Babysitting can be a great way for teenagers to earn extra money. However, determining the right rate to charge can be tricky. As a parent, you want to pay your babysitter fairly without overpaying. And as a babysitter, you want to earn a reasonable wage worth your time and effort.
So what exactly is a good babysitting rate for a teenager these days? There are several factors to consider when setting an hourly or nightly rate. This comprehensive guide covers everything teenagers and parents need to know to agree on fair compensation.
Average Babysitting Rates
Let’s start with the averages. According to various surveys and reports, the typical babysitting rate for a teenager is about $10 to $15 per hour. The national average cost for a babysitter is around $16.50 per hour as of 2022. But most parents pay teenage sitters less than the national average since they have less experience.
For overnight babysitting gigs, the average rate for teens is around $80 to $100 per night. Although weekend or holiday jobs may pay slightly more at $100 to $125 per night.
Of course, babysitting rates ultimately come down to a variety of factors like your experience level, the number of kids, location, and duties required. The averages give you a baseline but not necessarily what you can or should charge in your specific area.
Factors That Impact Babysitting Rates
When determining your own rates, here are some of the key factors to take into consideration:
Experience and Qualifications
The more experienced you are as a babysitter, the higher your earning potential. If you’re just starting out, aim for around $10 per hour or $50 and up per night. But if you have several years of experience babysitting a variety of ages and are CPR certified, you can reasonably ask for $15 to $20 per hour.
Number of Children
The number of kids you’ll be watching is a major deciding factor for rates. One or two kids = lower rates. Three or more kids = higher rates due to the increased workload. For one child, stick to base rates. For two kids, add $1 to $3 per hour. For three kids, add $3 to $5 per hour, and continue adding a couple dollars more per additional kid.
Age of Children
Babysitting infants and toddlers is typically more demanding than older, independent kids. So the age of the children factors into how much you should charge. An extra $1 to $2 per hour for infants or toddlers is reasonable. You may decide to charge a flat nightly rate instead for newborns.
If any of the children have special medical, physical, behavioral, or educational needs that require extra time and attention from you, ask for a higher rate. An extra $2 to $5 per hour to care for kids with special needs is usually fair. Be open with parents about any special accommodations you may need to properly care for their child as well.
What you can charge per hour depends partly on where you live and typical wages there. Larger cities or metro areas with a higher cost of living usually equate to higher babysitting rates. Suburban or rural areas often have lower rates. Look at average babysitting prices in your town or city when deciding your rates.
Besides childcare experience, highlight any specialized skills, training, or certifications you have like CPR, first aid, swimming lessons, tutoring, etc. These qualifications warrant a higher rate, even as a teenager. Take babysitting classes and get certified in first aid or CPR if you can.
Duties and Responsibilities
What exactly will your job duties include? Simply supervising the kids as they play? Or feeding, bathing, disciplining, transporting kids, cooking meals, tidying up, putting kids to bed, etc.? The more duties required, the higher your rate should be. If parents want you to do extra household chores, add an extra $1 to $3 per hour.
Setting Hourly Babysitting Rates
Given all these factors, a reasonable hourly rate for beginners with minimal experience is $8 to $12 per hour for one or two well-behaved kids. Increase the rate to $14 to $18 per hour if you have CPR training, strong references, and regular babysitting experience.
With 3 or more kids, especially toddlers, expect to charge $3 to $5 more per hour. And if you’ll have extra duties like cooking, cleaning, bathing kids, or shuttling to activities, add another $2 to $5 per hour.
Here are some typical hourly rates broken down:
1 Well-Behaved, Independent School-Age Child:
- Beginner: $10 – $12/hour
- Experienced: $15 – $18/hour
1 Infant or Toddler:
- Beginner: $11 – $13/hour
- Experienced: $16 – $20/hour
2 School-Age Children:
- Beginner: $12 – $15/hour
- Experienced: $16 – $20/hour
3+ Children or Special Needs Child:
- Beginner: $15 – $18/hour
- Experienced: $20 – $25/hour
These are general guidelines, but you ultimately set your own rates based on your unique qualifications and what the job entails. Start on the lower end of the range as a newbie and gradually increase your rates as you gain more firsthand experience.
