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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Holding a Spot
BBurris1 02:58 PM 12-29-2015
I have interest from a parent to place their infant with me in March. I haven't had to hold a spot yet, as I'm a new provider. I don't have any deposit in place either. I plan to add a 2 week deposit to my contract that will apply to the last 2 weeks of care.
I really need to fill spots, so my husband is telling me I should only take the deposit of $340, but the infant wouldn't start until sometime in March. I feel that's a long time to hold a spot with only the deposit.
I'd considered writing a contract to hold spots that would be free for 2 weeks from the interview (make a decision, turn in paperwork, etc.), half price for 4 weeks, then full tuition. I have no idea what the average is in my area and don't know who to contact to find out.
I don't want to scare this family away since I need them more than they probably need me at the moment, but I also need to protect my family and business from losses by holding spots for free. What is your recommendation? Should I just take the deposit this time and work on a contract for holding spots for next time? Or should I rush to complete it before my interview with this family?
Thanks for the help and advice!
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childcaremom 03:17 PM 12-29-2015
Putting this out there just as an option... it is not the popular way to do things on this board however it is what works in my area.

I require a non-refundable holding fee (the wording is holding fee - not deposit) equalling 2 weeks tuition. I apply this to their first two weeks of care. If they change their mind for whatever reasons, it is non-refundable. I will no longer hold a spot for longer than 3 months (due to people backing out, situations changing and child no longer being a good fit, etc).

I don't require a deposit so have no advice there.

I'm sure others will chime in with some other options.
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Unregistered 03:32 PM 12-29-2015
My minimum charge per week is $70 and that's my holding fee. I don't hold spots but I offer my lowest rate. I would consider a 2 week deposit. I think it's enough $$ to keep the parents from cancelling. You could apply it to the first 2 weeks or the last 2 week when they terminate.
I called my local child care referrel service to see how many providers were in my area and I google average daycare in my state. Check with your DHS office and see how much the state pays - that will help guage your rate.
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Blackcat31 03:40 PM 12-29-2015
Originally Posted by BBurris1:
I have interest from a parent to place their infant with me in March. I haven't had to hold a spot yet, as I'm a new provider. I don't have any deposit in place either. I plan to add a 2 week deposit to my contract that will apply to the last 2 weeks of care.
I really need to fill spots, so my husband is telling me I should only take the deposit of $340, but the infant wouldn't start until sometime in March. I feel that's a long time to hold a spot with only the deposit.
I'd considered writing a contract to hold spots that would be free for 2 weeks from the interview (make a decision, turn in paperwork, etc.), half price for 4 weeks, then full tuition. I have no idea what the average is in my area and don't know who to contact to find out.
I don't want to scare this family away since I need them more than they probably need me at the moment, but I also need to protect my family and business from losses by holding spots for free. What is your recommendation? Should I just take the deposit this time and work on a contract for holding spots for next time? Or should I rush to complete it before my interview with this family?
Thanks for the help and advice!
I am also in MN. What county/area are you in?
You are welcome to private message me if you don't want to post openly.

From my understanding, infant care is SUPER hard to find.

I do NOT hold spaces. I require payment in full as soon as the space is open and available. My rates are based on enrollment NOT on attendance or time used.
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BBurris 04:18 PM 12-29-2015
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I am also in MN. What county/area are you in?
You are welcome to private message me if you don't want to post openly.

From my understanding, infant care is SUPER hard to find.

I do NOT hold spaces. I require payment in full as soon as the space is open and available. My rates are based on enrollment NOT on attendance or time used.
I am in Anoka County. I've had a couple of calls looking for infant spots in September already, so I assume they're hard to come by!
I am hoping to eventually do like you: no holding without full payment. But right now I only have 1 dcg and my own son. I need more kids! I just don't want to lose out on income long term by asking too much and scaring people away. I've only been doing care for a month and have no real previous experience, so I feel like it might be better to build more of a client base first. But I've never done this before, so I could be wrong!
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Snowmom 06:03 PM 12-29-2015
I'm also in MN, although south from you.

I get infant calls weekly here and do not hold infant or toddler spots at all.

I will hold a preschool spot for up to one month with a 2 week deposit. The deposit is non-refundable if they change their mind during the enrollment period, otherwise it is applied to the last two weeks of care if a written two-week notice is provided and no outstanding balance is due.

