Babysitting Prices: What is fair?

@vokey9472 (1488)
United States
April 2, 2007 8:33pm CST
Here is the issue, my sister has a friend who's regular babysitter got a job and she needed someone to watch her kids. My sister told her that I am a stay at home mom and I could use some extra money. So her friend called me. We talked and she said I would only need to watch them a few days a week for a few hours. We agreed to $30 a day for both kids. Well, today was the first day. She arrived at my house at 8:15am. She has a 2 year old that is not potty trained and she brought 3 pull ups for him. I didn't think this would be a problem at that point. She has a 7 month old baby and she brought a can of formula, 1 bottle and 6 diapers. Again, not thinking this would be a problem. I am thinking, I am only watching them for a few hours. The 2 year old cannot use a regular cup and she didn't bring a sippy cup. Thankfully, he knows how to use a straw so I just used straws all day. Here is the problem, she didn't come to pick up the kids until 7pm. I asked her if something had happened to make her so late. She told me "no, I work until 6". She expects me to babysit two children under 3, both in diapers, for 11 hours a day for $30. That is less than $1.50 an hour per child!! And on top of that, she expects me to feed her kids lunch, dinner and two snacks out of my pocket. I don't mind buyig a sippy cup or two, but I cannot afford to buy diapers, pull ups, baby wipes, baby food, etc for her kids. She also trapped me at my house by not leaving the car seats. I couldn't even take the kids to the park. I am at a loss as to how to handle this situation. I know that I need to charge her more if she plans on leaving the kids at my house for 11 hours a day, but I feel bad doing that since I know she only makes $7 an hour. It would like asking her to work, so she can pay for babysitting. But if I have to watch those kids for 11 hours and feed them their meals out of my pocket plus provide the basic supplies for them, again out of my pocket, she HAS to pay me more per day. Any suggestions on how to handle this? It is such a sticky situation. She is a good friend of my sister's and her boyfriend is both my sister's friend and mine. Help??
4 people like this
5 responses
@kathy77 (7487)
• Australia
3 Apr 07
Oh what that is dreadful that she left the children at your home at 8.15 and did not return until 7pm and expect you to mind them for only $30.00 a day, and not all the necessary things like the children would of required more nappies than this but maybe this was a trick it certainly sounds like one to me. Yes she may only make $7 an hour but that is not your responsiblity to do all this for only this amount of money I do think that you will have to talk to her to make proper arrangements. You have to tell her that she has to supply what the children need and also give you a bit more money for that amount of hours
1 person likes this
@vokey9472 (1488)
• United States
3 Apr 07
My mother says that the girl may think that I don't mind doing it for that amount of money since I am at home with my son all day anyways. But that is different. My son is my son and his care and welfare are my job. Her kids are not mine and it's not my job to supply them with what they will need to stay at my house for 11 hours every day. I don't mind feeding the two year old as I have to make food for my son and I can always make a little bit extra for the two year old. But I cannot afford to go out and buy baby food for the baby. That stuff isn't cheap and money is already so tight around my house. I also cannot afford to buy diapers and pull ups for 3 kids. My son wears those pull up that older children wear to bed. I wish I could afford it, but I can't. As for the daily fee, I think $50 a day would be more fair just for the amount of time she is leaving the kids with me. But we will see what happens when I talk to her today.
• Australia
6 Apr 07
I just thought i'd add to this - with the 7 month old - you shouldn't really be needing baby food for that one, they should be on or at least semi on mushi foods anyway - depending on what you make the other kids, you could just mush it up for the 7 month old which would then save you having to buy jars etc - mushy fruit - banana, potato whatever should be fine :)
@emeraldisle (13139)
• United States
3 Apr 07
Yes she was way in the wrong with that situation. She should be providing everything for the children, that is even with actual day cares they have to so in house and under the table she should be for sure. Since this is an under the table job then no you shouldn't receive minimum wage but she shouldn't be short changing you either. I could see $30 per day as long as she is supplying everything and leaving you the car seats and strollers so you can take the kids out. If you have to supply everything then it has to be double the charge. Then I could see $60 per day. You need to sit down and talk with her. Tell her honestly that if she expects you to watch the kids then she has to supply their basic needs for that $30 per day. That you do not have the supplies there and cannot put it out of the money given. If need be call around to a few day cares and get prices and facts so you can tell her that what you are stating is not unreasonable. You also need to make sure with her what the hours will be so you know what all is expected of you. Honesty is the best policy and if she can't understand why you have a problem then perhaps she needs to find someone else.
