PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Babysitting: The Business

Whether you do it for one family or many, once in a while or all the time, babysitting is a BUSINESS. If you enjoy it and want to succeed at it, it helps to get good at the business end of things. Here are some ideas that will help:

How will you charge?

  • By the hour: Most people who babysit charge an hourly fee, as in: $8.00 an hour. At this rate, four hours of babysitting earns you $32.00.

  • By the job: You might want to charge a flat fee, like $20.00 a night, or a price "scale," like $20.00 for up to four hours, and $7.50 an hour after that.

  • Per child: More kids means more work and more responsibility, so some babysitters will charge per child as well as per hour, as in: $8.00 an hour, and an extra $1.00 an hour for each additional child.

How MUCH should you charge?
There is no one rate that all babysitters should charge. Your area probably has a "going rate" for babysitting, which depends on a number of things, including:

  • The income level of your neighborhood (how wealthy people are)

  • How in-demand your services are (whether there are a lot of good babysitters around or just a few)

You can find out your neighborhood's going rate by asking around or checking out other babysitters' ads. Depending on where you live, it could be $5.00 an hour or $15.00 an hour, or anywhere in between. It's not a good idea to charge a lot more or a lot less than what everyone else is getting-you'll be most successful if you ask for about the same.

Of course, if you think you're extra-qualified and super-experienced, or if parents just seem to prefer you over other babysitters, you can ask for more than what others get. But don't ask for so much that parents don't want to hire you. It may also be a good idea to prove you're capable and trustworthy before you ask for a little raise.

How you get paid
Make sure you let the parents know how you would like to be paid. Most people prefer cash, due at the end of the babysitting session. But you might also want to accept personal checks or run a tab that your client can pay off at the end of the month.

Advertising and promotion
If you want to be successful as a babysitter, you have to let people know about your business! Here are some good ways to promote your services:

  • Word of mouth. Let friends and neighbors know that you're available to babysit and ask them to pass on this news.

  • Flyers and posters. Make up sheets advertising yourself as a babysitter, and make sure to list your name, age, phone number and any qualifications you have. It's also a good idea to include your basic hourly or daily rate of pay.

  • Classified ads. Buy an ad in the babysitting or "services" section of your local paper or "pennysaver" publication.

  • Recommendations. This might be the best way to get more work once you start babysitting. Just do a great job, and ask the families you work for to recommend you to the other parents they know!

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