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7 Things You Can Do to Get More -- and Better -- Babysitting Jobs

Nov. 3, 2017

In our 2017 Babysitter Survey, over 800 parents told us what they look for in a sitter. Here's what you can do to make yourself stand out.

Image via Stocksy.com

Are you in the market for a new babysitting job? Whether you’re free to look after kiddos before schoolafter school, on weeknights or during weekends, there are always plenty of opportunities for you to find a new job and earn some extra cash.

But how do you make your resume stand out in a crowd? What can you do to boost your background and make sure you qualify for more jobs? 

To help answer all of these big questions -- and ultimately get you a new babysitting job -- we took a look at the data from Care.com's 2017 Babysitter Survey. The survey collected responses from over 800 parents, who shared their thoughts about what they look for in a sitter, their biggest concerns, and the rates they’re willing to pay for different levels of experience and certifications.

From these insights, we pulled together eight pieces of advice that every babysitter should consider before she continues her job hunt:
 

1) Parents Love Extra Experience and Training

Two out of three parents said that they'd happily raise their hourly rates by as much as $2 for a babysitter who has extra experience and training. And if you’re in school for early childhood education (or have a degree), 41% of parents also said that they would pay more for that expertise.

Check out this table to see which types of education and certifications parents value the most:

Education/Certification Type

Percentage of Responses

College Degree

31%

High School Degree

11.6%

Safety Training (e.g., CPR & First Aid Certification)

66.2%

Early Education Degree

40.7%

Water Safety Certification

14.6%

Special Needs Care

12.8%

Infant Care Certification

30.9%

State-Level Child Care Certification Required for Preschool Teachers

33%

What you can do: Make sure you note your experience and any certifications you have on your Care.com profile. Don’t have any official training? If you're a nanny, check out this list of 12 nanny training courses and certifications. If you're a babysitter, check out this list of 8 babysitting training courses you can take.


2) Familiarize Yourself With Local and National Rates

Eighty-three percent of parents said that babysitters should make over minimum wage ($7.25/hour), so you should feel confident in asking for at least that much. It's also worth noting that, in 2016, the national average hourly rate for babysitters was $13.97 -- up from $12.09 in 2011.

Now, let's talk local rates.

Where you live (and work) matters, even for babysitters. If you live in a big city, you'll probably end up having to charge more for each babysitting job than if you lived in a suburban or rural area. But that's okay -- most people recognize that when costs of living are higher, wages will be higher, too.

To give you an idea of how wages can fluctuate by area, take a look at the tables below:

The Five Highest-Paying Big Cities for Babysitters (Per Hour)

1. San Jose, CA

$16.68

2. San Francisco, CA

$16.52

3. Bridgeport, CT

$15.74

4. Boston, MA

$15.51

5. New York, NY

$15.23

The Five Lowest-Paying Big Cities for Babysitters (Per Hour)

1. Youngstown, OH

$11.81

2. Toledo, OH

$12.24

3. McAllen, TX

$12.36

4. Lakewood, FL

$12.52

5. Akron, OH

$12.67

(If you'd like to see more data, check out our PDF of Care.com annual babysitter rates for our top metro areas.)

What you can do: If you're still not sure what you should charge, try out our babysitting pay rate calculator. It'll help you find out what other babysitters are charging in your area.

Keep in mind that sitters make (on average) about 2% more for babysitting newborns than for watching older kids. Parents also pay more during the school season -- so get your jobs locked down in August.


3) Be Available When Parents Need You Most

Sixty-five percent of parents said that they looked for date night sitters, and 61% wanted a daytime sitter. About a quarter of families said they're looking for consistent after-school care, but only about 10% need before-school or overnight care.

What you can do: If you want to increase your odds of getting a new job, make yourself available during the times parents need you most!

Also, keep yourself available for last-minute bookings. Half of our respondents said they'd pay at least $3 more per hour for a last-minute sitter.


4) Verify Your Background

More than half of parents said that the hardest part about hiring a sitter is finding someone they trust. Show parents you have nothing to hide by sharing more information about your past and experience. 

What you can do: Provide them with access to your background check, as well as a list of your references.

On Care.com, you can purchase your own background check and provide parents access to it as you apply to jobs. Parents can also ask to purchase a background check for you. And, you can add references right to your profile when you sign up, or ask parents to leave reviews for you once you’ve worked with them.

Read all about our background checks and the information they collect here.


5) Stay as Up-to-Date as Possible

Did you know that a quarter of parents like to book their sitter two weeks in advance, and a third want to book a sitter a week before? This means that you need to have a good idea of when you’re available and make sure your availability calendar reflects that.

What you can do: This is a great opportunity for you to develop and hone your organizational skills. If you don't already, start keeping track of your daily responsibilities in some kind of calendar or planner. It doesn't need to be fancy; it can be the calendar app on your phone. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you're updating it every time your schedule changes, and then transferring those changes to your Care.com profile and any job applications you send out.


6) Have a Backup Plan

Almost all of the parents who responded to our survey said that they have two or three sitters “on rotation" in the event that a sitter cancels or has a scheduling conflict, or if the parents have last-minute plans.

What you can do: Make it clear to your next family that you won’t leave them hanging. How? Provide them with your own recommendations for qualified sitters who can fill in for you if you can't make a shift.


7) Go Above and Beyond

Babysitting can involve more than just watching the kiddos. Nearly 80 percent of parents have asked sitters to clean up after the kids have gone to bed; over 40 percent asked sitters to wash the dishes; and 25 percent asked for them to organize and tidy up the house.

What you can do: Try to incorporate some of these tasks into the babysitting services you offer. Parents who come home to a clean, quiet house are generally very impressed -- a third of parents even tip their sitters for a job well done!

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