Child Care Rates: How Much Should I Charge?
Determining reasonable rates for providing child care.
Tiffany Smith, Senior Associate Editor
Articles> Child Care Rates: How Much Should I Charge?
child care rates

Even if you're the best child care provider out there, you won't attract clients if your rates are too high. (Or too low, for that matter: Parents might assume you're under-priced because you're under-qualified.)

Check Out the Competition
Look at ads posted in the supermarket and in your local newspaper. Check the jobs-wanted listings on websites like craigslist. See what other child care providers are charging. Take note of how their skills compare to your own. See if you can find a niche that needs your services: Do you speak a second language, for example? Do you have specialized training?

Call other child care providers and ask what their rates are. (You don't have to tell them why you're asking. Most will assume you're a parent.) If you have friends or family members with children, ask what they pay their nannies and sitters. Find out the current going rate for a babysitter.

Based on other people's rates, you can get a good idea of what you'll be able to charge. Try to calculate the cost of running your business for a year, and how many hours you'll have to dedicate to covering those costs.

Money 101
No matter how money-savvy you are, basic financial-managing software is a must, even if you only use it for forms and templates. Some popular and cost-effective options are Microsoft Money, Quicken, Quickbooks or Peachtree.

Use the Babysitter Pay Rate Calculator provides a Babysitter Pay Rate Calculator to assist you. This calculates what the pay rate is in your area and will help you know what to charge families. There are different versions of our calculator available as free widgets -- add the Babysitter Pay Rate Results Widget to your blog, Facebook page and advertisements so families know your rate!

The bottom line: You need to understand the local market, where you fit into it and keep an eye on your bottom line. Whether you want to work part-time or full-time, you can make a living caring for children.


Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite

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(154) Comments
Stephanie S.
Stephanie S.
I'm a child care provider and families are paying me 10 an hour regardless of how many hours they need me. I didn't choose that rate, the families did. Some people are so cheap and they shouldn't especially when it comes to the hands that are watching YOUR child. Not all people can afford it, but don't pay someone 175 bucks for over 40 hours just because that's what a daycare charges. If that's the case put your child in daycare, problem solved. For all of the child care providers being taken advantage of with little pay and a lot of hours. No, I guarantee there are people who will pay you what you deserve.
August 21, 2015 at 4:07 PM
Lissette A.
Lissette A.
I've been a nanny for the past 10 years, and I always worked $10 for one child and $2 for any extra child after that. Also, $2 extra if they needed any light housekeeping. Those are my charges and every nanny I know out here. Who ever is not willing to pay than you need to take your child to day care or have a family member look after your kids. It's not my problem you can afford a nanny then stay home. My only problem is to provide for my own kids and that's it. People don't let this parents take advantage get pay what you deserve, if they don't want to pay move on and get another family, your win their lost.
July 28, 2015 at 3:19 PM
Ren M.
Ren M.
I appreciate the blessing of being able to Nanny: it's what I've always wanted to do in life, without the concern of being paid fairly. On occasion, I have Nanny'd for friends, who I know cannot afford my rate & it's why I allowed my single-parent friend to pay what she was able to pay.
I am not a greedy person: I don't Nanny to "make bank"--HOWEVER--I also don't want to be taken advantage of.
I know my worth & have been under-paid as well as fairly compensated for my time & I am very willing to negotiate an amount in which all parties benefit. I do believe, I do feel & I do think caregivers, in general, are under-paid & as a "rule" should be paid minimum wage for their particular area's zip code *which varies*.
We ALL need to "make a living" & our cost of living increases day after day, year after year; so as the end of 2015 draws closer, its time to consider broaching the subject of asking for a raise!
EXAMPLE: self-employed folks change rate(s) WITHOUT NOTICE ... Caregivers ARE self-employed, in a manner of speaking; so we CAN change our rates WITHOUT NOTICE!
I prefer to notify my Nanny families of the upcoming change at least 2weeks ahead [of the new year] & sometimes even a month ahead: its more out of courtesy, to the Nanny family, that I notify them of the impending increase I expect.
When a family has high expectations & as a Nanny, I satisfy them: this is reason enough to expect an increase. It's not unreasonable to expect a Nanny to recieve wage compareable to that area's minimum wage. I don't understand why families are sometimes not willing to compensate a person, for all they're bringing [IE: TIME, experience, dedication/devotion to nurturing the child/ren, teaching the child/ren, being active with the child/ren, feeding the child/ren, etc] especially when these things are extremely important to the parents!
Family makes $75K a year *whether individually-OR-combined*=$223.00 per DAY
yet expect Caregiver to live on LESS THAN $10K a year=LESS THAN $30.00 per DAY= $5.20 PER HOUR
***I ask you: how LITTLE are YOU willing to live on each DAY??? each WEEK??? each MONTH??? what's YOUR ANNUAL PAY???***
July 10, 2015 at 1:36 AM
Ren M.
Ren M.
RE: MELISSA May 19, 2015 post

