Babysitters are currently raking in more cash than ever before. In fact, the average national rate has gone up by 28 percent since 2009, according to a recent Care.com survey.
Translation? The typical going rate across the U.S. last year landed at $13.44 per hour - but families can expect to shell out more in cities that have a higher cost of living. (The standard rates for New York and Boston were a little over $15 per hour.)
So what's contributing to the high demand? Experts say that inflation isn't what's fueling the spike.
"One of the big reasons those national rates are going up is that families are really focused on quality," says Donna Levin, co-founder of Care.com. "They prefer to hire someone with safety training and great experience, and 89 percent of families would prefer to hire someone over the age of 20 to provide care as a date-night babysitter."
What's more is that one in four parents actually tip on top of the hourly rate.
"If you find a sitter who meets all of your requirements, who your kids adore, and who's reliable, dependable and on time, keep in mind that other people may be wanting to check out your sitter," Levin adds.
If you find it hard to believe that another family would poach your favorite sitter, think again. The Care.com survey also found that one in five parents are willing to steal a sitter. Sixteen percent even admit to hoarding their sitter's contact information from friends.
While these stats may be stress-inducing for parents, it's great news for anyone who babysits as a side gig. The truth is that, if you're good at what you do, your services are in hot demand - and you can pretty much name your own price.
"It's definitely a babysitter's market," Levin says.
If you're a sitter who's unsure of what to charge, check out this online rate calculator
to help you get started. It factors in things like your city, how many kids you're caring for, and if you're willing to do any additional housework. Then it tallies up a fair price for that market.