How Much Should You Pay Your Sitter?
Whether you're a parent researching how much a babysitter costs or a sitter deciding what to charge, here are tips to help.
Tiffany Smith, Senior Associate Editor
Articles> How Much Should You Pay Your Sitter?
babysitter smiling with toddler

The average babysitting rate is about $13.50 per hour, as of 2014 numbers. But that rate varies widely depending on a number of factors. How can you know what to pay or what to change?

Care.com recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 members and collected data from our own internal numbers to figure out the latest trends in babysitter pay and hiring. Check out our infographic and video. Then scroll down for more information on everything related to costs and how much you should be paying your sitter.

The average babysitter costs $13.44

 

 

 



Here are things to think about when settling on a rate:
 

  • The Market
    Find out the current going rate for babysitters in your neighborhood. Like all jobs, the numbers change over time. What you were paid to babysit is probably much different than what today's sitters are charging.

    Here are the national average babysitter rates for the past few years. In 2014, babysitter rates were $13.44 per hour. Since 2009, babysitter pay rates have increased 28 percent!
     

    2009

    $10.50

    2010

    $11.11

    2011

    $12.09

    2012

    $12.02

    2013

    $12.07

    2014

    $13.44

     
    Use Care.com's babysitter pay rate calculator to find out the going rate for sitters in your area.
     
  • Minimum Wage
    Whatever you pay your sitter, make sure it's at least minimum wage. 3 out of 4 Care.com parents think sitters should be paid above minimum wage.

    Learn more about minimum wage and the current rates.   
     
  • Location
    If you live in a big city, expect to pay more for a babysitter than someone who lives in the suburbs or a rural area. Higher cost of living = higher wages. For example, San Francisco babysitters cost $16.55 per hour and are the most expensive sitters in the country. On the other hand, Grand Rapids, MI babysisters charge $11.31 per hour and are the cheapest.

    Here are the most and least expensive cities for hiring babysitters:

    The Top 10 Priciest Cities to Hire a Sitter
     
    1. San Francisco, CA$16.55
    2. San Jose, CA$15.63
    3. Boston, MA   $15.37
    4. New York, NY$15.09
    5. Washington DC$14.99
    6. Bridgeport, CT$14.91
    7. Seattle, WA$14.43
    8. Hartford, CT$14.28
    9. Los Angeles, CA$14.27
    10. Philadelphia, PA$14.19


    The Top 10 Cheapest Cities to Hire a Sitter
     
    1. Grand Rapids, MI$11.31
    2. Columbia, SC$11.72
    3. Rochester, NY$11.79
    4. Salt Lake City, UT$11.82
    5. Akron, OH$11.84
    6. Colorado Springs, CO$11.85
    7. Des Moines, IA$11.97
    8. Tulsa, OK$12.00
    9. Boise, ID$12.06
    10. Omaha, NB$12.16


     

  • Babysitter's Age
    Pay younger sitters, who generally have less experience, less than you would pay someone older.
     
  • Experience
    Are you hiring a sitter who has spent years caring for kids? Or are you looking for someone who is just starting out? 51 percent of parents would pay more for an older, more experienced sitter -- usually an extra $5 per hour.

    When you're interviewing a sitter, make sure to ask detailed questions -- so you know the person has the level of experience you're looking for. Here are 10 Babysitter Interview Questions Every Family Should Ask.
     
  • Type of Sitter
    Are you hiring a babysitter or a nanny? Do you know that there's a big difference? And a big difference in what you should be paying. Think of sitters as more occassional child care -- they're great for watching and playing with your kids on date night for a few short hours. If you need full-time or regular child care, you need a nanny. Nannies are child care professionals who do more with your kids in terms of development and so earn more.

    Get more tips about the difference between a babysitter and a nanny.
     
  • Number of Children
    If you have more than one child, expect to pay $2 to $5 more an hour for each additional child. (So, if you'd pay $50 for one child for four hours, expect to pay about $60 for two children, $70 for three and so on.)
     
  • How Long She's Worked for You
    If a sitter has been with you for many years, increase her wages as her experience increases. According to the Care.com survey, 87 of families would give their favorite sitter a raise. Here are seven signs it's time for a raise.
     
  • Training
    Here are the types of education that parents value the most when looking for a babysitter:

 

CPR/First Aid/safety training

53.0%

College degree

11.3%

High school degree

7.6%

Early education degree

9.5%

Doesn't matter

18.6%

 

Safety expertise is definitely the number one priority for parents. A sitter who knows CPR will usually cost more. And rightfully so! Specialized training should always be rewarded.

Check out these 8 Babysitting Training Courses.
 

