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Old 04-02-2010, 07:59 PM
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Default Potential Families and Harshly Worded Contracts

I'm just curious as to whether or not you've ever had a family that was put off due to the wording in your contract? I consider myself a nice person, but if you didn't really know me and you read my contract, you'd probably think I was a b----! I really do have every little thing spelled out and it is very matter of fact - I expect X,Y,and Z or you're out. I've often wondered if I should include some kind of "I'm not really as mean as this sounds" statement when going over the contract. What do you all think?
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AfterSchoolMom View Post
I'm just curious as to whether or not you've ever had a family that was put off due to the wording in your contract? I consider myself a nice person, but if you didn't really know me and you read my contract, you'd probably think I was a b----! I really do have every little thing spelled out and it is very matter of fact - I expect X,Y,and Z or you're out. I've often wondered if I should include some kind of "I'm not really as mean as this sounds" statement when going over the contract. What do you all think?
If you want someone to look over your contract, I would be happy to- pm me, and I will send you my email address. If you would like to see mine, I would be happy to send it to you as well. I have had to write many different things in it, the last yr. wow so much comes up yr. after yr.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:50 PM
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I personally wouldn't add any "I'm not as mean as this sounds" statement, or they're likely to think you mean, "I don't enforce this as strictly as it sounds, so go ahead and test me on it", or "You can decide whether or not you really want to follow it". I think if the contract sounds too harsh and they don't like the policies, they can look somewhere else for care. If you word it differently, you may leave "loop holes" for them that you'll wish wasn't there later when they start finding all the "loop holes" and taking advantage. Only if you don't enforce the contract as strictly as it sounds would I say anything about "being mean". When we did this last contract, we were afraid of sounding mean so we worded it in a "nicer" way than we would have originally, then realized later (when it was too late and parents found the wording to be to their advantage), that it sounds like we're just "suggesting" they follow certain policies
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:59 AM
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When I have an interview I tell the parent that I dont mean to scare them with my policy but it has all happened at one point. I also tell them that it is (to me) is common curtsy & I am pretty easy going as long I as I do not feel taken advantage of.
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:21 AM
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Explaining reasoning to parents when you read through the contract with them during interviews will probably go a long way to making things sound better. When I read through mine, I say things like "I know it doesn't sound likely, but in case it comes up this is what I do when ...", Or, "This probably won't apply to you, but I go through it with everyone anyway ...". I think letting parents know that you have been taken advantage of before and won't stand for it again will garner sympathy from the good parents and will be more likely to scare off the bad ones.

For the first few interviews, I just let the parents read over the contract on their own, and didn't discuss it. That led to alot of misunderstandings. Now that I spend the majority of our interview time on discussing the policies, it's been sooo much better. Parents expect things to happen like the contract says they will.

But I wouldn't compromised the wording of your contract. The others are right -- parents may use "nicer" wording as a reason to get out of their obligations.
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Old 04-04-2010, 02:23 AM
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I have done contractual business in several forms (trucking, farming, rental properties, grounds maintenance, etc) and my experience (learned the hard way) is that the more specific and exact a contract is, the better it is for both parties involved.

This way, there is no question about 'what if' or the like, just refer to the contract and all questions will be answered.

For example, I'm sure many DC providers (my wife included) started out with what they felt was a catch-all contract, and as time went on, a few things got omitted, some got edited, and alot got added, and usually not because a bulb went off in someone's head out of the blue, but because of experiences (rarely good).


If someone gets all butt-hurt about the rules and penalties for failure to comply in your contract, that could be a sign that they have little intention of abiding by the contract, and don't like the sound of the seriousness of failure to comply.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:33 PM
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I dont see any problem with spelling everything out...in fact my policy agreement is about 20 pages long. I call it a Parent Handbook but basically it is mostly policy information.

But at the same time, I think you can word things in a rude or b#*#* way instead of a professional way. I have read some statements people have put on this forum through the months I have been a member and have thought the wording sounded unprofessional. I would NEVER put a statement saying thet you hope you dont sound mean. That is very unprofessional IMO. Plus, like D Bug said as long as you go over your policies at the interview using some of those key phrases she gave as examples then that should smooth most things over.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:59 PM
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I always tell the parents as I had them the packet that this is the very legalistic version of what I do. Basically it is CYA (cover my a$$) and that I am a pretty laid back person. By the time they are done visiting with me they see how things work. If they are that put off I would assume that is because they don't want to abide by your rules and regulations and you probably don't want to have them attend your daycare.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:55 AM
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I have a great contract that my very dear friend that was in daycare 20 + years helped me create, it was hers and we just personalized it. It is clear and to the point, not to wordy. But it has note to parents that says this is the expectations of all parents, that it ensures exceptional care for their child and should comfort them about the type of atmosphere their child will be cared for in. I haven't had any complaints and would be more than happy to share it.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:34 PM
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My contract/policies gets stricter and more detailed every year. When I interview I just let parents know up front that I have added things over the years as situations that weren't previously addressed arose- from bounced check fees to sick policies- they get adapted based on my experiences- and while I'm sure they have no intention of skipping out on a bill, being habitually late or compromising all our health by bringing sick kids etc- i have learned the hard way it needs to be in the contract.
I think if they respect what you do and intend to be decent with you a detailed contract will not be a problem
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Carole's Daycare View Post
My contract/policies gets stricter and more detailed every year. When I interview I just let parents know up front that I have added things over the years as situations that weren't previously addressed arose- from bounced check fees to sick policies- they get adapted based on my experiences- and while I'm sure they have no intention of skipping out on a bill, being habitually late or compromising all our health by bringing sick kids etc- i have learned the hard way it needs to be in the contract.
I think if they respect what you do and intend to be decent with you a detailed contract will not be a problem
I have had to really straighten mine about 10 times over all the yrs. of doing care. There has been thing after thing come up, or I see something on here, and you really need to add it to your own. I agree the more you are strict with everything, maybe the families will understand and adhere to everything if it is spelled out!!!
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