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  #1  
Old 03-03-2012, 07:47 PM
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pollyo pollyo is offline
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Default I Only Get Paid When DCK Are Here And It's Killing Me!

I started home daycare last fall... at the time I didn't understand the importance of charging a weekly rate, whether the child comes or not. January and February have killed me financially because of no-shows! Some have been because of illness which is to be expected but others have been dad takes day off from work, grandma is babysitting, mom's traveling so family is watching child. I'd really like to switch over to a weekly rate which is paid regardless of whether the child comes or not, which is to be paid the Friday before the week starts (that way if they are a no show Monday I'm not waiting for a check).

I'm thinking since I am having some schedule changes this summer with a lot of the kids, I will give notice this this month but won't institue it until the summer. I know at least one family will have a problem with it but it's a teacher's child so they can choose to leave if they want and find something new for the fall. I'm not sure what the best way to bring this up would be- in person or email?

My other question is whether I should keep the same daily rate or lessen it some assuming that they will miss at least one day a month if not more. For instance, 2 of my full time kids come 4 days/week and I charge $40/day ($160/week). I was thinking of charging $150 for 4 days which may soften the blow some and might be more fair (my rates are on the high end for my area). I realize most daycares charge a flat rate for the week, but I actually really like having 4 days because it gives me a break and changes the dynamic from day to day. I might have someone starting this summer 5 days and I would charge them $175.

I sure am learning as I go. One of my full time dkg hasn't been here for 3 weeks! Her mom travelled for work, then dad had February vacation and grandparents took the third week. It's tough to count on that money and not have it coming in! Definitely time for a change!
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:49 PM
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Do you not have a contract yet?

If you have a contract, I would alter it to include your new rates and parents must sign or give notice immediately (give a specific date within a week at most where they have to decide yay or nay). By agreeing to stay with you, they are agreeing to the rate changes and signing the new contract. If they decide nay, then they have two weeks to find new care, period. As for the rates, you have to figure out what the norm is in your area and what is fair considering the services you offer (especially if you include meals, preschool curriculum, etc, etc).

My rate is $140 per week for full time children. They pay for all five days whether their child is in attendance or not. They also pay for my vacation and holidays. My part timers pay a daily rate of $30 per day, do not pay for days when they are not in attendance but must provide a schedule for a month at a time and a month in advance.

There is no reason why you have to wait to make these changes until the summer. You have to get used to doing what is best for your family and your finances. The parents are not being forced to stay with you. They can leave if the changes don't work for them and go find new daycare. I promise it is not that big of a deal and you will be so grateful that you are not losing so much income in the next few months.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pollyo View Post
I started home daycare last fall... at the time I didn't understand the importance of charging a weekly rate, whether the child comes or not. January and February have killed me financially because of no-shows! Some have been because of illness which is to be expected but others have been dad takes day off from work, grandma is babysitting, mom's traveling so family is watching child.
I started out doing daycare by charging just for when the children were in care too. I got taken advantage of quickly! One dcp lived a block away and just started bringing her child when she felt like it. Another promised me dcg would come 5 days/week but only averaged around 3.

I did that for a couple months and then had enough. Because I was changing the terms, I gave a "discount" to the 2 families I had when I changed rates. I charged them $100 instead of $125. One family was only M-Th, so I was only getting $100/week from them anyway. (This backfired on me because they asked to bring dcg on Fridays at discounted rate bc grandma had only been taking her on Fridays to save them money.) The other family had only been paying around $75/week, so I made more by providing the discount.

I didn't charge for holidays or my vacation when I first went to a weekly rate. I recently added in that holidays were paid for if the children were in care. I still don't charge for my vacation, but they do pay even if they go on vacation.

You live and learn in this business. I only started out with paying when they were there because that is how my sis-in-law runs her daycare. She still runs hers this way. She does that because she wants to be able to take off as many days as she likes. She took off around 5-6 weeks total last year. I only take a week and maybe a day around a holiday.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:17 AM
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I chose to charge a daily rate too. It wasn't too bad because my rate was $45 a day and dcb pretty much never missed. If I restart my daycare I will be switching to weekly tuition though. I want a steady paycheck 52 weeks a year.That's so important. I have such a huge checklist of "things not to do next time" I did offer my family the option to switch to a lower weekly rate or keep the per day. They kept the per day option which should tell you something.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:00 AM
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I charge a daily rate and I have been very fortunate over the years as none of my parents have never not brought their children unless their child was sick.

