Bust out the Thor helmet
October 26, 2006 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I've decided to try picking up occassional babysitting gigs on nights and weekends.

I already work a full-time job, but I need to make a few extra bucks each week.

I like kids and have a fair amount of experience doing this back when I was in high school. I like kids, have a great time with them and am definitely up for helping out with homework, tutoring, playing video games with them. But I have a couple questions:

-How should I find families to sit for? Fliers, craigslist? How do you find your sitters?

-How much do people charge for babysitting nowadays? When I was in middle and high school, I made about 6 bucks an hour. I had one random babysitting gig during college and I made 10. What's fair to ask?

-I don't really have references as all the families I used to sit for are far away, I don't have their contact info, the kids are older now, etc...

I'm in Toronto, so advice specific to the area is extra useful.
posted by SassHat to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We pay $10 (US) and find them through friends.
posted by lee at 12:08 PM on October 26, 2006

My sister, who is in her 20s and in school, is having great success finding babysitting gigs on Craigslist. She gets at least two to three homes a week. She says any little thing can tip the scale to your favor, like being certified in giving CPR, and knowing various first aid techniques. The more specific you can get, the safer they'll feel.

She gets between $13 (US) and $25 an hour. Always give them a range, because that gives them options. And make sure the minimum amount you ask is what you want to get paid, which makes you less wishy-washy to the parents.

Good luck!
posted by i8ny3x at 12:22 PM on October 26, 2006

As a babysitter, I've found my families through craigslist and university newspapers (grad students with kids). Word of mouth has been my best source however - so being a good babysitter helps.

I babysat for a few years then got a proper job so I quit babysitting. Then this year I looked into babysitting again but hadn't kept in touch with any of the families. So when applying, I would tell the family that I do have experience but I've lost contact with the families, however you're welcome to talk to my current employer about my character/reliability/dependability. So far its worked for me and I also got a steady gig.

As for rates, I rarely bring it up, as the families wanting a sitter have had a rate in mind. The only time I speak up is when they want someone for really wacky hours (midnight) then I ask for extra money (cab fare/dinner money)

Good luck.
posted by bkpr at 12:31 PM on October 26, 2006

How do you find your sitters?

They're people we know or sitters recommended by people we know.

Tell anybody you know with babysitable kids that you're getting into the business. After you've sat for them, ask them to spread the word. (Should babysitable have one T or two?)

How much do people charge for babysitting nowadays?

Well, we're paying teenagers in the range of $8 to $10 per hour (in Toronto). An adult can probably charge much more, especially if you're offering all-day weekday service (maybe check some nanny services for a comparison).

I agree about the first aid training -- an adult offering a babysitting service without certification in first aid and CPR is a non-starter in my opinion.
posted by winston at 12:35 PM on October 26, 2006

How much depends on where you live. We pay just $2-3 per hour. Call a few babysitters and ask. 1st aid & infant/child CPR is a must.
posted by LadyBonita at 12:37 PM on October 26, 2006

I'd think a few flyers with a tear-out for your phone number would do the trick. I've found babysitters that way posted at the post office, convenience stores, grocery, health food store and libraries.

Love the title, btw.
posted by saffry at 12:38 PM on October 26, 2006

Print up flyers and post them where families and children congregate. Churches and synogogues, preschools, etc. can be a great resource, particularly if you become a familiar face around those places.
posted by jasper411 at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2006

I would try to cultivate a little word of mouth.

Also, in many cases, you can post flyers inside public schools. Our school has a wall of 'em. That would be a pretty good place.
posted by GuyZero at 1:15 PM on October 26, 2006

I pay $15/hr for 3 kids in the metro NYC area. It has never been questioned. We get our babysitter from ads posted at the local college (Pace) and through friends of other neighborhood sitters. We pay more I think because we ask for a commitment of every Sat night. It is a two way commitment. If we do not have plans or are canceled, we pay the sitter a minimum amount anyway.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:17 PM on October 26, 2006

In Vancouver, BC, the going rate for adults who sit is around $10 to $15 an hour.
posted by acoutu at 1:56 PM on October 26, 2006

I would recommend getting First Aid and CPR certified. A friend babysits and says that this increased her number of gigs significantly.
posted by k8t at 3:34 PM on October 26, 2006

I'll second k8t. Although it has been years since I babysat 'professionally', I got a lot of work through the Red Cross bulletin board, where I was allowed to post my name after I had completed a babysitter certification course, which included first aid (but not CPR).
Also, my friends with small children say the going rate for babysitters is US$ 10 when kids are awake, and US$ 6 once they are asleep.
posted by msali at 6:08 PM on October 26, 2006

Draw up an extensive contract, even if - no, ESPECIALLY if - you're babysitting for friends. Include duties you will and will not be expected to perform, like vacuuming, dishes, etc. and include what is fair game (food, computer use after the kids are asleep) and what is off-limits. I had one friend stiff me out of $40 because she was mad that the kids and I ate the last cookie.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:20 AM on October 28, 2006

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