How Much Does a Babysitter Cost Per Hour?

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If the babysitter's job is to simply put your kids to bed and then watch TV all night, you can pay a lower rate. However, If you need the babysitter to drive your kids around, perform household chores, or help with homework, plan to pay them more for these extra services.

How Much Do Babysitters Earn In Australia?

According to au.indeed.com, an average Australian babysitter earns…. $26.93? Wow! I’m pretty sure this site is including similar childcare jobs such as nannies or home daycares into this figure.

The numbers on Payscale.com are much more reasonable at $19.04 per hour, but still much higher than in any of the other countries we’ve looked at.

Here’s a breakdown by major Australian cities:

Average babysitter pay per Australian city
UK City Pay
Melbourne $19.18
Sydney $19.23
Brisbane $19.87
Perth $20.11
Gold Coast $19.00
Adelaide $18.65

Parents in Australia can’t seem to catch a break! No major city pays their babysitters less than $18.50 per hour.

Part of this might just be that salaries in Australia are inflated compared to other countries in general. So to people from other parts of the world, these high numbers might seem a bit shocking at first.

For example, a bookkeeper in Australia makes $54,444, while the same job in America pays $41,454. A garbage truck driver in Australia makes $25.58 per hour on average, whereas in America they’d only make $17.21.

When I checked around Australian parenting forums, these numbers do seem to be correct. You might be able to get a grade 11 student for $15 per hour, but university age students will likely want $20 per hour or more.

Australia’s Babysitter Pricing Is Very Consistent

Perhaps the most shocking thing about average babysitter prices in Australia is how consistent they are! In almost all the big cities, babysitter rates are within a dollar of each other.

Pay a Babysitter Based on Experience

Your babysitter’s previous experience speaks volumes to his/her trade. A teenager just starting out can’t possibly compare to a retired grandmother who has raised three kids of her own and babysits her grandchildren on weekdays. The latter obviously has more experience.

You’ll want to take into account your babysitter’s age. It often correlates to their experience level. A 13-year-old who helps you with the children while you’re at home doesn’t usually get paid as much as a teen who began as a mother’s helper at age 13, and is now a senior in high school and babysits for numerous families during the week. A college student who works as a nanny has often had more experience as well. And the retired grandmother who has a business as a professional babysitter is most likely a highly-qualified candidate needing to be paid more than the former three.

References matter. If your babysitter claims to have years of experience, then check his/her references. More good references most likely mean more experience. And in that case, you should pay a little more than you would a beginner.

Babysitter vs. Daycare

If you’re looking for daily care while you’re gone at work, looking into daycares might make more sense for your family. Your child is in the care of a skilled provider and benefits from social interaction with kids their age. Many daycares or Montessori Schools, however, have very long wait lists so getting into one might be difficult.

One happy medium here is to partner with another family who has a say at home parent, and offer to pay them in exchange for child care. Many individuals would be happy to have the additional income – and odds are the children will be happy to have the company.

Types of Provider

Some people use the terms “babysitter” and “nanny” interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two jobs and a big difference in what you should be paying them. Think of babysitters as occasional child care who are great for watching and playing with your kids while you go on a date night for a few hours. If you need full-time or regular child care, you should be looking for a nanny.

Nannies are childcare professionals who should be involved in your child's development and typically earn more.

BUDGETING FOR BABYSITTING

You may be wondering, how can I afford to pay for sitters? What if this just isn’t in our family budget? I’d argue that budgeting for babysitting is just a non-negotiable. For us, it’s something we make work. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Make babysitting a line item in your family’s weekly and monthly budget. If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know we’re proponents of the 70-20-10 rule. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the gist. You should plan to use 70% of your monthly income on expenses, put 20% towards savings or paying down debt, and use the remaining 10% for tithing, investments, or a college fund. As you’re factoring in all the expenses that fall under the 70% bucket, make sure to account for babysitting. 
  2. Consider starting a babysitting exchange program with your friends. Let’s say you have three other families you’re close with. Set up an arrangement where you take turns watching each other’s kids. Maybe you and your husband commit to taking Bob and Sally’s kids two Wednesday evenings a month, and, in exchange, they watch your kiddos one Monday evening a month and one Saturday afternoon each month. With a little creativity, you can easily secure a few free hours of babysitting! 
  3. Divide and conquer! This is a core principle we teach. It’s so critical to figure out which spouse will take responsibility for tracking the budget and covering expenses related to babysitting. The simple act of defining ownership makes planning and staying on track so much easier! 

Babysitting Pay Rates in the United States

The babysitter wage per hour varies widely – even within specific neighbourhoods rates can differ substantially. The minimum wage is also different in each state and province, so make sure you’re at least paying the fair wage to your sitter. Ask your neighbours and friends “how much do you pay your babysitter?” to get a fair estimate of the going rate for babysitting.

Average Hourly Cost of Babysitters by City

City Average Babysitter Pay (per hour)
New York, NY $23.44
Los Angeles, California $19.99
Chicago, Illinois $14.94
Houston, Texas $15.43
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $13.28
Phoenix, Arizona $23.66
Jacksonville, Florida $11.44
Indianapolis, Indiana $10.20
Columbus, Ohio $13.74
Charlotte, North Carolina $11.97

Babysitting prices per hour can differ greatly in the states – cities like New York City and Phoenix have an average hourly rate over $20, but in Indianapolis sitters earn just over $10 per hour on average.