  • When You Book
    About a third of families say they hire sitters the week before they need them. Another 26 percent do it the same week.

    Waiting to book may mean it costs you more. 64 percent of parents told Care.com they would pay more for a last-minute sitter.
     
  • Holidays
    Is it Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Halloween or St. Patrick's Day? These are the most popular holidays for people to hire a sitter on Care.com. As lots of families need child care, sitters may be in higher demand or asking for more money. Book early for the best rates.

    And follow this advice for hiring a sitter for New Year's Eve.
     
  • Responsibilities
    If the sitter will put them to bed, lock the doors and watch TV, you can pay less. 1 in 5 parents give sitters a lower rate if their kids are sleeping.

    But if the kids will be awake the whole time or if you ask the sitter to do additional tasks and chores, the more you should pay. The most common things families ask sitters to do are:
  1. Feed the kids
  2. Read to them
  3. Put them to bed
  4. Play games and sports
  5. Pick them up from school
     

For each meal your sitter prepares, add a few dollars to her wages. You don't have to pay more if you just want her to order pizza, but leave enough money for the pie.
 

  • Transportation
    Is your sitter picking your kids up or driving them around? Give her extra. Learn how to reimburse a sitter for gas and mileage.
     
  • Tips
    Parents are often confused about whether or not they should tip a sitter. Only 26 percent of families told us that they tip their sitter (another 34 percent only tip around the holidays), so it's not very common.

    But there are certain circumstances where it may make sense, such as when a sitter goes above and beyond. Read more about when babysitters should get tips.
     
  • Taxes
    Many families pay babysitters under the table (i.e. in cash, with no taxes withheld). This is fine, as long as the babysitter doesn't earn $1,900 or more during the calendar year. However, if you anticipate paying your sitter more than $1,900 or becoming a regular employee, filing taxes for her is the right thing to do and can have benefits in the long run.

    It's not as overwhelming as you many think, and Care.com HomePay can even handle the tax process for you. For more information on tax forms, read our article Nanny Tax Forms and Procedures to get started.

 

But when it comes down to it, finding the right babysitter for your family is about more than just dollars and cents. In the survey, we asked parents what the most important thing is when hiring a sitter. Only 3 percent said it's how much she costs. 49 percent said it's that the kids love her.   

So when you hire a babysitter, pay her fairly to help start a long, trusting relationship -- and to make sure she's not lured away by a higher-paying neighbor!

And if you have a sitter and are ready to head out, but don't know where to go, here are 101 Cheap Date Ideas for inspiration.

Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. 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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(20) Comments
stephanie S.
stephanie S.
I been working as a Nanny for 3yrs straight in her home since 2009 about 10hrs a day monday-friday for $5hr I started when she was 4 months old making/warming food, watching her while playing and learning basic,123, ABC's, always use play while learning at the same time, potty trained doing laundery folding organizing her things in her bedroom always keeping it clean and taking her to the park,always keep Myself busy during nap times on weekends 6pm-the latest i stay 1am with $5 pay and for on calls i would get paid $7.50 witch it would happen rarely, Now she just turned 5yrs old and she has been going to pre school and i pick her up tuesday and friday 2 my house this time and its been on call and my pay was changed to $6.50 and In August she will be starting kinder and looks like my pay will be $3.25hr i will be having her for 6hrs a day and for on call $6.50 and for staying over night while sleeping paying $3.25hr this while time has been paid under the table cash not doing or involving taxes, the ladypay...been working for found me here in care.com and for some reason i wanted to see what people are charging in my area which is $14hr and read up all the information now un not sure if I should ask for more or accept the pay
May 30, 2015 at 8:16 PM
stephanie S.
stephanie S.
I been working as a Nanny for 3yrs straight in her home since 2009 about 10hrs a day monday-friday for $5hr I started when she was 4 months old making/warming food, watching her while playing and learning basic,123, ABC's, always use play while learning at the same time, potty trained doing laundery folding organizing her things in her bedroom always keeping it clean and taking her to the park,always keep Myself busy during nap times on weekends 6pm-the latest i stay 1am with $5 pay and for on calls i would get paid $7.50 witch it would happen rarely, Now she just turned 5yrs old and she has been going to pre school and i pick her up tuesday and friday 2 my house this time and its been on call and my pay was changed to $6.50 and In August she will be starting kinder and looks like my pay will be $3.25hr i will be having her for 6hrs a day and for on call $6.50 and for staying over night while sleeping paying $3.25hr this while time has been paid under the table cash not doing or involving taxes, the ladypay...been working for found me here in care.com and for some reason i wanted to see what people are charging in my area which is $14hr and read up all the information now un not sure if I should ask for more or accept the pay
May 30, 2015 at 6:26 PM
Alissa
Alissa
Elsa,