Anything longer than one month is at full rate to hold the spot. My rates are all FT and tiered by pick up times. They are welcome to choose the lowest rate.

I know since your just starting out, you want to quickly fill your openings. But, imho, it doesn't make sense to short change yourself financially for that coveted infant spot.
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BBurris1 06:20 PM 12-29-2015
Originally Posted by Snowmom:
I know since your just starting out, you want to quickly fill your openings. But, imho, it doesn't make sense to short change yourself financially for that coveted infant spot.
I have only had one other person looking for an infant opening sooner than March. When I offered to set up an interview, they said they needed to talk to their husband and get back to me but never did. So I don't know that I'd be missing out on any income by not taking a holding fee.

I thought at the interview I could tell them that I will waive the holding fee unless I have another person interested in filling the position sooner. If this is the case, they can choose to begin paying the full tuition rate to continue holding the spot or forfeit it. But I'm afraid they'll feel the spot isn't secure and choose to move on if I say that. Like I said, I'm sure I need them more than they need me right now.
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Charl 07:30 PM 12-29-2015
Originally Posted by childcaremom:
Putting this out there just as an option... it is not the popular way to do things on this board however it is what works in my area.

I require a non-refundable holding fee (the wording is holding fee - not deposit) equalling 2 weeks tuition. I apply this to their first two weeks of care. If they change their mind for whatever reasons, it is non-refundable. I will no longer hold a spot for longer than 3 months (due to people backing out, situations changing and child no longer being a good fit, etc).

I don't require a deposit so have no advice there.

I'm sure others will chime in with some other options.
This is how I do it, too, but I only require a one week deposit. I only opened this summer, and was worried it would run off clients, but in fact it only ran off the clients I wouldn't have wanted anyway! I filled up quickly, and have to turn people away at least twice a month.
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midaycare 08:31 PM 12-29-2015
I'm not sure of your exact ratios, but you can have what, 10 kids in MN? It's a lot compared to here in MI at 6. So if you only have 1 and 1 child yourself, I wouldn't stress about signing them up now.

If you had not just opened, my answer would be different. Since you need kids, I would sign the family and then you can tell interviewees you now have 1 child and one more starting.
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MunchkinWrangler 08:36 PM 12-29-2015
I'm in MN too. I've offered a $100 per week holding fee, I'm new and was desperate also. Infant spots are competitive and honestly the interviews with a later start date didn't contact me back but I was able to fill my infant spot with a January start just a few weeks ago. I get a lot of infant inquiries but some of them are summer and beyond and in no way would I hold an open spot without money that long. I made it clear that I would need payment or the spot would be up for grabs. If they like you they will make a financial commitment if not then to me that's not a good fit. I'm sure someone will come along with a sooner start date, just keep advertising like crazy.
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MunchkinWrangler 08:47 PM 12-29-2015
Originally Posted by midaycare:
I'm not sure of your exact ratios, but you can have what, 10 kids in MN? It's a lot compared to here in MI at 6. So if you only have 1 and 1 child yourself, I wouldn't stress about signing them up now.

If you had not just opened, my answer would be different. Since you need kids, I would sign the family and then you can tell interviewees you now have 1 child and one more starting.
Yes, we can have 10, but the ratios are no more than 6 under school age, no more than 3 under 2 and of those 3 no more than 2 can be under 1. You're own children are included in the ratios as well.
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midaycare 05:15 AM 12-30-2015
Originally Posted by MunchkinWrangler:
Yes, we can have 10, but the ratios are no more than 6 under school age, no more than 3 under 2 and of those 3 no more than 2 can be under 1. You're own children are included in the ratios as well.
Similar to ours. But she still needs kids. The hardest part when opening is getting the first few. Once parents know others have signed on, they become more willing.

She may get 25 calls for infant care before March. Or she may not get even one. Hard to predict. But ss a newbie, I'd take a 2 week deposit and sign them up.
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Blackcat31 06:32 AM 12-30-2015
Originally Posted by MunchkinWrangler:
Yes, we can have 10, but the ratios are no more than 6 under school age, no more than 3 under 2 and of those 3 no more than 2 can be under 1. You're own children are included in the ratios as well.
This is true only if you are licensed as an Class A. There are 8 different licensing categories.

IME, most FFC in MN are licensed as either a C1, C2 or C3.

