A good babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold, but as any parent knows, it can be hard to find a fair hourly rate that also fits your budget. So what do most people across the nation pay their babysitters? Babysitting and child care site UrbanSitter, which surveyed over 20,000 families across the country, revealed that the average cost for a sitter for just one child in the U.S. is $16.43 an hour. That cost soars to $20.56 per hour for three kids.
Does that price surprise you? Seem too low to you? The cost for babysitting does have a pretty wide range, depending on where you live. According to UrbanSitter’s data, the most expensive city in the country to hire a sitter is San Francisco, with parents paying $17.35 per hour for just one child. Phoenix came in as the cheapest at the relatively affordable $11.83 per hour per kid.
The costs add up over a year: 18 percent of parents surveyed reported spending between $500 and $999 per year on babysitters. 19 percent of parents spent between $1,000 and $1,999. A whopping 60 percent said they spent at least $1,000 per year on babysitters.
Parents who invested in nannies paid even more, paying more than $30,000 per year for a nanny. And parents who may not be able to swing that kind of money found other ways to make it up to their sitters, such as tipping their babysitter for a job well done (55 percent of parents reported tipping a sitter) or offering them special perks while babysitting, such as TV and free food delivery.
No matter what, one thing is clear: child care is an important investment. A quarter of parents report that they use a sitter least once a week — that’s a lot of time for your child or children to be spending with someone else. And whether you’re paying a sitter or a nanny so you can work to provide for your family or so you can sneak away with your partner for some (much-needed) alone time once in a while, paying for a babysitter can get expensive. To make sure you are getting the most for your money, it’s also helpful to make sure you’re choosing the right caregiver for your family. Here are some tips to keep in mind when scouting for sitters