Paying for School Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs

Parent Q&A

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  • Sitter pay for school pickups and dropoffs

    (4 replies)

    Anyone with sitters who help with school pickups and/or AM dropoffs: How do you pay your sitter? Does you sitter start her time from the moment she leaves her home or when they get to kids school. Also, do you pay your sitter their commute time back home? Essentially paying sitter for time to get kids and time back to sitter's own home. TIA

    We have a sitter who picks kids up from school twice a week, takes to activities, and brings them home. We pay from pickup to dropoff, excluding time in transit. It's a set number of hours and overall cost each week, which we negotiated very clearly up front. We also pay a couple extra dollars an hour because of driving them around. We've made other arrangements in the past, especially if we ask the sitter to pick our kids up and move them around on public transit, walking, or by bike.

    Hi, we just started doing this and I’ve been paying the sitter for the time it takes to get from our house to the school. So she comes here and then goes to get the kiddo. We don’t pay for the time from her place to ours. I think this works because she is sitting after school, so it is just like paying for the time at our house for a date night or something, except at the front end it includes going to the school and back. In other words, we don’t pay for her commute to our house normally, so we don’t for a school pick-up, but we allow enough paid time for her to drop her things in our house and get to the school before dismissal. If she weren’t sitting afterwards for a couple hours but merely transporting the kid to us or an activity, I’d probably pay for her commute time or pay a premium. Hope this helps!

    My daughter (age 17) drives for several families (usually to or from sports practices after school) and she has always been paid a flat rate.    When she is deciding whether or not to take a job, she weighs the total amount of time it will take her in order to decide whether or not it's worth it.  She uses her own car and pays for her own gas, so she factors that in too.  There are other factors too.

    One family paid her $20 per trip (two kids) for about an hour start to finish.  She ended up deciding that it wasn't worth it because the kids whined and fought the entire ride, traffic was awful, and it just wasn't worth it.  

    I would say in general, you should expect to pay a driver more than a babysitter since they are stuck with kids (sometimes tired and hungry kids) in a car in traffic (yuck) and they have a specific skill you need.  I would suggest you offer a flat rate.  If the driver is willing to do it for that, then you are probably paying enough.  It seems like for my daughter, if it's less than $20 for an hour of her time, she probably would decide not to do it.  If the kids are difficult, she wouldn't even do it for $20.

    I'm not sure about morning drop-offs.  We don't have any experience with that.

    Regarding the 17-year-old who is driving other kids, or if you are considering hiring a teen for this job, according to the DMV handbook: Minors may not work as a driver for pay.  

    There are some situations when 17 year olds may drive as an incidental part of the job, but not driving passengers for hire. U.S. Department of labor rules permit driving by 17 year olds only when (among other rules), "Such driving is only occasional and incidental to the 17 year-old’s employment. This means that the youth may spend no more than 1/3 of the work time in any workday and no more than 20% of the work time in any workweek driving." and "The driving is limited to daylight hours."  The rules prohibit "Transportation for hire of property, goods, or passengers.

    Also keep in mind that for the first 12 months of their driving license (unless they turn 18 first, or are an emancipated minor), teens in California may not drive anyone under age 20 except in very limited circumstances.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Paying gas mileage for nanny who drives child to preschool?

Jan 2008

My nanny drives my son to preschool. I am wondering what the standard is - do you pay for gas/mileage?  If so, do you reimburse at a flat rate or use the federal business mileage (like 50 cents per mile)?  Thanks.


Getting mileage re-imbursement would just be one more headache I would like to avoid, as a nanny. One more thing to account for? No thanks. I have better things to do with my time, such as play with kids!

I've never been paid extra for mileage, but then I usually get paid enough to live on. If I'm being paid well, I consider driving part of the deal. If you're paying her just what you can afford and it's not much, ask her if she'd like a regular infusion of extra cash or something else, to account for the gas and wear and tear.

Professional nanny here - You should always pay at least the IRS standard for all miles the nanny drives her car for the purpose of her work with you.  The IRS uses that standard because it is a national average of actual costs of driving, not just of gas. If it is to much of a hassle to keep track of each and every mile then you and the nanny should come to an agreement of a lump-sum per week reimbursement that is at least as much as the IRS standard.  Then, when extra miles are driven, you can add on the extra sum.

Hiring a Nanny for newborn and also to Drive Preschooler

Aug 2006

In the fall, I will be returning to work full-time. My husband works full-time as well. Our 3-year-old will be in preschool and we are going to start looking for a nanny for our newborn. I am wondering what experiences other people have had in finding a nanny who drives and can pick up the older child while watching the younger child? Are nannies like this hard to find? Do you compensate them extra for their driving? Pay for insurance? Buy them a car? Let them drive your car? Thanks for your advice

We allow the nanny to use our car and we do the gassing up and ensure the routine maintenence on the car gets done. She is covered by our car insurance when driving our car. I think what nannies will require in this regard varies. We didn't find our nanny particularly hard to find, but she was referred by our neighbor. We do not compensate her extra for driving. Access to a car and free gas actually makes her job easier and more flexible. But we do not have any rules around how much driving she does in our car or where she is allowed to go. She can go anywhere and do anything as long as our child is being well cared for in the process
-Nanny User