Dear Melissa,
Regarding a raise: sometimes you gotta ASK for one. One thing I've learned: it NEVER HURTS TO ASK. Having said this, I hope you're able to broach the subject with your Nanny-family because they need to realize the cost of living continues to rise; which is exactly why they should be OFFERING you a raise [without you HAVING to ask for a raise].
Another way to broach the subject is to let them know that your rate is subject to change WITHOUT NOTICE...EX: hairstylists change their rates without notice, other self-employed people also change their rate/wage/etc WITHOUT NOTICE & your Nanny-family should respect you enough to pay you what you're worth.
Personally, my rate has increased as little as $2.00-$3.00 every 2yrs [give or take] & I share with my Nanny-families "beginning January 1, 20?? my rate will increase to $XX.XX" out of courtesy & so they don't feel I've blindsided them.
The cost of living continues to increase every year & its only fair that child caregivers be "compensated" for their time, dedication, nurturing skills, etc. Just as self-employed persons have "the right" to change their rate/wage WITHOUT NOTICE--so do we, have this "right". Its also VERY important to remember, even when you've asked for yet do not recieve an increase in rate/wage--don't be afraid to ASK.
Most reasonable Nanny families are willing to negotiate & agree to a slight rate/wage increase because: its warranted, their satisfaction, your experience-to-date & mostly because their child/ren have formed emotional connection/bond with you as Nanny.
I do hope my answer & these examples have been helpful to anyone/everyone who may have been questioning a way to broach the subject of asking for a raise!
Best Regards,
Nanny Ren<><
July 10, 2015 at 12:32 AM
Suzanne T.
Suzanne T.
It seems that a lot of people here are confused with the difference between a nanny and child care. If you are hiring a nanny to care for only your children, then you are required by law to pay at least minimum wage for your area. You should also expect to pay that or more because a nanny also needs to make a living wage. If you are willing to "share" your nanny and you are fine with them also taking on other children, then you can expect to pay less. I understand that it can be difficult for some people to afford to pay the going rates, that's why there is also the option of putting you child into daycare, which often can cost much less, especially for in-home daycare centers. You can also pay less out of pocket if your nanny lives in, because the room and board can be, in part, considered a portion of their pay package.
I am currently a live-out nanny, but have also done live-in positions in the past. Most nannies in part or sometimes fully, run the household. If I did nothing but sit around and supervise the kids as they did their own thing I wouldn't expect to get paid as much. If I'm doing all the household chores, cooking meals, helping with homework, potty training, etc. then I want to be compensated for the quality of care that I'm giving.
Please remember, you want quality care given to your children, you should be expected to take care of your caregiver with like quality. If not, then you shouldn't expect to receive consistent, reliable, quality care. In essence you get what you pay for.
May 30, 2015 at 11:58 PM
I think the parents that are speaking out against paying a sitter the national average price are ridiculous. These are the people who are collaborate with you to raise your children. You'll spend more on your assets than you would on people who are caring for your family members? You want to keep your beautiful homes and fancy cars but screw the people who are loving and nurturing your kids. My advice... Stop having them or stop complaining!!
May 22, 2015 at 9:09 PM
Okay I need some help & answers please...

