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Babysitter pay rates: What's the going rate for a babysitter?

Tiffany Smith
Aug. 9, 2018
Babysitter Rates: What Is the Current Going Rate for a Babysitter?
Image via Stocksy.com/Hex.

According to the 2018 Care.com Cost of Care Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2017 was $243 per week, or $16.20 per hour an increase of $11 from $232 per week in 2016. However, the rates vary from city to city. For instance, San Francisco has the highest rate in the country, at $18.87 per hour, while Logan, Utah, has the nation's lowest rate, at $13.11 per hour. 

How much should you charge for babysitting?

Before you lock down your own babysitter rate, you'll first need to figure out what other babysitters typically charge families to watch their kids.

One way to do this is by using a babysitting rates calculator to find out what the going rates are in your particular area. Another way to do this is by reviewing 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.

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

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

1. Experience

More experience means more pay. A babysitter's rate can go up if she has more experience. But sitters should be honest about their 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 sitters are watching more than one child, they can expect to be paid more. A good rule of thumb: Add an extra dollar for each additional child. So if a sitter is usually paid $12 per hour for one child and a family has three kids, the caregiver could expect to make $14 per hour for that job.

3. 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 use a babysitter rate 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.

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.

If you have more questions about the going rate, visit the Babysitter Cost Guide. Have more babysitting questions? Head over to the Babysitting FAQs.

Tiffany Smith 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. Follow her on Twitter @tiffanyiswrite.

July 14, 2016

I'm sorry, I went to the care.com site to see how much I should be paying my babysitter. For my zip code. It says 10.00 an hour. I don't think I'm a cheapo. But I only make 8.00 at my job. Typically in my area. Babysitter only get paid a couple dollars an hour. 2/3 . I pay mine around 4, but more if she does extra.

May 17, 2016

Hello I'm just starting out watching a 3 and 4 year old I provide them with breakfast,snack,lunch,snack, and drinks for 8 hours. I also supply them with arts and crafts and coloring and such snd make home made bubbles.I do this from my home. Come summer I'll be watching their 9 year old as well. How much should I charge? Right now they pay $40 a day for all I do. Am I being taken advantage of? I live in Salem or.

March 29, 2016

I am the parent of a specials needs child, and just curious what kind of training is required to sit with some one else's special needs child. I never had any help and just curious. I was a stay at home mom and I am sure there are lots of parents that would appreciate help and what rate should be charged? Just curious and looking for some info/guidelines, if any? Thanks!

March 12, 2016

I babysit and I don't know how to go by getting paid by the state can u help me please

May 30, 2015

What is a going rate to charge for two children mother get paid every two weeks

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