Posts belonging to Category babysitter

Misconceptions about Paying a Babysitter

The following guest post is from Paul Taylor.

babysitterAfter struggling to find a qualified babysitter for his young child so that he and his wife could attend a social event, it came to Paul that this process needed to to be easier.  He began searching for resources online to help parents and really didn’t find any great options so decided to create isn’t a job site per se but more of a resource to help parents and even babysitters to get information and to tap into all of the existing online babysitting sites like,, and several others offers an aggregated look at those sites to help families find sitters and to help sitters find families easier than ever.

10 Misconceptions About Paying Your Babysitter

Many parents, especially those that only hire a babysitter on an occasional basis, have an incorrect idea or two about the proper etiquette and guidelines surrounding how she should be paid.

In the interest of keeping both parties satisfied, here are ten of the most common myths surrounding babysitter wages.

  1. You Aren’t Required to Withhold Taxes – Most parents are under the impression that they’re not required to pay employment taxes on an occasional babysitter. In fact, any household employee that receives more than $600 in wages during a calendar year creates the need for families to obtain an employer identification number and file W-2 forms in order to be complaint with Federal tax laws.
  2. You Shouldn’t Pay Overtime – Because most babysitters are hired for one or two shifts a week at the very most, many parents don’t feel as if they should pay overtime. However, if you return home significantly later than the quoted time, it’s best to increase the hourly rate for each hour past the time your sitter expected you home. This is especially important for teenage sitters that may have curfews or schoolwork to attend to.
  3. You Don’t Have to Pay if You Cancel – Canceling your appointment with a babysitter at the last minute doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay, especially if she doesn’t find out until she arrives at your door. While it certainly isn’t expected that you pay her full rate for a canceled evening, etiquette dictates that she receive some compensation for her time and change of schedule.
  4. The “Going Rate” is All That Matters – Most parents ask around to determine the going rate for a babysitter in their area, and adhere to it religiously. There are, however, many factors that should influence the rate you pay a babysitter. These factors include but are not limited to: the ages and number of children, kids with special needs or behavioral problems and the sitter’s level of experience.
  5. It’s Not Okay to Dock Pay – Agreeing upon a flat rate for a shift doesn’t mean that parents can’t dock the pay of a babysitter that turns up late or doesn’t provide adequate service. While it’s a good idea to explain exactly why you’re reducing your sitter’s rate and only do so if the situation warrants it, you’re well within your rights under the appropriate circumstances.
  6. Rates Don’t Have to Be Competitive – Often, parents think that a teenage sitter should be grateful to get the opportunity to work. They don’t always realize how much competition there can be for the time of a truly exceptional sitter, and are often surprised to find that a favorite babysitter doesn’t accept invitations after a few shifts. Just like any other worker, babysitters will give priority to clients who pay well.
  7. Food Costs Should Be Deducted From Wages – Due to the likelihood of injury or accident when babysitters attempt to cook while keeping rambunctious kids in line, many parents opt to leave money for pizza or other delivery meals. It is not, however, good practice to deduct any food costs from her wages. Providing a meal and adequate compensation is part of the babysitting deal.
  8. Excellent Sitters and Lackluster Ones Command the Same Rate – As discussed above, great sitters are hard to come by and can command rates significantly higher than the area average. Similarly, less reliable and engaging sitters can usually be paid less, as they aren’t likely to be in very high demand. While it’s never a good idea to leave your children in the care of a babysitter who is dangerously negligent, one that’s simply more reserved might not be a neighborhood favorite and may accept a lower rate.
  9. Weekend and Weeknight Rates Are the Same – Be prepared to pay a higher rate on weekends than you would on weekdays, especially if you’re planning to stay out very late. Though almost all teenage sitters will have limitations on their weeknight availability, they’re not likely to expect quite as high a rate as they would for their valuable weekend time.
  10. Hourly is the Only Way to Pay – Paying sitters by the hour isn’t necessarily the only way to compensate them for their time, especially if you’re absolutely certain that you won’t be later than the quoted time and the sitter is amenable to a flat rate.

The best way to determine a fair but reasonable babysitter rate is to take the going rate in your area, the factors that make your family’s needs unique and the expected length of each shift into account. After determining what you feel is acceptable, have a conversation with your babysitter before you leave to be sure that you’re both in agreement.


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