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Preschool/daycare teacher 04:35 PM 02-08-2011
How word you word the "Holding a Spot" policy, or does this sound okay, and get the message across with no confusion?:
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Holding a Spot:
If you need us to hold a spot for your child, depending on availability we may be able to to do that for a deposit of ˝ the weekly rate. The spot will be held no longer than two weeks. This will be applied to your child's first week of attendance, however, if you should decide not to enroll your child after all and they do not attend, the money will not be refunded. If you need the spot held longer than 2 weeks, depending on availability we may continue to hold a spot for your child at the regular weekly rate, however this amount will not be refunded or applied to any week of care, regardless of attendance or enrollment.
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What would you, if you were a parent, get from this? Would you understand it all?

Here's what I want: say mom wants to bring little x to my daycare in 4 weeks and wants me to hold her spot. I would charge her 1/2 rate the first two weeks and apply that to her first week of care, then for the next two weeks she would pay the full rate and it would NOT be applied to her child's care. After all this time, if she chose not to enroll little x after all, I would not refund her money.

Is this asking too much? On top of a two week deposit that is refunded to them after their last two weeks of enrollment?
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misol 05:01 PM 02-08-2011
The way it is worded makes sense to me.

For me though, a holding fee should be just that ... a holding fee. There would be no refunds or credits...period. I would be more inclined to offer the parent to use 2-3 days of care but I wouldn't credit the holding fee toward their first week of care. I think if the kid came a few times before the actual start date A) it would help with the transition B) the parents would be less likely to flake out on you.

I could be wrong tbough but that is my train of thought.

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lvt77 07:48 PM 02-08-2011
I_______________________, hereby agree that this deposit of $100.00 is to hold a spot for my child at the ***X Daycare, owned and operated by XC***. Should a situation occur and I will no longer need care for my child, I must notify The ***XX Daycare before or on: Thursday, September 9, 2010 by 5:00 PM to receive my deposit back. After said date has passed, I understand that the deposit is completely non-refundable under any circumstances.
I also understand that ***XX Daycare will be turning away business between the below dates to secure my child’s spot.

******Daycare agrees to hold an opening for my child from September 6, 2010 until the end of the business day on ,September 13, 2010, which will be the start date for my child. Fees will start to occur for the cost of care from this date forward. After two weeks of care have passed, the deposit of $100.00 will be applied as a credit towards my child’s tuition should I decide to enroll my child into ***XX Daycare. Should I decide not to enroll my child after said two weeks have passed, I will receive a full refund of $100.00.
**Please note, if you are paying deposit by check, your check will be cashed on the date that this agreement is signed. If funds are not available at the time of cashing, this agreement will be voided.
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Abigail 07:58 PM 02-08-2011
Holding a Spot:
If you need us to hold a spot for your child, depending on availability we may be able to to do that for a deposit of ˝ the weekly rate. The spot will be held no longer than two weeks. This will be applied to your child's first week of attendance, however, if you should decide not to enroll your child after all and they do not attend, the money will not be refunded. If you need the spot held longer than 2 weeks, depending on availability we may continue to hold a spot for your child at the regular weekly rate, however this amount will not be refunded or applied to any week of care, regardless of attendance or enrollment.


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I think you are stepping on thin ice because you say you will apply the first two weeks at half the normal rate to the first week of care (technically, refunded part of the holding fee) and anytime after the first two weeks is non-refundable. Then, you state if parents decide not to enroll nothing is refundable. That is confusing because the first two weeks of half the normal rate were just quoted to be "applied", which might not hold up in court. IMO.

I would NOT give any refunds. During those two weeks even, you *could possibly have started someone at the full rate. You're technically saying pay some now for two weeks and I'll hold the spot for free as long as you enroll.

You also contradict yourself by saying "the spot will be held no longer than two weeks." and again saying "if you need the spot longer than two week, we may continue to hold a spot..."

Keep it simple: Don't offer to apply it towards a balance. You're ready to enroll NOW so you either need to get paid for saving that spot or you need to get paid to fill that spot. When I read it, I don't see the part where you charge full weekly rates after two weeks of half the normal rates....that would really through me off as a parent. I think it's a little steep to charge full rate for a holding fee. Do you have an "extended leave" for maternity or illness for a holding fee yet? I have yet to create my final holding fee form, but it IS a separate contract from the regular contract. I'm just not there. You need to make sure you include the dates and the actual dollar amount instead of saying half the normal fee because you have no proof of what this fee is until you state it. If you have more questions, I'll be happy to help. I'll be there eventually.

Holding Fee:
OK, I just typed a paragraph, but I'm not to this point yet. I'll tell you what is in Tom's book of Contracts and Policies on pg. 58.
The provider agrees to hold a space in her program until DATE for the client's child. In return for agreeing to hold a space for the child, the client agrees to pay for provider $XX per week during the holding period. Payment is due WEEKLY/BI-WEEKLY/MONTHLY. If the client decides not to enroll the child before the end of the holding period, the holding fee will not be refundable. The holding fee cannot be applied to care once the child is enrolled.

