Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A really good babysitter is hard to find. 
Actually, when my friends or I find a new one we sometimes hoard her contact info; keeping it in our circle and giving it away only in desperate situations with the promise "please don't give this to anyone else." 
Daytime babysitters are even more rare and therefore tenfold as valuable. 
I have two home-schooled, responsible, trustworthy gals in my pocket and I adore them.
And I will do just about anything to keep them coming back.

Can you put a price on keeping this cuteness from harms way?
But, it has come to my attention lately that babysitting is a very lucrative business. 
I think I have mentioned this in a blog post before, but I am blown away by home much babysitters are paid. Even when accounting for inflation it seems that today's babysitters make much more money per hour than I did as a teen. In college I made a bit more money, but I also picked-up kids from school, drove them around town, took them swimming and biking, etc. I wasn't just sitting in a living room at 10pm watching TV while the kids slept. 

Somedays, I think I may want to be a babysitter myself. I would love to eat frozen pizza, tuck a few squirmy kids into bed and then read a book for a few hours --all while making fifty bucks!

Monday morning friends and I were sitting at the beach discussing the recent raise in rate one of our sitters requested (15 years old and requesting over $10/hour) when one friend shared some great information. She said the key is to lay it all out there right from the beginning. Tell your sitter how much you pay. And even better than that - have a pay scale based on cleaning up the house, putting away dishes, etc. 

For example:

 Tell a new sitter, "I pay $X an hour, but if you clean-up, fold laundry, empty dish-washer, etc then I pay "X+2 per hour"

Additionally, she recommended having a different rate for when kids are sleeping than when they are awake. I've never done this before but it seems like a good idea.

Personally, I also pay based on age.

High School students start at a lower rate than college or post-college students. I just don't see why a high school sophomore should be paid (under-the-table) more than minimum wage (unless they prove themselves to go above and beyond and then I'll consider bumping it up.) 

Now that I've written this post I'm remembering that I did blog something similar recently so obviously it's a hot button topic for me. 
But I really am curious - do you pay more than $10/hour for babysitting? 
Does your rate go down after the kids are sleeping?
Do you pay extra for straightening up the house?


Ryan and Camille said...

10 was the asking rate for some in our area, in a "more wealthy" neighborhood. I started saying that I paid even a little less (8), and I have a ton of great sitters who are happy to work for 8 (especially when it starts to add up...even 8 an hour adds up alot!) I even told one sitter that we loved her, but when we hire multiple times a month, we cant afford to pay 10 an hour and she happily switched ( I also think it's crazy. Maybe kids expect to earn more now?)

Here's a bit of background logic... I asked a local teacher and she did a poll and said that the students reported that 8 was a normal amount to pay. Some students just ask for more, and I even had one ask for way less (I still paid her 8). Since I pay lower than some, I don't pay anything different for sleeping kids, and I just praise the heck out of the kids who clean, and hire them back and refer them. I had the exact same battle in my head as you are. I hope I don't sound stingy but 1. we just cant afford it and 2. I too have paid out 50 and above so my sitters are taking home some cash! ; )

Jessica G. said...

I posted about this on facebook a couple months back and got so many responses about it! And I couldn't believe how all over the board people are with paying their babysitters. I do like the idea of just laying it all out there ahead of time and letting them take it or leave it.

And to be honest, I have only ever paid a sitter once. Here's the thing, we never go out on a date unless my parents come into town and can watch the kids. And as for during the day, I just trade off with my mom friends...they watch my kids if I have a dr appt or something and I do the same for them. I am just super cheap when it comes to things like shelling out money for baby sitting. Even when we lived in Scotland, we never once paid for a sitter. We just traded our sitting services with other families in our church.

Anonymous said...

In college I watched a family of three children (ages 2-8) and made $12/hr. Considering it was three children, I felt it was fair. I didn't do heavy duty cleaning but I always made sure the kitchen was cleaned and the playroom and family room picked up. Not only did I enjoy watching the kids, but this family was very nice and after a night out (and a few drinks), the mom would often "round up" when writing the check. Bonus! Although I never expected that generosity and often felt somewhat guilty making the same rate after the kids went to bed. Overall, I think it depends on the number of children, how difficult they are (mom you can be honest) and I think its fair for the rate to decrease after the kiddos are tucked in bed.

Anonymous said...

It is really amazing what sitters cost. I was paid one dollar an hour to watch 4 kids (one disabiled), put them to bed and then sit and watch tv for 3 hrs. I always did the dishes. This rate was considered high end. I was 16. Minimum wage was 1.65 an hour when i was 18. i dont know what is was when i was 16. At what couples have to pay nowadays the minimum wage should be about 15. We know its not. I think it's about 8 something. I'm part of the baby boon generation so there were a lot of us out there. It's all part of supply and demand. Wish I live closer to help you out. Mom

Hena Tayeb said...

interesting..haven't hire a babysitter yet, good info though

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