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Babysitter Pay Rates: What's the Going Rate for a Babysitter?

Tiffany Smith
March 30, 2018

In 2016, the average babysitter rate was nearly $14 per hour. Learn how to determine what you should charge based on three important factors.

Babysitter Rates: What Is the Current Going Rate for a Babysitter?
Image via Stocksy.com/Hex.

According to the 2017 Care.com Babysitter Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2016 was about $13.97 per hour -- which is up 26 percent from $11.11 per hour in 2010. However, the rates vary from city to city. For instance, San Jose, California has the highest rate in the country, at $16.68 per hour, while Youngstown, Ohio has the nation's lowest rate, at $11.81 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 babysitting rates are in your particular area. Another way to do this is by reviewing other babysitters' Care.com 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 $12.00 per hour for one child and a family has three kids, the caregiver could expect to make $14.00 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.

Determining a fee isn't as complicated as it seems. If you have more questions about the going rate, visit the Babysitter Cost Guide or refer to Child Care Rates. Have more babysitting questions? Return to the main 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.

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