Overnight and Weekend Babysitting Rates
For babysitting gigs that last 4+ hours into the evening or overnight, most parents want to pay a flat rate instead of an hourly wage. Special date night or weekend babysitting jobs may pay more since they require sacrificing your personal free time.
For beginners, aim for $50 to $100 per night on weeknights or weekends. Experienced teens can reasonably charge $100 to $150 or more per night, depending on duties. Here are some typical overnight/weekend rates:
- Beginner: $50 – $80 per night
- Experienced: $80 – $120 per night
- Beginner: $80 – $120 per night
- Experienced: $120 – $150+ per night
Holidays or Special Occasions:
- Beginner: $100 – $150 per night
- Experienced: $150 – $200+ per night
Sometimes agreeing on an hourly rate for x number of hours then giving a flat bonus for completing the whole night is a fair compromise. Like $15 per hour for 6 hours ($90) plus a $25 flat bonus for staying until parents get home.
Ask for a Babysitting Rate Increase
Once you have substantial experience babysitting for a family, consider requesting a pay increase, especially if your responsibilities have grown. Aim for a raise every 1-2 years or 200+ hours with the same family.
Politely ask if you could discuss your pay rate next time they need a sitter. Explain that your experience has increased since you started and you’d like to earn a higher rate now that you’re watching the kids more independently. Suggest an exact new rate based on comparable babysitters and what’s reasonable for your area.
Most families will be understanding and agree to a small raise if budget allows. If they seem hesitant, emphasize how you’ve gotten to know the kids’ needs and schedules and can provide better care thanks to your experience. Say you really enjoy babysitting for them and hope to continue.
Talking to Parents About Babysitting Pay
When interviewing with new families or setting rates with current clients, here are some tips for tactfully discussing babysitting pay:
- Have a specific rate in mind based on factors like number of kids, ages, duties, your experience/qualifications, and market rates in your area.
- Let the parent bring up pay first, if possible. Or casually ask “What are you comfortable paying for a babysitter?” or “What rate were you thinking?” Open-ended questions put less pressure on them.
- Aim high but be reasonable. Consider starting at the higher end of average rates for your experience level so there’s room to negotiate down if needed.
- If they lowball you, counteroffer a rate you feel is fair. Politely explain that your rate accounts for x y z factors relevant to their specific job.
- Offer to do a trial run together with the kids at your target rate so the parents can judge if you’re worth the investment before fully hiring you.
- Remember, experience demands higher pay. As you gain more skills and great references, request higher rates from new families.
Advertising Your Babysitting Rates
When looking for new babysitting jobs, you’ll need to advertise or market yourself to families in your area. Be sure to indicate your rates on any profiles, fliers, or online ads. But there’s no need to list an exact rate. Use phrases like:
- “Starting at $XX/hour”
- “Hourly rates start at $XX”
- “Rates vary based on duties and number of children”
- “Competitive rates based on experience and qualifications”
This gives you flexibility when tailoring your rate for each job. Provide your specific rate to parents after discussing the position details and your capabilities.
Offer Discounts and Incentives
To attract clients as a new babysitter, consider offering:
- A 10% first-time customer discount
- Reduced rates for bundling multiple days/nights per week
- Lower prices for long 8+ hour gigs
- Loyalty rewards like every 5th visit 10% off
- Referral and sibling discounts
- Summer or holiday specials
Reduce Your Rate If Necessary
If you’re having trouble finding jobs after advertising your rates, you may need to lower them. Ask past clients or friends’ parents discreetly if they think your prices are fair or too high for your experience level.
Consider reducing your rate by $2 to $5/hour or $20 per night if you aren’t getting any calls. You can continue raising your rates incrementally as you gain more positive reviews and repeat customers.
