Rent-a-Grandma is an agency that provides ‘Grandmas’, who are thoroughly vetted, mature adult women who can manage people’s domestic employment requirements. The grandmas can manage various tasks from childcare to petcare and are skilled in each of these.
You can also hire a Grandma for specialized services like personal assistance, elderly care, planning parties or organizing your home.
The grandmas can also manage household maintenance and manage large estates. Since the most common services include hiring Grandmas as nannies for child or pet care, there is reasonable concern for most customers around the trustworthiness of the person they are leaving in charge. With the Grandmas all being adult women who are screened very carefully to make sure they are reliable and skilled, there is less concern for customers.
The agency is therefore a premium one. It was started by Todd Pliss, who started the agency after hearing about the troubles parents were having in finding a tutor or babysitter. They felt that younger folks like college students or teenagers were too easily distracted to hand over such a responsibility.
As such, Todd Pliss shut down his existing tutoring business to start Rent-a-Grandma. By 2012, Pliss had hired over 50 grandmas, and by 2022, this number had grown over to 2022.
Is Rent-a-Grandma Still Active?
Rent-a-Grandma is still active, and is currently based in LA, where he has his own flagship store. You can also hire Grandmas by visiting their website, where you can sort by location. You do have to make an account with the company before you can look at the details of each Grandma.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Todd Pliss came on Shark Tank with one of his hired Grandmas to pitch his idea in 2012. The business had been running for a while now, and had made about $25,000 the previous year. Each Grandma was being rented out for $14 to $20 per hour, which Todd thought was a better offer than hiring teenagers who have a lot less responsibility than mature adults.
Todd was looking for a $150,000 investment in return for 20% of the franchise opportunity. The flagship store was in LA but he was expanding to different locations.
The pitch started with Kevin O’Leary crunching the numbers to figure out how much he would be getting, calculating that he’d make only about $15 bucks for the $85 each Grandma would make over 5 hours of babysitting.
With the Grandmas making a majority of the money, the profit margins felt a little low (15% of the total bill) but Pliss explained that Grandmas were hired for months in advance.
However, despite explaining how the company was run and the revenues and profit margins, none of the sharks seemed interested in the business idea itself, despite the idea being fairly novel.
At the end of it, Pliss did not manage to get a deal.
Our Review of Rent-a-Grandma
Rent-a-Grandma is a fairly good option when it comes to hiring domestic help. For most people, the concern around hiring babysitters is due to the fact that most babysitters available are teenagers or college students looking for some quick money, and these people are often not as responsible as parents or pet owners would like them to be.
As such, the offering with mature adults who have proven experience with pet and child care is a great one.
Though the business had originally started with only nannies, it has since expanded and includes other domestic help services like household maintenance and elderly care, which involves a lot more skill and experience and thus cannot be simply handed over to younger folks.
The grandmas also come with excellent cookie-baking skills.
While the website is fairly easy to use, it does need you to sign up for an account, and you cannot view any of the grandmas’ personal details (besides name and location) without subscribing to the service. The payment for each rent is also made in advance.
Pros of Rent-a-Grandma
- Guaranteed responsibility
- Each grandma is thoroughly vetted before they are signed with the business
- Offers a variety of services that are not easily found elsewhere
- Each grandma has proven experience with the service they are offering
Cons of Rent-a-Grandma
- Costs more than hiring a teenager
- Payments are made in advance
- Can’t see details for Grandma without making an account which may be a hindrance to newcomers
Who is Rent-a-Grandma For?
Because Rent-a-Grandma offers so many services, it’s safe to say that the target market for the business covers a large number of people, but specifically those who require domestic help services but have concerns around the level of responsibility in the person they are hiring.
The most likely consumers would be parents who need their children taken care of, pet owners who have places to be and can’t leave their pets at home, and families that include an elderly person who requires constant care and attention.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are no established alternatives for Rent-a-Grandma as a business, but you could always go back to hiring school and college students to take care of easier tasks like babysitting and pet-sitting. You could also go for agencies that have domestic help services, but most of them are specialized and don’t offer all the services that Rent-a-Grandma does.
Our Final Thoughts
Rent-a-Grandma is quite a novel idea (on top of having a funny name) and has a great opportunity for growth. With more and more people having to turn to childcare experts to take care of their kids while they’re at work, having a responsible adult do the nanny-ing for them will put a lot of parents at ease, while also providing greater employment opportunities for domestic workers.