by Melody VanderWeide
Parents Want to Know How Much Others Pay Their Sitters
Parents often ask us what the going rate for sitters is in our region. In fact, we’ve posted that question so many times on our Facebook page we thought it was time to dedicate an article to the topic.
But first, we needed information.
About a month ago we asked our readers to weigh in by filling out a survey. We asked for zip code, number of kids, ages of kids, and rates paid to various types of sitters, among other things.
Over 250 parents filled out the survey.
I had a lot of fun sifting through the data. (Seriously! – I used to teach chemistry – I love this kind of stuff!) And, like a good scientist, I tried to be objective about the data I was presented with. I must say, some of the results surprised me!
THE RESULTS: How Much We Pay Our Grand Rapids Babysitters
TREND 1: MORE KIDS MEANS MORE MONEY …SOMETIMES
NOTE: Hourly rates reported in this article are for older teen and college-aged sitters unless otherwise indicated.
Overall, the more kids the sitter is watching, the more that sitter will be paid per hour.
The following chart shows a range of hourly rates, depending on the number of children under care of the sitter.
A surprise hides here, though.
92 of the 250 parents surveyed reported paying their sitter $10 per hour, regardless of the number of children left at home.
Here’s a different way to look at it.
Who is paying $10 per hour?
- 29% of parents with 1 child
- 40% of parents with 2 kids
- 37% of parents with 3 kids
- 29% of parents with 4 kids
Why is this?
Most families with four or more kids have at least one or two older children that are easy to babysit and actually assist the sitter. In other words, having four kids to watch doesn’t necessarily mean a harder job.
Also, parents willingly pay a higher rate for sitters to watch young children, especially babies, compared to kids that are ages 7+.
Finally, $10 an hour makes paying the sitter easy. When calculating how much to pay a sitter at the end of the night, it’s more convenient to multiply by 10 than any other number. Who wants to do a lot of math at the end of a lovely evening out?
TREND 2: RATES VARY BY AREA
Rates paid across the region do vary greatly by area. Rates vary wildly even within certain zip codes. I think it is safe to conclude that determining a babysitter’s wage depends much more than on just where you live.
According to the information submitted to our survey, parents pay the most for sitters in Grand Rapids Township, Ada and Forest Hills. Sitters in Wyoming and Kentwood were more likely to take home a smaller paycheck.
TREND 3: WE WILL PAY MORE FOR CERTAIN “PERKS”
Teens vs. Adult Sitter Rates
Most parents pay $1-$2 per hour less to a young teen sitter than a college-aged sitter.
Many parents pay more for sitters that can drive. They also pay more for sitters that are tidy and will do light housework. Speaking a foreign language is another bonus.
Parents of twins or very young children often pay a higher rate because of the amount of work involved in their care.
We’re Competing For Good Babysitters
Many families indicated they pay a good sitter more in hopes that the sitter will prioritize them and be available when needed.
In fact, some parents won’t share the names of good sitters with friends out of fear the new family might inadvertently “steal the sitter away” by paying better, etc.
TREND 4: Where We Find Our Grand Rapids Sitters
Sitters come from a variety of sources in Grand Rapids. Here are the ways respondents said they found sitters:
- Calvin College job website
- Through friends – word of mouth
- Church youth group kids
- Through daycare
- Neighborhood website
- Community Facebook group
- Through the high school a parent works at
- Family members
If you want links to college job boards or more ideas, check out our article on finding babysitters.
TREND 5: Overnight Sitter Rates
Another question that perplexes parents is what to pay a sitter for overnight services.
While many of our readers report leaving children with relatives for a sleepover, many of our readers do not have family in town that can provide this type of care.
So what do parents pay for overnight care? Here is a sampling of survey replies to that question:
- $15 per hour awake, $50-$75 per night sleep
- $150 for 24 hours
- Long weekend sitters – $100 per day
- Total is about $150 per overnight
- $50 for overnight (6pm – 11am)
- $5 while sleeping / $10 while awake
- $100 for 24 hours