Determining Hourly Babysitting Rate for Teens

Jennifer L. Betts
Take a quiz
Will you be a good babysitter?

Part of being a babysitter is determining your babysitting hourly rate. This is an important responsibility so take some time before you start babysitting to set up the perfect rate; one that'll make both you and the parents happy.

What Is the Hourly Rate for Babysitting?

There's not one typical babysitting rate for teenagers. Your babysitting fees will be determined by many variables:

  • Location
  • Number of children
  • The amount of time you'll be sitting
  • Your experience, to name a few

However, to give you an idea of the going rates, Care.com reports that the "typical" pay rate currently is anywhere from twelve to nineteen dollars an hour.

Find the Average Babysitting Rate for Your Area

Babysitting is one of the most popular part-time jobs for teens; so, it won't be hard to find out the typical babysitting rate for teenagers in your area. Ask your best buddies what they charge. Ask parents in your neighborhood who have children what they pay their sitter. Are other babysitters charging by the hour or a flat fee for an evening of babysitting? Do other sitters charge more to watch two children at a time?

The Easy Babysitting Pay Rate Setting Quiz

All your friends say that they charge from $12 to $14 an hour for babysitting fees. You check with neighborhood parents who agree that this is the typical rate. Use a babysitting quiz to find out if you should charge $12, $14, or something in between.

Quiz Instructions

Answer the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers - this is simply a handy way to decide what your personal hourly rate should be. Each time you answer with a "yes" give yourself one point.

  1. I have as much experience babysitting children as most of the babysitters in my area.
  2. I have taken a babysitting course, either online or in a classroom setting.
  3. I have a current babysitting certification from a class I took that I can show parents.
  4. I have a relationship with many of the area parents (this means that parents in the neighborhood already know you by name and would likely hire you).
  5. I have taken infant and/or child CPR and first aid.
  6. I have spent time caring for children ages four months to four years of age.
  7. I have experience with older children.
  8. I have spent time caring for more than one child at a time.
  9. I have personal references who will say that I am a great sitter.
  10. I have personal transportation to and from my babysitting jobs. If parents of the children you babysit need to provide transportation for you, it can lower your hourly rate.
  11. I have taken or transported children to activities.
  12. I am able to take care of kids after school.

Make a Final Decision on Your Babysitting Hourly Rate

Using the quiz to make a final decision on how much you should charge.

Mostly Yes

If you answered all or almost all the questions with a "yes" than you should charge the higher going rate in your area; in this example it would be $14. If you answered about half the questions with a "yes" then choose a middle of the road hourly rate such as $13 an hour.

Mostly No

If you answered most of the questions with a "no," it is probably smart to start at the lower end of the typical rate for your area; somewhere around $12. This doesn't mean that you won't be a great babysitter, it only means you have a little less experience than other babysitters and that parents are usually willing to pay higher rates for more experience. Don't worry. As your experience grows, so will your wallet. If you want to get a head start on babysitting experience check out babysitting courses.

When Should I Charge More?

As a babysitter, you can and should give yourself a raise occasionally. This might mean a onetime raise or a permanent hourly rate increase.

Special Occasions and Holidays

Parents are willing to pay more on special occasions and holidays for a sitter that they like. Increasing your rates on a special evening like New Year's Eve is certainly fair. You aren't with your friends having fun, you're working. One to three dollars more for special events and holidays is fair to both you and the parents you sit for.

Short Notice Sitter

Another great time to ask for a dollar or two more an hour is if a parent wants you to drop everything to baby sit for them. You may adore the kids you baby-sit for, but you do have the right to charge more if you need to change your personal plans (such as cancel a night at the movies with your friends) to help out a family in need.

Permanent Increase

Reasons to increase your babysitting hourly rate permanently:

  • You answered many of the above quiz questions with a "no" before but now answer "yes" to most or all of them.
  • You've been babysitting regularly for one year.
  • Many families in your neighborhood call you first when they need a good sitter.

If you haven't raised your rates in a year than a $1 or $2 increase for your regular babysitting hourly rate is perfectly reasonable. Other jobs for teens offer raises - so should babysitting.

The Cost of Your Time

If parents you sit for don't want to pay you a fair raise, you can continue to sit for a family at your old hourly rate or choose to stop. This can be a hard part of babysitting. You may love working for a family but if they get upset over a typical raise, you need to rethink how much your time is worth. It's a personal decision on your part but consider this, if you work hard and are a valuable asset to the families you sit for, a raise is a reasonable request.

Knowing Your Worth

Babysitting is a great way for teens to make money. But babysitting fees aren't set in stone and there isn't a magic number for your area. Talk to your friends and the parents in your area to find out what they are charging, then consider your skills and experience as a babysitter. This can help you to determine your worth and make sure you are charging the perfect amount.

Determining Hourly Babysitting Rate for Teens