Parent’s Guide: How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter

Parents often find they need to delegate care of their child to a trusted individual. However, it can be a bit difficult to know how much you should pay a sitter. Sitters also face a dilemma deciding how much their rates should be. The following are a few pointers to assist.


According to’s 2015 Cost of Care metrics, the median babysitter’s rate is $15.02 per hour. However, this can vary for a variety of reasons. How do you determine how much to charge or what you should pay to a babysitter?

These survey also sheds some light on babysitter employment and salary. Look at the graph and video for more information. Then keep reading for the details on what you should be shelling out for a sitter.


Inforgraphic about the average babysitting rate - image source

Hiring a sitter is a big decision and one most family don’t take lightly. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Going Rate

Research your area so you know what the going rate is for sitters. The rate likely has changed with time, like many other fields. You want to offer to pay a fee that attracts competent sitters. You will likely have to offer a rate that differs from what you paid years ago.

Here is a review of what babysitter rates have been trending nation wide in recent years. As of 2014, the average rate for sitters was $13.44 per hour. Babysitter fees have risen over 28 percent since 2009. Below babysitter pay rate calculator can help you determine the usual rate for babysitters around your neighborhood.

  • 2009: $10.50
  • 2010: $11.11
  • 2011: $12.09
  • 2012: $12.02
  • 2013: $12.07
  • 2014: $13.44
  • 2015: $15.02

Minimum Wage

Make sure when setting a wage for your sitter that it is at least the minimum wage for your state. According to a survey of parents at, 3 out of 4 of them feel babysitters should earn a rate over minimum wage. As many employees feel they should receive pay commensurate with their experience, many parents feel this should also apply to domestic workers like sitters.

Location - Urban Vs Rural


Those who reside in a larger urban area can anticipate paying more for a sitter than someone who lives in a smaller rural area or even in the suburbs. Larger cities can have a higher cost of living and that can translate into higher wages including for sitters. Sitters in San Francisco earn $16.55 hourly and are one of the highest paid sitters in the US. By comparison babysitters in Grand Rapids, MI earn $11.31 per hour and are the lowest paid care givers.

Take a look at the cheapest and costliest places to hire a sitter:

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Hire a Sitter

  • 1. San Francisco, CA $16.55
  • 2. San Jose, CA $15.63
  • 3. Boston, MA $15.37
  • 4. New York, NY $15.09
  • 5. Washington DC $14.99
  • 6. Bridgeport, CT $14.91
  • 7. Seattle, WA $14.43
  • 8. Hartford, CT $14.28
  • 9. Los Angeles, CA $14.27
  • 10. Philadelphia, PA $14.19

Top 10 Least Expensive Places to Hire a Babysitter

  • 1. Grand Rapids, MI $11.31
  • 2. Columbia, SC $11.72
  • 3. Rochester, NY $11.79
  • 4. Salt Lake City, UT $11.82
  • 5. Akron, OH $11.84
  • 6. Colorado Springs, CO $11.85
  • 7. Des Moines, IA $11.97
  • 8. Tulsa, OK $12.00
  • 9. Boise, ID $12.06
  • 10. Omaha, NB $12.16

Babysitter's Age

Typically you would pay younger sitter less than you would pay an older sitter, as younger sitters as they tend to have less experience.

Sitter's Experience

Experience can cost you. Consider how much experience you desire for the caregiver of your children. Are you going to choose a sitter that has multiple years of experience sitting with children? Or are you more comfortable with a novice sitter that is just beginning? A recent poll of parents discovered that up to 51 percent of parents would shell out for dollars for an older sitter with more experience.

Ask pertinent questions during the interview process to help whittle down your list of potential sitters. Pose scenarios and get into detail so that you have a better idea of how the sitters stack up. How much experience you want can shape the salary you set for your sitter.


Sitter Classification

Are you looking for a nanny or a babysitter? Do you realize that there is a distinction between the two? There is also a difference in the rate of pay. A sitter is for one in a while child care. A sitter can care for your child on your date nights or fill in for a play date as these are short snippets of time. Hire a nanny for full time and day to day care of your children. Nannies are experienced professionals, well versed in child rearing and child development. Thus they command a higher rate of pay.

Quantity of Children

If you are a parent of multiple children and need a sitter, budget an additional $2-$5 per hour per child. (So, if you'd pay $55 for 1 child for 4 hours, expect to pay about $65 for 2 children, $75 for 3 and so on.)

How Long She's Worked for You

Your sitter’s pay should increase the longer they have been with you. The sitter’s experience grows as they spend more years with you. Their wage should reflect this. Ofcourse, almost parents would provide a raise to their sitter for longevity.


Additional training can be a great trait to look for and can also warrant a higher salary. There are a few types of training and degrees that parents find invaluable. A recent survey breaks down how parents weigh the training:

  • CPR/First Aid/safety training: 53%
  • College degree: 11.3%
  • High school degree: 7.6%
  • Early education degree: 9.5%
  • Doesn't matter: 18.6%

Many parents highly value safety training and certification. Should an accident occur, a sitter with CPR or first aid knowledge could maintain their cool and take the right course of action. This provides peace of mind to potential parents and is why sitters with this specialized training typically cost more to hire. The extra effort sitters put forth to earn the training should merit a higher fee.


Booking Timeline

When you choose to hire a sitter can effect their rate. One-third of parents pick a sitter a week before the sitter is needed. About 26 percent hire a sitter the week that they need them.

Hiring a sitter last minute can increase the rate. According to 64 percent of parents reported they would pay a higher fee to secure a sitter at the last moment.


Valentine’s Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day are the days parents are most likely to higher a babysitter. Since parents will be more likely to be in the market for a sitter at these times, rates can be higher. Sitters may also be in short supply. For best availability and lower rates, secure the sitter at an early date.


Consider adjusting the sitter’s rate to reflect their responsibilities. Sitters that are with the children for a longer period of time or who have a larger share of chores should be paid more. If the sitter prepares meals for your child consider adding a bit more to the rate for the effort.


Provide extra to sitters that provide transportation. If your children have soccer practice, ballet lessons or band practice and your sitter is dropping them off and picking them up, add more to their pay to compensate them.

Hiring a sitter is a very personal decision. Knowing how to hire a sitter and what the appropriate rate should be can help make the process easier for parents.



I’m Elizabeth J. Johnson, a 30-year-old from sunny California. I have married to a wonderful man & have 2 little girls. They are the cutest lover, the sweetest hugger & the best inspiration.

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