How to Set Babysitting Rates

You need to know how to set babysitting rates in your area before you begin interviewing potential babysitters. This is a critical step, because you don't want to overpay, but you also don't want to go so low that good sitters turn you down in favor of more lucrative work. You want to offer a fair but competitive rate to ensure that you get a happy babysitter that will return to your house.

Find the Going Rate
There are several ways to determine the going babysitter rate for your area. The easiest way is to ask other neighborhood parents what they pay per hour.

You can also check with several established babysitters to see what they are charging per hour. It is easy to find their information on bulletin boards, or listed in a community newspaper.

Several online services are now available that can help you establish the local babysitting rate. These services use your zip code along with information about your family size and age of the children to determine an average pay rate.Generally, if you live in a more metropolitan area the hourly rate will be one or two dollars more then a rural area.

Factor in the Variables
Babysitting rates also vary depending on the age of your babysitter and what additional skills they bring. An older babysitter that holds certificates in CPR, YMCA Babysitting Certification or other childhood development should be offered a higher rate. If your babysitter will be driving your kids, it's common to include either a fixed amount for gas and mileage or a per-mile allowance.

The number of children you have also affects the babysitting rate, as does having an infant. Expect to pay more for feeding and changing a baby or to have your sitter watch several children. Don't forget the personalities of your kids, either. If they're a handful at bedtime, your babysitter will expect a higher rate.

If you want your babysitter to do a few simple chores while watching your children, that needs to be discussed and additional pay should be offered. Babysitters expect to tidy up after feeding your children and to keep the toys and games neatI. f you expect your sitter to vacuum, do laundry or dust, you should expect to pay her extra.

If you have a sitter that will be doing you a favor, such as coming in on short notice, canceling plans for you, working very late or working on a holiday, you are expected to pay them a little bit extra.

Remember that your babysitter is watching your most precious possession: your children. If you are seen as a fair employer with good pay, you'll have babysitters beating on your doors for a job. 

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