A Nanny’s Worth: The Guide to Paying your Nanny Fairly

I started my “career” as a babysitter when I was 13. Still a kid myself, I can understand the hesitation parents felt when leaving me alone with their children, simply because of my age. But I was a great date night sitter. Too young to have plans on Friday and Saturday nights, parents often called to just get out of the house for a couple hours. When I first started sitting, I charged $5 an hour, and $1 extra per additional kid. I was CPR certified and had taken a babysitting course, which parents liked and used as a measuring tool to see how dedicated and  responsible I was.

When I started high school, my time was more limited, between school, band, JROTC, and driving lessons. Because I was in higher demand, more mature, and had my own transportation, I raised my going rate to $7-$10 depending on time needed and number of kids. It has never been my goal or intention to get over paid or put a family out so using minimum wage as a gage was fair. I think it is great that parents go out and have fun- kid free time, but it is also expensive. Look at a sample date night for parents:

  • Dinner- $20-$30
  • Movie- $20 + $10 on popcorn and snacks
  • Babysitter for 4 hours- $40! (thats on the cheap side)
  • Thats close to $100 for a night out. I know when I become a mom, that will probably not be in the budget.

Now that I am graduated and nannying is a full time job I have raised my going rate to $15 an hour. While this seems high, the job description for nannying is a little more extensive than babysitting. In a typical day, I have to feed, chauffer, discipline, tutor, and clean up after two kids. I am considered on the low side for what to pay nannies. Since I am new to it this is my starting rate. As experience builds, as with any other job, the pay will go up. Depending on your area, nannies can range from $15-$30 an hour.

In addition to pay, parents often give tips for good service or when they are impressed. If your babysitter goes out of their way to bring craft supplies or make a yummy dinner (something other than the usual mac n cheese) make them feel appreciated with a couple extra dollars. Babysitters, here are 3 easy ways to impress parents:

  1. clean up the house. With little kids running around, the house is probably scattered with toys. It is the last thing parents want to deal with after a romantic night out.
  2. do the dishes- again, after a date night, who wants to clean dishes?
  3. Bring crafts- it doesnt have to be expensive, but holiday themed or cool crafts are always a plus.

Nannies often become additions to the family and many families feel it is appropriate to give their nannies gifts for holidays and birthdays. I was so taken a back when my employer sent me a birthday card and gave me a Christmas bonus. The kids made me Valentine cards too. It was not expected and made me feel like I had done a good job with their family.

So lets recap:

Babysitter age 13-16: $5-7 an hour

Babysitter age 17-20: $7-10 an hour plus a tip if good service

Nanny (young or inexperienced): $15-20 an hour you can negotiate gas and duties + the occasional bonus optional

Nanny (experienced): $20-$40 depending on area, demand, hours, gas, duties, etc.

My final tip: ALWAYS make a contract with nannies laying out exactly what is expected of them. Come back for my article on THE NANNY CONTRACT

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