I'm not really sure how I should be getting paid.. I have been working with this family for almost 3 years now. I make $10 an hr for all 3 kids under the age of 5. I'm 21 years old, but I've had experience for 7 years. I have never gotten a raise, and sometimes I pay out of my pocket to feed the kids. I work weekends from 8-5pm, sometimes even up to 6pm whenever they ask me to stay longer.. Sometimes they come home at 6:15pm, but they only pay me up to 6pm. I do laundry, even the parents' laundry, I wash dishes, I vacuum I clean around the house. For any party occasion they have, I would have to watch up to 10 other kids, with the same rate, $10 an hr. There was one time where they brought another child for me to watch every Saturday. The parents discussed with the other parent that I would be getting paid a little more, yet never did. The parents have lots of restrictions when it comes to the kids. They only watch tv for one hr a day, sometimes no tv at all. The youngest naps for 1hr 15mins out of the whole day, and for the rest of the day, I have to watch all 3 kids.. It gets really hard, especially if the two older ones are constantly fighting or just don't listen and follow rules. I'm not sure if this is fair. When I was a lot younger, I was getting paid $10 an hr for watching a baby. Now that I am watching 3 kids for $10, I'm not really sure if it's fair. With the baby I used to watch, I never asked them to pay me a certain amount. He just said $10 an hr, and I said okay. I've been trying to do more research, and so far, what I see is that I should be getting $15 an hr for the amount of kids and chores I do for them. I don't expect to get paid $15 an hr, but I think $10 for all 3 kids is a little too low. I mean, they are business people, so I know for a fact that they make a decent amount of money. They also have a babysitter for the weekdays that works 10hrs a day.. I am not asking for a fortune, all I'm asking for is what's fair. I work very hard when It comes to caring for all 3 kids. It's pretty stressful...I mean, me working at my other job, getting paid $10.71 an hr, which is a whole lot easier verses having all 3 kids under my care plus chores. Please explain to me if I'm asking too much ?!