This was one sample. The only things I don't see is the start date. I'm guessing that can just be considered the day the sign/date it at the bottom of the page. I like this one personally and it's easy to understand. You're not limiting yourself to so-many weeks because you can decide in each situation if you are willing to even hold a space for someone. I also don't see the specific day OR time of day that payment is due. Keep it similiar to your regular contract when fees are due so it's easier to keep track of.
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Blackcat31 08:12 PM 02-08-2011
Originally Posted by misol:
The way it is worded makes sense to me.

For me though, a holding fee should be just that ... a holding fee. There would be no refunds or credits...period. I would be more inclined to offer the parent to use 2-3 days of care but I wouldn't credit the holding fee toward their first week of care. I think if the kid came a few times before the actual start date A) it would help with the transition B) the parents would be less likely to flake out on you.

I could be wrong tbough but that is my train of thought.
I think this makes the most sense. Too many sentences and as a parent I am lost. Lol!
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Preschool/daycare teacher 04:20 PM 02-12-2011
Thank you for the responses! Abigail, you're right; I was afraid it would sound contradictory and confusing... I wanted to help the parents out who really do need care, but wouldn't be needing it for a few weeks. But I also wanted to protect myself so if the parent didn't end up going with me I wouldn't be out a lot of money. With their deposit of two full weeks of payment before enrollment I was afraid it would be too much to ask of the parents without some kind of refund (applying it to their first week of care) for their holding fee.

Hopefully I won't even have to mess with holding a spot for a child. Sounds like it could be a mess...and a lot of confusion. Maybe my policy for holding a spot should be that I DON'T hold spots. I continue enrolling any families who pay their deposit and turn in their paperwork until I'm full? First come/pay, first serve kind of thing.

If I DO choose to hold a spot for a family, you think I should eliminate the holding spot part of the policy and just have them sign a seperate paper for each individual case, stating the amount and dates of holding a spot? I can see where that would make more sense, and would hold up better in court than my confusing policy on it....
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Abigail 10:26 PM 02-12-2011
Preschool,
Anything about a holding fee should NOT be in your normal handbook or contract. WHY? Handbook is only for how you run your daycare, nothing about time or money should be in a handbook because these change and a handbook doesn't hold up in court. It doesn't belong in your normal contract either because your contract is for those already enrolled.

I am going to offer a holding a spot contract (separate contract) because chances are sure you can continue to interview still for that spot and create a waiting list and still make a few extra dollars on the side for a holding fee. I think this should be a separate contract because once they sign your normal contract there holding fee contract becomes outdated/invalid. KWIM? Keep it simple. Are you still going to offer to refund or apply your deposit? If you do, I would still say that half of it is applied because you should take in some of the deposit for holding it in the first place....besides they also have the choice to say "no thanks" now for enrolling and call you next month when they want to enroll by taking their chances and avoid a fee altogether.
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MARSTELAC 08:01 AM 02-15-2011
Hello oh wise providers! I need your help as I might have a problem. I have too many families expecting. I will hold spots for infants at no cost, first come, first served. Problem: Accepted first parent request to hold spot. I am 99.9% sure she will be back with her infant (I already care for the first child). I know their attendance schedule already.

Parent #2: I told that family I would most likely need a variance but sure it isn't going to be a worry. Initially this family told me they are due early summer and then I would get baby after their maternity leave. Now they are being iffy about if I will keep their other child in my care and not sure how long the leave is going to be. I have told them that I need an answer about the details. Still don't have that answer.

Parent #3: Another current family is now expecting and wants me to care for their new little one. I know their schedule as well as to start dates, etc. I cannot take family #3 at all (even with variance) just because family #2 is not committing to anything.

Can I send a letter to parent #2 telling them I must have a detailed plan from them by a certain date or care will not be available? They have been with me a long time and I am just getting a vibe that they are not going to come back after next baby and I will have lost family #3 in the meantime.

I also have a waiting list. Infant and other care is in high demand here. I hate putting all of these other families off knowing they can make a commitment.

My fault: my leave policy is too vague. I obviously need a new policy. I don't mind holding a spot if family is good about letting me know what their intentions are but I don't want to let other good clients (and potential clients) go..............

Any input?
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mia 11:38 AM 01-06-2014
I had a possible client that put a deposit down to hold a spot... about a month before they were to start. They called and cancelled and wanted the $ back... I have it ready to.... but am unsure for I turned down two other possible clients because of this.... what do you all think .... yes or no to reimbursing....
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Cat Herder 11:41 AM 01-06-2014
Originally Posted by mia:
I had a possible client that put a deposit down to hold a spot... about a month before they were to start. They called and canceled and wanted the $ back... I have it ready to.... but am unsure for I turned down two other possible clients because of this.... what do you all think .... yes or no to reimbursing....
I would not refund. Holding fee is payment for your not offering it to other families for a specified time.

My clients pay full tuition for their desired slot until they no longer need it, whether a child ever actually attends or not is of no concern to me.

Don't be guilted...

