Several factors can influence your babysitter's hourly rate. Find out how to determine a fair price.

By Marissa Laliberte
Updated February 28, 2020
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Whether it's date night or you need an extra hand while you're home, hiring a babysitter can be a lifeline. But with most sitters working under the table, it can be hard to know what a fair price would be.

UrbanSitter's 2020 National Childcare Rate Survey found that, on average, parents pay babysitters $17.73 for one child, $20.30 for two children, and $21.49 for three children. Average rates vary widely based on location, though. For example, moms and dads in San Francisco pay an hourly rate of $19.74 for one child, while the rate is only $10.95  in Las Vegas.

Other factors besides location should also influence how much your babysitter should be paid. Ask yourself these questions when setting a rate.

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How much experience does your sitter have?

More than 51 percent of families would give a higher rate (around $5 more per hour) to an older sitter with more experience, according to a Care.com 2015 Babysitter Survey. Plus, 87 percent of parents said they'd be willing to give their favorite sitter a raise if she'd been doing a good job with the kids. You also might consider paying more if your caretaker has had formal training in CPR, first aid, or safety.

What will the babysitter be responsible for?

Care.com's rule of thumb is to pay $2 to $5 more per hour for every additional child. Some parents opt to pay a sitter less while the kids are asleep. Consider paying more if she'll have more tasks beyond the standard chauffeuring the kids from school, giving them food, playing, reading, and getting them ready for bed. Leave money for dinner, and pay her more if she has to prepare the food.

What's the occasion?

About 33 percent of parents in Care.com's survey reported reaching out to a babysitter the week before she'd be needed, while 26 percent said they would hire the week of the occasion. But a last-minute hire could be more expensive, as 64 percent of respondents said they would pay more for booking on the later side. Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Halloween, and St. Patrick's Day are the most common holidays for people to hire a babysitter, according to the Care.com survey, so consider well in advance whether you'll want the night out.

Laliberte is an Editorial Intern at Parents magazine who loves running, baking, and drinking coffee. Follow her on Twitter: @mjlaliberte

Image via Shutterstock.

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