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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>What to do about this potiential client? Help! :)
WImom 05:46 AM 01-18-2012
(Sorry - long - had to give back story)

I have a mom that contacted me last May to have an interview even though her son was too young for my program (he was 18m and I only care for 2-5y). She insisted on just coming for an interview and then waiting until he was 2y to enroll. So I did the interview since I really needed some spots filled. So she would email me about once a month to see if I could take him early, hated the daycare she was in (It was unlicensed with way too many kids). Once he was two I had already enrolled two other kids that just turned two year olds and didn't want another so I told her I was full. She'd keep emailing me to see if I had spots.

Now it's January and she called and said the state came to her provider and is shutting her down, did I have any room. I decided that since two of my current two year olds are turning 3 this month that I could take another. So we set up the interview and I sent her my handbook, fee sheet, etc to look over before she came.

She emails back last week that my contract was overwhelming so she was going to pass. (It's pretty standard of what any licensed dc in WI has which is what I told her, that if she wants a licensed childcare this is what she's going to get)

Last night I get an email for her that she still can't find a daycare she likes and could she just come and interview with me so she can decide what to do.

A BIG part of me wants to say no because I think she'll just leave once she finds that daycare that is really flexible, cheaper, etc. I know she's trying to find what she can get here for cheaper or with no late fees, etc. Not sure what to do. What would you do? (I don't need this child - I have just one 4 day spot open). How would you nicely say no thanks!!
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littlemissmuffet 06:46 AM 01-18-2012
LOL, I don't deal with parents like this. I refuse to do an interview or dayhome viewing until there is a space available. Also I have a waiting list - and you have to WAIT your turn!! I let people know when I put them on my waiting list that they will be contacted when a space opens up (and quite honestly, their current 12 month old might be in kindergarten by then). I would never answer monthly emails harassing me like that - knowing full well she would be a PITA client!

There's always red flags... we just need to start watching for them!
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Blackcat31 07:15 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by littlemissmuffet:
LOL, I don't deal with parents like this. I refuse to do an interview or dayhome viewing until there is a space available. Also I have a waiting list - and you have to WAIT your turn!! I let people know when I put them on my waiting list that they will be contacted when a space opens up (and quite honestly, their current 12 month old might be in kindergarten by then). I would never answer monthly emails harassing me like that - knowing full well she would be a PITA client!

There's always red flags... we just need to start watching for them!
I don't necessarily feel like checking in once a month to stay in touch about available openings should be considered harassing. I also have a waiting list but ONLY because I already conducted the interview but had no space available so they went on a wait list. I can't imagine people wanting to be on a wait list without having toured the site or went through the interview process aready to know if they even want to be on a wait list. kwim?

OP~ I am wondering why you took on other 2 yr old when you already had this woman waiting. Just wondering what the circumstances were....

If I were you, I would do the interview and take that opportunity to talk with her about your concerns. This is a good chance to really lay it out there so she knows your expectations about attendance, payment and just generally how you run things. As far as being concerned that she will drop you and run the second she finds more convenient or cheaper care shouldn't really come into play IMO because in reality, any one of our DCK's could do that at any time. We really have no way of knowing....kwim?

I didn't see her behavior as a red flag but more of a parent who is concerned about her child, is willing to communicate and seems to be fairly honest about her actions....

Sometimes the families that I assume are going to be the biggest PITA's turn out to be the BEST clients....just saying. :-)
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WImom 07:39 AM 01-18-2012
Blackcat - I took on two other two year olds during the summer. This boy was not 2y until end of September and mom was told I may not have openings anymore by the time he was 2y.
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Blackcat31 08:04 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by WImom:
Blackcat - I took on two other two year olds during the summer. This boy was not 2y until end of September and mom was told I may not have openings anymore by the time he was 2y.
Oh, I gottcha! I was just curious how that happened...

