Manage the School Year Easily with College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors

Two years ago, shortly after Jay and Christy Cottrell had their son, they struggled to find reliable childcare. Both worked full-time in the tri-cities area, but Jay’s flexibility as a real estate agent meant he was often his son’s primary caregiver. While it was a responsibility he enjoyed, making it to client appointments on time —or at all—soon became an issue. Without extended family members nearby and local daycares already full with waiting lists to boot, the Cottrells quickly identified a gap in the community.

“The struggle was real to us,” he says. “We came across this franchise, and I was in. I wished it was already in the area, and I figured I wasn’t alone. We purchased three territories: the Tri-Cities, Asheville and West Knoxville.”

Joseph Keeley, a business school student and entreprenuer, started College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors in 2000. Throughout college, he worked as a part-time caregiver for a family in Edina, Minnesota. Far more than keeping children healthy and safe until their parents came home, Joseph saw the need to create a service that provided role models to children, sitters who could help with school work and be a positive influence. The idea hatched into an award-winning business with franchises in nearly 30 states.

For the Cottrells, the company’s hiring process and philosophy was a huge sell.

“All nannies, sitters, and tutors are W-2 employees,” Jay says. “We do background checks, a rigorous interview process and check references. If they line up with who we’re looking for, they sit through initial training, which is several hours. We do ongoing training and education, more if they are lacking in skills that need improvement. We really value our hiring process and make sure they align with our core values.”

Those values—Can Do, Results Matter and Leave It Better—mean every nanny, sitter or tutor has the same goals.

“Can do means we make it work with a positive attitude. Results matter means improving the family’s life, test scores or grades. We focus on the end goal, whatever it is,” he says. “Leave it better means leaving the house, the family and the kids in a better situation than when they started with us. We want people who will be role models. We take seriously the privilege of caring for children.”

All nannies and sitters are CPR and First Aid certified. If they don’t already come with those certifications, they have 30 days to obtain them. Part of the initial training incorporates safety and keeping the environment hazard-free. While most nanny care and sitting is for kids birth to 4 years old, services are available to those 13 years old and younger.

“We have nanny placement fees, but they’re not nearly as expensive as other firms that have search fees. The good news is that they’re our employees, so we take care of payroll, liability insurance and taxes. That means the family doesn’t have to,” Jay says.

The enrollment process for families to hire a sitter is primarily centered around matching personalities and interests. Parents go to the website and fill out what they need, and they’ll receive a phone call to discuss potential services. A meeting is set up to discuss the program further, and the Role Model Match application does the rest. Once the relationship is established, securing a sitter couldn’t be easier.

When it comes to K-12 tutoring, parents can be confident that their child’s needs will be addressed effectively and in cooperation with what’s being taught at school.

“We provide some curriculum, but it’s all one-on-one and individualized,” he says. “We work with teachers and parents to find out what the target is and what we need to focus on. Everything is based on their textbooks and what they’re learning. These aren’t group sessions.”

With school starting this month, schedules are bound to get busy. Reliable childcare is a must, and the folks at College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors want to make the daily grind a little easier for West Knoxville families.

“We all know that family and friends aren’t always available or the best idea, or we wear them out and they need a break. When you sign up for our sitter service, you have access to a pool of sitters who’ll give you the same experience and are trained the same. You know your kids are safe,” he says. “No matter who you book, you’ll have a great experience.”