appearance is “balance”. I am the last person to give any advice on the this because it’s a daily struggle to be startup founder fighting for the life of her company every day while also being the mama and wife I want to be to my girls and husband and the friend that I know that I’m not to all my friends.

    But to have my girls just be in that space, to have them be in the place that takes me away from them for so many hours, that was a biggie for me. It’s important to me that they understand the work that I do. That it’s important that I do it. That they know I am good at it and I’m proud of it.

3. Partner in crime.

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The first job of a CEO is to build the team. I’ve learned that many times over but it was the most true when it was just me and I needed to find the right cofounder. Yes someone that had the engineering skills to build the product that I know Poppy could and will be. But more than that, a complement to me and how I see the world. Someone who shares the vision and the passion but brings their own talent and flair to the table. Miraculously I found that in my cofounder, Richerd. No more than acquaintances when we mutually decided to give this a go, we’ve been though quite the journey in the past 15 months.

This photo was taken at the Adele concert – tickets he generously treated me to, to celebrate our one year mark. It had been a particularly hard day and I hadn’t felt really like celebrating or even being out. But Richerd’s unending optimism and generosity (and let’s face it, Adele) were a surefire solve to any bad day. This moment captures my gratitude in finding someone that was willing to take a chance on me and my dream and make it something we could build together.

4. The first annual Poppies.

Working with kids is incredibly difficult but wonderfully rewarding. I know this just as a parent but also now as someone that looks for those that have the talent and the experience to be a caregiver. Our Poppies (as they refer to themselves) are a crazy diverse bunch. Nannies and therapists and teachers and camp counselors and swim coaches and dance instructors, these women and men epitomize the special group of people that were meant to be engaging with our kids. I have been so blown away by the talents of each, and it gives me renewed focus to make sure they’re being treated well and fairly in their every interaction.

This picture was taken at our first annual “Poppies”. It was an award brunch we put on for our caregivers to recognize and thank them for their service and dedication. This event was one of my personal favorites of the whole year because it went so far beyond my wildest expectations. You can’t imagine the amount of energy that can be held in one room when all of these young (and young at heart) people get together to just connect and celebrate. We gave out smaller recognitions of gratitude to each Poppy and also bigger awards for those that exemplified our core Poppy values. The whole morning proved again to me what is good when you invest in the people that invest in your kids.

5. Home sweet home.
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I love our offices. It sounds silly because there is nothing really special about them (except for our awesome Poppy teal wall) and I can’t explain it. When I stand behind my desk (yup – we splurged on those IKEA standing desks, all $200), in that corner of the office, looking out on Mt. Rainier on a clear day, all I can feel is hope and optimism.

Because after a year of working out of my home and cafes and co-working spaces, we finally had a space to call our own. We finally had worked hard enough and grown big enough to justify it. 

It’s a reminder to me in the most tangible of terms of what hard work and persistence can get you. This is the space that most of the mundane but vitally important work is done. Where our whole team toils in a multitude of little moments that allow us to have the big moments.

So I want to always remember what this view means.

Bonus: The people. Always the people.

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I love this picture so much. Because these are the crazy people who have chosen to be on this wild journey with me. They are talented and dedicated and wicked funny (all in their unique ways). They are family to me. It ain’t pretty every day, but we push each other to do things that none of us thought were possible. This picture says it all for me.

There they are. Five (plus one!) moments that captured the essence of the whole year. Not particularly pretty or significant in their own right. But they tell the story of Poppy for 2016.

Now as we look forward to 2017 I hope for more of the same: Focus and persistence and tenacity. Daring greatly. Pride in the small wins. Humility. Trying, always trying.

And the chance to have one more day to change the world a bit more.