When to Say No to Low Rates
While negotiation is expected, know when to walk away from bad or insulting offers. These include:
- Less than $5/hour – not worth your time
- More than 4 kids for under $15/hour – unrealistic workload
- Late nights/overnights under $50 – too little compensation
- No extra pay for excessive duties like scrubbing floors
- Mileage reimbursement for transporting kids
Stand firm if parents won’t meet your minimum rates or needs. Say you’re unable to accept less than your standard rate, but offer to connect them with other sitters. Refer them to Care.com or Sittercity to find cheaper alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions About Babysitting Rates
Let’s review some common questions teenagers and parents may have about appropriate babysitting pay:
Should I pay teens less than adult sitters?
Yes, it’s reasonable to pay teens around 10-20% less than professional adult sitters in your area. Teens have less experience and qualifications to justify higher rates. Pay at the lower end of market rates based on limited experience. Increase pay gradually as the sitter gains skills.
Is it rude to negotiate a lower rate?
Not necessarily, if done politely. Explain your typical budget but ask what duties you could remove or hours you could reduce to reach a rate you both feel comfortable with. See if trial runs at lower rates are an option before committing. Avoid demanding a super low rate outright.
Do I pay extra for multiple kids?
Absolutely! Each additional child equals more work and stress for the sitter. Add $1-3 per hour (or $15-20 per night) for each extra kid. Don’t expect sitters to watch 4+ kids for their standard single-child rate.
Should I pay extra for infants and toddlers?
Yes, infants and toddlers require much more hands-on care, so it’s fair to add $1-3 per hour for kids under age 2. Make sure sitters are qualified and comfortable caring for very young kids before hiring.
Is a flat overnight rate better than hourly?
Usually yes for the convenience of both parties. Most experienced sitters charge $80-150+ per night depending on duties. Make sure to agree on start and end times so expectations are clear. Offering hourly pay on top of a flat rate for before/after normal bedtimes is also reasonable.
Do I reimburse gas or mileage for transporting kids?
If you expect the sitter to drive your kids to activities, classes, or playdates, you should reimburse mileage costs. The current IRS standard rate is $.625/mile. Or pay upfront for gas required. Driving kids around regularly adds a lot of time, costs, and liability that need compensation.
Can I renegotiate rates if I can’t afford my regular sitter?
If your financial situation changes, explain the circumstances honestly to your sitter and ask if they’d be open to a temporary rate reduction or fewer hours until things improve. Don’t just cancel last minute. Good sitters will likely be accommodating to loyal clients who pay fairly.
At what experience level can I charge $15-20/hour?
You can justifiably charge $15-20/hr as a teen if you have formal training like first-aid/CPR, years of regular experience with multiple families, great references, and skilled care of infants/special needs kids. Don’t overcharge your experience level. Build up gradually.
What’s the best way to ask for a pay increase?
Wait until you’ve babysat regularly for a family for 6+ months before requesting a raise. When the parents next book you, say you’d like to discuss raising your rate based on your proven reliability and the kids’ ages. Suggest a reasonable new rate and highlight why you’ve earned it.
Determining fair babysitting rates for teenagers depends foremost on your experience level and the number of kids. Additional duties, heavy needs, and higher local rates also warrant higher pay. Here are some key tips:
- For beginners, start around $10-12/hour; experienced sitters can ask $15-20/hour
- Add $1-5/hour for each additional child
- Charge $1-3 more for infants and toddlers requiring extra care
- Account for any special needs and your qualifications to assist them
- Discuss rates openly with parents and offer trial runs or discounts
- Increase your rates gradually over time as you gain skills and reviews
- Once experienced, aim for $80-150 per night and up to $200+ on holidays/weekends
While pay expectations can cause stress, remember that rates are flexible. With the right approach, you can negotiate fair compensation. Just focus first on providing safe, reliable care and developing your qualifications. Happy babysitting!