Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday

Welcome to a backwards, inside out Works-For-Me-Wednesday. Seems appropriate for April Fools Day. Here is where we ask the question and hope you, out there in the great wide world of the internet, can provide some insight and advice. As for my question ...

How much do you pay a babysitter?

We all have asked our friends that question. I've tried asking the babysitter themselves, but they just shrug their shoulders because they have been taught it isn't polite to talk about money. Except for one (no, she too was taught not to talk about money but she also held an innate entrepreneur spirit so she was ready to talk wages.)

So all my babysitters are paid off of her hourly fee.

There are many factors to consider when deciding how much to pay.

Where do you live? I live in rural Virginia, so obviously I'm not paying as much as someone who lives in L.A.

How hard is it to find a babysitter? If you find a good one you want to keep her/him, so be prepared to pay more.

How many children are they watching? I have three. So, that original wage my original babysitter quoted for one child, do I times that by three? No, I don't do that. But what do you do?

What is expected of them while you are gone? Are they making dinner? Getting the kids ready for bed? Are they already in bed and asleep when you leave? Are they up and just need entertained for an hour or two while you run to an appointment, no meals, no P.J.'s?

Has the babysitter been tied up during the course of the evening? Oops, sorry. That was from another posting.
However, that fateful evening our babysitter did receive a bonus. She did not have to put the kids to bed, we would be home a little later then normal bed time but the kids could stay up, if they behaved. When we arrived they were not in bed, but their pajamas were on and teeth had been brushed. Oh, and she had cooked dinner and washed the dishes. BONUS!

So what is an appropriate hourly wage for someone whose hands in which you are placing your children's well being? When it is asked that way I'm not sure we could afford a babysitter.
Head over to We Are THAT Family for more backwards WFMW.


taradon said...

That's a problem I've had as well! When I ask the girls who babysit for us, they always just kind of shrug and say whatever you think is fair. That's not a huge help!

But for the last couple of years, I've defaulted to paying a flat $20 for anything from 2-4 hours. If it's more than 4 hours, I'll bump it up another $10.

I'm also in a rural area (in Colorado) and I'm talking about teenagers. I have 3 kids.

Another thing that works for me... I try to exchange babysitting with other moms around. I'll watch a friend's kids for an afternoon and later they'll watch my kids for an afternoon. The only payment necessary is the free time you provide to the other mom.

Paula Constable said...

We live in Wisconsin. We have two kids (5 and 7) and we pay about $4-5/hour.

Good question!

Jessica said...

It does really vary based on location. We live in a suberb right now and I'm told the going rate for a teen is $2-3/hr. When we lived in the city it was $5/hr. I only have 1 kid but I'm told to increade $1/hr per kid.I do swamp with other moms since there are tons of kids here but not many teens.

Sharon said...

Wow--I really wish I had some of your prices!! Here in central FL, we pay $8/hr for 2 kids under the age of 5 for anything over 4 hours of sitting. Anything under 4 hours is usually pd. at $10/hr. We use a wonderful older VERY responsible woman but this is the going rate for most everyone over the age of 18. We don't use anyone under the age of 18. Most of the time, I try to exchange w/ other parents---MUCH cheaper!

Anonymous said...

I live in St. Louis Missouri. Honestly the rate here starts at $10!!! Now we have a vacation home a few hours away. It's not a rural area, but it's not a mojor city either. $8 seems normal there.

If I had a $5 babysitter, I'd be out ALL the time..LOL

The Messy Mom said...

Good question, I definitely try to barter/swap with other moms as much as possible, but when I have to I am right in between those that have said $5 and $10. I pay $8 for a teenager or college student. I round up if I am back earlier than expected. That's what they would be making at Starbuck's (or your average job) only they don't have to take out for taxes and I just have an 18 month old so it's pretty easy.

Your server and your cook. said...

I don't pay by the hour, I pay by the job. Cause sometimes the kids are sleeping through most of the time. If we go out to dinner and a movie, I call my sitter and ask her if she wants to make $20. She usually says yes, and I tell her that we're going out at 7 the kids go down at 9 and we'll be home by 11. I usually make pizza for them and I offer a dessert.

Now if I need her for an afternoon, I pay more. usually $30 for the same 4 hours worth of work but the kids are up the whole time.

Hope it helps, I know everyone does it differently. If you have a sitter you like and you want her to say yes to you, more money the better.

Holly said...

We use our friends' teenage kids as sitters. We have found they are thrilled with $5ish/hr. I usually round up the time. But this is the cheapest sitting we've ever had. But considering our kids don't need much more sitting than just keeping them from hurting themselves (7 & 8 years old), we feel it's fair. Most of the time, the sitter's just reading or playing wii with them.

When our kids were toddlers in Florida, one girl charged $3/hr - but I insisted on paying $5/hr until she got a job, then I paid her a bit more to make it worth her while to ask off for an evening I needed her.

In Atlanta, the sitters charged $10-14/hr and they weren't nannies.

I think the key is to always be willing to make the sitter feel appreciated when they do a good job. And if you are paying them fairly, then the amount doesn't matter so much.

Anonymous said...

I originally was paying my teenage cousin $5, but then realized that was WAY too cheap! So after my 2nd daughter was born, I now pay her $8. Sounds like around here (metro Detroit) that 's about right -- and might still be on the low end, as many people pay $10/hour. Not sure about 3 kids -- I'll have to find out, as I'm pregnant with #3!

Melissa D at said...

We're in Atlanta and started our sitter, who is AMAZING (and only 20) at I think $10/hr, the going rate here. When we had another baby we bumped it up to $12/hr. She comes during the day and can do everything if I need her to: baby laundry, dishes, feeding the kids, or even picking one up from her MMO program. I'm pregnant with #3 and tend to have very difficult pregnancies, so we've needed her, and she's worth every penny.

We'd trust her with the kids for any reason, and you know your sitter is good when the older (snoopy) ladies in the neighborhood tell you how wonderful she is with our kids compared to the other sitters they see in the neighborhood! We try to give her a Christmas bonus every year equal to a week's pay, too. It's not easy but since I'm a writer and work from home, I need to work without distractions (especially during interviews, etc...). The kids adore her and she's a lot of fun to have around.

I think setting expectations is key, so I was explicit about what I needed and we worked from there (dishes, laundry, etc). Usually I do these things myself but sometimes there are days when it's impossible to get it all done alone.