Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
You've probably heard the old saying "time is money." That's true even for teenagers just looking for a babysitting job.
Should you pay a babysitter for an interview? No. There is no job industry where you're paid simply for coming to an interview. Most people accept going to interviews on their own time as part of getting a job. However, for babysitting there's one key exception.
I'm going to share some arguments why you might want to consider paying a babysitter just for coming for an interview, as well as some arguments against. I'll discuss some other topics, like whether you should pay for your babysitter's transportation or give them in a deposit in advance.
At the end I'll share the one situation that's an exception where I think you SHOULD pay your babysitter for an interview.
Even if you just give your potential babysitter $5, that can be a big deal for a young teenager that doesn't have a job yet. It's a good incentive for them to come and talk with you. It lets them know you're serious, and it will make them take the process more seriously as well. It's also polite and shows that you value their time.
Younger babysitters might need to take the bus or get a cab over to your house to speak with you. That's a pretty big expense at the risk of potentially not getting the babysitting job. Even if they're a teen and can drive to your house, they still need to pay for gas and might not have much income.
Some young teens are very ambitious and participating in all kinds of charity work, as well as after-school and extracurricular activities. It might be hard for them to find time in their schedule, or they might need to sacrifice time spent doing something they enjoy to come interview for a babysitting position with you.
I've never been to an interview where I was paid to attend. In fact, I'd probably think something was up if someone had to bribe me to come and interview to work for them. Paying for interviews or expecting payment for interviews just isn't a thing in any industry, whether you're young or an adult.
Interviewing is just part of the job-seeking process. It's a risk that people accept. Adults often need to take time off from their existing jobs to interview for new positions.
If transportation is an issue, you can interview your potential babysitter over the phone or via Skype. Nowadays it's even easy to share certifications, references, and other paperwork online.
You're most likely only going to be interviewing a handful of potential babysitters at most, so their chance of getting to work for you is pretty good. And since most babysitting gigs are recurring, they can probably expect to earn money from babysitting every week or every few weeks. Even if they have to pay $5 for a return bus trip to speak with you, they might be earning hundreds of dollars through babysitting within the next few months.
In my opinion, no. Most babysitters will already have travel arrangements. Most likely a parent or older sibling will drop them off and pick them up from your house.
I might offer to drive my babysitter home if they had no other way to get home and their house was a good distance away from mine.
However, I wouldn't pay for an Uber or taxi to get them home. One reason is because of liability. Your babysitter is most likely still a minor themselves, and you have no control over what happens once they get into someone else's vehicle. The other reason is because of cost. Paying for their trip home could be the same as two hours worth of babysitting or more!
If my babysitter had their own vehicle I might consider chipping in to help pay for gas if they make a long trip to my house (more than a 15 minute drive.) But I wouldn't say this is necessary or expected.
I don't see any reason to prepay a babysitter. Let's face it... if you don't pay, they already know where you live. So what do they really have to lose?
It's way more likely that they'll end up flaking and not showing up when you need them. If you've already paid them, what's the incentive for them to show up? And good luck ever getting that money back if they end up never babysitting for you.
It's best to pay your babysitter in full once their time is completed. Not earlier, and not later.
I'd maybe make an exception for a full-time nanny and place some kind of down-payment or deposit. Especially if they come with recommendations or work for a reputable agency or company.
In the United States, the national average pay for a babysitter is $13.44. But that number can vary widely.
How much you pay your babysitter will depend on a lot of factors like:
For a new babysitter with only 1-2 years of experience to watch 1 child, I'd pay a little above minimum wage.
I'd add at least $1 per hour for each additional child they'll be watching, and for every couple of years of experience.
If your child has special needs then you can also expect to pay more. See our guide: How to find a babysitter for an autistic child for more information.
See our Complete guide to babysitter pay to learn what the best pay rate will be in your situation.
There's one exception where I think you definitely should pay your babysitter for an interview. That's if you do an on-the-job interview.
That's when your babysitter is basically doing a trial visit. They babysit the kids for a few hours while you're still in the house, just in case they run into any trouble and need help.
