Will Moore and Brian Hatch know the business of kids - how to entertain them, how to mediate disputes, and how to handle emergencies.
They are experienced and tested, though only 12 years old, and have boiled down the business of being the eldest sibling into an impressive resume to start B and W Babysitting. In an economy where even adults are having a hard time finding jobs, the two friends are putting a professional spin on chores - not just baby-sitting, but lawn mowing, plant watering and pet sitting.
Working with the slogan "Four eyes are safer than two, two heads are better than one," the Melican Middle School students have been friends since the fifth grade.
"We're a team," said Brian.
Brian and Will trained last year in the American Red Cross baby-sitting course, and earlier this summer, they signed on for the Babysitting Faire, sponsored by Northboro Public Library, in search of their first summer jobs.
"They said we should use the marketing skills we have," said Will, adding that their skills have been put to use around their own homes.
The two pre-teens did just that, putting together a resume that could rival the professional presentation of a college graduate - a team-based mission statement, a concise list of education, experience and skills, a list of available references, and a business e-mail, bandwbabysitting.com. They have also established a sliding-fee scale based on the job.
The two cut their baby-sitting business teeth at their respective homes. Will has been watching his two younger siblings, ages 10 and 4, for five years, and Brian, his two younger brothers, ages 5 and 6, for four years.
"We know what to do when someone gets sick," said Will, with Brian adding, "We know what do to when someone gets hurt."
But they didn't want to limit themselves, and this year, with the summer job market difficult for teens and adults alike, the two decided to take a professional attempt at a nontraditional role - boy baby-sitters.
"We don't always want to be baby-sitting our own family," said Brian. "We wanted to branch out."
The library's fair offered parents the chance to interview prospective teens, and the boys came prepared - with a resume, which they posted at locations throughout town.
"We signed up for the baby-sitting program together and the baby-sitting fair together, so we decided we should work together," explained Will.
Brian and Will are trained in basic care and first aid and age-appropriate problem resolution.
"When kids are fighting, I can separate them to make them stop fighting, and then find a way to make them both happy," said Will. "I have two brothers, and a lot of the time they'll tell me things, so I can handle the situation before it gets to my parents."
They specialize in games for boys, such as tag and touch football, basketball, baseball and bike riding.
"We can watch girls, but we specialize in boys, because we are boys," said Brian.
They are a rare team in the baby-sitting world. According to Sitters.com, a Web site that matches caregivers to needs, 94 percent of the registered sitters, or caregivers, on the site are female, with 6 percent male.
According to Cori Sanzano of Sitters.com, the general minimal guidelines developed by licensed social workers and sitters network is that sitters be at least 13 years old, but parents need to also consider maturity level and training of the potential sitter. Sitters.com has a minimum age requirement of 17 before anyone can register with the site.
Other considerations include a safe, physical environment where the baby-sitting will take place; the length of time, the number of hours, the age and number of children, and the time of day must be consistent with the sitter's age and ability; access to a responsible adult who can offer assistance if necessary; the knowledge of how and when to summon help; and a safety plan for what to do in an emergency.
Will and Brian also offer other services such as being a mother's helper.
"We didn't want to just do baby-sitting," said Will. "Not all people have kids; they need pet-sitting; they need their trash taken out."
In addition to younger kids, the boys also have experience handling the needs of a variety of animals. Will has a dog, a cat and two guinea pigs; Brian has a dog, four ferrets and hermit crabs.
Brian said the boys can bike to jobs in their neighborhood, and transportation will be provided for them to get to other jobs in town, or in the immediate area.
B and W Babysitting is not a temporary summer venture. The boys hope to continue it throughout the school year, so long as it does not interfere with their studies and certain after-school activities.
Maryann Hatch, Brian's mother, said she is proud of the boys' effort in creating B and W Babysitting. "This is something they wanted to do. There aren't many boy baby sitters, and it's a team effort between them."