Amanda Knapp, Founder and CEO of Sitting Made Simple, started her career as a nanny right out of high school in 1999 in Wichita, Kansas. The firstborn in a large family, Amanda was a natural at walking into families’ homes and finding ways to improve their quality of life. Her husband’s career brought them to Columbus, Ohio in 2005 and Knapp picked up her nanny career again with two boys aged 3 and 7 at the time and then, a couple years later, with 3 year old twins.
During this time, she realized there was a huge need for childcare in Columbus that was not being fulfilled. In 2008, Knapp launched Sitting Made Simple® with 5 Sitters and 8 Families. Working from her home basement, she took appointment requests over the phone, scheduled everything with pen and paper and sent invoices via email. Flash forward to present day and SMS is operating on a much larger, more sophisticated scale with around 400 Sitters, more than 1500 Families, a full-time office staff and the one-of-a-kind SMS website that allows Families to conveniently schedule appointments and select their own SMS Sitter with a few quick clicks.
In 2011, just 3 years in, the demand for the services Amanda and SMS were providing was rapidly increasing. At this time, Amanda made the decision to leave her nanny position to focus her full attention to SMS and developing her brand. With the help of a few interns each semester that she pulled from her Sitter roster, Amanda ran Sitting Made Simple® on her own for 7 years. The SMS Internship Program is a vital part of the company and now hosts an average of 20 SMS Sitter/Interns each semester. Interns play an essential role in the day-to-day operations of SMS. Amanda enjoys being able to mentor these young college-age women, inspiring them to dream big and giving them insight into owning and operating a small business.
She certainly made an impression on one intern in particular. In 2015, original SMS Intern Morgan Clark launched STL Sitter with a very early SMS model before the franchise conversation started. Later that year, the very first SMS Franchise opened in Nashville, TN.
Dawn Weiss and Cristie Wilt were the next two franchisees to jump on board. Cristie had used SMS Cbus while living in Columbus, and when her family was transferred to Indianapolis, she quickly realized there was a huge need for childcare in the Indy area. SMS Indy launched in May 2016.
Dawn learned about SMS from her daughter who was a sitter for SMS Cbus during her college years. With her children all grown up, she decided that opening a SMS in her hometown of Cleveland was her next career move. SMS Cleveland launched in May 2016.
As a mother herself, Ashley knows first-hand what makes for a great sitter and what other parents are looking for when bringing a sitter into their family’s home. With family in other states, the need for childcare was always a front line issue. In the pursuit of finding dependable childcare, Ashley came across Sitting Made Simple, a local childcare service with origins in Columbus, OH. Ashley was so impressed with the SMS model and recognized that other parents would benefit from her bringing this innovative concept to the Dallas market.
SMS HQ plans to launch several new cities over the next year and so on!