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Old 02-04-2011, 06:22 AM
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Dsquared Dsquared is offline
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Default Hello Ladies, Newbie Here Needs Some Advice!

Hi Ladies,

I'm so glad I found this forum! My wife runs a home daycare here, outside the Washington DC area. She is super nice and a real pushover, which can cause some problems when it comes to the business end of things. For example:

We never had a late pickup fee policy ever. Then, the teachers that we had who were dropping off at 7 am starting showing up past their pick up times, but before we closed. Then some of the other clients started showing up past 5:30 pm when we close. So we instituted a late pickup fee (thanks to the forum ) and we sent out an email alerting all parents. Then, they all get attitudes about the policy, one writes a bitchy email back (I should post it here) and cops a big attitude. One of them showed up 35 minutes late yesterday because he got off work at 3 pm and fell asleep until 6pm.

How do you guys deal with the attitudes over stuff like this? It seems like my wife's clients are always trying to fight/dispute what's clearly written in our contract. Our inclement weather policy says we follow whatever the Federal Government does as we are in DC. We had a recent snow storm and the Fed Gov opened two hours late and 2 parents came to drop off their kids at their regular times! Of course, we we brought this to their attention they got attitudes. Our contract clearly states my wife has all federal holidays off. Another client was bringing major attitude and trying to get my wife to work on Thanksgiving and News Years Day because he had to work (supposedly). We we referred him to the contract he got really pissed and they ended up leaving (good riddance). Frankly I'm sick of all the drama and crap these people try to pull and it's upsetting my wife who's really nice and totally not confrontational.

What do you ladies think of me sitting with my wife on the interviews and explaining that my wife will handle all the child care issues and I will be handling all the billing, late fees and anything contract related that is associated with her business. Do you think that would be off-putting to potential clients?

JD
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:52 AM
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lil angels lil angels is offline
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I don't think that would bother new clients to have you doing part and her doing the other. But parents will figure really fast that she won't say anything and will do things when you are not there because they will know they can get her. She will have to open up a little bit. I Have been doing this for almost 11 yrs and I also am very much the type that doesn't want to make anybody mad or tell someone no. But after you get stepped one enough it will get easier. I will sent out parent letters and hang note on my door when something is coming up. Something like this... Reminder I will be off paid July 4th for the holiday see you on the 5th. Every winter I have to send out notes about having winter clothes and that is something I have done since I started you just have to keep reminding them of things i don't think half the parents read the contract. Keep telling them over and over and they will realize what is and will be happening at your house. Hope this helps
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:58 AM
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thats not going to work. Your wife, in this business needs to have a backbone. Let your wife handle her business and you support her but other than that, I would step back. Dh isn't involved upfront in my business, he's the invisible guy (the one who collects payment when people refuse to pay or stands in the corner and watches conversations between myself and clients)
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:59 AM
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Thanks for the tips, those are some good ideas.

We only have 4 clients which is all she wants. One of them told us we would have to contact her if there was a weather issue with the DC. I told her, just check this website before you head out the door as you would if your child was going to school. It's not the school's responsibility to call you if they are closing or opening late and it's not ours either. Just check the website.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:00 AM
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Blackcat31 Blackcat31 is offline
 
