I'm watching a tv show, the Baby-Sitters club, and in this scene a teenage girl is telling her dad about a babysitting business she's planning with her friends.

Kristie: We meet three times a week, and people call in to the meetings to offer us jobs, and it gets scheduled and confirmed right then.

Dad: How are your rates?

K: Competitive.

Dad: Do you kick up a percentage of your earnings like dues?

K: Yeah, all of that.

What does the sentence marked in stars mean?

I'm confused especially because some of the words have a few different meanings. For example, does "percentage" here mean % or "an amount, such as an allowance or commission, that is a proportion of a larger sum of money"? And what about the meaning of "kick up"?

Thanks in advance.

  • Native English speaker here -- I don't know what it means either.
    – Justin
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:20
  • @Justin You think more context would help? Not directly related to that question but the dad ask few more.
    – dbwlsld
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:24
  • 1
    Maybe they have to pay dues to a higher level (e.g., to the club organizers)? I guess he's probably asking if they have to pay some fraction of their earnings to the higher level. Metaphorically, taking a bit of the money and kicking it like a ball to the people who are in charge of you/above you. Does that make sense with the context?
    – Justin
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:27
  • Kick up may be a modified version of kickback.
    – Justin
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:28
  • 1
    IMO what @dbwlsld says: they will put a percentage into a fund (to pay for adverts, domain rent, etc). Nov 5, 2020 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


You can rephrase as:

"Do you take a percentage of your earnings from babysitting, and pay them to the club as an organization, as a form of membership fees?"

"Kick up" meaning to pay someone above in the organization a percentage of profits, since the organization facilitated the deal. As @Justin said, it would be similar (but not identical) to "kickback", which more commonly has a negative synonym of "bribe."

It should be noted that in this context, the sentence is probably deliberately meant to be confusing, to show the comedic aspect of a child forming a business organization (the aforementioned "Babysitters Club").

  • 2
    I would lay a bet on K's not understanding the question or knowing the ins and outs of business and so "Yeah, all of that" means "Whatever (you say)." Nov 5, 2020 at 20:16
  • thanks a lot, but can i just ask one more, because you said "pay someone above in the organization a percentage of profits, since the organization facilitated the deal" but the club is organized and run by those children alone with no adults involved, and K is the president of the club because she came up with all the babysitting stuff. So (let's assume that Kristie actually understood what he meant and said yes to the question) in this case, they're not necessarily paying to someone else higher but the money(dues, membership fees) raised is for themselves?
    – dbwlsld
    Nov 6, 2020 at 1:16
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    @dbwlsld Yes you are right. You should also know, you are probably never going to hear a sentence like this one again. No one uses the phrase "kick up," it's mostly a made up in the moment combination of words that only makes sense from hearing similar phrases. Nov 6, 2020 at 16:17

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