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Virtual babysitting and contactless home repairs -- the business trend brought on by COVID

Posted at 7:55 AM, Oct 23, 2020

The virtual way of doing business is something many of us are becoming familiar with and for some companies, this online shift has given their bottom lines a nice boost.

Fixer.com is one of them. It's a virtual contactless home repair service.

"We found that most people with a screwdriver and a coach can fix just about anything in their home," said Mike Evans, CEO of Fixer.com.

Evans explains, you text F-I-X-E-R, and over the video, a skilled handyperson will walk you through how a repair.

"How is this different than just going on YouTube?" Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne asked Evans.

"There's something really magical about an experienced handyperson who can see what you're seeing and hear what you're hearing over a video chat and say, 'Oh. That's this problem and here's the right way to fix it.'" Evans answered.

"There are definitely cases where we say, "Okay. Let's pause here and maybe let's get somebody that's on-site to help with this. Whether that's us, in the cities that we have a physical presence in, or we recommend somebody," he explained.

He says business has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic.

"A lot of people don't want to have somebody come into their home. Not only does it cost $300 there's exposure there, it's inconvenient," he said.

Fixer.com is free for the first five minutes then costs $15 for every fifteen minutes afterward.

The site Urbansitter.com has also found success on its platform during the pandemic. The website, where parents search for babysitters and nannies, has been around for about a decade, but during COVID-19, some of its services became more popular than ever -- one being virtual babysitting.

"That's something we did very little of before COVID," said CEO Lynn Perkins.

"With virtual babysitting, we're seeing it being particularly popular with people with kids ages five to nine. You have to be in the home when it's going on obviously and it's a little bit better with slightly older children because they can be fairly self-sufficient on the screen with the sitter," she explained.

"These sitters, it's pretty amazing. They have talents from, you have actors in New York that are doing virtual babysitting, to language specialists, so you can have your child take a French lesson," she said.

"And you're not limited to your geography, so you have a wide range of talent that you can pick from," Perkins continued.

She said families doing learning pods are also finding instructors on the website.

Perkins explains if you want a virtual sitter, you can search by skill sets, and set up a video interview through the site.
"You can find some really great talent at reasonable prices and it just adds some variety into the weekly COVID routine," she said.

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