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You get a pretty thick skin in a big hurry in this business. If you let attitude from dcp's bother or influence you, you are doomed to a life of stress.....I think it is the parent's way of seeing what they can get away with. In this generation of "me, me, me" it is hard to be in this business. Don't get me wrong, I have had some truly wonderful parents and not all are the way you described. My guess is that your wife wears her heart on her sleeve as most people who end up in childcare do. However, rules and policies are something you have to be clear and upfront about and never waivering on from the get go or you will have a boat load of parents who do nothing but look for loop holes.
I do like your idea of you and your wife sharing the responsibilites of the business. If you handle the business side while she handles the human side, it may be a partnership that makes your business very sucessful. I think if I had someone who would take care of those things I would definately be all for it. Especially if that person could be firm and consistant. Over the years the biggest thing I have learned is if you are firm and respecful of your policies your parents will be too....if you give little breaks here and there because you are a pushover, the parent will know like a dog smelling fear and run you like a puppet. Now, don't get me wrong, doing a few extra's for parents who truely appreciate and respect you is completely different...(you will know those parents when you get them) but there is a fine line between the two.
I say try your plan and see how it goes. You never know what will happen until you try. Worse case scenario you will get more attitude but atleast you will know which parents are the ones that should go....Good Luck and Welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by countrymom View Post
thats not going to work. Your wife, in this business needs to have a backbone. Let your wife handle her business and you support her but other than that, I would step back. Dh isn't involved upfront in my business, he's the invisible guy (the one who collects payment when people refuse to pay or stands in the corner and watches conversations between myself and clients)
I guess that's what I'm really saying. If there are problems, I'll get involved but I wanted the clients to meet me up front so they know who I am. I also want to set the expectation for no BS, we're running a business here (so no you can't pay on Friday after you kid has received a week of day care, you pay on Monday we he/she arrives).
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:05 AM
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Welcome!!
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:06 AM
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I see absolutely NO problem with you sitting in. If that is the dynamic that works for your business, then do it. Anyone who is put off by it is looking for a provider to walk all over and will pass on yours- which is a good thing, right??? Stick to your guns at all times. If you give an inch, make sure it is an inch you can afford to give for all your clients, if not point to your handbook and have your wife practice saying "Our policy states that you must stick to your scheduled times, or late fees will be charged." Never apologize for enforcing your policies. EVER. Evereverever.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2011, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
You get a pretty thick skin in a big hurry in this business. If you let attitude from dcp's bother or influence you, you are doomed to a life of stress.....I think it is the parent's way of seeing what they can get away with. In this generation of "me, me, me" it is hard to be in this business. Don't get me wrong, I have had some truly wonderful parents and not all are the way you described. My guess is that your wife wears her heart on her sleeve as most people who end up in childcare do. However, rules and policies are something you have to be clear and upfront about and never waivering on from the get go or you will have a boat load of parents who do nothing but look for loop holes.
I do like your idea of you and your wife sharing the responsibilites of the business. If you handle the business side while she handles the human side, it may be a partnership that makes your business very sucessful. I think if I had someone who would take care of those things I would definately be all for it. Especially if that person could be firm and consistant. Over the years the biggest thing I have learned is if you are firm and respecful of your policies your parents will be too....if you give little breaks here and there because you are a pushover, the parent will know like a dog smelling fear and run you like a puppet. Now, don't get me wrong, doing a few extra's for parents who truely appreciate and respect you is completely different...(you will know those parents when you get them) but there is a fine line between the two.
I say try your plan and see how it goes. You never know what will happen until you try. Worse case scenario you will get more attitude but atleast you will know which parents are the ones that should go....Good Luck and Welcome to the forum!
Thanks!

I don't mess around I'm a nice, fair and honest guy but I'm upfront and direct and if it's in the contract, I have NO problem referring back to it. I want to take as much stress off my wife as possible. Running a DC and watching kids is a tough job and you guys have enough to worry about without all the extra BS the parents try to put you through. You guys do a lot of work!
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:59 AM
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What does your wife think of you stepping in to deal with issues as they arise? I think if it's something that she would appreciate then go for it. If you're going to do it that way, then it's very important that you would sit in on the initial meeting. Also, make sure all of your policies are in your contract/parent handbook, even if you have to revise them at this point with your current families.

I would also send out a memo to current families and let them know that you are changing the structure of your business in this way.

In addition, I have found when you do interviews with parents if you set up the expectations clearly and firmly and act like you will not ever budge from them. Of course you do this very very nicely. The first few weeks and months I am a hard-a** about everything. This trains the families very well and I have found them to be very respectful of rules with only needing occasional reminders.

I think it's great that you want to be involved in your wife's business and hopefully after she sees that one can be firm with clients and they will still respect you.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
What does your wife think of you stepping in to deal with issues as they arise? I think if it's something that she would appreciate then go for it. If you're going to do it that way, then it's very important that you would sit in on the initial meeting. Also, make sure all of your policies are in your contract/parent handbook, even if you have to revise them at this point with your current families.

I would also send out a memo to current families and let them know that you are changing the structure of your business in this way.

In addition, I have found when you do interviews with parents if you set up the expectations clearly and firmly and act like you will not ever budge from them. Of course you do this very very nicely. The first few weeks and months I am a hard-a** about everything. This trains the families very well and I have found them to be very respectful of rules with only needing occasional reminders.

I think it's great that you want to be involved in your wife's business and hopefully after she sees that one can be firm with clients and they will still respect you.

Best of luck to you!
She would prefer that I do it as her job is hard enough. She hates having to "remind" them to include the late fees in their checks when they come the next week, she hated having to deal with implementing a late pick up policy, she dislikes having to remind people that they are constantly coming past their scheduled pick up times ect. Me on the other hand, I'm happy to let them know they are screwing up and get them back on track. If it makes life easier for my wife and helps keep things running smoothly, I'm happy to do it. I don't like it one bit when they try to take advantage of my wife's kind nature so I suggested I get involved and she said great.

Thanks for the tips
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:06 AM
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you need to do like my dh, one time I had a mom try and screw me over for a large amount of money, so after repeatly telling her I need my money I had to send dh. Now I have a clause, if I have to send dh to go get my money its an additional 10% (I don't send him often but after 3 weeks you need to do something) so dh dresses himself up in his motorcycle gear--which is all black, takes his motorcycle and goes and collects my money, he's pretty scary looking when he's decked out so lets say that mom knew I ment business.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:16 AM
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I think you can run into a lot of issues with this.

First: Your wife could be in the position where they want to take advantage of her and she feels bad then you get unhappy because they are taking advantage of her so you get upset. Once she starts implementing policies and fines and the parents don't want to do it then both the parents and you are upset.