I do tell them when they sign on that I do not charge for days the children are not in care but if they choose to not bring their children for any other reason other than illness and days are frequently missed I will replace their spot and they will need to find another childcare arrangement.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:44 AM
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Make up a new contract today put in 2 rates 1 is a f/t rate that means they pay that every week even if they do not come.... say for example it was 100

Then a higher drop in rate say $30 a day they only pay when they come IF you have room

hand them the contract and have them choose and sign

These people are taking advantage of you and know it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:23 PM
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I also never charged for days that the kids were not in care. I have watched alot of teacher's children and last year the large number of snow days killed me financially, especially when added to the large amount of sick days they had already taken off for. There was never a week where I made the expected amount. I finally decided that, as of this year, I would charge full day for snow days (I charge $25 per day) and charge half a day for sick days (gave them 3 free days before this came into play). I didn't want to charge full rate for sick days because I wanted to give them some incentive to NOT try to bring them when they are sick. I gave the new contract to them about 3 weeks or so before it went into effect. My contract says it can be changed in writing at any time with 2 weeks notice. I still do not charge for vacations, holidays or other days they choose not to come as long as they give me notice at least a week in advance (I am fine with making less as long as I have a little notice). Everyone agreed to it. And, of course, no one has been sick more than 3 times since and there have been no snow days this year.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:38 PM
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your rates sound in the same ballpark as mine. I've always charged weekly regardless of attendance but my "per day" rate is cheaper for the more days contracted. So, 1-2 days a week or drop in might be $45/day, 3 days a week $40/day, 4 days a week $38/day, 5 days a week $37/day. So a full timer pays $185, a 3 day a week pays $120. They pay that contracted rate no matter how many days they actually attend.

I would write up a new contract and give parents a deadline on when to accept and a date when the change would go into effect.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2012, 02:55 PM
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I have always charged families if they are here or not.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saved4always View Post
I also never charged for days that the kids were not in care. I have watched alot of teacher's children and last year the large number of snow days killed me financially, especially when added to the large amount of sick days they had already taken off for. There was never a week where I made the expected amount. I finally decided that, as of this year, I would charge full day for snow days (I charge $25 per day) and charge half a day for sick days (gave them 3 free days before this came into play). I didn't want to charge full rate for sick days because I wanted to give them some incentive to NOT try to bring them when they are sick. I gave the new contract to them about 3 weeks or so before it went into effect. My contract says it can be changed in writing at any time with 2 weeks notice. I still do not charge for vacations, holidays or other days they choose not to come as long as they give me notice at least a week in advance (I am fine with making less as long as I have a little notice). Everyone agreed to it. And, of course, no one has been sick more than 3 times since and there have been no snow days this year.
I don't think it's an incentive to keep kids home when they are sick. I've counselled many providers who have this built into their agreements and ended up with parents claiming the child was sick whenever they had free child care.

Your experience of the sickness rate decreasing since you started to charge some fees for it shows you that there is a good chance that they were using the "sick" exception when they really just had a free place to leave the kid.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2012, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
These people are taking advantage of you and know it.
I don't think most parents who just pay for the days they used feel like they are taking advantage of the provider. I think most parents believe that the actual cost of day care is the labor of caring for the kid each day the child is there.

The "labor" part of caring for children is actually the lowest cost of the business to me. The expense of caring for the children here is primarily housing them.. providing the roof over their head, the food in their belly, the equipment they sleep and play in, the utilities, etc.

I have 150 square foot of real estate for every child that attends. That real estate is expensive to maintain.

The actual supervision and physical care is what parents believe they are paying for and in reality that's a very small amount of the cost of caring for kids. If you think about it............. where can a parent have their kid for ten hours a day and pay 25 dollars a day? Can't hang at Mickey D's for ten hours while YOU are taking care of them for 25 bucks a day. Can't hang out in WalMart or Chuckie Cheese. Anywhere you go indoors in public .... even when the PARENT is caring for the kid is going to cost more than having them in child care.

The only place a parent could HAVE their kid in public or away from their home is a friend or a relatives house that was willing to endure their presence for free for ten hours a day.

If you can't HAVE your kids somewhere for ten hours a day when YOU are taking care of them then how can you expect someone else to provide the roof over their heads for free and JUST take money for the care?

Providers HAVE to get the message across to parents that the roof over the child's head on Tuesday has to be paid for on Monday whether the kid was there or not. The utilities to operate day care are the same whether you have two kids or six. The labor cost of preparing the meals is the same. The cost of having toys available on Tuesday is the same whether the kid uses them on Monday or not. The playpen the kid sleeps in costs the same whether the kid is using it or not. The maintence on the siding and plumbing is the same.

It's up to US to explain to parents that the cost is the same and that they can't have a roof over the kids head if they are only willing to pay on days when they use care.

Many providers start out doing this because when they used child care for their first kid they didn't like paying for days the kid didn't attend. It really only takes a couple of months of operating with a "pay as you attend" to realize how it is hard to make bills and provide a good roof over their heads if they pay a regular rate for their days of use. The average parent can find many ways to get free care on a day to day basis. If they are allowed to do it....... most will. If they aren't allowed to do it MANY will use child care every day they pay even if if means bringing their kid when they are off of work or the kid is sick.