It sounds to me like you're a home health aide, essentially. You provide assistance with a special needs child for an hour. If I were you, I'd contact a home health aide agency in your area and ask them what the entry-level wage is for their home health aides... Consider whether you're a certified home health aide, how much work you actually do (as opposed to how much time you spend visiting, watching tv, eating your own meal, any breaks, etc.), what your expenses are when you're doing things for them (how much does your laundry soap cost or do they provide it for you? Water costs? Electric costs for the dryer?, etc.), how much money you'd be making if you were to take a different job (I'd add 2% onto that) and then tack a couple bucks extra on for the hour of time you spend with a special needs child... When I worked as a care provider for individuals with special needs, my hourly wage was $10.50 (there was one other care provider there and five special needs individuals in the home - we did laundry, toileting, bathing, changing, behavioral intervention, daily logging, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.). I made the same wage when I did the same thing in a house with 10 individuals who were higher functioning and more aggressive...
May 7, 2015 at 8:51 PM
Alissa
Alissa
Crucita - Honestly, I think you're lucky that they haven't asked to decrease your pay based on the fact that the kids become more independent as they get older. Additionally, with a child in school now, you're not watching two children all day, but you're still getting paid the same amount as when there were two little ones home all day... If you don't like that they call you a "babysitter" and that they haven't increased your pay, go ahead and say something, but be prepared in case they tell you that they can't afford to pay you more. With a child in 1st grade and another eligible for PreSchool or PreK next year, keep in mind that they may be considering alternative care options anyway. You mentioned that you're almost 60. Since it's unlikely that you'll seek employment elsewhere (my mother had an awful time finding an employer who'd even give her a chance as a new hire at 57 years old...), they may think they're helping you out by keeping you on... If it's making you unhappy, talk to them about it, just be prepared for what they might have to say too...
May 7, 2015 at 8:39 PM
Alissa
Alissa
Reading through some of these comments and all the judgment is rather disappointing... A 13-year old who makes $7 an hour minimum is happy with it so somebody is criticizing her and saying she's naive? SHE'S 13!! I think she's quite realistic! We all live in different economic environments (by the way, commenting on pay in third world countries unless you possess extensive knowledge on the subject really isn't a great idea... FYI - Daycare is usually damn close to free in many third world countries primarily because family makeups are drastically different from those in the US and many mothers don't HAVE to work).

We all have the choice to refuse to babysit for somebody who isn't able to pay for our arguably wonderful care. And we, as parents, have the choice to set a limit on what we can afford. It's unfair to say that a parent who pays more for daycare values his/her children more than parents who can't pay more. Parents have to FIRST make sure they have enough food on the table, clothes on their kids' backs and a home to live in before calculating how much money they have left to spend on daycare - not everybody has enough income to fork out big money as a way to convince themselves that it makes their children safer (news flash - it's all in your head - the amount of money paid for care makes no difference regarding the SAFETY of your child. Your kid is safest when you pick a good sitter, not necessarily the most expensive one). If I had my way, I'd pay nothing for daycare so I could be a stay at home mom and not ask anybody else to watch my child because I know I am the person who loves my child the most and who can take the best care of my child. Unfortunately, not all of us have that luxury.

I also take issue with somebody complaining that a parent should go on public assistance if they can't afford to pay the price they're asking in exchange for daycare. Why doesn't this sitter stop complaining about how she can't live off the measly pay she gets as a sitter and go on public assistance herself instead of judging other people who don't? Better yet, go find somebody else who's able and willing to pay closer to what she assumes she deserves. For those of you who say I'm wrong, when was the last time you were in a spot where you were struggling financially and tried to get assistance? Were any of you turned down because you made too much money, even though it was only by MAYBE $100? It happens all the time to a lot of families, so sometimes it's not about them being unwilling to get assistance, it's also about not qualifying for it ( Besides, public assistance isn't meant to be a permanent solution, it's supposed to be there to help people get back up on their feet and back off it).