(I did want to add that if a Mother actually lost her unborn child after having held a slot, I would absolutely refund 100% whether asked or not. That is a huge morality issue for me; they will have burial/medical expenses that nobody is ever prepared for. Changing jobs, moving, finding cheaper care, etc are simply not the same thing IMHO. )
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Leigh 02:03 PM 01-06-2014
I don't refund. The deposit is so that you hold the spot whether they attend or not. Refunding it negates its value. The parent should be well aware of that.
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Cowgirl 02:05 PM 01-06-2014
When I bring a new client into my program, before I give them paperwork I require first weeks tuition plus a $50 annual enrollment fee. I have parents write in the memo area of the check "non refundable ". That being said, if there was no policy in place and you didn't inform the parents that it was non refundable, I think you should return it to them.
That is how my policy was born, holding 2 spots all summer for a teacher who did the same thing to me.....
Good luck!
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Unregistered 10:09 AM 01-29-2014
I usually take a pay equal to two weeks of care for a deposit,and if a parent changes her mind I keep the deposit and if I change my mind about taking that child in my day care then I give them a refund.
The only thing I don't like is when people are looking for a child dare a year in advance...how can you be sure it will work?
I had one situation where I had a child for a whole year,then it was summer time and mom had it off,so child was not at the day care.I was completely ok with that thinking they are coming back in September,then September came and a week before he was supposed to come she said he will not come here anymore for she is putting him in a school day care where she works...I mean how strange that can be!?Why she never mentioned that to me,I relied on him coming back,gave him priority over the other potential clients,and at the end for being nice and professional you get this!
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CraftyMom 05:54 AM 02-07-2014
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
I usually take a pay equal to two weeks of care for a deposit,and if a parent changes her mind I keep the deposit and if I change my mind about taking that child in my day care then I give them a refund.
The only thing I don't like is when people are looking for a child dare a year in advance...how can you be sure it will work?
I had one situation where I had a child for a whole year,then it was summer time and mom had it off,so child was not at the day care.I was completely ok with that thinking they are coming back in September,then September came and a week before he was supposed to come she said he will not come here anymore for she is putting him in a school day care where she works...I mean how strange that can be!?Why she never mentioned that to me,I relied on him coming back,gave him priority over the other potential clients,and at the end for being nice and professional you get this!
I'm wondering what to do in this situation as well. Wondering if should have a policy that states there is a fee for not following through since I would be holding the spot all summer when I could have filled the spot and would be losing money
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Stepping 12:26 PM 03-19-2014
Originally Posted by MARSTELAC:
Hello oh wise providers! I need your help as I might have a problem. I have too many families expecting. I will hold spots for infants at no cost, first come, first served. Problem: Accepted first parent request to hold spot. I am 99.9% sure she will be back with her infant (I already care for the first child). I know their attendance schedule already.

Parent #2: I told that family I would most likely need a variance but sure it isn't going to be a worry. Initially this family told me they are due early summer and then I would get baby after their maternity leave. Now they are being iffy about if I will keep their other child in my care and not sure how long the leave is going to be. I have told them that I need an answer about the details. Still don't have that answer.

Parent #3: Another current family is now expecting and wants me to care for their new little one. I know their schedule as well as to start dates, etc. I cannot take family #3 at all (even with variance) just because family #2 is not committing to anything.

Can I send a letter to parent #2 telling them I must have a detailed plan from them by a certain date or care will not be available? They have been with me a long time and I am just getting a vibe that they are not going to come back after next baby and I will have lost family #3 in the meantime.

I also have a waiting list. Infant and other care is in high demand here. I hate putting all of these other families off knowing they can make a commitment.

My fault: my leave policy is too vague. I obviously need a new policy. I don't mind holding a spot if family is good about letting me know what their intentions are but I don't want to let other good clients (and potential clients) go..............

Any input?
I have the same issue here with 4 current families expecting new siblings. I'm thinking of writing up a new policy which states that I will hold spots for up to two months with a months deposit but that I will be actively recruiting other clients to fill any empty spaces up until that two month period.

I'm not sure how to word it though. Did you write a new policy for this situation?
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Blackcat31 12:52 PM 03-19-2014
Originally Posted by Stepping:
I have the same issue here with 4 current families expecting new siblings. I'm thinking of writing up a new policy which states that I will hold spots for up to two months with a months deposit but that I will be actively recruiting other clients to fill any empty spaces up until that two month period.

I'm not sure how to word it though. Did you write a new policy for this situation?
The person you quoted posted that in 2011. I don't think she has been an active poster for a long while now...just in case you were hoping for a reply.


Anyways, since you have so many families actually needing the space, I would simply tell them that the first parent that pays for the space gets it.

I would require FULL payment the minute the space is open or the space is considered "available".

I would take FULL advantage of the fact that they all want the space. You run a business and this is one of those business opportunities that you can capitalize on.... I know a lot of providers would say that is too money orientated but I do not hide the fact that I am in this profession to make money...not friends so I wouldn't give any type of discount to anyone.

Once the infant space is open, the person who wants/needs it should have to pay to hold it.

You shouldn't take a financial loss of any kind since you aren't the one having a new baby that needs daycare space.
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Stepping 12:58 PM 03-19-2014
Thanks for the input! I am also not usually worried about putting money first. Problem is, I have 3 due at the same time so I think there will be a race to the finish line
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