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  #1  
Old 09-06-2010, 04:38 AM
DancingQueen DancingQueen is offline
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Hello. My name is Tara and I am a licensed daycare provider in Connecticut.
I have 4 children of my own (16,14, 8 & 4).
I was licensed a while back and took some time off and was relicensed in January. I've been pretty lucky so far. I have 3 full time and 1 before/after school kid. I did have an additional family of 2 but they left after only 3 weeks because their gramma lost her job and was able to stay home with them for free. Can't blame them and they left on great terms and left me a great letter of rec.

So onto my question. I suddenly have 2 open spots. But I also have 2 moms that are pregnant. One will be looking for care in april and the other in September (2011). The parent that is looking for care in April has a 1 year old in care with me now. I've had her child for about a month. The other has been with me since before my license even was finalized. THE. BEST. FAMILY. EVER! No mtter what happens - I do NOT want to lose this mom. (I'm sure you've all had good and bad experiences with parents and know how much a parent like this is worth).

My goal is to fill ONE of my open spots and leave the other empty. I don't need it and my house isn't that big I'd like to stay at that number if possible.

I realize I still haven't gotten to my questions. I'm wondering about holding spots.
Do you hold spots for pregnant moms?
If so, how long do you hold them?
Do you charge for the spots?
More than just deposit?
Do you hold a spot the same if a parent does not already have a child in your care or do you handle that differently?

I have been polling a bunch of daycare providers on this one and get answers all over the place. I want to be fair to these parents - they've asked to be on my waiting list and now I'm suddenly having 2 spots available - but to go that long with zero income seems insane.

If this helps in answer the question my rates are low for my area.

full time over age of 2: average in my area - $175 / me: 140
full time under age of 2: average in my area - 185 - 225 / me: 165
before/after school: average in my area - 75/ me: 50

I really appreciate all of your feedback. I have to talk to parents tomorrow morning about this and I really am still so undecided as to how I'd like to handle it.
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2010, 05:27 AM
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AfterSchoolMom AfterSchoolMom is offline
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I've never been in that situation, so I'm looking forward to the replies. I would think, though, that you could at least charge a deposit to hold the spot, and make it enough to know that they're serious about it.

I do have a question for you, though - why are you so severely discounting your rates below your area average? Please don't take that question the wrong way, as I don't mean it in a confrontational way. I just see this alot and wonder why providers decide to do it. Personally, I tend to go the other way - I charge the high end for my area. I figure that the people that look for deep discounts are the people that are more likely to cause trouble. That's just my experience, though - I don't mean to say anything about anyone else's families!
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:38 AM
DancingQueen DancingQueen is offline
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I won't take the question the wrong way

I actually decided to charge the same rate as my previous provider (also in my town). She did an amazing job, I trusted her and I was so grateful fo her low rates. Financially it was really really hard to work and pay for daycare and as a parent (not a provider) it is like a trap. You have to work to survive - but putting your child in daycare takes so much of your income that sometimes it isn't even worth it to work. And when she offered me those low rates I jumped on it.
And every single week I made sure she knew how much I appreciated it. Examples: I always brought her her favorite coffee on Monday mornings, I gave her gift cards on holidays, I paid her for her unpaid vacation because I thought she deserved it and I always respected every single policy she had.

All of that being said - when I decided to daycare I wanted to try to be able to do the same for parents that wanted to work but couldn't afford it. i wanted to try to keep my rates low as long as it was managable for my family. All of my full time parents are amazing so far - I have been incredibly lucky. They know they are getting a deal and they treat me amazingly well. I do have a before/after school kid that I'm concerned about - but it is too soon to tell.

