If you enjoy being around young children (for the most part) and have patience and energy to go along with your outgoing attitude, you could make good money as a babysitter.
Being a sitter isn’t just for tweens and teens anymore. Many parents are actually looking for older and more experienced sitters who can drive, perform CPR, prepare light snacks or even cook, etc. Some of these sitters have had children of their own and know how to handle surprise and emergency situations- as well as the full-blown temper tantrum.
How do you get started as a sitter, and especially if you don’t know too many young families?
Sign up with online sitter sites.
Two popular sites for sitters to sign up with are SitterCity and Care.com.
SitterCity, the original sitter site, was started in 2001. It is available in all 50 U.S. states and features over 6 million babysitters. At SitterCity, you can not only hire out a babysitter, but a nanny/au pair and/or regular childcare too.
To get started with SitterCity, complete your profile and include pertinent information about your past experience, preferences (e.g., non-smoking or smoking house), average hourly rate and availability. You will also be given the option of having SitterCity perform a background check on you (for a small fee).
It is highly recommended that you agree to the background check because that will increase your work requests. You can also peruse job postings placed by parents and solicit your services via the SitterCity site.
If you start collecting good reviews from parents, you’ll eventually receive a request to join Chime.com, which is SitterCity’s elite babysitter site. Chime is currently only available in select cities; it operates as an Uber-like ‘sitter-on-demand’ service.
Care.com is a global care site that spans 18 countries and has been around since 2007. This site has millions of members and offers a range of care services, from childcare to assisted living services.
You can fill out a form with Care.com, which includes creating a detailed profile containing your photo, preferences, experience, skills, hobbies, etc. Care.com used to perform free background checks but discontinued that service in January of 2016.
Just as with SitterCity, you can use Care.com to look for sitter jobs and have families contact you directly about your services. Parents and relatives can also leave detailed reviews about your services, rates, skills, etc. If you rack up enough good reviews, your odds of securing steady work will increase.
Monster.com, Craigslist, etc. can also be taken advantage of for listing your babysitting services. These sites are free to use and are widely viewed.
How to stand out as a sitter
When there are hundreds or even thousands of sitters to compete against in your neck of the woods, how do get more babysitting jobs? The answer lies in add-on services and extra/special skills. Parents are most likely to hire you if you do or know the following:
You can drive.
If you have a car and can use it to drive kids to their soccer matches and piano recitals, you’ll become a valuable asset to parents everywhere. With SitterCity, you can have your driver’s license verified for an extra fee to ensure that you are legally certified to drive.
You know CPR.
Kids get into all kinds of odd situations, and knowing how to rescue them from injury and/or death is critical when someone leaves their young ones in your care. To this end, get certified in child CPR and other first aid techniques.
You have early childhood education.
Kids are rarely logical, polite and obedient. However, you can induce them to become that way, at least for an evening, if you know a little bit about childhood psychology. Community and online colleges offer different classes in childhood development and psychology, and completing them will definitely make you stand out amongst anxious parents.
You are punctual.
Believe it or not, the single biggest complaint that parents have about babysitters is that they are late. So, as an up-and-coming babysitter, do your part to arrive on time at your destinations.
You are crafty.
Do you know how to fill an evening with card tricks, painting projects, or an expedition to the local park? Can you pick up and play the latest PC games or discuss cartoon characters? The more you ‘get’ your clients’ kids, the more likely those clients will be to call you for repeat babysitting. And it never hurts to be known as the “favorite babysitter” either.
How much money are sitters paid?
The days when you would see someone paying $20 for an entire night of babysitting are long gone. Nowadays, the going rate for babysitting services is $12/hour. For urban centers and mega cities like New York or San Francisco, it’s common to earn around $20/hour. Even novice babysitters that have extra skills and training can command rates in the high teens.
Interacting with children as a side hustle may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like it, the money is certainly waiting for you.