Whether it’s a preordained plan or a sudden emergency, babysitters are lifesavers when you need a helping hand. However, setting a fair price for your sitter can be a challenge. You must first consider several factors — after all, you want to attract the best help at a reasonable price.
Here are questions to ask yourself when evaluating how much to pay a babysitter.
1. Where Do You Live?
Location helps you understand a base price that can be adjusted to fit your unique circumstances. For instance, in California, the minimum wage is $13, but in Texas, it’s only $7.25. Where you live can dictate the pay expected by most sitters. You must offer competitive compensation without overpaying.
Hourly Babysitting Rates in NYC
If you’re raising a family in New York City, you already know that childcare can be a huge expense. But that’s just par for the course in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. And you really can’t put a price on the peace of mind you get from knowing your children are in good hands at all times. But it’s not just weekday childcare that can cost a pretty penny.
Babysitting in the Big Apple is quite a lucrative business, and if you’ve found a sitter you’re happy with, you’ll want to ensure you’re paying her a competitive wage that she’s happy with. Not sure how much that is? According to Indeed.com, the average rate for a babysitter in NYC is around $18/hour for one child and tends to increase for additional children. Here’s a breakdown by the borough of the average hourly babysitting rates in NYC (data from Indeed.com):
|Average Hourly Babysitting Rate
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2. How much do you pay a babysitter for an entire weekend?
There’s certainly no reason to feel inclined to pay higher rates for weekend evenings, but there is information to consider when determining how much to pay a weekend sitter.
Babysitting Rates for an Entire Weekend
If there aren’t any grandparents or other family members or close friends to step in, you’ll have to rely on a weekend babysitter to fill your shoes while you’re away. And that’s a hard thing to do! Not only do you have to decide whether you trust your sitter to handle everything in the house as well as the kids, you have to figure out how much to pay her!
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how much to pay for a weekend babysitter, the best rate is the one that feels right for both parties. This certainly isn’t a situation where you want your sitter to do the bare minimum because she feels underpaid! However, you shouldn’t be obligated to pay a daytime hourly rate while everyone’s asleep either.
The best thing to do? Add up the exact number of hours you’ll be away and pay your weekend babysitter her standard hourly rate for all of the daytime hours.
Pay a reduced rate, maybe half, for the overnight hours each night, but then consider offering a flat-rate bonus for the amount of work that she’ll be doing. To make it easier for your sitter, fully stock the kitchen with food and beverages (bonus points for stocking some of her favorites!) and leave cash for a pizza night. If your weekend babysitter will be expected to drive, gas up the car. If public transportation will be part of the equation, make sure that’s covered as well. And finally, ensure your sitter has some downtime by arranging a playdate or movie night; anything to give her a small break will be greatly appreciated.
3. How Many Children Will Be Watched?
Typically, you should add a few dollars for each additional child that needs to be watched. For instance, if you have one child, you might pay $10 an hour, but $12 for two and $15 for three. Extra children can increase the complexity of the job because the sitter will need to navigate group dynamics.
4. What Are Their Ages?
Young children — 10 and under — require more supervision than pre-teens. As youngsters age, they require less oversight from a caretaker. Children ages 11 and up can take the Red Cross Babysitter Basics course. This means that kids who are 11 or older can look after themselves for short periods.
In comparison, babies and toddlers require more intensive care, and the pay should reflect the level of involvement needed.
5. How Much Experience Are You Looking For?
Like any job, you pay for experience. Less-experienced babysitters expect lower wages. If you are hiring someone with extensive training, then you must compensate them for their knowledge. Some adults might have over 10 years of practice caring for children — ask in advance to avoid making assumptions.
Try using a babysitting calculator as a guide to adjust for experience levels.
6. Will the Sitter Have Additional Responsibilities?
It’s common for babysitters to have additional responsibilities outside of physically watching the kids. It’s best to make a list of what you expect your sitter to handle. Will they pick up the children and transport them to after-school activities? If so, you’ll need to pay for gas.
Will your sitter cook or clean at your house? In that case, will they be responsible for small chores, extensively cleaning the house, maintaining the outdoors or a combination of tasks?
Discuss your needs upfront to ensure your babysitter is comfortable with the additional responsibilities. While some tasks may be grouped into the job description, widespread duties should be fully compensated.
7. What’s the Occasion?
Sometimes situations pop up, and you need a sitter immediately. On short notice, you may pay more than if you had made plans in advance. Likewise, you should plan additional compensation for holidays like Valentine’s Day.
8. Do Your Children Require Specialized Attention?
If you have a child with special needs, it’s crucial to find a qualified caretaker. Search caregiver sites or reach out to your child’s school or doctor for referrals. Always leave your sitter with a list of emergency contact numbers.
Find a Babysitter Who Matches Your Needs
A caretaker who’s competent and kind can be priceless. By answering these seven questions, you can determine how much to pay your babysitter. Relax knowing that your children are looked after and you’ve paid the right amount for your evening off.
Christin Perry is a freelance writer and editor living in the DC area. She specializes in the lifestyle genre and her writing has been published by The Knot, The Bump, and LittleThings.com.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!