Our nanny drives her own car, has car seats in the car for the kids. We don't pay extra for driving per se, but we pay her the hourly rate she asks for ($18 per hour for two kids) we've never had a problem. One thing I would recommend is a car seat inspection by the fire department. Most Bay Area cities do this, its free and VERY informative. Car seat installation and kid safety are not straight forward and the manufacturers instructions only apply to the seat, not to the car they go into. You do not have to be a resident of the city to make an appointment. Both Richmond and Pinole do this. We got the service twice - once when my son was a baby and once when my daughter was transitioning out of her infant car seat. We also got our nanny to do it on one of her regular work days when my husband could go with her and help with the kids during the appointment. She was skeptical and didn't really understand what it was for at first, I don't think she would have done it on her own. But afterward she was very happy with it and said she learned a lot
good luck

Nanny asking for extra money for school pickups

Aug 2006

Our nanny recently asked for extra money per month to pay for gas.  So far, she does minimal driving for our infant son (maybe 1 or 2 trips to either Gymboree or the Park/week that is 10 miles tops per trip).  However, she will be taking care of our 5 year old daughter in the afternoons after kindergarten starts in the fall and we would like to encourage her to go to different places.  Because our nanny works 3 days a week we initally told her we would pay her 10/month for gas expenses, which we thought was reasonable for the amount of driving she does, but she didn't seem very happy about this amount.  So, I told her to keep track of the mileage for a month or so and we would adjust accordingly. Two questions:  1) Do other folks with nannies give additional money for gas and if so, how much per month?  2)  Do other folks allow their nannies to drive their (the employers) cars?  If so, is there any insurance liability or other issues to take care of? Thanks for sharing any information
strapped for cash

GAS being $3.25 a gallon ten bucks is like 3 gallons of gas? Depending on her make and model of car she might get  maybe 15 mpg driving stop and go around town?you can provide her with one of your cars-you'll have to add her to your policy but honestly if she has her own car, pays her own insurance and drives your kids around I'd give her at least $10 dollars a week for gas, minimum.  Sydney

Our nanny uses our car.  She meets me at work, where my car would be parked all day anyway, and then meets me again at the end of the day.  This way, she doesn't have the wear and tear on her car, and I know that our car seats are in right, the car is relatively safe, etc.  On the days that I need my car to run an errand, either the nanny meets me and we go together, or she plans on using her car for the day. When she uses her car, I do reimburse gas.  We just estimate cost, but if you want something set, you can do this by keeping track of mileage and going by the reimbursement rate that is set for all companies.  It is to cover gas and wear and tear.  It's listed on the internet

We allow the nanny to use our car and we do the gassing up and ensure the routine maintenence on the car gets done. She is covered by our car insurance (USAA) when driving our car. We have no limits on the amount of driving she does in our car but it typically will not amount to more than a tank of gas every couple of weeks. This would be about an extra $60/mo. We don't really track her usage at all, though. The nanny takes my daughter to the Berkeley Little Farm, various parks and functions, the Oakland Zoo, her own house where friends live next door incl. my daughter's closest friend, etc. I am happy to provide the nanny with whatever gas money and car access she needs to do this. Her willingness to go places enriches my daughter's life immensely.
-Nanny User

Here's what I did with our nanny, who picks up my daughter from school and drives her to various activities. I tried to approach it the same way any employer would. I used Yahoo! Maps and figured out what the miles were for the typical trips they would take each week. For example, from my daughter's elementary school to our house to ballet class and back to our house is one trip they would do each week. Then multiply that weekly amount by 4 for the total miles for a month. Round it up a bit to cover any extra activities that may come up. You could then multiply that number of miles by the IRS reimbursement amount of .45 per mile, and pay her that. What I actually did instead was figure out that, based on a car that averages 20 miles per gallon and has a 15 gallon tank -- that she'd be using about a half a tank a month. So every other month I pay to fill up her gas tank, based on whatever the price of gas is at the time. She seems pretty happy with this arrangement, especially as the price of gas has been rising. I make sure to give it to her in a separate check so the amount ''extra'' she's getting is clear and not just all lumped together with her regular pay. Do NOT include the miles driving from her home to yours -- that is considered commute time, and should be covered by her. Again, this is how any employer would cover it -- when I use my personal car for business, I am reimbursed for the amount of driving I do that is above and beyond my normal commute. Nobody gets reimbursed for driving to ''the office.'' Make sure you show the nanny all the documentation and calculations about how much she's driving. Even though it may seem like a lot of driving, if it's mostly just around town, the miles really may not add up to all that much. I found that doing it this way made it very fair, objective and impossible to argue with. About your other question -- I do allow my nanny to drive my car whenever possible. It's kind of a perk for her. It's my understanding that your insurance covers other ''casual drivers''. It'd be no different than letting your brother or neighbor borrow your car occassionally

What we did was have our nanny keep track of her mileage and then we reimbursed her at the current IRS reimbursement rates. Our nanny transported our son in her car (we provided the car seat)