Todd Pliss was working as a private tutor in Los Angeles, US, when he began hearing complaints about unprofessional babysitters who didn’t show up, and if they did it was only in the loosest sense of the word – Facebook and Twitter occupy their full attention because, like, #omgkidsaresolame.
Pliss considered the problem and thought to himself, “Who’s more responsible? More mature?” The answer was grannies. “Everyone has fuzzy memories of grannies.”
In 2010 Pliss began recruiting women over 50 for a child-care service he called Rent-A-Grandma, and it quickly took off. Soon, in addition to watching the kiddies, grannies started being asked to do other granny things like bake, cook, pet-sit, and plan parties (how rocking would those be?), so Pliss expanded the scope of the agency to all domestic services.
You can’t be serious, right?
The novelty factor and name brings a smile to people’s faces, but at the end of the day there’s a demand for the service. Parents want someone they can trust to pick up their kids and be in their home from 3pm until 8pm. With the increasing number of retirees facing poor financial futures this kind of franchise offers a valuable service to both children and to retirees.
Are grannies really better?
Chances are they’ve already raised their own kids, so you need only see how they turned out for a quick decision. But what really sets this service apart is that these grannies love being grannies – they’re not bored retirees. “It’s disappointing to see how many good, older women are out there who can’t find jobs. One of our grannies was homeless and living in a shelter before she found work with us,” Pliss explains.
Does anyone object to being called ‘grandma’?
It appears not. “Sometimes these women really do act as grandmas. They become part of the family. I hear over and over again that the kids love her, and that their real grandma lives in another part of the country, or has passed on.
They create a real bond and have a wealth of life experience to share.” And while most are actual grandmas, it’s not a requirement. So, you can’t choose family but you can choose your granny… by city and services offered.
Founder: Todd Pliss
Established: 2010, franchised 2011 in the US
Footprint: 15 territories