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How to set a nanny or babysitter salary?

A lot of families ask us “how much should I pay my nanny / babysitter?” It is an important and valid question, which unfortunately doesn’t have a straight answer.

As there is no set fee, salaries vary from nanny to nanny and family to family. The main factor of course will be your budget, but there are also crucial factors to consider before you decide on a set amount. Here is a list below. Read it and take notes of your answers - they will help you define a salary bracket that is realistic as truly reflecting the job at hand. Oh, and bare in mind that for your nanny, caring for children is not a pleasant hobby, but a real job. Therefore your salary should reflect that.

  1. How old is your babysitter or nanny? Typical teen sitters are paid much less than older, 18+ caregivers. A salary of a teen babysitter is often considered as pocket money. Those that are older more often consider child care as a job and a real source of revenue. They have a much greater choice of jobs available and they expect a comparable salary. In Canada, the current minimum salary varies around $10/hour (depending on the province). 18+ sitters will tend to want a salary around that range ($9 to $12/hour). Teen babysitters tend to ask for $5 to $8/hour.
  2. How much experience does your nanny have? Experience can vary: from babysitting siblings, to previous nanny work with other families or being employed in daycare centers. The more experienced your nanny is the higher the salary you will need to offer.
  3. How qualified you sitter needs to be? A minimum required is a first aid course and a babysitting course for teen sitters. However, several babysitters and nannies have skills well above the minimum: certification in early childhood, school teacher education, classes in special children care. The more qualifications you require, or your sitter posses, the higher the offered salary.
  4. Is any special care required? A child with special needs might require specific care skills and more work from the Nanny/Babysitter. Make sure that this is reflected in the salary offered.
  5. How many children in care? The more children the sitter takes care of, the more work is required, and the higher the salary should be. It is common practice for nannies to add few dollars an hour per child under her care.
  6. How old are the children in care? The younger the children, the more supervision and assistance are needed and the wages requested are generally higher.
  7. Besides care, are there any other tasks required? If you require your babysitter or nanny to do other tasks than child supervision (preparing meals, errands, cleaning), expect to offer a higher salary. Sitters consider extra tasks as extra responsibility and they expect to be paid for it.
  8. What are the hours of work? Will your sitter be working regular hours, during the evening, occasionally? The quantity of hours and time of the day influence greatly the salary. With more hours, you can offer a daily or weekly fee rather than hourly. With little and irregular hours, an hourly fee is the norm. The more you require her/him for weekends, evenings or nights, the more you might have to pay.
  9. Where do you live? The pay in urban centers is typically higher than the countryside. Also, if you live in remote areas, and transport by the sitter is required, expect to pay more.
  10. Finally, what are the reviews and references of other parents? A good Nanny/Babysitter that kids love and parents appreciate will be in demand. Do not be surprised if she/he might ask for above the average salary as she/he knows that other families can offer these higher rates.

That said salaries of babysitters and nannies usually are negotiable. To build trust and a long-term relationship between the child minder and the family, it is better to be open and clear about the reasons a given salary is offered. When both parties know the full scope of the job at hand, it is easier to come to an agreement. It is also recommended to regularly assess wages (once every 3-6 months) to ensure that all changes in the job are reflected in the rate. Again, a transparent and honest communication between the Nanny/Babysitter and the family is encouraged, and really the only way to go.

It is always better to reward a Nanny or Babysitter that you like with a higher salary. After all, a Nanny/Babysitter affects directly the development of your child and the well being of your household. If all is working well it is worth to keep the person in the family as long as possible. On SOSsitter.ca, each sitter has a detailed profile with, among other info, the sitter’s desired salary. It is easy to compare salaries offered in your area.

Paulina Podgorska

Founder of SOSsitter.ca

Like most women, Paulina wears many hats.  She is a mother, she is an entrepreneur, she is an at home child care expert.  This vocation manifested at an early age when she started being a full time nanny for her baby brother.  Later on, she used her experience to work as a babysitter while in college.  She then became a Mom and started to look for child care providers. Being a single mother, finding the right at home baby sitter was critical to her.  This quest for the perfect nanny gave her the opportunity to meet and work with numerous nannies and  babysitters and further develop her expertise. Realizing that finding the right nanny or babysitter turned too often into an obstacle course, Paulina created SOSsitter.ca, an on line service where parents and local in-home sitters connect, that’s fast, efficient and affordable. Through SOSsitter.ca, Paulina leverages her expertise to help families find the local help they need, when they need it.  The site gives parents the opportunity to use their own criteria to search through a large database of detailed profiles of local nannies and babysitters that have been reviewed by mothers. Paulina also has a blog where she shares advice to help families through the selection and hiring process of a babysitter or nanny.  She also describes on her blog her adventures as a mom entrepreneur and founder of SOSsitter.

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