Are You Paying Too Much for Your Babysitter?

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Hiring a babysitter can be a costly task. Sometimes it’s a necessary one, too. We know you enjoy an occasional girls’ night or date night away from the kids.

But how much should you be spending on your babysitter? And are you currently paying too much?

Thanks to recent investigations by MSNBC and UrbanSitter.com, you can better answer these questions.

UrbanSitter.com analyzed the cost of babysitting services in eight cities nationwide, with the following results. The most expensive babysitters? You’ll find ‘em in New York City, for an average of $15.50 per hour per child. The least expensive? Head to St. Louis and Denver, tied at $12 per hour per child.

That’s not all, though. Location is only one of a few important factors that determine the cost of babysitting services. And many of these factors are personal—they depend on your preferences and your family.

We’ve already made choosing one easy with our guide. The next step? Ask yourself the following four questions to make sure you don’t overpay for your babysitter’s services.

1. How Many Kids Do You Have?

Babysitters available on UrbanSitter often list different prices for their services depending on the number of kids they plan to babysit. It’s simple: More kids equal more money. The national average is $12.75 per kid.

2. Does Your Babysitter Have Previous Experiences or Skills Relevant to the Position?

It is essential to consider your babysitter’s past work experiences. Does she market herself as a full-time babysitter? Is she trained in CPR? Does she have her driver’s license or know how to swim? Many employers pay up for sitters who possess these skills and more.

3. Is Your Sitter a College Student?

According to Lynn Perkins, co-founder of UrbanSitter, the average employer will pay her college-age baby sitter less than an older or full-time sitter—and that’s OK. Many college students use part-time babysitting pay to supplement their on-campus jobs.

4. What Sorts of Services Will You Require of Your Babysitter?

Is your sitter accompanying you and your family on a weekend long trip, or watching your kid at home for a couple of hours while you’re at a business meeting? Pay your sitter according to the specific responsibilities you’ve assigned to her.

And Remember:

Paying your babysitter isn’t a science. Tip when appropriate (see our guide for tipping advice!). And, don’t forget: You have the final say when it comes to your sitter’s salary.

  • NYCPrepster

    From a babysitter’s perspective:

    Background: I have a college degree and work a full-time job, but babysit part-time to supplement my income.  I am a young professional, who speaks English as my primary language.  I regularly babysat for several families for over 5 years, and babysit occasionally for other random families on an as needed basis.A lot of people make a living off of babysitting, so don’t be too cheap, or else you will have issues finding sitters when you want them.Often times I get asked by several families to babysit at the same time.  I usually  decide which family to babysit for based on pay and hours.  I will decline babysitting for a family on a Saturday night who pays $15 an hour for two kids and only goes out for 3 hours vs. the other family that pays $23 an hour for two kids and goes out for six hours.  Also the family’s and children’s needs make a difference too.  If your child throws temper tantrums, misbehaves, or has trouble listening often, then you should pay more.  Most of the time the parent’s don’t realize their children are problems though; however, a babysitter will notice and won’t want to come back if this continues to be an issue, so pay accordingly.   Also, if your child has weird sleeping patterns like if he/she is a toddler whose bedtime is 11:30 pm vs. the average 8:00pm and you are going out for the night, then you should pay your sitter more.  They could have chosen to babysit for another family on a Saturday night whose kids go to bed at 7:30 pm, rather than having to entertain your child until 11:30.

    Also pay more if there are any weird routines your family has.  I babysat for one family who made their children so sensitive to light and noise at bedtime, that if you were in another room with the door closed and a light on, they thought it was disruptive, so I had to sit in the complete dark while the kids were asleep and parents were out, its not normal – Never Again!  

    So for these situations increase pay accordingly, or else you will have problems finding GOOD sitters who are willing to come back or babysit for you on a regular basis.

  • Kat

    Thanks for this article! I have two kids and work full time, so finding a sitter is often necessary. I usually hire college students (who are capable and reliable) but I always struggle to find the right price to pay.