Looking to earn a fast buck? Consider babysitting.

An increasing number of companies are reopening offices and asking employees to show up in person at least part of the time. That leaves parents desperate for child care. After all, many schools are still not fully open. And even those that are open, are only weeks away from dismissing students for the summer. Yet, some parents are justifiably concerned about sending kids to camp, like they might have done in pre-pandemic summers.

That spells opportunity for people willing and able to babysit. Unlike the job you likely remember from youth, babysitting is no longer poorly paid and done mainly by teens. Many of today’s babysitters are background-checked adults, who earn as much as $35 an hour. The average sitter’s wage nationwide is $16, according to SitterCity. However, rates are higher in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, where sitters typically earn $20 – $22 per hour, before tip.

Notably, too, outside of patience and a clean criminal record, there are few job requirements. In many cases, you don’t even need a car. However, those who have CPR training, experience with infants or the ability to transport children to and from school and activities, typically earn premium rates.

Earn a fast buck

Another nice aspect of babysitting: You often get paid for babysitting within hours of completing the job. That makes it a nice choice for people who would like to earn a fast buck.

A plethora of online platforms make babysitting work easy to find, too. Here are some of the best options:

Top babysitting & nanny services

SitterCity connects sitters and nannies with families needing their help. The site charges parents, not sitters, for the matchmaking service. So there’s no downside to signing up. Sitters set their own rates. However, the site helps you gauge whether your rates are competitive by providing data on average rates paid in a variety of cities.

Urban Sitter also allows sitters to post a profile, set their rates and advertise their child care services. Babysitters and nannies pay $35 annually, which includes a background check. Parents also pay a membership fee. Sitter reviews of this site are overwhelmingly positive. However, some have complained about getting booted for what they believe were minor infractions. The site does have the right to remove sitters for any reason. And, given that parents pay for the service because they imagine they’ll get better-quality help, Urban Sitter has every incentive to be cautious.

If you’re a teen looking for work, Bambino is one of just a handful of sites that are open to teenage sitters. (Most other sites require you to be age 18 or older.) It connects parents and sitters via social media, aiming to create a trusted community. 

Transporting minors

Those who have both child care experience and a car can potentially earn more by signing up with one of three sites that allow you to drive young kids to and from school and after-school events. However, you’ll need to pass both background and driver screenings for these jobs.

RideZum works with both students and parents in seven states — California, Illinois, Washington State, Washington, D.C., Florida, Arizona and Texas — to arrange transportation for minors. Usually, this involves picking kids up from school and bringing them home or to after-school activities. However, drivers are sometimes asked to provide a few hours of care, as well. Freelancers see the nature of the job and the pay before accepting. Hourly rates generally range from $15 to $35 per hour.

HopSkipDrive and Kango also connect freelancers with parents who need rides for their minor children. These sites have a slightly smaller geographic range than Zum, but are otherwise comparable in terms of pay and requirements.

Launch a daycare center/preschool

Finally, if you think you might want to make babysitting into a career, a company called Wonderschool helps you set up and manage your own daycare business. The site will help lead you through the necessary licensing, certification, administration and marketing. Then it will manage your tuition collection and scheduling for 10% of the monthly revenue.