Out of curiosity, what percentage of income do you think any parent should dedicate toward their child's care? Be reasonable and consider that this parent has bills, just like you (mortgage/rent, car payment, gas, groceries, utilities, home/auto repairs, telephone, etc.). What percentage of your income would you set aside for daycare assuming that you don't have a spouse supplementing your income? Consider this... As a babysitter/daycare provider, you can watch several children at once, thereby increasing your income. Yes, there's a little bit of extra work involved, but I know it's easier to watch 2 or 3 kids who play well together than it is to try to entertain one energetic child yourself - it's exhausting! A parent who has to work for an organization has a set income (most in my area top out at $13/hour) regardless of how many projects are being taken on and there's no flexibility. Think about how a parent feels when you are basically saying that they're cheap to pay you only $10/hour but they should be able to live on the remaining $3/hour and be grateful that their kid is taken care of all day... Consider that it sounds like you're asking them to be happy about having to feed, clothe, and shelter their kid on $3/hour.... I've been on both sides of this and it's frustrating to see that some of you aren't looking at it from the other side's perspective...
May 7, 2015 at 8:26 PM
Elsa O.
Elsa O.
Hello....I would just like to know how much I should be getting paid for more or less

Well here goes...I was hired on to watch over a friends mom. 8 - 4:30 or 5:00 it was everyday m-f. I am to cook her breakfast - lunch-snack before leaving for the day...but I also change her diapers when needed. I do light cleaning and do laundry for three at my house cause their washer / dryer is broken. I also give her daily meds. I also wait for the school bus to get home with their special needs child at 4:00 and then I have to dress her down from school clothes to house clothes...give her the meds she has to take daily and fix her something to eat as well. Plus if she has accident on herself I be o change her diaper and clean her also. When her older sister gets home from school I wait for at least 15 minutes before I head out. I would do this Mon-Fri....now its 3 days out of the week. I get paid 30.00 a day. And 10.00 or 20.00 more depending g how much laundry I do. Advise please...
April 24, 2015 at 4:06 AM
Crucita S.
Crucita S.
I have been working for a family for 3 years. I am getting paid the same amount as I did 3 years ago. I work 40+ hours and I am 59 and they refer to me as "babysitter". They take 6 weeks off a year and do not pay me for it. I have had no paid vacation in these 3 years and I work all year. I take care of 2 kids - one is in first grade the other is 3. Should I say something?
April 15, 2015 at 1:04 PM
Colleen T.
Colleen T.
Jessica W, thats ridiculous. You are being taken advantage bigtime!! The most I've made in a week is $350 and the least is $150. There is no way in hell-o I'd take $1.50 an hour. Charge $10/hourly and refuse to work for less! The is America, not some third-world country!!
April 14, 2015 at 8:07 PM
Colleen T.
Colleen T.
Korrine, your comment speaks volumes as for how very naive and immature you are! I love being a nanny but I will NOT be taken advantage of! You'll understand what I mean when you grow up and become more mature.
April 14, 2015 at 8:02 PM
Colleen T.
Colleen T.
Granny, there is no way in the world I would do what you're doing. $80 a week is ridiculous. He is definitely taking advantage of you and you need to tell him to pay you more or find someone else. I absolutely refuse to watch any child for less that $10 hourly! Im adamant about that! I'm very sorry he's doing that to you for all those hours, but you need to getting $10-12 hourly--no less! Take care and God Bless!
April 14, 2015 at 7:48 PM
Roslynn T.
Roslynn T.
Childcare is a very responsible job. I have read the comments and I would like to know from all parents who pay childcare what do you think the lives of your children are worth? Yes, sometimes more or less is required of the sitter it all depends on what the day brings but my question is you have determined the amount of pay you think my time is worth, that being said, if something happens to your child on my watch could I give you back the pay and call it even. I really doubt that you would be happy with that arrangement. So then the responsibility of protecting the lives and well-being of children are in the hands of the sitter and you think that I am charging you too much to watch your child. Even when the child is asleep I am still responsible for his safety and well-being what price tag could you put on your childs life? So all the activities that make children happy are performed by the sitter and the responsibility is constant and often all is well but then there are times when accidents happen and when they do could I give you back my pay and call it even?
April 14, 2015 at 6:33 PM
Arlene R.
Arlene R.
The weekly rate that's being paid for child care is insane, we should get paid by the hours that we watch the children not a flat rate that's for a teenager not when you are watching the child 10 to 12 hour's a day and ACS only paid $20.80 per day that's sad that really need to change, someone need to check into that with the city and the state concerning this matter.
April 8, 2015 at 3:55 PM
La'keisha G.
La'keisha G.
Granny I think you are being taking advantage of. If I read correctly who were being paid $80 for up to 5 days but keeping the child for up to 9 hours? As a sitter I have always had a flat rate rather it is $10, $15, $20 an hour based on the number the children. Rarely have a babysat for kids who will just be sleeping. It sounds like you have a pretty regular schedule with them, however up to 5 days for almost 9 hours each day at $80 for the week is not fair to you at all.
