You are a new parent and now faced with yet another dilemma. How much do you pay a babysitter? You may need to hire an occasional sitter, summer help or permanent child care when you go back to work. With the help of the Internet and family and friends, you can find out the going rate in your area.
Check out an online rate calculator for what babysitters charge in your area (see Resources). You will be asked to indicate your zip code, number of children and any special circumstances. Expect to pay more for children who require constant attention, such as newborns, infants and children with special needs.
If you find the suggested pay too high, negotiate an agreement with the babysitter. You may be able to offer non-tangible rewards, such as increased flexibility and meals.
Friends and Family
Ask parents of children in your circle of friends and family what they pay babysitters. Ask about options such as leaving your child with the sitter or at an in-home child care business.
You may discover that a child of a relative or friend is willing to babysit. Don't expect to get a special deal, however; remember, this person will be responsible for the safety and well being of your children.
Child Care Businesses
Check newspaper and web ads for childcare businesses. Compare the services they provide. An agency can arrange for a sitter who has been vetted and trained in child care and first aid. Be clear on the terms, such as whether the hourly rate is per child.
Always ask for references.