I am C3. I can have 14 kids total. 10 under school age/4 SA and of those 10 under school age, no more than 4 shall be infants/toddlers of which only 3 can be infants.

Originally Posted by midaycare:
Similar to ours. But she still needs kids. The hardest part when opening is getting the first few. Once parents know others have signed on, they become more willing.

She may get 25 calls for infant care before March. Or she may not get even one. Hard to predict. But ss a newbie, I'd take a 2 week deposit and sign them up.
I agree with this. ALOT can happen between now and March. I'd take the family but only if they pay a deposit and make sure it's non-refundable so if they decide to go elsewhere the OP wouldnt really be out anything for holding the space.

I would also make sure I had some sort of clause that addresses "what if...." in case all of a sudden 10 other families wanting full time care right now call.... We all know that as soon as we have something figured out or planned out....it changes.... so I'd give them the option of paying a deposit but make sure I have all MY options covered. Just in case.
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BBurris1 07:57 AM 12-30-2015
Okay, I just typed this up. How does it sound?

I, ___________(my name)________, agree to hold one ________(infant)_____ spot until __(March 1, 2016)____ with a fee of $___(340)___. This will only be refundable if the provider chooses to no longer hold the space. It does not count toward future tuition.

If another person is wanting to fill this position before the agreed upon start date, I may be asked to begin paying full tuition of $__(170)__ per week to continue holding the spot. This is not refundable and will not count toward future tuition. If I choose not to pay the tuition, I understand that I am forfeiting the position and the deposit paid.
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childcaremom 08:11 AM 12-30-2015
This is mine:
Holding Fee

This is to confirm that I wish to enroll my child (child's name)_______ in childcare starting on (start date)______.

I understand that a non-refundable holding fee of $xxx.00 is required to hold this spot for my child, commencing on (start date above)____________________________. This amount will be applied towards your child’s first two weeks of tuition.

Please note: This holding fee is non-refundable. The fee is to hold your child’s spot. If you decide not to enroll your child, the deposit will not be refunded.

Please fill in below and return to guarantee your spot being held. Thank you!

I have read the above information and know that if I decide not to enroll my child starting on (start date above) _______ that I will forfeit the entirety of the deposit ($xxx.00).

I have both parent's sign and date and return.

I do not have anything about me not offering the spot.... interested to know how other's word that.

Some reasons that I could think of:
Hope that helps!
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MunchkinWrangler 08:22 AM 12-30-2015
Originally Posted by midaycare:
Similar to ours. But she still needs kids. The hardest part when opening is getting the first few. Once parents know others have signed on, they become more willing.

She may get 25 calls for infant care before March. Or she may not get even one. Hard to predict. But ss a newbie, I'd take a 2 week deposit and sign them up.
I wouldn't say don't take the family! That would be asinine but I would definitely advertise and keep interviewing. I was almost full before I was fully licensed. Well, guess what, I lost 3 families because they 'changed their minds.' Licensing even said that I should have charged because I'm a business not just doing a favor for people and since they weren't invested in me already, they could just walk away. It took me 2 months busting my butt to fill my spots and won't make any real money until next year. I learned my lesson the hard way. Also, in my area they have after school programs so school agers are hard to enroll. I started with an infant legally unlicensed, I had signed an older infant to start fall, I had a 2 year old with a fall start, and and infant in January that wasnt born yet at the time, also another 2 year old in the winter. I lost both preschoolers and the infant, I still have the now born infant and the first family I started with, just enrolled a preschooler and a 9 month old. One I've been doing part time until going full time in January. To say the least, I almost just quit to find a "real" job. I needed money and have been relying on family for help, which I'm grateful for but not an ideal situation. I'm a single mother so this was a dire situation, no help from dad, my 14 year relationship fell apart earlier this year. I've been in a struggle to survive and at times wondered if I was crazy to put so much work into an industry that takes a lot of unpaid time to get started. So, I guess, if you have a fallback and a husband, good for you, seriously, more security. But I learned to keep your options open because you're the one screwed when everything falls apart.
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laundrymom 10:06 AM 12-30-2015
I would require a two week non refundable holding fee. Not a typical deposit, plus a (say $ 30-50)weekly maintenance fee to keep spot. At time of enrollment I would require a two week deposit to be used towards the last two weeks care, after required notice, not dependent on attendance.
I would be sure to send a nice gift when baby is born as well. To cement the relationship and bond.
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BBurris1 01:49 PM 12-30-2015
Originally Posted by laundrymom:
I would require a two week non refundable holding fee. Not a typical deposit, plus a (say $ 30-50)weekly maintenance fee to keep spot. At time of enrollment I would require a two week deposit to be used towards the last two weeks care, after required notice, not dependent on attendance.
I would be sure to send a nice gift when baby is born as well. To cement the relationship and bond.
This sounds like a perfect plan. I used what Childcaremom shared and have come up with this:

This is to confirm that I wish to enroll my child, ________________________________ in childcare starting on _______________________.