@vokey9472 (1488)
• United States
3 Apr 07
This job is not under the table. She asked me for reciepts so that she can deduct her child care costs. This in turn means that I have to pay taxes on the money I earn from baby sitting her kids. I do like your advice though about sitting her down and just being totally honest with her.
@emeraldisle (13139)
• United States
6 Apr 07
If she's asking for reciepts then you should be getting a lot more. Call around to day cares and see how much they charge per child and adjust your prices accordingly. Under the table is totally different pricing then when one is having to pay taxes etc. Also you can point out most day cares stop at 6pm, at least the ones around here do and if you are late it's $5 per minute. Good luck with this situation. I feel for you with it.
• Canada
3 Apr 07
Oooh I feel bad for you as I have been in this situation on different accounts also and it never works out well for anyone . If you don't say anything you are going to end up really frustrated as the truth is you will find you are losing money instead of gaining anything at all when you have to start paying for all the things the children need . Maybe you could try talking to your sister and asking if she has any advice and explain the situation . The sooner you say something the better as the longer you let this go without saying anything the more they are going to believe you have no problems with this and will be more upset when you finally do say something as they will say that if this bothered you from the beginning , then why did you wait so long before saying anything . You could explain to the mother that you are not trying to take advantage of her but that you did not realize it was for so many hours a day and that altough you realize that she is not making much herself that you can't afford to work for so little with them for so many hours a day and you could suggest that she bring in extra diapers for days that you would require more and that if she even brought something for the children to eat for meals and would agree to leave the car seats that you would not feel so restricted . Try telling the truth and if she can't accept this well at least you said it up front and didn't wait til later when it would cause more problems . I know how hard it is to do what I am saying as it took me awhile to be able to do my own advice but the truth is that the quicker you deal with this issue the better . Best of luck in whatever you decide :)
1 person likes this
@vokey9472 (1488)
• United States
3 Apr 07
I did call my sister and explain how I was feeling. She told me that I had to take into consideration that the girl lives in Plano and is willing to drive all the way to my house to leave her kids with me. Hello!! She works in Downtown Dallas and my house is on the way to her job, it's not like she is making a special trip to leave her kids with me. My sister also said to just write her a list of things I need her to bring each day or leave at my house. This way no one gets hurt feelings and the girl knows that I don't have any baby things left from when my son was a baby. Which to me, should already know that since my son is an only child and almost 5 years old.
@Gemmygirl1 (2868)
• Australia
6 Apr 07
This is a hard one coz you don't want to be charging too much but cant afford to be paying for other kids as well as your own, especially with only 1 income. I would suggest that you ask this friend of your sisters, to bring at least 1 meal or the snacks for her children, that will at least save you some cash, also, ask her to make sure she has a nappy/diaper bag packed with all the necesities (spelling) they will need for that day - which must includ diapers, wipes & such. If i was you i could probably get away with the meals & $30 as kids don't eat a lot but i wouldn't be willing to cover the other things as well. If you cant bring yourself to ask her, maybe explain it all to your sister & have her put in a few words - make sure you're not supplying the nappies, wipes & meals - coz $30 for 11 hours plus meals etc really doesn't seem fair to me! Good luck - i wish you well :)
@maddysmommy (16232)
• United States
5 Apr 07
Doesn't sound like she was honest to you up front about how long you were going to take care of the kids on a daily basis either and $30 a day is no way near worth it. I'm surprised she didn't provide more for each of the kids i.e. diapers, formula, bottles, etc - when I had a friend babysit for a day at her place, I took most of the household and made sure my child had everything he needed from several spare clothes, to car seat, food, milk, bottles, cups, stroller, carry pack, bath stuff (incase of accidents), wet wipes, tissues etc. I wouldn't expect you to supply the food either, she should provide that or at least give you $$ to cover the food costs. Sitting down with her and going over everything is probably the way to go. I know she is a good friend of your sisters and leaving it will only make things very uncomfortable between your sister, her and her boyfriend :) Hope it works out for you!