Like I said in previous post, I completely understand your reservations but I would still interview and see how it goes. It may turn out that she is easy to work with and once she sees your program may find that your "overwhelming" handbook/policies are exactly what she was looking for and will sign on.
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familyschoolcare 08:06 AM 01-18-2012
OP--I would have an interview with the parent like sujjested before and use that time to talk about all your concerns and let her tell you about hers. I

would be sure to ask her why she was so unhappy with the pervious daycare and all the other daycares she has looked at. It is possible that she found

the contract over overwhelming because the information was in writing. She might be a verble person and would not find the information overwhelming if

you and her sat down and whent threw it together.
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Cat Herder 08:17 AM 01-18-2012
First I'd stop the email chain. I can't stand them... The way I write and the way I intend my words are often conflicting. So much is missed in tone and inflection. (how many of you would guess I am actually soft spoken....even if very deliberate )

I'd get her on the phone to find out which parts were so "overwhelming" before I'd waste my time interviewing face to face.

My reasoning is that she may be the type that tries to strong arm and bully you into wavering face to face. You all know the type.

IMHO, that can be screened in a phone call before taking up my family time, after closing, for a face to face interview and tour.

I have ZERO tolerance for bullies.

Granted, I am pretty greedy with my family time, too.

I admit I am a bit focused on one thing in your OP, though..... Why is she pushing for another interview, if she already had one....unless trying to manipulate you is her motive?
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countrymom 08:19 AM 01-18-2012
she doesn't sound good. If the contract was overwhelming why did the mom address all her concerns over the phone, and the big kicker "she hasn't found one that she likes" that should be a big clue. I would have asked what was wrong with them. Maybe her son has been kicked out of them.
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WImom 08:20 AM 01-18-2012
I am pushing for the interview. I have no idea how her child is now that he is 2.5 and I want to make sure he is the right fit here for my gorup and the fact that I'm pretty structured being preschool focused. I want to make sure he is ready for that.

I know she loved my dc care with the first interview so the 'my contract is too complicated' annoyed me.

I ended up telling her we can interview. We shall see.
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countrymom 08:21 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by Catherder:
First I'd stop the email chain. I can't stand them... The way I write and the way I intend my words are often conflicting. So much is missed in tone and inflection. (how many of you would guess I am actually soft spoken....even if very deliberate )

I'd get her on the phone to find out which parts were so "overwhelming" before I'd waste my time interviewing face to face.

My reasoning is that she may be the type that tries to strong arm and bully you into wavering face to face. You all know the type.

IMHO, that can be screened in a phone call before taking up my family time, after closing, for a face to face interview and tour.

I have ZERO tolerance for bullies.

Granted, I am pretty greedy with my family time, too.

I admit I am a bit focused on one thing in your OP, though..... Why is she pushing for another interview, if she already had one....unless trying to manipulate you is her motive?
I agree too. something isn't right.
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Cat Herder 08:24 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by WImom:
I am pushing for the interview. I have no idea how her child is now that he is 2.5 and I want to make sure he is the right fit here for my gorup and the fact that I'm pretty structured being preschool focused. I want to make sure he is ready for that.

I know she loved my dc care with the first interview so the 'my contract is too complicated' annoyed me.

I ended up telling her we can interview. We shall see.
OK..... smart.

Stay strong..... Who knows, she may turn out to be awesome.... Maybe just shell-shocked from actually having some accountability....
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Live and Learn 08:29 AM 01-18-2012
If you interview with her again 1) be sure to ask her to you bring all remaining questions she might have. 2) be sure to drive home your policies especially sick, late arrival and pick up, tuition, vacation time, late fees. 3) let her know that you are interviewing multiple families to find the best family to fill your spot.
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WImom 09:27 AM 01-18-2012
will do Live and learn - thanks
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littlemissmuffet 09:53 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I don't necessarily feel like checking in once a month to stay in touch about available openings should be considered harassing. I also have a waiting list but ONLY because I already conducted the interview but had no space available so they went on a wait list. I can't imagine people wanting to be on a wait list without having toured the site or went through the interview process aready to know if they even want to be on a wait list. kwim?

