So you’ve finally worked up the courage
to leave the little one at home and are planning a night
on the town for two (after all, you can’t remember
the last time the two of you made eye contact, let alone
canoodled over a glass of wine). But what’s the
going rate for reclaimed sanity? You can’t just
double the tax at the end of the night. Below, a guide
to figuring out what a sitter is worth.
• Expect to pay a minimum of $40 per night.
The going rate for a single child ranges between $10
and $15 per hour (with a minimum of four hours) for
a college student or young professional. You’ll
probably have to fork over another $2 per hour for each
additional child. Offer anything less, and you may have
trouble attracting a sitter. Note: It’s especially
uncool to say you’ll pay a sitter for a certain
number of hours, then pay her less just because you
decided to make it an early night.
• Experience matters. Eight to $10 per
hour is fine for anyone under 18. You’ll pay more
for special skills, from $12 for a sitter who cooks,
cleans, and drives to $18 for someone who brings her
own bag of games and goodies and is either certified
in infant CPR and first aid or adept at handling more
than two kids.
• Pay for the ride home. Safety is important
to sitters, who are often single women heading home
late at night. It’s pretty much standard to slip
in an extra $10 to $20 (depending on where the sitter
lives) if your night runs later than 9 p.m.
• Feed them. Since baby-sitters are usually
working during meal times and preparing food for the
kids, parents should allow access to the fridge or leave
extra cash for takeout.