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How to start a babysitting business

Here’s how to start a babysitting business, land great jobs and build your dream child care career, according to pros.

How to start a babysitting business

Maybe you’ve dabbled in babysitting here and there and are looking to make it a more regular gig. Or, perhaps you know that babysitting is where it’s at for you and want to build a successful babysitting career or side job. Not only is starting a babysitting business a good financial move, but there are a lot of perks to babysitting, especially for people who enjoy working with kids and need flexibility.

“Some of the benefits of having a babysitting business are that, much like the Babysitter’s Club, you can set your own schedule, decide which clients to take and you get great pleasure from helping out families,” says Laurie Bardon-Syphard, a former sitter from Baltimore who babysat regularly in the years before she became a mom.

If you are looking to make babysitting a steady gig, we’ve got you covered. Here, experienced babysitters share everything you need to know about how to start a successful babysitting business. 

Steps to starting a babysitting business

Eager to get started on launching your babysitting business? First, let’s take a quick look at the steps necessary to get started, according to the experts.

1. Create a resume

The babysitters we spoke to were divided on the question of resumes. Most said babysitting tends to be fairly informal, so resumes aren’t always necessary. Still, when you’re starting a business, having a documented list of your work experience, education, training and references can help you appear more professional.

If you decide to write one, here’s what to include in a babysitting resume:

  • Up-to-date contact information.
  • A short paragraph introducing yourself and the types of jobs you prefer.
  • Your relevant work history.
  • Education, training and certifications.
  • Any special skills or achievements relevant to your babysitting work.
  • At least two quality references.

If a paper resume seems too stuffy, consider creating a simple website with your skills, testimonials and the best way to contact you. Many platforms, such as WordPress and Wix, will let you create websites for free.

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2. Choose the best babysitting references

Whether you write a resume or not, most families will want references before hiring you. That can be challenging if you are just getting started as a babysitter and don’t have experience yet. There are some workarounds, though.

A babysitting reference could be anyone you babysat, even briefly. You could also include situations in which you were a mother’s helper and the parent was still home, but you were helping with their care, says Bardon-Syphard. Past experience caring for siblings and young cousins can work well too, she adds.

“I suggest that if you do not have any references, be honest about it and use a close friend or family as a reference, just so the family can call someone, especially after the interview,” Giron says. Families often just want to know that you are trustworthy, so personal references of any kind usually work.

3. Get your babysitter trainings and certifications up-to-date

By and large, babysitter training isn’t strictly necessary; however, getting trained and certified can only help you look more professional. The most common training options for sitters include:

  • CPR and first-aid training.
  • Babysitter, child care or nanny certification.
  • Water safety certification.
  • Infant safety certification.

If you are going to focus on only one type of training, it should probably be CPR training, says Bardon-Syphard. “A lot of families prefer babysitters to have basic first-aid and even CPR training, so if you can do that before you get started, that will give you a leg up in the business,” she explains.

“Nine out of 10 families will ask for CPR training. Some actually will even offer to pay for it. To be certified is a big plus.”

— Patricia Giron

Giron says that she’s seeing a trend lately where families are requesting — and sometimes even funding — safety training. “Lately, nine out of 10 families will ask for CPR training,” she says. “Some actually will even offer to pay for it. To be certified is a big plus.”

4. Consider creating a babysitting contract

Do you need a contract in order to be a babysitter? For shorter or infrequent jobs, the answer is often no. But some parents do prefer a babysitting contract — and some babysitters prefer them too. Giron says contracts are essential to her because they protect her interests as a worker.

“In the contract, I first write everything that is expected of me,” Giron says. “That involves meals, play dates, naps, outside activities — whatever is expected for me to do with the baby or child during my day with them.”

For Giron — who has babysitting clients she cares for several days a week on a regular basis — having things like paid time off, sick days and vacation days locked into a contract are also important. “I put everything in writing and in detail,” says Giron. “Once everyone agrees and signs it, I begin the job.”

5. Set up an online job profile

Find a babysitting job

Parents often turn to Google or trusted child care websites, such as, to find child care near them. Once you’re ready to start work, set up your online job profile with as much detailed information about yourself as possible. Be sure to include:

  • Availability.
  • Contact info.
  • What services you offer.
  • Your unique skills, training and certifications.

The more personal and specific the better. Client testimonials are helpful too. And don’t forget to add a professional photo of yourself!

Advertising and growing your babysitting business 

These days, there are many options when it comes to spreading the word about your babysitting business, especially now that parents and sitters can connect with one another easily online. But old fashioned, in-person spreading-the-word still works too. Here’s what babysitters recommend. 

Advertise services in your community

Find areas where potential clients might congregate, and then spread the word about your services. This might include advertising at:

  • Preschools.
  • Churches.
  • Local libraries.
  • Recreation centers.

Local marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, either. “You can easily make advertising materials [like business cards and flyers] using basic apps like Canva or even Microsoft PowerPoint, and put them in places where you think families might see them,” Bardon-Syphard offers. 

Use social media for marketing

“I got started by looking for who needed help with their kids on social platforms,” Giron says. “People always need childcare.” Moms and dads love to connect on social media platforms, especially in parents’ groups. Try posting about your business on sites like Facebook or in local online parent forums.

The benefits of running your own babysitting business

Customizable hours, adorable kids — there are many perks to starting a babysitting business. Here’s what some seasoned sitters have to say about the benefits of babysitting. 

Flexible scheduling

Anna Rollins, a former babysitter from Huntington, West Virginia, really values the flexibility of babysitting and how she was able to arrange it around her college schedule. “This was a great side job to have in conjunction with graduate work,” she says. “The babysitting usually happened in evenings, during summer or on weekends, and I was always free to turn down a job.”

Meaningful connections

It’s possible to form deep and meaningful connections to the families you babysit for — some that last for years. “I’m still in touch with many of the kids I sat for [in the past],” says Rollins. “Several of them visited our family this past summer. I also just had a baby girl two months ago, and her middle name is named after a little girl I babysat and absolutely adored.” 

“Before kids, I did marketing and sales, but now I babysit because of the flexibility it gives me to be with my own kids.”

— Patricia Giron, babysitter and mom of three

Babysitting is a great side gig

Not only does babysitting offer flexible hours, but you can even run a babysitting business while doing other types of part-time work. Kate Orson, who babysat during her pregnancy and following a move abroad, loves babysitting because it allows her to earn extra cash while doing other things she loves. Orson is a writer, teaches writing workshops and also works as a parent coach. “It suits me to juggle my [babysitting] work around the other self-employed work,” Orson says.

You can (sometimes) bring your kids to work

Patricia Giron of Port Washington, New York, is a mom of three who babysits around her kids’ schedules, and says it’s awesome for her. “The flexibility that babysitting gives me as far as scheduling is great,” she says. “Before kids, I did marketing and sales, but now I babysit because of the flexibility it gives me to be with my own kids.”

The bottom line

Babysitting is a great gig for college students, parents or anyone who is looking for flexible hours and highly individualized work. Running a babysitting business can be extremely rewarding, especially if you enjoy working with babies and young children.

The good thing is that launching your own babysitting business isn’t very complicated. You do usually need references, but you don’t necessarily need years of babysitting work under your belt to get started. You can decide if things like contracts or certifications are right for you. And, importantly, spreading the word can happen easily online or in person.

Best of all, babysitting is always in demand. Finding steady work is all about showing families that you are responsible, kind and reliable. The meaningful connections you make with each job can help sustain and grow your babysitting business for years to come.