Another reason is that my house is small and I don't have a lot to offer. I am very new and I have been incredibly honest with my parents in saying "I'd like to keep the low rates - but I will review them annually and they may increase if it isn't possible for me to keep them this low and still pay the bills." they all are understanding of this and one parent (the one that has been with me since the begining) has actually told me she thinks I should raise my rates (even for her). LOL
So that is the short story long. I'm not trying to undercut anyone and I do give great quality care - I just want to try to help out some of these parents that really WANT to work and WANT great care for their kids.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:43 AM
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DCMomOf3 DCMomOf3 is offline
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I have two PG parents and I'm all for holding spots for existing families if you want them to stay with you. I thought I'd only have one spot for the two babies and I asked here last week. They told me, very smartly, to confirm the spot with the family you want to keep for sure. If you don't offer a spot to the other family they may decide to find someone who will take both of their children. Something to think about.

I realized I have a son who will be old enough to come off of my count before I get the babies so I have been able to confirm spots for both expectant babies, and i'm more than happy to keep those open. I make enough to get by right now, so dont' financially need to fill them right away. I have not charged to hold the spots, I haven't decided if I will. I think my families are situtated here quite nicely and I don't think either one would back out so I don't feel that they will leave me in a lurch.

I wont' hold a spot for new families without a contract.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:29 PM
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I would ask for a deposit to hold the spots. If you wanted you could allow them to use the depost towards their daycare bill once their child starts.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:22 PM
DancingQueen DancingQueen is offline
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When you say a deposit - what sort of deposit would be worth holding a spot for 7 months?
I thought of doing a deposit and then realized that I'm still going to be unpaid for that spot for a long long time.
It is almost $4000.00 worth of pay that I'd not be getting.

thats the part that I (and more so my husband) am struggling with.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:46 PM
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Abigail Abigail is offline
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Can you require a deposit with something in writing about holding the spot until such-and-such month?

Can you create a short-term care contract for one child from a new family until that time comes? You're rates are very reasonable for your area, so you shouldn't have a problem taking another child temporarily until the baby arrives.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbschildcare View Post
i wanted to try to keep my rates low as long as it was managable for my family.
This has always been my philosophy, too, so kudos to you - (though my rates are not too much lower than other home providers in my area). I just want to make a living, not a killing, lol.

As far as holding spots for pregnant moms, I've always had the policy that, while I won't necessarily "hold" a spot for someone who is already here, I will always "make room" for a new baby, knowing that it normally works out just fine. That being said, I've never felt the need to always be at capacity, either, so I'm normally at or below my licensed capacity even when I "make room" for a new little one. I've only ever had one time that I could not make room (I had three moms all pregnant at the same time, due at the same time), and the one mom who I couldn't take her new baby ended up coming back to me six months later when one of my families moved away, so it ended up working out, after all.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:05 AM
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Lilbutterflie Lilbutterflie is offline
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If I were in your shoes, I would fill at least one of your open spots with a new family. Tell the pregnant moms that the new babies are on your waiting list, and you will do your best to make room for them when the time comes. Things might just work out that one or more of your families will no longer be with you in April or next September. Worry now about the short term, not the long term.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:18 AM
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MarinaVanessa MarinaVanessa is offline
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If it were me in this situation, not having a child to fill these spots and losing out on income would deffinetely be a downside. I wouldn't "hold" a spot for anyone including current families, it's just not financially smart for me. I would explain this to the families that were interested in the spots and just tell them that unless a "holding fee" was paid for that spot then that spot would continue to be considered to be open and I would advertise for it.

Now for me, I charge $100 a month holding fee, which seems to be the norm in my area (CA) but rates in my area are lower than yours. $160 a week in my area seems to be the going rate (I charge $155/week). I charge the holding fee and that's what it is, a holding fee. The fee covers only that I reserve the spot for a child ans is not used toward their tuition when they actually start. I also type up a short contract that says this and the approximate date start with it ending with a section that says once this date arrives the parent will sign a formal contract or extend the holding contract. During this time (also in the contract) I can accept temporary children to fill the spot or drop-ins etc. but once this families start date the spot has to be open and available for that child. Charging a holding fee helps out some but you would still be losing out on a large amount of income so being able to temporaily fill the spot supliments it some.

If it puts you in a finacial hardship, don't hold the spot for free. If you can afford it and want to hold the spot for a family or both families then do it. It all depends on you.
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