Ask Brooke: How Much Should I Charge Per Hour?


I'm a nanny and am curious what my hourly rate should be. What is the current going rate and what should I be making? - Anonymous

This is a question I get asked all the time. While I would love to give a clear cut answer, it's just not that simple. It is really hard for me to answer how much a nanny should be making because nanny rates depend on a variety of different factors:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Number of Kids
  • Job Expectations
  • Family's Budget

Location is a major factor when it comes to nanny rates. Nannies can email me asking what they should be making, but if I'm not familiar with the nanny market in the city they reside in, I really cannot give them an answer. The nanny market highly depends on the cost of living in a particular city. For example, nanny rates in cities like L.A. and NYC are much higher than nanny rates in cities with a lower cost of living. That being said, sometimes the nanny market doesn't reflect the cost of living accurately and nanny wages are dismal (like in Nashville). It's important to do your research when determining how much you should be charging as a nanny. Network with other nannies in the area and ask them what they make and what the rates are. Call up an agency and ask them the rates. Ask in a nanny group on Facebook. There are so many resources for nannies to learn what the nanny market is like in a city they are not familiar with.

Next, while location is a major factor in determining the pay range, a nanny's experience and education play a major role in where a nanny falls in that pay range. Say the going rate is between $15-$20/hour for a particular city...this does not mean that a nanny can simply expect to make $20/hour. If the going rate is $15-$20, this means that $20 is the high end and that the best, most experienced nannies are making $20/hour. If you are a newer nanny with less experience/education, you can't expect to make that much. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up -- just like with any job. I often encounter nannies who are new to the field and expect to make top dollar in their city. Nannying can be very lucrative, but you have to work hard to get there. Simply having babysat since you were 12-years-old does not qualify you as an experienced nanny. Nannying and babysitting are different. Don't apply to jobs/agencies stating you have 5+ years nannying experience when you really only have babysitting experience. Be honest and realistic about your qualifications and be willing to put in the hard work to climb the nanny ladder.

If you are just transitioning into the nanny field, you might even need to take a job for a dollar or two below the going rate. So again, if the going rate in your area ranges from $15-$20/hour, you might need to start at $13 or $14/hour in order to get your first official nanny job under your belt and on your resume. When we are talking about pay ranges, we are referring to newer nannies and seasoned nannies, not necessarily first time nannies. My first nanny job when I was 19 (even though I had been babysitting since I was 12, had experience as a pre-school teacher and was a camp counselor) was at a rate of $10/hour. Were other nannies making more? Absolutely. Was I happy with $10? Absolutely! It was the stepping stone I needed to build my resume and career.

Lastly, pay varies based on the job. Things like number of children, nanny expectations, and a family's budget all play a role in how much a nanny makes per hour. Jobs with 2 or 3 kids pay more than jobs with just 1 kid. Jobs where a nanny is expected to take on household chores/tasks not related to the children are higher pay (or at least they should be -- know your worth!!) than jobs where a nanny is only responsible for the children.

It can be tricky to figure out the going rate in your area and what is appropriate for you to individually charge, but with thorough research and an understanding of how nanny rates work, you can pretty easily determine where you fall in the pay range. The most important thing to remember is to know your worth -- do not sell yourself short but also make sure to be realistic and align your rate with what nannies of similar experience are making.

If you have a question for Ask Brooke, email