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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Holding Fee And Parent Wants To Drop In Last Minute
Unregistered 11:06 PM 01-01-2018
Hello,
I am a new provider. I charged a holding fee to a family to hold three weeks of child care at about 75% pay during the holiday season. I agreed to let mom bring her two infants on two pre arranged days during the holding period so she wasn't paying for nothing and also a good opportunity to get to know the children before they started. She messaged me at the last minute asking to bring the infants the next day. I told her I was unavailable as I had made plans. She became upset stating she doesn't think its fair she's paying me and I'm not available.

I explained I understand her frustration but a holding fee is to hold a spot, and doesn't block me from being able to make plans. I reminded her I gave her a discount on the price, and allowed her to bring the infants on two days. I explained that a holding fee simply guarantees she has a spot for her children on her desired start date, that it's very late notice and inconvenient for me to have to change my plans last minute.

In the end I offered to change my schedule so I could accommodate her, but made it very clear in case she needed to pay a holding fee in the future that it doesn't obligate me to provide care during the holding period. She stated she understood and that it wasn't fair for her to expect me to change my schedule at the last minute, and that she would just wait until the planned on start date.

I think in the future I will make sure I explain explain explain to families that since I am not charging full price to hold the spot, I am not on call. I would be happy to negotiate SPECIFIC dates they can bring the children during the holding period, otherwise it's not a holding period anymore, it's just regular enrollment. If they want me on call during the holding period I will need to charge full price.

I'm posting this because I had seen other providers do what I did. They charge a discounted rate for holding, and allow the parents to choose a few days they can bring the children. That's exactly what I did, but I'm second guessing myself.

How do you all handle a holding fee situation when a parent just wants to drop in last minute?
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Unregistered 11:08 PM 01-01-2018
She asked to drop in on the last week of the holding period. She messaged me on New years day asking to come in the following day.
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HappyEverAfter 11:28 PM 01-01-2018
I have a holding agreement that they have to sign. It states how long I will hold the spot, that NO care will be given during this time and that they will pay 50% of the normal rate in order to hold said spot. It also states that no refunds will be given if they opt to not fill the spot on the agreed upon date.
Iíve never had an issue with this though Iím still fairly new. The one person Ive held a spot for didnít give me any issues whatsoever and I held that spot for 3 months before they began care.
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daycarediva 04:36 AM 01-02-2018
Originally Posted by HappyEverAfter:
I have a holding agreement that they have to sign. It states how long I will hold the spot, that NO care will be given during this time and that they will pay 50% of the normal rate in order to hold said spot. It also states that no refunds will be given if they opt to not fill the spot on the agreed upon date.
Iíve never had an issue with this though Iím still fairly new. The one person Ive held a spot for didnít give me any issues whatsoever and I held that spot for 3 months before they began care.
They sign a contract that specifies my obligations with holding the space. Op, do you have something similar? If not, type something up for next time.

There is a HUGE learning curve in this business, and 10 years later I am still learning something new all the time.
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Poptarts22 06:12 AM 01-02-2018
Also, because New Yearís Day is a scheduled holiday for me, I donít respond to texts or take calls on that day-just like any other business that is closed
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Blackcat31 07:24 AM 01-02-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Hello,
I am a new provider. I charged a holding fee to a family to hold three weeks of child care at about 75% pay during the holiday season. I agreed to let mom bring her two infants on two pre arranged days during the holding period so she wasn't paying for nothing and also a good opportunity to get to know the children before they started. She messaged me at the last minute asking to bring the infants the next day. I told her I was unavailable as I had made plans. She became upset stating she doesn't think its fair she's paying me and I'm not available.

I explained I understand her frustration but a holding fee is to hold a spot, and doesn't block me from being able to make plans. I reminded her I gave her a discount on the price, and allowed her to bring the infants on two days. I explained that a holding fee simply guarantees she has a spot for her children on her desired start date, that it's very late notice and inconvenient for me to have to change my plans last minute.

In the end I offered to change my schedule so I could accommodate her, but made it very clear in case she needed to pay a holding fee in the future that it doesn't obligate me to provide care during the holding period. She stated she understood and that it wasn't fair for her to expect me to change my schedule at the last minute, and that she would just wait until the planned on start date.

I think in the future I will make sure I explain explain explain to families that since I am not charging full price to hold the spot, I am not on call. I would be happy to negotiate SPECIFIC dates they can bring the children during the holding period, otherwise it's not a holding period anymore, it's just regular enrollment. If they want me on call during the holding period I will need to charge full price.

I'm posting this because I had seen other providers do what I did. They charge a discounted rate for holding, and allow the parents to choose a few days they can bring the children. That's exactly what I did, but I'm second guessing myself.

How do you all handle a holding fee situation when a parent just wants to drop in last minute?
I've been in this business for a while now and I can't say I've ever heard of a provider that charges a holding fee to hold the space AND allows the parent to choose a few days to bring the child.

To me a holding fee is just that. A fee to hold the space.
Its not a "get used to the daycare" or "try it a couple days" fee.

I hold the space and that's it.

If they want services (one day, a partial day or the whole week) they become regular clients and pay their regular weekly fee no matter how little or how much the child attends.

I think the offer to allow her to use a day or two is what confused this parent.
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Snowmom 08:06 AM 01-02-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:

In the end I offered to change my schedule so I could accommodate her, but made it very clear in case she needed to pay a holding fee in the future that it doesn't obligate me to provide care during the holding period. She stated she understood and that it wasn't fair for her to expect me to change my schedule at the last minute, and that she would just wait until the planned on start date.
Bolded^
I think that just told her that you will bend to her when she makes a fuss.

You have policies for a reason, stick to them. Especially in the honeymoon period with a family. It sets the precedence right off the bat with expectations on both ends.

I have seen providers offer a what they call a "hold" for summer with a 1-2 days a week attendance. To me, that's just part time attendance that will transfer to FT attendance on a specific date. I have also seen a "meet and greet" day before enrollment- one day though, not regularly. I haven't seen a "hold" that allows regular attendance before the "start date" though. To me, any regular attendance IS the start date.

I would do as suggested above and write out the specifics of the holding fee and what will be promised from both parties.
Then, don't deter from those conditions unless you want to write up a new agreement.
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Unregistered 11:39 AM 01-02-2018
Thank you for all the pointers. I definitely will be spelling things out more clearly in my contract in the future. I read that some providers have a separate holding the contract. I like the idea of not responding to Communications on holidays. That seems reasonable. And you are so right, I have to really stick to what I say. It's just that she had me second-guessing whether what I was doing was fair. I think it's more than fair because she's getting a guaranteed spot held at a discounted rate. She has two infants and that is very hard for a parent to find a daycare that has space for two infants at the same time.

Thanks and happy new year
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Tags:contract - clear, enforcing policies - consistency, handbook - sample, handbook- policy, holding fee, holding fees
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