April 3, 2015 at 9:07 PM
granny
granny
I baby sit a little 2 year old girl, when I started I was paid 80.00 for a 5 day week from 230 PM to 11:15 pm, her father brought the milk and juice and snacks, he paid me this no matter if it was a 3 day week or 5 day week. Then he needed me for 1 weekend day as well and we agreed on 100.00 a week for 6 day weeks, After 4 months now of doing this he is now I feel taking advantage of me, my hours are now 2PM to 1 or 2 am due to him taking classes at work, then if she misses a day or two he takes cash off the 80.00 week one time paying me 50.00 for a 3 day week and he has also quit bring juice and snacks, I provide all meals and snacks and if I go out I also spend my money on her not getting any back. I did not mind the extra hours due to being paid the same no matter how many days a week I watched her I felt it worked it's way out in the long run but now I feel I am getting the shaft and I am not sure how to talk to her father about it. BTW he is a single parent not mother in the picture.
February 27, 2015 at 2:48 PM
michael perry
michael perry
how much do we charge to babysit 4 kids different ages and sometimes up to 9hrs a day sometimes only 4hrs a day we cook for them but to they r family member to one of the kids r still in dippers just trying to figure out a day price or a weekly price to charge that's reasonable
November 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM
Rebecca R.
Rebecca R.
Robert W, if KIM can afford to pay her sitter well, more power to her. Look at this from a caregivers point of view for a moment. In my own area of Las Vegas, I see so many jobs that say they want a "flexible" person, but they don't always mean it as far as schedule goes, they mean it as far as pay goes. I see so many ads and have been contacted by many people that want 30+ hours per week from me, and only want to pay 150 or less! This also does not take into account that most of these people refuse to utilize local, state, and federal resources that can and do assist with childcare expenses. People also fail to realize that under the U.S. Department of Labor, we fall under the same umbrella as other domestic employees, which means anything less than minimum wage is ILLEGAL. Again, even if the parent(s) only make minimum wage, there ARE resources available to you for use, so there is no excuse to not pay minimum wage. AND I would like to point out, most sitters, nannies, etc WILL work with you on price to a point, but we don't want to be taken advantage of.
November 3, 2014 at 8:15 PM
Mary Reinhard
Mary Reinhard
I pay $30 flat rate for a saturday night. I have 2 potty trained kids and they will only be awake for 1.5 hours. The rest of the time can be spent being a warm body in the house and watching TV. I do not required much. I think these rates are crazy. I understand if you are adult nanny caregiver verse hiring a teen to watch kids sleep. The requirements are completely different, regardless these prices are insane. It should be a flat hourly rate and extras like driving cooking cleaning should be prorated accordingly. I would never expect someone to clean my house. Though ai use to for $2 an hour as a teen.
October 25, 2014 at 9:32 AM
Mariela
Mariela
I agree with you kandi k it just too much wtf
October 23, 2014 at 10:38 PM
Randi K.
Randi K.
If I am paying you $600 a week since that's 15 an hour with a 40 hour week, then how in the world is that you sacrificing? If I paid that and all you had were my two girls that's 1200 a week, a heck of a lot more than what a lot of other people make in even two weeks. No one is insulting anyone's intelligence. But as a mother who doesn't need my child to be picked up doesn't need my house cleaned or my puppy watched, I know for darn sure that amount is ridiculous. I understand we get what we pay for, so if I'm paying that much so someone can watch my girls for eight hours then I'll have a list of things I expect. It is not about single moms, it's about reality, about what In the world my girls are really getting out of all of this if I have to pay that much money just so I can work. Not all mothers are how a lot of you are explain us us to be. You want more money then we want to know our children are getting more and our money's worth. Because y'all aren't the only ones who don't feel like you are being paid enough after working your tails off just to make ends meet.
October 12, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Ann D.
Ann D.
Maybe someone could answer this question for me..When did it become my responsibility to sacrifice because you are a single mom. That is not my fault. I work very hard to support myself , I don't have a husband helping me, it is just me. And, for everyone who not only wants us to watch your children, clean your house, take care of your 3 month old puppy, and drive your children all over town using my personal vehicle all for 8.00 per hour, I ask you to create a budget for me so that I can pay my rent, utilities, groceries, vehicle maintenance, vehicle insurance, gas, health insurance, taxes at the end of the year, my yearly background check, CPR/First Aid certification, additional education. Oh yeah, I do have to splurge on toothpaste, soap, and deodorant as I have seen many people posting that one must be clean. It is not at all a livable wage. And please don't insult our intelligence, we know that although your posting says you want to pay 10-20 per hour what you really mean is I want someone who is worth that much but I can only afford 8.00. There are numerous people who take care of multiple children in their home for very little money, that would be your best bet, or hiring a neighborhood kid to drive your children around..
October 9, 2014 at 4:36 AM

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