09/07/2012 10:18 EDT | Updated 11/07/2012 05:12 EST

On-Demand Daycare Provides Parents Flexibility

A new daycare option now available to parents allows them to book a daycare space, with as little as one hour's notice.

It might not work as full-time daycare, but on-demand care does provide an opportunity for parents who work from home or have occasional jobs.

“I buy ten hours a month, and do a little bit of top-up on top of that,” said Vancouver mother Caitlin Black, a landscape designer, whose hours can vary.

Black uses Buddings Children’s Garden and Daycare in Vancouver, opened by Talia Erickson and her partner in 2011.

Members can log into their Buddings’ accounts online and buy a certain number of hours. The more they buy each month, the cheaper the price — anywhere from $16.50 to $20 an hour.

Last minute requests don't always work as the daycare is limited to 12 children, but Black said she has succeeded with late bookings in the past, which she can do on her iPhone.

"I can book up to an hour before, so that was totally invaluable.”

Erickson said the business was opened with parents like Black in mind.

“If work calls, then you have to work. So, it’s not always possible to know five or six months in advance whether you’re going to need child care on Tuesdays or not,” Erickson said.

But there are challenges to this model, according to one daycare manager at UBC.

“That’s the kind of care that is really hard to accommodate in the typical child-care system, because daycares need to be full in order to be financially viable,” said Darcelle Cottons, UBC Child Care Services Director.

Still, UBC does admire the idea and hopes to start up its own on-demand daycare for student parents in the next two years.