What Should I Be Paid for this Job?

Received Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I've been a nanny for the same family for 2 years now. It started out as a regular babysitting job but slowly escalated to live in nanny after about 6 months. The family is great, and treat me wonderfully, but I don't think I'm being fairly compensated, and I'm not sure how to ask for more. I know that this question is answered often, but I just don't know how much I should expect.

During the summer I'm more full time, but I'm a full time college student so the school year I would probably be considered just a babysitter, working 3-4 half days a week. I live in an apartment above the garage (which I pay rent for).

I care for 4 little girls, now aged 7, 5, 3, and 2. During my working hours I cook, tidy the house, and do laundry as necessary. For my regular "babysitting" hours I get $10/hr. At first that was what I accepted because I had never been paid more than that as a babysitter, but I quickly learned that the requirements for this job were much more demanding.

I was also paid to watch all 4 children, sometimes 5 as one of their friends occasionally left her 7 year old son with me as well, for the weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For that I was paid $250 for the weekend.

I've been away from my job at home for a few months and I'm about to head back to their house. I just feel in my gut that I deserve more than what they're paying me, but they're really wonderful people and I don't want to sound unappreciative. I would really be grateful for any advice, and if anyone feels that I'm being unreasonable I'd love to know that as well.


Anonymous said...
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Baltimore Nanny said...

You definitely deserve more than that. Caring for 4 or 5 children is a HUGE responsibilty for anyone. You should be getting at least $15/hour. I could understand the $10 if you weren't paying them rent, but that's unacceptable for your current arrangement.

Charge this said...

You have been working for 2 years, you deserve more. There are 4 kids. In Los Angeles, sitters usually charge for that many kids $18 an hour. I don't know where you are located, but you could ask for $15 per hour. Weekends should be much more: I have met many nannies whom get paid $600 per weekend. If you pay taxes, you should get paid that much. If you don't, charge $350.

My2Cents said...

You didn't say where you are located- that makes a huge difference in the going rate, and therefore the amount of money you should be realistically able to ask for.

The OP said...

The family I work for is located in Tennessee, outside of Chattanooga, in a suburb that is relatively well-off.

ericsmom said...

Why are you paying rent to live above their garage? Maybe, pay for the utilities you use, but I can't believe they charge you for living there.

stefani said...

You should absolutely be paid more than $10/hr. for four children. On top of that, I hope you arent paying "full" rent, meaning, they should either be reducing your rent (in which case $10/hr. may work out evenly) or not have you pay any rent and perhaps give you a small weekly stipend like live-in nannies get.
Absolutely talk with them when you get home. Let them know you are happy with the kids and your position, but you have been doing some research and would like to talk about your salary/living arrangment.
Good Luck!

Village said...

Yes, they are taking advantage of you. At the very least, you don't pay rent at $10 hour. I'd tell them either do away with the rent, or pay me $15 an hour.

Do you have another job lined up? That always helps with negotiations.

CaliNanny said...

You should absolutely be paid more for caring for 4 children. My rate for 4 is $16/hr.
However, if you are recieving "reduced rent" in exchange for childcare, then the $10/hr. may be fair.
Or you may choose to work like a live-in, where you pay no rent and recieve a small weekly/monthly stipend.
In any case, you should either be paid much more, or not be paying these people rent.
Sit down with them and let them know you enjoy your job and the children but you would like to reevaluate the salary/living arrangment.
Good Luck.

nyc mom said...

I think the issue is not one of absolute numbers here, but balancing the total costs on both sides.

Do you pay market rent for the apartment? Would the family be renting it out to someone else if you were not living there (and thus have rental income either way)?

Certainly $10/hour seems low for 4 kids, though so much of wages is geography. I hired an occasional sitter recently who was coming from Iowa and had done extensive prior sitting and never made more than $8/hour. She was quite surprised to hear that NYC paid much more than that!

In order to determine what you should be paid fairly, you need to ask around at the park with other nannies and sitters or perhaps post on a local board, and find out what the common going rate is where you live. I doubt it matters much what nannies in NYC, LA, Iowa, Seattle, or any other area besides Chattanooga make. Then you need to balance this against any rent discounts for your apartment because it truly sounds like you are a renter who babysits, not a live-in nanny (thus the ability to go home for a few months and return to the job which a live-in nanny would be unlikely to be able to do).