This is a great way to get a feel for your babysitter, as well as see how they interact with your children first-hand. You'll know if they're actively playing with your kids and you're getting your money's worth, or if they're just sitting on their phone while the kids watch television.
Since your babysitter will basically be doing the full job, just on a trial basis, I think it's definitely worth paying them for this kind of test.
See our complete guide: How to interview a babysitter for essential tips and our trusted techniques to help you find the perfect sitter.
If your babysitter will be watching your children over dinner time, it's courtesy to provide them with something to eat, chip in for some pizza or take-out, or at least leave them with some snacks. For more details about providing food for your babysitter, check out our article: Do You Provide Dinner for Your Babysitter?
I think it depends on how much notice you give them. For less than 24 hours notice, I'd definitely pay the full amount for the hours you originally needed them. If you're canceling with one or two days of notice I'd recommend paying them at least half, because they may have needed to cancel existing plans to make babysitting work in the first place. If you cancel a week early or more, I don't think there's really an obligation to pay them at all.
For a part-time babysitter that you're only using for a few hours per week, this isn't necessary. Think of them like independent contractors. However, if you have a full-time babysitter or nanny that watch your child every day, they're basically employees and I'd treat them as such. Including giving them some holiday pay, and potentially needing to collect money for taxes, social security, and other standard costs that would show up on a paystub.
Written & Illustrated by:
Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
Published: 23 December 2018
Kidsit has teamed up with the lovely people at care.com to offer our visitors a special discount on their premium membership.
Care.com is the largest and most recognised marketplace for caregivers online. We encourage you to sign up and browse their extensive listings of babysitting profiles, you're sure to find the perfect caregiver for your family.
Click below to learn more.
Learn the types of babysitter background checks that are available for safety and peace of mind and which ones are right for you.
Learn which qualities and characteristics a babysitter should have that make them a great caregiver your whole family will love.
Learn how much babysitters get paid in various countries and cities, and how to price a babysitter for your specific situation.
Follow our tips to make sure the interview process goes smoothly and read our general guide on how the process should work.
Make sure your babysitter is capable, experienced, is a great fit for your family, and has a great personality too by asking the right questions.
Learn the places where it’s common to tip your babysitter, the times when it’s more appropriate to tip, how much you should give, and more.
Use our babysitter reference questions to quickly and easily vet potential candidates and find the best sitter for your family
Learn how to prepare your home, your child, and yourself for your first babysitter so you can finally enjoy a dinner date or night out for the first time in months!
Give your babysitter all the information they need by printing out our handy parent details form. Never forget important instructions.
A male babysitter can be just as safe, caring, and responsible as a female one. Compare their qualifications and recommendations just like other candidates.
There are some things that babysitters should never do, see our list of the biggest offenders so that you know what to enforce.
Follow our step by step guide to hiring a babysitter from start to finish including screening, interviewing, performing background checks, and making an offer.
Learn what babysitting expenses parents are eligible for, and receive a tax credit or deduction. It can save you thousands of dollars!
Learn which jobs are super flexible and let you work around your existing childcare schedule and earn some extra money!
Be aware that pulling a prank on your babysitter means you're probably going to get one in return. So make sure you can handle the consequences!
Learn some non-obvious benefits when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your child or children. We'll also touch on a few of the disadvantages to consider.
Learn whether a babysitter should do any cleaning as well as what types of cleaning you should and shouldn't expect them to do.
Learn the basic laws that various countries have about recording people with or without their consent, and see the pros and cons of using a nanny cam.
Your best option is to reach out to family and friends for a favor. If they aren't able to help, try our list of creative alternatives.
The majority of families will need to hire a babysitter between once per week and 1-2 times per month but it depends on your family's individual needs.
Babysitters can take care of more than one child at once. But there is a limit on how many kids a babysitter can watch effectively.
To successfully win a lawsuit against a negligent babysitter, you'll need to prove a duty of care, a breach of their duty, and causation.
Learn what paperwork is required to allow your babysitter to take your child to the doctor if you’re unavailable to do so.
Learn how to choose a mature and capable babysitter that can keep your kids safe on overnight sitting jobs.
Learn what babysitters expect from parents when it comes to food. If you decide to provide dinner, try our 8 easy food ideas that are perfect for babysitters on the job.