Babysitting Jobs: How to Negotiate the Pay You Deserve

By Victoria Robertson on July 10, 2017

Negotiating is definitely not easy — there’s no doubt about it. It’s stressful, you feel guilty and anxious, and for the most part, no one has ever taught you the right and the wrong way to do it. It feels like some people are just naturally gifted when it comes to negotiating, and others are too nervous to even try.

For those of you that fall into the second category, know that you definitely are not alone. Negotiating is difficult, especially when you’re working for the first time.

So, to help you get the rate that you deserve when babysitting, use these helpful tips!

1. Set an hourly rate

Many babysitters actually set their hourly rates before they offer their services. This is a great way to go, especially if you have an absolute minimum that you’re willing to take. However, you may find that families won’t reach out to you if they can’t afford your prices. So, while this is a good practice to get into if you aren’t interested in negotiation, know that you may lose clientele this way as well.

2. Be professional

For those of you that do go the negotiation route, you’ll want to be extremely professional. In other words, you don’t want to be in a situation in which you appear to be acting immature or in which the family is questioning your professionalism. Negotiations don’t have to be this clinical experience, but you shouldn’t be too informal either, or they won’t take you seriously.

3. Don’t let emotion take over

Especially for those relying on higher rates, money negotiations can be high-stakes, and therefore draw out some emotional responses. Don’t play into those! You want to be extremely professional and avoid giving sob stories or bringing out the waterworks/getting overly angry. Play it cool, and don’t put too much stake into the outcome to help avoid emotional responses in the heat of the moment.

4. Don’t overprice yourself

It’s one thing to negotiate for a salary you deserve, but another entirely to negotiate for one that you don’t. Make sure that the rate you’re seeking is one that’s valid. In other words, don’t provide unrealistic numbers, but rather numbers that match your experience level. If you overprice yourself, you’ll quickly find that no family will be willing to hire you. So, it takes a little bit of balance here — we all want more money, but we may not all deserve it.

5. Highlight your experience

When you’re negotiating, you should be qualifying your ask with evidence to support it. In other words, if you’re asking for $2/hr more than they’re offering, let them know that you are CPR certified and that you have over five years of experience. You’re a lot more likely to receive the rate you’re asking for if you can provide evidence as to why you deserve the increased salary. If you don’t do this, you’re a lot less likely to get the increase for “no reason.”

6. Know your worth

While you definitely don’t want to price yourself out of consideration, you don’t want to underprice yourself, either. If you know that your experience demands a certain amount of money, you shouldn’t be taking anything less. Of course, it’s hard to tell with babysitting what a good benchmark is, but you know what you’ve made in the past and what experience is worth in the industry, so use that to your advantage.

7. Be firm but not rude

You don’t want to start losing clientele, but you want to be firm in your salary requests as well. If you have a minimum rate that you can’t take any less than, make it known. If they can’t afford your rate, thank them for their time and apologize that it didn’t work out. You shouldn’t have to take less than you’re worth, and the clients will understand so long as you’re gracious and explain your situation to them in a professional manner.

8. Use prior wages as backup

You can always disclose your normal rate if you’re comfortable doing so. If you’re used to making $12/hr, but this family is only offering $8/hr, let them know where your hourly rate has stood in the past to give them a benchmark point to go off of. In utilizing this technique, you may even see them come up a few dollars to try to match your rate if they aren’t able to match it directly.

Again, negotiating is not an easy feat. And unfortunately, you likely won’t feel great after your first time around. However, with a little practice and experience under your belt, you’ll be a master negotiator in no time and you’ll never again have to worry about whether or not you’re underpaid!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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