What should you charge for a babysitting fee? First, you need to know the average babysitting rates in your area. Then, you can negotiate with the family.
A babysitter's hourly wage depends largely on three things:
- Your level of experience.
- The number of kids you will be watching.
- The location where you live or where you will be babysitting.
Experience: More experience means more pay. A babysitter's rate can go up if she has more experience. But be honest about your experience-babysitting your little brother or sister doesn't necessarily count as "years of experience." If you have had actual babysitting jobs for non-family members, you can add that to the yearly total.
Number of children: If you are watching more than one child, expect to be paid more. A good rule of thumb: Add an extra dollar for each additional child. So if you are usually paid $8.00 per hour for one child and a family has three kids, you could expect to make $10.00 per hour for that job.
Location: Higher cost of living equals more pay. If you come from a wealthier town (or the job is in a wealthier town), the rates tend to be higher. Do your homework and see what the pay rate is in three towns near your hometown. If there's a huge jump in a babysitter's wages from one town to a neighboring one, you'd be smart to look for babysitting jobs in the town that pays more.
Other factors can also determine the going rate for a babysitter:
- Overnight babysitting: What time of day are you watching the children? If you are only there to "housewatch" (i.e., babysit while the children are asleep), you can expect to be paid less. Overnight babysitting rates will typically be lower than your normal hourly salary. Although a babysitter's duties don't stop while the children are in bed, you don't have to plan activities, cook dinner, or supervise playdates and homework.
- Special needs and specialized care: Children with special needs may require more care and additional certifications, thus increasing your pay if you qualify as a babysitter of special needs children.
- Additional babysitting duties: Some families will pay more for a babysitter who cooks, does the laundry, and shuttles the kids to and from their various activities. Read the job description to make sure you understand the family's needs and expectations.
Determining a fee isn't as complicated as it seems. Thankfully, Care.com has a calculator that will tell you the going rate for hourly jobs near you. Visit the babysitting rates tool to help you calculate the going rate near you.
>>Have more babysitting questions? Return to the main Babysitting FAQs.
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 @tiffanyiswrite.