If you are going to switch to a flat rate then many parents will just move on to find the provider that does the pay when you use. Where I live the parents can easily find that but it will mean having many child care providers over the five years of life before school. That's a trade off that's huge BUT once the kid hits five those parents willing to do a lot of switching will have saved thousands of dollars.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I don't think it's an incentive to keep kids home when they are sick. I've counselled many providers who have this built into their agreements and ended up with parents claiming the child was sick whenever they had free child care.

Your experience of the sickness rate decreasing since you started to charge some fees for it shows you that there is a good chance that they were using the "sick" exception when they really just had a free place to leave the kid.
My current parents are actually very honest with me and I absolutely love them and their kids so I don't think they would ever purposely try get out of paying me. I know that there are other parents out there who would use it to get out of paying though. It doesn't really matter for me now anyways since I am only providing care for another couple weeks in my home. Then I am going to be working in our new daycare at my church which I am very excited about. I applied for the job right after changing my policies so I guess I won't really know if they would have worked in my favor or not.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I don't think most parents who just pay for the days they used feel like they are taking advantage of the provider. I think most parents believe that the actual cost of day care is the labor of caring for the kid each day the child is there.

The "labor" part of caring for children is actually the lowest cost of the business to me. The expense of caring for the children here is primarily housing them.. providing the roof over their head, the food in their belly, the equipment they sleep and play in, the utilities, etc.

I have 150 square foot of real estate for every child that attends. That real estate is expensive to maintain.

The actual supervision and physical care is what parents believe they are paying for and in reality that's a very small amount of the cost of caring for kids. If you think about it............. where can a parent have their kid for ten hours a day and pay 25 dollars a day? Can't hang at Mickey D's for ten hours while YOU are taking care of them for 25 bucks a day. Can't hang out in WalMart or Chuckie Cheese. Anywhere you go indoors in public .... even when the PARENT is caring for the kid is going to cost more than having them in child care.

The only place a parent could HAVE their kid in public or away from their home is a friend or a relatives house that was willing to endure their presence for free for ten hours a day.

If you can't HAVE your kids somewhere for ten hours a day when YOU are taking care of them then how can you expect someone else to provide the roof over their heads for free and JUST take money for the care?

Providers HAVE to get the message across to parents that the roof over the child's head on Tuesday has to be paid for on Monday whether the kid was there or not. The utilities to operate day care are the same whether you have two kids or six. The labor cost of preparing the meals is the same. The cost of having toys available on Tuesday is the same whether the kid uses them on Monday or not. The playpen the kid sleeps in costs the same whether the kid is using it or not. The maintence on the siding and plumbing is the same.

It's up to US to explain to parents that the cost is the same and that they can't have a roof over the kids head if they are only willing to pay on days when they use care.

Many providers start out doing this because when they used child care for their first kid they didn't like paying for days the kid didn't attend. It really only takes a couple of months of operating with a "pay as you attend" to realize how it is hard to make bills and provide a good roof over their heads if they pay a regular rate for their days of use. The average parent can find many ways to get free care on a day to day basis. If they are allowed to do it....... most will. If they aren't allowed to do it MANY will use child care every day they pay even if if means bringing their kid when they are off of work or the kid is sick.

If you are going to switch to a flat rate then many parents will just move on to find the provider that does the pay when you use. Where I live the parents can easily find that but it will mean having many child care providers over the five years of life before school. That's a trade off that's huge BUT once the kid hits five those parents willing to do a lot of switching will have saved thousands of dollars.
I totally agree. The overhead costs have to be covered no matter what. And I know that parents will take free care whenever they can get it. I have been fortunate that my in home childcare income has been just for extras for our family. So I have had the luxury of not worrying so much about not getting paid when the kids were not here. I have friends though who also provide childcare in thier homes and it really hurts them when kids do not come and they do not get paid. I have learned so much from this forum and I have been passing alot of the wisdom on to them.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by saved4always View Post
My current parents are actually very honest with me and I absolutely love them and their kids so I don't think they would ever purposely try get out of paying me. I know that there are other parents out there who would use it to get out of paying though. It doesn't really matter for me now anyways since I am only providing care for another couple weeks in my home. Then I am going to be working in our new daycare at my church which I am very excited about. I applied for the job right after changing my policies so I guess I won't really know if they would have worked in my favor or not.
How will the church handle payments? Weekly? Pay everyday or just when you come?
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:44 AM
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How will the church handle payments? Weekly? Pay everyday or just when you come?
I am not actually sure how they will be handled. I would assume weekly like I did when my kids were in daycare long ago. I am going to be a lead teacher, not the director, so I am not sure what the payment policy will be.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:31 AM
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Do not lessen your daily rate- you will end up being mad at yourself about it in the end.

I did the same thing with regards to holidays, and really struggled during thanksgiving and Christmas last year. To fix the situation, I updated my handbook and made a holiday calendar, listing all of the days that I will be closed, and the days that they have to pay.

Example: Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th, 2012 Closed/PAID HOLIDAY.

The only holiday I did not make have pay for is the day after thanksgiving. I did not have a single complaint from anyone when I made these changes.
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