I didn't see her behavior as a red flag but more of a parent who is concerned about her child, is willing to communicate and seems to be fairly honest about her actions....

Sometimes the families that I assume are going to be the biggest PITA's turn out to be the BEST clients....just saying. :-)
For me, asking once a month if you will take a child who is under 2 years old, when you have already stated that you do not take children under 2 is a form of harassment... and a huge indication to me that this is a person will be a potential policy-negotiator!

I have an excellent reputation in my city, my wait list averages 25 names long at any given moment. This system works for me, I am not about to conduct that many interviews per year when the odds are that the majority will never be able to enroll.

As soon as families start asking for exceptions to the rules, I do see that as a reg flag. Most centers in my city do not take children until 18 months - they would be laughed at if someone requested their child be taken earlier than that. You are right, she might just be a concerned mom - but rules are rules.

I also agree that some of the people I assume will be difficult to work with end up being easy as pie to handle and vice versa!
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Blackcat31 09:56 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by littlemissmuffet:
For me, asking once a month if you will take a child who is under 2 years old, when you have already stated that you do not take children under 2 is a form of harassment... and a huge indication to me that this is a person will be a potential policy-negotiator!

I have an excellent reputation in my city, my wait list averages 25 names long at any given moment. This system works for me, I am not about to conduct that many interviews per year when the odds are that the majority will never be able to enroll.

As soon as families start asking for exceptions to the rules, I do see that as a reg flag. Most centers in my city do not take children until 18 months - they would be laughed at if someone requested their child be taken earlier than that. You are right, she might just be a concerned mom - but rules are rules.

I also agree that some of the people I assume will be difficult to work with end up being easy as pie to handle and vice versa!
I see your point and it does make sense. I just had a different perspective.

Yes, pushiness can be a huge red flag, but I guess for me, personal experience has taught me that the ones who try to push the boundaries right from the get go, end up being great families because they got put in their place from the start too....kwim?
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littlemissmuffet 10:03 AM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I see your point and it does make sense. I just had a different perspective.

Yes, pushiness can be a huge red flag, but I guess for me, personal experience has taught me that the ones who try to push the boundaries right from the get go, end up being great families because they got put in their place from the start too....kwim?
Absolutely!

And I definitely appreciate your perspective. So much so that I will be re-evaluating our waiting list procedures with my assistant tonight - perhaps shortening it down, getting only good-fit potential clients (weeding out the ones who are not a good fit by asking pertinent questions via email/phone interview) and then interviewing only those that seem like a good fit BEFORE adding to the wait list.

Thanks! That's why I love this site!
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Heidi 12:18 PM 01-18-2012
Originally Posted by WImom:
I am pushing for the interview. I have no idea how her child is now that he is 2.5 and I want to make sure he is the right fit here for my gorup and the fact that I'm pretty structured being preschool focused. I want to make sure he is ready for that.

I know she loved my dc care with the first interview so the 'my contract is too complicated' annoyed me.

I ended up telling her we can interview. We shall see.
Years ago I had a lady interview me for her 3yo. It went very well. But, she suprised me by choosing someone else. When I asked why (which I don't normally do, but I couldnt help myself), she said "well, you are just to serious for me (because I had a handbook & contract). She went with an unregulated provider (less serious, aka cheaper?)

A few months later, I got a call from her. "Do you have an opening?" I did, indeed. "well, then, can I change my mind, please?" Sure, WHY?

"I found K wandering the farm when I went to pick her up tonight" alone....outside...3yo...cows....farm equipment....
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wdmmom 01:03 PM 01-18-2012
If a potential client had an issue with my contract, they wouldn't be a client.


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Tags:licensed vs unlicensed, unrealistic expectations, unreasonable parental expectations
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