I understand that a non-refundable holding fee of $__________ is required to hold this spot for my child, commencing on _________________. This amount will not be applied to your child’s future tuition.

Please note: This holding fee is non-refundable. The fee is to hold your child’s spot. If you decide not to enroll your child, the fee will not be refunded.
I also require a maintenance fee of $25 per week to be paid by 5:00pm Friday for the upcoming week in order to keep holding the spot. Failure to make these payments on time will result in forfeiting the position, holding fee, and weekly maintenance fees paid.
Please fill in below and return to guarantee your spot being held. Thank you!

I have read the above information and know that if I decide not to enroll my child on __________________, I will forfeit the entirety of the holding fee ($________) and all weekly maintenance fees paid.


I would also take a deposit of 2 weeks pay when they are enrolled and beginning care. Is that too much to reasonably expect? $340 non-refundable fee, $25/ week while the position is held, $340 deposit (that will be used for the last 2 weeks of care) when contract is signed, and the $170 for the first week.
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Preschool/daycare teacher 06:00 PM 12-30-2015
I don't know how much need there is for childcare in your area, but around here there's no way a family would pay that much out to hold a spot There's so many family daycare homes, daycare centers, and stay at home moms who are "just babysitting" as they call it, that any family will just move right along to the next person if too much money is involved to hold the spot. I definitely think you should charge something to hold the spot, however. If it were me I would do as a couple others have said that they do: charge a two week deposit to be used as the holding fee, and apply it toward their first two weeks of care (or last two weeks). And if they change their mind before the infant starts, they lose the deposit. If I understood right, you are allowed enough kids that you will most likely not be full by March, even if the need for childcare is fairly high there. I moved here and started childcare in June, I'm allowed five at one time, and here it is almost January and I'm still not full, plus I lost one along the way (which was actually a blessing in disguise ) I only have part timers and drop ins right now, with two more part timers starting next week. Actually, if I had been willing to do infants (as in 6 weeks old) and work 12-14 hour days, I probably would have been full by now, so I can't really say that... But anyway, my point is that it's pretty unlikely you'd be too full by March to be able to take on the one you'd be holding the spot for. How long have you been advertising and ready to begin?
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BBurris1 06:45 PM 12-30-2015
Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher:
But anyway, my point is that it's pretty unlikely you'd be too full by March to be able to take on the one you'd be holding the spot for. How long have you been advertising and ready to begin?
I am allowed 3 kids under 2. My son is included in that and I have another infant starting the first week of April (I didn't do any holding fee for her due to connections.) So I only have 1 more opening for any child under 2. There is a big demand for infants in my area.
But I don't want to scare them away. Perhaps the deposit+$25/week, but not the non-refundable fee? The purpose of the weekly amount is more to ensure they're still interested throughout the hold time than it is to make money. Or is that unnecessary? 2-3 months is a long time!
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MunchkinWrangler 09:29 PM 12-30-2015
Negotiate with them. Tell them that you would think it reasonable for the rate and see what they think. If they really like you,they'll choose you. The most important thing is that you keep up communication with them and check in with them about their baby so they know you're interested in caring for their child. They'll like that and respect you as well because your showing interest in the care of their child not just the money. In my experience, it's good to get a solid commitment from them either way so you know how to go forward.
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Preschool/daycare teacher 09:25 AM 12-31-2015
Ah okay, if infant care is much needed in your area, you may have better luck keeping them interested until March. How good of a fit does this family seem? If they seem to be a perfect fit I'd try a little harder to not scare them away (I mean in being careful how much I ask from them for holding the spot). A deposit for their first two weeks and your $25/week holding fee seems fair since infant care is a big need around there and they would be taking your last infant spot.
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