Thank you in advance
May 19, 2015 at 7:46 PM
Jackie C. You should totally charge AT LEAST minimum wage,if they are claiming taxes(as they should and you should) then you are their employee..and those of you saying it's unrealistic or ridiculous for us to expect so much..well,why should we get paid any less than anyone else,.sounds like you all think we aren't worth what you all are worth and all I have to say is,you get what you pay for...
May 1, 2015 at 10:03 PM
I cannot believe the ignorance some people have. I'm a 20 year old single mother with a 1 year old. I do not receive child support. Ive got a job working 9 hours a day 5 days a week making minimum wage. If I paid someone what most of you are saying I would be giving up my entire paycheck... So what I would literally be working to pay for my child to be watched over all day... And have no money left to take care of us. Be realistic. Not all of us can afford that. And how dare someone say if you can't afford 8.50 an hour then you shouldn't have had a child... Shame on you!!!
April 24, 2015 at 3:39 PM
Kayla P.
Kayla P.
I am a full time nanny for a 6 month old baby. I have my 1 year old son with me too. I work 6am to 4pm Monday through Friday, so 50 hours a week. I get paid $250 every 2 weeks. The family said that is what they paid the CDC on base. They are also claiming taxes, so I have to take out what will be taxed and put aside that from the $250. I'm making around $2 an hour. I feel like I should be making more. I'm making way less than minumim wage, working well over 40 hours and bringing home less than $500 a month after putting taxes aside. Should I be making more? And if so how do I present that to the family I work for?
April 14, 2015 at 5:24 PM
Stephanie B.'s Daycare
Stephanie B.'s Daycare
I can't believe how ridiculous all of these comments are. There is a difference in a nanny or babysitter and an in home childcare provider. If someone is dropping their child off at your house for childcare all day every day, Monday through Friday, they cannot pay $10-$15 per hour. I can only assume the ones that are making these ridiculous comments are very young and cannot understand this. There would be no reason for that person to work. All of their paycheck and more would go to you. The average person cannot afford a full time nanny. So all the "nannys" on here need to find that rich family that can afford your rates on a full time basis. Most people use a "babysitter" for occasional date nights, etc. On these occasions, of course $10-$15 is acceptable.
April 12, 2015 at 8:26 AM
Daisy N.
Daisy N.
Gosh I can't believe how some people are . I'm 19 and I'm a baysitter , I babysit , I work for my parents mornings (family business ) and I work at a restaurant . If someone is going to ask me to babysit , sure damn well I'm going to charge at least $8.50 and hour , why? . Well because I also have a life, I have things to do myself . So any one saying we shouldn't be charging that , well yes maybe your right we should be charging double. You mothers out there just don't get it . Go take your child to a daycare and they'll charge triple of what I charge . If you can't afford to pay a babysitter or anyone that charges at least $8.50 than you shouldn't have had a kid in the first place. Because I wouldn't waist my time taking care of kids for $5 or less. Ridiculous.
March 19, 2015 at 4:16 PM
After reading some asinine comments, particularly the $13/he one I wonder what's wrong in some people's heads. I'm not going to work to make my living just to turn around and pay your living. That's why you babysit multiple kids, so you can be cost efficient and still pay your bills. If you can't pay bills baby sitting go out and get a different job. It's pointless for me to work if half my paycheck is going to baby sitting. It's not worth over $10 sorry. Not even professional day cares charge that.
February 19, 2015 at 6:09 PM
I have 3+ years with children. I've worked as a party hostess, baby sitter at a rec, and have community service work with children summer camps. I'm new to and was wondering how much I should charge for baby sitting? I can clean the house as well and I have transportation but it isn't mine so I will be a stay at home sitter til the parents come back or tell me to leave. I'm willing to worl mornings, afternoon and charge extra for night shifts!
January 27, 2015 at 6:55 PM
Is 7 kids by myself too many @ 8.25 am hour?
January 27, 2015 at 2:15 AM
Lisa G.
Lisa G.
In Arizona, if you have a Nanny come in to care for your children you are officially their employer. You will need to pay the other half of their Social Security, provide Workman's Comp insurance,etc. Since you provide the place if employment and dictate when they work and don't work, subcontractor status does not apply here.
January 14, 2015 at 8:49 AM
I get paid 350$ for two kids ages 7 & 9.
50 hours a week
What's a fair price to charge?
January 5, 2015 at 12:27 PM
Stephanie E.
Stephanie E.
Anyone who is getting paid under 10$ an hour is ridiculous. I am very confident in my work as a mother, a nanny, and a babysitter of 9 years experience in childcare. I refuse to work for less. I know that I have bills that I have to pay, so I charge 13 per hour when I nanny. If I babysit I charge 15 per hour because it will only be for a set amount of hours. I also do overnight care- which I charge 100 per night. If I wanted to I could go out right now and get a serving job and make BANK. But because I love children and this my job I do not allow for people to underestimate me. Find someone else who is willing to take 7/per hr. That's absurd. Reading some of these comments infuriated me because I know how important it is to leave your child with somebody who's going to ultimately make a sacrifice to make sure those children are safe and have what they need. So there's my two cents.
January 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM
Okay so this lady wants me to babysit her kids while she goes back to work and she has two little boys they are twins there 2 and a little girl who isn't even a year old the 2 little boys are not potty trained and she said she would pay me $250 a week and id be babysitting them for 12 hours every day even over night sometimes is that a fair amount of money ?
December 11, 2014 at 2:31 AM
Rebecca R.
Rebecca R.
I find myself falling into the same situations that so many are complaining about, and my area of experience deals with special needs, particularly autism, all degrees of it from very mild to very severe. Families have got to understand that we fall under the very same umbrella that other "domestic" workers fall under and we are also protected under federal laws that have been put out by the U.S. Dept. Of Labor. That being said, I see so many ads that post for jobs requiring 30+ hours a week, wanting to pay only 150 or less! With my background, I also see many special needs jobs that often require care for more than one child with special needs, and to me it's rediculous to expect to pay the same as you would if it were only one child being watched. I am also aware that many states now have laws in effect that dictate how much a caregiver for special needs should be paid, and it is far more than what is being advertised on here. I get it, the economy sucks, and it's a struggle for everyone, I am flexible to a point, but considering there are additional hazards associated with special needs, an up in pay is not so unreasonable. As for children who do not have special needs, let me ask the parents this: would YOU work for someone for 5-8 an hour, watch multiple children, clean their entire house, cook their meals, care for their pets, clean up after their entire family, etc, working 5, sometimes 6 or 7, days a week, 8+ hours a day, and be happy with making only 150 or less per week? Put yourself in our shoes for a bit and look at it from our perspective. I don't think what I am asking to be paid is unreasonable at all, especially if there are other non child related duties that are expected of me.
November 21, 2014 at 11:41 PM

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