Babysitters Hourly Rate

10 Reasons We Pay Sitters by the Hour

Part of being a babysitter is calculating your hourly rate. There are many factors to take into consideration when figuring out the amount to charge, but most prefer to do this than to ask for a flat rate for each job. Here are some of the things that play a part in the decision to pay a babysitter an hourly wage, rather than a salary or flat rate.

  1. They’re Not Nannies – One of the things that sets nannies and babysitters apart is the fact that nannies are generally paid a salary, while babysitters make an hourly wage.
  2. Per-Child Variance – It’s much easier to adjust an hourly rate for multiple children than it is to consider the number of children and quoted length of a shift for a flat rate.
  3. Adjustment for Time of Shift – Most sitters charge less for weeknights than they do for weekend evenings or mornings.
  4. Keeping Shifts as Short as Possible – Parents that pay by the hour are much more likely to come home as early as possible, in order to save money on childcare costs. Paying a flat rate means that parents who come home earlier than expected feel like they didn’t quite get their money’s worth, while sitters forced to stay later than they expected can feel short-changed.
  5. Age-of-Child Variance – Most babysitters vary their rates depending on the age of the children they’ll be watching. The rate for older, more self-sufficient children is lower than an infant or toddler.
  6. Holiday Variance – During family-oriented holidays, sitters may charge more per hour to compensate for missing a family gathering. Also, their services are likely to be in much higher demand on adult-centric holidays like New Year’s Eve, and they need to be able to adjust their rates accordingly.
  7. Extra Responsibilities – Babysitters are generally only responsible for childcare and cleaning up behind themselves. For extra services like housekeeping or running errands, most will charge more. Adjusting an hourly rate to compensate for this is much easier than calculating an increased flat rate.
  8. Irregular Scheduling – If a sitter’s schedule with a family is irregular, it’s much more cost-effective for both parties if they’re paid by the hour. A set salary is unwise if the hours that they’ll be needed vary from week to week.
  9. Adjustment for Amount of Notice – A babysitter forced to change plans due to a short-notice request may adjust their rate accordingly to compensate.
  10. Room for Negotiation – Negotiating an hourly rate for a babysitter is much easier than trying to change a fixed, flat wage. A sitter who insists on a flat rate may be more rigid or inflexible, making negotiating difficult.

Hourly rates work out to the advantage of all parties, especially if your babysitter of choice is a teenager. Working very late on a weeknight can cause them to fall behind in their studies, so an hourly rate can protect them from parents who stay out late to be sure they get a “good deal.” Conversely, young sitters are much less likely to be late for a shift if they know that their hourly rate will be docked.