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How much to charge for babysitting

From the going babysitting rates where you live to other factors that determine a sitter's pay rate, here’s what you need to know to determine how much to charge for babysitting per hour.

Whether you’re new to babysitting or just re-evaluating the hourly rate that you’ve been charging, it’s important to get familiar with the average babysitter rates and the variety of factors that sitters and families factor in when settling on a rate. Here’s what you need to know to determine a babysitting rate per hour that works for everyone.

Know the going rate for babysitting

Before you nail down your own babysitter rate, you’ll first need to figure out what other babysitters typically charge families to watch their kids. According to Care.com’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, parents paid after-school sitters an average of $244 per week. After-school sitters made an average of $16.26 per hour, working about three hours a day, or a total of 15 hours per week. 

While knowing this national average is a good starting point, it doesn’t tell you what you exactly what you can expect to earn in your city or based on your experience and the job duties at hand. There are several other key factors you want to take into consideration.

Know the factors that can influence babysitting rates

In general, a babysitter’s hourly wage depends largely on three things:

  • Your level of sitter experience.
  • The number of kids the sitter will be watching.
  • The location where you live or where you will be babysitting.

1. Experience

The more babysitting jobs or hours you’ve worked means the more pay you can earn. But be reasonable about what you count as true experience. Caring for 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.

2. Number of children

If you are watching more than one child, you can expect to be paid more. A good rule of thumb: Add an extra dollar for each additional child. So if you are usually paid $15 per hour for one child and a family has three kids, you could expect to make $17 per hour for that job.

How much to charge for babysitting 1, 2, 3 or 4 kids

Example, based on usual rate of $15 per hour:

Number of kidsHourly Rate
1 child$15.00/hr
2 children$16.00/hr
3 children$17.00/hr
4 children$18.00/hr

3. Location

If you are babysitting in an area with a higher cost of living, the rates tend to be higher. Do your homework and use a babysitting rates calculator to 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, sitters would be smart to look for babysitting jobs in the town that pays more.

Here are some examples of the going babysitter rates based on location, according to recent Care.com data.

Current babysitter rates for top cities*

CITYHOURLY BABYSITTER RATE
Seattle, Washington$19.25/hr
Brooklyn, New York$18.00/hr
Washington, D.C. $17.00/hr
San Diego, California$16.75/hr
Portland, Oregon$16.50/hr
Denver, Colorado$16.00/hr
Atlanta, Georgia$15.50/hr
Minneapolis, Minnesota$15.50/hr
Chicago, Illinois$15.00/hr
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$15.00/hr
Charlotte, North Carolina$15.00/hr
Phoenix, Arizona$14.75/hr
Houston, Texas$14.75/hr
Orlando, Florida$13.50/hr
San Antonio, Texas$13.00/hr
* Rate information as of 2/3/2022

Other factors can also determine the going rate for a babysitter:

  • Overnight babysitting: If you are babysitting the whole night, your hourly rate may be lower than normal, but you’re getting paid for more hours than you would for a typical “date night” job. 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.
  • Infants, special needs and specialized care: Infants and children with special needs may require more care and additional certifications, thus increasing your pay if you qualify as a babysitter of infants or children who require specialized care.
  • 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.

Check out the competition

Another way to make sure you’re charging the appropriate amount is to review other babysitters’ online profiles to see how much they’re charging for babysitting services. You’ll also be able to see what additional skills, certifications, training or work experience these sitters have that are being reflected in their babysitting fees and it’ll give you ideas for ways to boost your own babysitter resume, too.

Don’t forget about taxes

Remember that your babysitting rate is how much you’ll be paid before taxes are taken into account. If you earn $2,400 or more working for a family during the year, they’ll have to withhold some taxes from you and pay taxes of their own. Take a few minutes to read about how payroll and taxes work so you’re prepared in case they apply to you.

Have more babysitting questions? Head over to the Professional Guide for Babysitters.