She can't win.

Well... she CAN win but she has to be the hammer not you. The parents are going to be a bit off put by the idea that she basically works for you. If you aren't there caring for the kids every day it's going to be really odd for them to see her as a pure caregiver and you as a pure business guy. They are going to see the business as being HER business not your family's business.

They are going to see you as an intrusion into their great deal. You can lay the law down but in the end you will most likely get compliance for a bit and then they will just leave.

Until SHE does both the business and the care she will not gain the respect she needs to get the parents to behave respectfully.

It would be weird for the families to have you sit in on the interview and only deal with them when they aren't doing the right thing financially.

You say your wife wants you to do it but I'm wondering if she wants you to do it because she thinks at least it will eliminate YOU being upset when everything goes down and she gets taken advantage of?

Getting parents to come when there is a govermental shut down due to weather is going to be tough. Getting them to come later in the morning based on a delay is going to be real tough. MANY parents will take their kid out on horrible roads where they are really really endangering their kids and drop them off at day care and then go home for the weather day off. It's part of doing day care. You can put rules in place but if they are paying you they are going to be upset if they can't have their kid there.

Instead of you doing Hammer Time, I think it's best for her to shore up her policies, handle all of the business herself, and stand up for her policies. If you aren't actually doing the physical care of the kids on a day to day basis (not subsituting) then you will never be respected as a financial or rule leader. It just doesn't work like that.

If she needs someone to talk to to help her get some skills and actual SENTENCES to say to parents that are not confrontational and work she is free to call me. PM me thru here and I will give you my phone number.

You sound awesome though... I know you are going at this with a pure heart.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:17 AM
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I am sure everyone will have great advice.....and I am about to read those posts....but I first wanted to say this. I was just like your wife....and still am a bit. My advice is to empower your wife. She can be assertive but in a businesslike way and without apologizing. Just remind them of what the policies are. Some parents seem to think that if the program is not housed in a brick school building....then it's not really a professional program. Let your wife arise to the occassion and show them in a businesslike manner that she is a professional and she (like them) deserves paid time off....etc. Keep us updated on how it goes too! It's the very hardest part of childcare!
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:27 AM
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I also tend to be a pushover (just ask my husband) and found the best thing for me to do is create a written document with any issues that come up. I have the parents sign the document and return it to me so I could make a copy for them. I usually include a section where they can add their own comments (which is especially helpful if I want them to correct a specific behavior because they usually write what they intend to do in this section). This way, I feel like it's less confrontational and yet, I get my point across.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I think you can run into a lot of issues with this.

First: Your wife could be in the position where they want to take advantage of her and she feels bad then you get unhappy because they are taking advantage of her so you get upset. Once she starts implementing policies and fines and the parents don't want to do it then both the parents and you are upset.

She can't win.

Well... she CAN win but she has to be the hammer not you. The parents are going to be a bit off put by the idea that she basically works for you. If you aren't there caring for the kids every day it's going to be really odd for them to see her as a pure caregiver and you as a pure business guy. They are going to see the business as being HER business not your family's business.

They are going to see you as an intrusion into their great deal. You can lay the law down but in the end you will most likely get compliance for a bit and then they will just leave.

Until SHE does both the business and the care she will not gain the respect she needs to get the parents to behave respectfully.

It would be weird for the families to have you sit in on the interview and only deal with them when they aren't doing the right thing financially.

You say your wife wants you to do it but I'm wondering if she wants you to do it because she thinks at least it will eliminate YOU being upset when everything goes down and she gets taken advantage of?

Getting parents to come when there is a govermental shut down due to weather is going to be tough. Getting them to come later in the morning based on a delay is going to be real tough. MANY parents will take their kid out on horrible roads where they are really really endangering their kids and drop them off at day care and then go home for the weather day off. It's part of doing day care. You can put rules in place but if they are paying you they are going to be upset if they can't have their kid there.

Instead of you doing Hammer Time, I think it's best for her to shore up her policies, handle all of the business herself, and stand up for her policies. If you aren't actually doing the physical care of the kids on a day to day basis (not subsituting) then you will never be respected as a financial or rule leader. It just doesn't work like that.

If she needs someone to talk to to help her get some skills and actual SENTENCES to say to parents that are not confrontational and work she is free to call me. PM me thru here and I will give you my phone number.

You sound awesome though... I know you are going at this with a pure heart.
I TOTALLY agree with all of this.

In terms of the late start...if I am understanding you correctly, when the government opens up 2 hours late, you want to open up 2 hours late as well? Is tht right? The government does it to allow individuals time to get to work...your wife is at work. In addition, since the purpose is t allow individuals to get to work in poor conditions, not being able to drop off at daycare is going to put them behind even further. If I'm understanding your correctly, I would rethink that policy.

Good luck to you wife. Finding ways to be firm in your contract is an awesome life lesson that brings its own sense of accomplishment and confidence! I hope she take the opportunity!
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