Since we all need a break from looking after the kids from time to time, you could argue that babysitters pretty much prop up our society. They’re lifesavers that keep us sane.
But finding a good, reliable babysitter isn’t without its problems.
In general, when it comes to sorting out babysitters, there are 2 problems: where do you find a good babysitter and how much should you pay your babysitter?
This article is about the second issue: that of babysitting rates. In the UK, what should you expect to pay a babysitter? It’s actually a key issue, because the differences in price between babysitters can be a reflection of their differing skill-sets and experience levels.
Babysitting rates in the UK
So let’s start at the beginning.
Ultimately as parents, we want to treat our babysitters well – which includes paying them the right price for their stellar service.
After all, we’re leaving them in charge of our most precious possessions and ideally, we’d like them to come back and sit for us again and again. If they’re happy, our children will be happy.
[Which means our precious nights out can continue – Lord knows we enjoy the time off!]
As with any service though, paying the right price is important, so we thought we’d shed some light on a question we hear being asked by so many parents and sitters alike:
What’s the going rate for a babysitter?
This question is especially relevant for new parents who are beginning to book babysitters for the first time.
The difficulty with answering this question is that the answer depends on a few different factors. Not all sits are the same and a fair price for one sitter might be too high or too low for another.
So to help answer it, we’ve looked at the data from our babysitting app bubble, as well as the feedback we’ve been getting on this issue from hundreds of parents and sitters over the past few months.
What’s the average babysitter rate in the UK?
On bubble, babysitters set their own hourly rate. We’ve got close to 2,000 babysitters now registered on the app with the average hourly rate currently at just under £9 per hour.
Looking at London specifically (which is where bubble is currently focusing it’s roll out) there is not much disparity in rates between the different areas of the capital.
South-West & North-East London have an average hourly rate of £10 while in Central and South-East London you should expect to pay £9.50 per hour.
North-West London is currently the cheapest place to book a sitter, with the average hourly rate currently standing at £9 per hour.
What might the rate depend on?
There are a number of factors that determine the hourly rate that a parent is willing to pay their babysitter, and vice versa what the sitter expects to earn.
Will the kids be asleep?
Here’s the most obvious statement you’ll read this week, possibly, ever.
Looking after young kids is a very different proposition when they’re awake as opposed to when they’re asleep!
Ask every single parent on the planet and they’ll tell you that parenting is a much harder gig when the nippers are up and about – and for babysitters it is no different.
As a result, babysitting in the day will usually be priced differently to an evening job.
And as the proud (and shattered) parents of very active young toddlers ourselves, we think that’s fair enough.
Most parents want time off in the evening, so any time after 6pm could be considered more normal. Unless you’re a professional, dedicated nanny, a daytime babysitting gig might be rare…
… and that might incur a premium charge.
Like any business in any niche, babysitting is a question of demand and supply.
How many of them are there?
For daytime sits, the number of kids that the babysitter is required to look after, can impact on how much the sitter will want to charge. Which again is quite fair, since more kids do tend to equal more work.
This factor only really comes into play during the daytime though – as once the kids are asleep, the job-at-hand largely remains the same.
What day is it?
This is a question of convenience.
Friday & Saturday nights do require a premium for some sitters to give up their wild plans and sit for you instead – though definitely not all.
And of course, there’s the Christmas and New Year period to consider with typical Babysitter rates in London on New Year’s Eve ranging from £15 – £20 per hour.
Plus, is it an overnight job?
What’s the sitter’s experience?
Parents on bubble are booking babysitters for all kids of different scenarios:
- In the evenings for their newborns who don’t sleep too well
- In the evening for toddlers who sleep right through
- During holiday times or in the morning on the weekends – occasions when the parent will be at home throughout
- To do outdoor activities with children that have special needs
- To help their children with homework and exam preparation
What this shows is that the experience level that a parent requires from their babysitter can vary greatly, and subsequently the hourly rate they expect and are being asked to pay can vary too.
The local sixth-form student, happy to watch the TV or do their work while your kids sleep will expect a different price then the maternity nurse or experienced nanny required to put the kids to bed.
As parents, we all have different needs and sensibilities when it comes to picking our babysitters and sitter rates reflect that.
Will there be ironing?
Again, there’s no hard or fast rule with this one but it’s worth bearing in mind that many babysitters will be happy to do extra housework if needed when you’re out. This is especially the case during times when the kids are asleep.
So if you need the ironing or cleaning done too, or any other chores for that matter, it’s worth asking the sitter whether they’d be up for doing it.
Some will do basic housework as part of the service while others might ask for (or expect the offer of) a few pounds extra.
On bubble you can read on a sitter’s profile whether they’re actively looking to take on the additional extras and what they might charge if they do.
How late will you be back?
Once a sit goes past midnight, it’s common practice for parents to pay their babysitters slightly more for those final hours.
On the bubble app, parents are able to quickly add a tip when paying their babysitters in the app and we’ve seen a number of cases where parents are adding on a few extra quid to say thanks for staying so late.
It’s by no means an expectation of all babysitters – especially if they’ve been told in advance that it was going to be a late one. It’s more an optional extra that helps us parents feel slightly less guilty about it all!
While nearly all sitters will expect to make their own way to the sit, for those that don’t drive, the cab fair home when sits are ending late at night (past 10pm) is seen as fairly standard.
It’s worth considering this when booking your babysitter.
Those with their own car may be more expensive per hour, but once the cab journey back is factored in, they might well be the cheaper option than keener priced sitters who need help getting home.
Cash is not King
Whatever rate you decide on, speak to most parents and they’ll tell you that often they end up paying the babysitter more due to not having the right change on them when they get home.
Which is why parents on bubble love the cashless payment feature of our app. The exact length of the sit is calculated to the minute and when the parent gets home, they tap to end the sit and complete payment.
Aside from easily and quickly paying the babysitter the correct amount, not having to fumble around for cash at the end of the night helps avoid what can be an awkward few minutes for both parties!
It’s all about choice
Price is always important, and parents (make that consumers in general) will vary in terms of how sensitive they are to what the sitter is asking them to pay.
Ultimately, finding a great babysitter they like and trust – someone their kids will love too – is most important and as this article has discussed, what works for one parent will be different to what works for another.
Even more so, what works for one parent on a Monday morning might be different to what works for that same parent on a Saturday night.
So surrounding themselves by a network of great babysitters that can fulfill all of their requirements – even at late notice – is very worthwhile for Mums and Dads looking for that bit more freedom and flexibility in their lives.
Essentially, great babysitters can earn a very good salary… but they’re worth it.
Check out our app bubble if you need a hand booking a brilliant local babysitter.
The app shows you local sitters around you that your friends use and trust.
Every sitter has a profile that tells you more about their skills, experience and qualifications and you can also read the reviews left by other parents they’ve sat for.
Sitters also clearly state their own hourly rate on their profiles, so you’ll get a real-time market view of what the going rate is for a babysitter is in your area.
So what is the average rate for a UK babysitter?
Need a babysitter? Download the bubble babysitting app today on iOS or Android to book, pay and rate the babysitters your friends use and trust.