My first summer living in Louisiana I spent as a camp counselor. It was what I did throughout most of high school and college, and I wanted one my summer as a counselor before I ended grad school. I had a great summer, and at the end one of the parent's asked if I'd been willing to babysit. "Of course!" After all, who doesn't like a few extra dollars.
A few weeks after the summer ended they called to see if I could watch the kids. They lived not that far from my apartment at the time so I had no trouble finding the place. The night went really smoothly. I made frozen pizza. The kids watched one of the Air Bud movies on TV. They even went to sleep pretty easily.
The trouble only started when the parents got home. I was giving them a report of the night, and they asked how much I charged. Well, that far more complicated than it seemed. I hadn't actually babysat since high school. Back in high school I used to charge $10 an hour (which was even on the low side compared to some of my friends). But when I was in high school I was 16 or 17 when I was baby-sitting, and at the time I was 22. So based on the fact I was older I would guess I should charge slightly more, and one would think in general babysitting rates have gone up over the past 6 years or so.
However, when I babysat in high school I was in California. But, now I was in Louisiana. And things cost more in California than they do in Louisiana. Minimum wage is less in California than it is in Louisiana. So I should be charging less than I used to in California.
I figured that since I should be charging more on one opinion and less on the other opinion, if I kept my same rate I'd be safe. I really did try to avoid saying anything, "I'm fine with whatever you normally pay your baby-sitters," but that wasn't working. So I finally sucked it up and said, "I charge $10 an hour."
I pretty much completely overestimated the going rate for a babysitter in Louisiana. Turns out they normally paid $7 an hour for a babysitter. I told them $7 would be fine, but they insisted. Then there was the fact they didn't have enough cash to pay me for $10 an hour. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) they were able to find their checkbook and wrote me a check for $10 an hour. And let's just say they never actually called me again to babysit. I'm guess they went back to a babysitter that was at least a little cheaper than me.
So I'm curious, did you babysit when you were growing up? Do you remember what the going rate for then? Or maybe you currently have kids? If that's the case what do you normally pay your babysitters? Maybe we can come to some sort of nationwide (or maybe even worldwide) average!
5 hours ago