In our recent survey on babysitters and families we found that just like hot real estate, good babysitters get top dollar. Here’s mom of 3, Katie Bugbee’s synopsis of the findings – and her suggestion on how to make this rising cost work better for families.
I think I made $2 an hour when I used to babysit – twins. It was a big night when someone paid me twenty bucks. But then again, I also used to sleep while their kids watched TV, raid their basement pantry (as if they’d never notice the now-opened package of Oreos) and eat their ice cream out of the container.
What was I thinking?!
Now that I have three kids, I can honestly say I would NEVER have hired my 16-year old self. But perhaps I would have upped my game if I had been paid a bit more.
In our recent survey, we found the average national hourly rate for sitters is on the rise (see infographic below). In 2013, Care.com parents paid an average of $12.07. But in 2014, it was $13.44. (San Francisco, San Jose and Boston pay the most!) In fact, 87% said they would give their favorite sitter a raise, 64% would pay more for a last-minute sitter and 26% tip their sitters.
Kinda makes you want to be a babysitter, doesn’t it?
It does make you wonder why though --why so much? How did this shift happen -- from paying the kid down the street a few bucks an hour – to paying an experienced sitter “her rate”?
The industry has professionalized. That’s what happened. Parents were sick of paying lazy-bones sitters like me “a few bucks” and instead, put higher expectations on who they brought into their house, and what they want from the experience with their kids. With the most popular sitter types being Date Night, Day Time (for a few hours so you can get things done) and After School, parents are choosing to hire older, well-trained sitters the kids will love (Think: Emma Stone, as respondents told us). In fact, 89% hire adults over the age of 20, 53% want some type of safety training and 20% would even steal a sitter from a friend!
But here are some kickers, families still aren’t running background checks – 64% have hired a sitter without running a background check (and 62% have hired a sitter without checking references). So parents are still using their gut-instincts as one of the only deciding factors. Noooo!!!
That’s where I charge you, families, to make a change. Your kids might love the sitter – 49% say that’s the most important factor – but checking references and running background checks needs to happen before you let anyone into your home. (Learn more about sitter safety.)
The other thing I noticed from this research is that we parents aren’t asking our sitters to help us out more. Have a date night sitter and the kids are sleeping? Ask her to wash and fold some kid laundry while she watches TV! Have a daytime sitter? Ask her to prep a healthy dinner for the whole family. If we’re hiring – and paying for -- top babysitter talent, try to make the most of the money spent. This way, when you come home, you don’t have to make dinner, clean the kitchen or do three loads of laundry – you can actually spend time with your kids. It makes your money feel even better spent.
What could your sitter do to help you more? Do you think it’s fair to ask this of your babysitter?
Learn more at Care.com/babysittercost