Is Daycare Cheaper than a Nanny? (Full Price Breakdown)

Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.

Best-paid skills and qualifications for Babysitter/Nannies

Top fields of study
Early Childhood Education Degree
+28.32%salary

Top skills Nannying Experience +12.00%salary

More critical skills and qualifications that pay well

Salaries by qualifications

Top Fields of study Salary Job openings Companies 8 jobs 17

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Option #2: Nannyshare

A nannyshare it just what it sounds like—two or more families share the service of one nanny.

The nanny can alternate between the families’ houses or apartments, making it easier to get out the door at least a few days per week.

It can work out great for kids, as long as they like each other. They get individualized attention from a nanny, have regular playmates, and will theoretically be exposed to fewer germs.

Average Cost

Like all childcare options, nanny share fees vary by region.

In general, a nanny involved in this type of arrangement might charge a dollar or two more per hour than her usual rate because she’s caring for two more children, but you’ll be splitting that cost with another family.

How to save a few bucks: If the other family has more children than you, they should pay for a larger portion of the nanny’s hourly rate.

If you always have to bring your kid or kids to the other family’s house, it could be argued you should pay a little less.

Something to keep in mind: A friend of mine and I asked her nanny if she’d be willing to nanny both of our kids, but she said no. We were both surprised but her reason totally makes sense.

She said that previous nanny shares she’d been involved with hadn’t worked out. Each set of parents had too many different rules for their kids. Some parents won’t let their kids watch TV; others don’t care. Some parents won’t let their kids eat any sugar; the other set thinks sugar and childhood go hand in hand.

QUESTIONS TO ASK AS YOU DECIDE HOW MUCH TO PAY A BABYSITTER

Since nannies almost always have more on-the-job experience than babysitters, it’s only logical to pay them more. But here are a few other questions to ask as you’re thinking about much to pay your nanny or babysitter:

  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • How many kids will they be watching?
  • How old are the kids they’ll be watching?
  • Are they first aid/CPR certified?
  • Will they be following your lead or planning their own activities for the kids?
  • Will you be home while they’re there?
  • Will the kids be sleeping while they’re there?
  • Will they drive themselves to work?
  • Will they do chores while the kids are sleeping?

These are all important things to consider, as the level of effort the caretaker will be expected to put toward the job should absolutely play a key role in determining the pay rate!

With those key questions out of the way, let’s get to the part you’ve all been waiting for! The ever-awkward salary conversation. Drumroll, please….

Option #4: Either you or your partner quits your job

Don’t choose this option without thinking about how it will affect you in the long run.

I used to think that parents who didn’t work after having kids chose to stay home because they weren’t career-driven.

What a dummy I was!

Sure, some people stay home because they’d rather hang with their kids. After having a child, I totally get that. Kids are mesmerizing – way more rewarding than anything a job job offers.

But often, one parent stops working because the cost of childcare is simply more than (or exactly the same as, or not much less than) the paycheck he or she is bringing home—especially if more than one kid is involved.

Sometimes bringing home a salary you immediately pay someone else feels ….just stupid.

But before you give notice, just remember that kids do eventually grow up and go to school, eliminating your need to pay for year-round, full-time childcare. (There’s still those pesky afternoons and summer breaks, of course.)

Average cost

This option seems free – at first.

But being a stay-at-home parent sadly doesn’t come with any benefits, like a 401(k). As Baby Center notes in their excellent synopsis of the financial and mental repercussions of staying at home to raise children, “Economists estimate that over a lifetime, staying at home could cost several hundred thousand to a million dollars, once you add up lost employment benefits. These include accrued Social Security and, depending on your job, other financial benefits such as matching 401(k) contributions or a pension.”

How to save a few bucks: While you’ll lose one main source of income, it’s easier than ever to master “the side hustle” with things like Uber and Task Rabbit.

Something to keep in mind: Financials aside, I know tons of parents who are thrilled they made the decision to say goodbye to office life.

Sure, sometimes it gets boring. And sure, you and your partner might find yourselves butting heads a little more.

But you never get back your child’s first few years of life. Plus, the less they go to day care, the less often they’ll get the flu.

Whatever route you go, think long and hard about it first.

And of course, if you live close to family, you can always ask your own mom or dad to watch your kid – for free.

But my cousin Christina notes, “If it’s free, you can’t really complain when your mom gives your kids unlimited ice cream at 9 a.m. But hey, I’ll take it.”

Pay a Sitter Based on Competitive Prices

Pay is often based on the typically accepted rate in your immediate area. You can ask around and find out how much babysitters and nannies typically get paid where you live.

To find out how much people in your area typically pay, you can ask your friends and neighbors. They will tell you how much they have paid in the past and can tell you about the qualifications of their babysitters that led them to that price.

Ask online in social media and chat forums, or take a look at a professional nanny/babysitter website (such as Care.com) to browse and compare the general price range of babysitters in your area.

The babysitter can tell you! If you ask them, he/she will probably be willing to give you at least a price range that they generally accept. If they don’t offer you a price range, you can always suggest something within your budget, and ask if it is reasonable. If it’s not acceptable to them, the worst that will happen is that they will say no. Then you can offer something higher, or interview again.

If you don’t know how much to pay your babysitter, use these ideas to try and gauge a payment that would be mutually agreeable. When your babysitter receives pay that compensates them for their time, expertise and experience, they will feel valued. In return, their work with your children will be more enjoyable, and your children will benefit in return from having a babysitter who loves their job.

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