As a caregiver, you’re responsible for setting your own hourly rate, but knowing what to charge for babysitting or nannying can be confusing and even nerve-wracking. What if you’re asking for too much—or worse, too little?
It’s important to understand the going rate for sitters in your area as well as other factors that may impact how you price your services. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to how much you should charge as a babysitter or a nanny.
What’s the Difference Between a Babysitter and a Nanny?
Babysitters often provide child care for multiple families, usually for occasional needs like date nights or late work meetings. If you’re a sitter, you’re probably a part-time caregiver while also attending school or working a full-time job.
On the other hand, a nanny is typically a full-time child care worker, either living with a family or working with the same family on a daily basis during set hours, such as Monday through Friday, from 8am to 6pm. This type of schedule is typically best supported by a weekly or monthly salary based on a calculated hourly wage.
Regardless of the professional title that you use, if you earn a certain amount of money from one family within a calendar quarter or calendar year, you and your employer are legally required to report those finances on your taxes. This may seem like a hassle, but the cost of fines and back taxes aren’t worth the risk. Plus, being treated as an official employee gives you the benefits of having a verifiable income and legal employment history (needed for loans, credit, social security, medicare), receiving unemployment benefits, and being eligible for a healthcare subsidy.
What Should I Charge as a Babysitter or Nanny?
According to the latest Sittercity data*, the average hourly rate for nannies in the US is $17.50 an hour. But hourly rates can vary significantly depending on where you live and work, the cost of living in your area, and your state’s minimum wage laws.
Use this handy chart* to find out how much other caregivers in your city typically charge for nanny and babysitter pay.
Nannying and Babysitting Rates for Top U.S. Cities
|Los Angeles, CA||$21.00/hr||$19.00/hr|
|New York City, NY||$20.00/hr||$20.00/hr|
|San Diego, CA||$17.50/hr||$17.50/hr|
|San Francisco, CA||$22.50/hr||$21.50/hr|
|U.S. National Average||$17.50/hr||$16.50/hr|
Last updated: January 2020
Other Factors to Consider
Your area’s average rate isn’t the only factor you should consider when deciding what to charge as a sitter or nanny. Ask yourself these questions before you set your rate.
How Many Kids Will You be Watching and What Are Their Ages?
Typically, the more kids you’re watching, the higher the rate will be. For instance, most sitters will add $1-$2 for each additional child. So if the going rate in your neighborhood is $16 an hour, you could consider charging $17-$18 for two or three.
The age or age range of the children in your care may also factor into your price. Toddlers and infants require more hands-on care, while older children can independently perform tasks like feeding themselves, getting dressed, and using the bathroom. For some sitters, more hands-on care with younger children may mean they set the rate higher.
What Education, Certifications, and Skills Do You Bring to the Table?
Sitters and nannies with early childhood education degrees, relevant certifications, or special skills can often command a higher hourly rate, particularly if they’re able to provide a service that other sitters cannot, like tutoring or foreign language instruction.
Are You Taking On Responsibilities Beyond Child Care?
Sitters and nannies who take on additional responsibilities—such as taking care of pets in addition to kids, prepping meals, cleaning the house, or doing laundry—can set a higher rate than sitters and nannies who do not.
Is It a Special Occasion?
Think like Uber—when demand is high, the rate goes up. Many sitters and nannies will choose to charge slightly more for holidays like New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day when demand for child care is high and not as many sitters are available.
Will You Incur Any Additional Travel or Other Expenses?
Are parents expecting you to drive kids to and from activities? Will you be taking them on outings, like to the zoo or museums where you might incur some extra costs for snacks or tickets? Ensure you’re reimbursed for these expenses, including gas. The standard mileage rate in 2020 is 57.5 cents a mile.
Be Upfront About Your Rate
Don’t shy away from asking for what your sitter services are worth. Being upfront about your rate, as well as what responsibilities will cost extra, will help you avoid miscommunication and potentially awkward situations, like being paid for child care unfairly. One way that you and the family can be sure that you’re on the same page is by creating a child care contract. It may seem very formal, but the practice of outlining the specifics will be a guide for conversation and a reference for any future situations.
Thankfully, Sittercity makes it easy for sitters and nannies to post their rates in their profiles so parents know before you even begin the interview process. That transparency makes initial conversations about payment go much more smoothly, so everyone is on the same page.
*Sittercity User Data, January 2020