Babysitting Q&A

I’ve had a few people ask me about how to get involved with babysitting. It has been such a rewarding experience (both educationally and financially) that I figured I would share my details with everyone! I know babysitting isn’t for everyone (Megan wouldn’t be caught dead playing with children voluntarily) but I enjoy working with kids so it’s a great fit for me.

You know you read the books!

How did I get started babysitting? 
A second income is crucial for me to pay my student loans. I used to be a waitress but I worked late hours after a full day at work and the management was not very nice. I heard about SitterCity and quickly changed my second job to “babysitter”. It is very easy to make a profile and search for jobs. Families started calling me within a few days. Similar sites are Care, Sitters, and Craigslist. I have tried a few but SitterCity is still my favorite.

What did I include in my profile to be hired so quickly?
I definitely included a picture and a background check. I hesitated on the background check at first because I worried it was a scam. At least for Sitter City, it just gave parents a better piece of mind about letting an internet stranger come hang with their kids. A background check paid for itself within one hour of babysitting so it’s more than worth the investment.

Since there are some weirdos out there, I did not include my reference’s contact info. I simply stated that references are available upon request. Be prepared to have roughly 3 references and notify them so they are prepared to talk to potential families.

I did not get CPR certified (classes were $80 minimum!) but that was ok with most families.

I was honest about my availability (evenings and weekends). I loved this feature because you can make your own schedule and families could check your availability before asking you for a job.

In my bio I was bubbly, highlighted my experience and what makes me qualified for watching their kids (responsible, fun, patient etc) and said that I keep my schedule flexible for babysitting jobs (music to parents’ ears). I kept it short and ended with “I look forward to hearing from you!”

How did I determine an hourly rate?
Babysitting rates vary by city and state BIG time! Growing up in Minnesota, it was a big deal to get $10/hour. In NYC, $15 is the norm for one kid. Setting a rate is daunting because you don’t want to shortchange yourself but if you ask too much you’ll miss out on a job. Care.com has a great pay calculator that factors in your location, your experience and how many kids. I have over 10 years experience so I make $15/1 kid, $18/2 kids in New York.

How many families to you juggle working for?
Usually about 4, which can be a lot. Some weeks are completely booked and you turn down jobs left and right and other times I have a whole week free. Some families have regular weekly dates and others are more sporadic. The worst are the late notice jobs but being flexible is really valuable for getting called again.

Have you had any bad experiences?
I’ve been really lucky and all the families I work for are great. There are the occasional days that the kids are bratty or crabby and sometimes just downright awful, but that’s kids for you. Waitressing has customers like that too. Sometimes I feel like the “help” and sometimes I feel like I’m at these families beck and call but most of the time I have good relationships with all of the families I have met so far.

I have been notified on Sitter City that some “parent profiles” looking for babysitters have been deleted due to misconduct. I can only imagine the horror stories that happen to some people. I always tell people when I’m going to meet a new family, just to be safe.

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If you have any questions that I haven’t answered, please don’t hesitate to ask! I wish I could post pictures of the cute kiddos I get to hang out with but I have a feeling parents wouldn’t appreciate their kids’ faces plastered on the internet without their permission.

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3 Responses to Babysitting Q&A

  1. Amanda says:

    I totally did read those books when I was younger (which is also when I did the bulk of my babysitting). Glad the second job is working out for you 🙂

  2. HowdyFromNYC says:

    OMG I've been trying to get some clients up here in the city since I moved here 2 years ago. This. is. so. helpful. Question – On SitterCity did you do the enhanced background check or just the standard? Also, I don't need a vehicle check right? I live in Manhattan, I have no car.

  3. Katie says:

    I did the standard background check and it was roughly $15. The enhanced seemed a little much for me. I did not do a vehicle check since I'm also in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that I go somewhere with the kids or family, we walk or take a cab (paid for by the family). Good luck! There is a huge need for sitters in NYC so I'm sure you'll find a few clients in no time!

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