The tendency on here when someone posts wages below $15/hour is for everyone to respond in outrage that it is too low. But I really think each situation needs to be evaluated in detail, individually. I personally think there is a much greater national variation in wages than $15/hour and that some areas are still below and others above this commonly cited number. I also simply don't think anyone has enough information about your rental/living situation to simply give a knee-jerk response that you are being paid too low. Maybe you are, but it's impossible to say without knowing the other information.

Finally, you have worked for the family for two years so the one thing I do feel confident in saying is that you should have received two (or one at a minimum) raises by now and should be up to $11-12/hour if you started at $10.

NannyInCharge said...

Geez for 4 kids I'd say $18 an hour minimum. Plus an extra? $20 an hour if there is an extra kid there.

Usually a babysitter doesn't tidy up and cook and do chores. They simply leave the house as it was when they got there. If you are doing anymore than that, you need to be charging more. If they say no, trust me, you can find better than $10 an hour.

TC said...

I charge 5 bucks an hour per kid with a minimum of 10 bucks an hour. (Houston area)

A few weeks ago I watched 6 kids and I got 40 bucks an hour.

worlds best nanny said...

I have the same amount of kids and I make a flat rate of $850 weekly. I work in an affluent suburb of Boston. Maybe the family hasn't realized that they should be paying you more. The extra kid? The friend should be paying you.

The OP said...

Yeah I agree it's an unusual situation, which makes it so hard to judge how much I should make.

NYC Mom, yes in a lot of ways I am like a renter who babysits. During the summer I was more of a live in, because I didn't pay rent and I stayed in their guest suite in the house. During that time they actually built the apartment and once school started I moved in. I don't pay a reduced rent, and am just paid for the time I watch the kids, so you hit the nail on the head- I sound like a babysitter who just happens to live there.

Unfortunately because I've worked for them for 2 years, because I've had the role of live in nanny, and because I have regular hours throughout the week, the job isn't like just a babysitting job, which is how I'm being paid.

I take the kids on errands, pick the oldest up from school, and chaperone them on trips. (basically acting just like a "nanny")

Part of what makes the situation so hard is that it started out as very informal, and has only gotten more-so. This family has never had live-in help so I came in as just their babysitter who was living with them. The mom actually invites me to hang out with her and her friends sometimes, which I enjoy. A lot of the time when I'm not working and I go somewhere I bring one or two of the kids with me, just because I enjoy being around them and they like to come. It's almost as if they have become like family to me, and yet I'm still getting paid to watch their kids.

It's a tough situation to be in. I know this job is temporary because once I finish school I'll be moving and looking for a "real" nanny position, so perhaps I'll just deal with this until then. I love this family and I'm not even sure if more money would be appropriate because of the situation.

Thanks for all of the great advice everyone :)

nyc mom said...

You sound like a very reasonable person and it is a tough situation to handle because of the social ease. If you are getting no rent discount and paying all the normal stuff like utilities, food, etc, then this should not reduce your salary in any way. Plus the job you described and the extra duties do sound like a much higher level of care than a sitter. More like a live-out part time nanny who just happens to rent an apt from the same family.

Have you ever gotten feedback from other nannies or message boards about market wages in your area?

Given no rent discount, I do think you should be earning more than $10/hour as it sounds like only two of the girls are even school age. Plus, I definitely think you should have/should get a $1 raise annually. Don't just settle for a discounted rate now. Approach the family for a raise based on the length of your employment and at least ask to go up to $12/hour. It might be tough for them to go up to $15 (a 50% increase), but certainly $12 is well-deserved and shouldn't be much of a shock to them. Plus since it sounds like you only work 15-20 hours a week, that is only an extra $30-40 for them which they are likely to be able to swing. Good luck!

blah. said...

Regardless of the area where you live or work (unless of course the family can't afford it), you should always get paid $13 and up for more than 2 kids.

honest nanny said...

regardless of all the logistics involved here, if you've been working for them for 2 years you deserve a raise. i'd suggest $12/hour. and $300 on weekends. that's not unreasonable at all.

beyond that - just talk to them and be honest, let them know what you are feeling and since you are so close to them maybe they will make you a great offer! they may not have thought you were hoping for a better wage.

Karamani said...

You also have to consider how the family can afford to pay $10.00 with their after tax after rent and bills. That is hard for almost anyone to do. If you are a Phillipino, be greatful that you are not working for $3.00/day like you would back home. It is not like the family is rich enough to pay you that either after paying their bills and feeding the kids.