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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>When a Potential New Client Wants Flexible Pick Up Times
Indoorvoice 07:37 AM 07-16-2015
A parent contacted me this morning needing a pick up time right at my closing time but wondered if I was flexible for traffic issues. I actually do give a 5 minutes or so leeway because the highway near us gets backed up quickly, but I don't know if I want to say this to her right off the bat. Is there a nice way to respond so that she doesn't think she can be late every day, or should I just tell her no late pickups? I don't like being the mean one, especially when I need to fill this spot.
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Thriftylady 07:41 AM 07-16-2015
Originally Posted by Indoorvoice:
A parent contacted me this morning needing a pick up time right at my closing time but wondered if I was flexible for traffic issues. I actually do give a 5 minutes or so leeway because the highway near us gets backed up quickly, but I don't know if I want to say this to her right off the bat. Is there a nice way to respond so that she doesn't think she can be late every day, or should I just tell her no late pickups? I don't like being the mean one, especially when I need to fill this spot.
Maybe tell her you can allow five minutes but tell her there is no grace period beyond that and late fees will apply. Make the late fees high enough to deter.
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Shell 07:42 AM 07-16-2015
In my experience, "flexible" means late almost every night!

It depends how much you need the enrollment- if you're willing to close later, then charge a hefty fee.
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Crazy8 08:06 AM 07-16-2015
I would not even mention the 5 minute leeway at this point. If she is already asking it probably means your closing time is cutting it close for her to begin with.
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Blackcat31 08:20 AM 07-16-2015
Originally Posted by Shell:
In my experience, "flexible" means late almost every night!

It depends how much you need the enrollment- if you're willing to close later, then charge a hefty fee.
Originally Posted by Crazy8:
I would not even mention the 5 minute leeway at this point. If she is already asking it probably means your closing time is cutting it close for her to begin with.
Grace period = okay to be late.


I would reply with something like: "I am sorry but I am not flexible with my closing time as that is my family's time. I suggest to all clients (both potential and current) that think they may not be able to be here by closing time to secure the assistance of a family member, friend or neighbor to be their alternate pick up person."

I am flexible with A LOT of things but NOT with closing time. Ever.

I have a provider friend that was in this same position and rather than give a grace period or allow a little lea-way, she gave each family 3 "late pick up cards" (with the understanding that late meant NO MORE THAN 10 minutes) to use during their enrollment. Whether they were with her for a year or 5 years...once they used their 3 late pick up passes, they were NO longer allowed that option and paid the late fees AND faced potential termination.

It was an option that worked for her and one that sort of forced parents to "use their time wisely".
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rosieteddy 12:09 PM 07-16-2015
I would tell parent no ,closing time is closing .Any late pick-ups charge the fee.I do like the 3 time cards idea.
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MarinaVanessa 01:03 PM 07-16-2015
If she's talking about her contracted hours that don't reach past your closing hours then I'd let her know that the rate she has been quoted reflects the hours in her contracted schedule. Suggest the options of either extending her pick up time to reflect the extra 30 minutes or so "just in case" she runs late or paying the late pickup fee if she is late.

If her running late would run past your daycare hours well then I'd consider telling her no unless you don't mind working a little bit extra past your closing hours.

When this question comes up during an interview because they have to commute and are worried about being stuck in traffic I always recommend that they find a child care provider that either closes later or one that is closer to their job so that it becomes a non issue.
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AmyKidsCo 02:04 PM 07-16-2015
What are you really going to do?

I have several parents contracted until my closing time and 99% of the time parents pick up by closing, but occasionally I'll get a phone call that they're running late or traffic is backed up. Because I'm really not going to charge them for being a couple of minutes late and I want my policies to reflect what I really do, I offer a 15 minute grace period.

My policies say: "A grace period of 15 minutes before the center's 7:00 a.m. opening time or after the center's 5:00 p.m. closing time will apply, at no additional charge. However, overtime rates apply:
- If care is needed before the grace period of 6:45 a.m. or after 5:15 p.m.
- If a child is on the premises during the grace period without prior arrangements.
- If a child is in care for more than 10 hours a day, even if the extra time is within the grace period.

So, figure out what you really plan to do, tell her, and stick to your guns.
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daycare 02:14 PM 07-16-2015
I agree with the others,,,, this is just code for I am going to be late.

i would say this.

DCM, while I love to be as flexible as i possibly can with most things, unfortunately, I can not offer any flexibility with my closing time. I understand that this may not work for all parents. We do suggest that if you think you may not be able to pick up on time, that you have an alternate pick up who can be here by closing time each day.

I appreciate your understanding with this and as much as we would love to have you enroll with us, understand that you may need to consider an alternate program that better suits the hours your family needs.

Thanks so much,
DCP
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Baby Beluga 02:17 PM 07-16-2015
I think it would depend on when her contracted hours are in comparison to your closing time. If she is asking to pick up after closing time my answer would be no. If she is asking to pick up after her contracted hours I would likely be okay with it.

I live on the outskirts of a major metropolitan city - many of my families commute 30+ miles into work. For me, it made sense to make an "extended day policy" because traffic and accidents are a normal part of traveling here. Each family has up to 10 contracted hours of care per day. Starting 1 minute after their 10 hours is considered an extended day and they are charged $5 per every half hour until pick up. So far this has worked well.
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caregiver 09:36 AM 07-17-2015
I live in a metropolitan area and the freeways are a mess from 3pm to 6 pm everyday,sometimes it can take over a hour just to get somewhere that ordinarily would only take 15 minutes in normal traffic. I tell my DCP's to please give me a call if they are stuck in traffic and will be late. I would rather they be safe then try and rush to get here by closing time. But on the other hand they know that I will not put up with them being late too many times and I will charge a late fee if it keeps up.
You can't control what the freeways are going to be like so I give them a little bit of leeway,specially in the winter here with the snow and ice.

I know that my parents appreciate me doing this and it helps with the parent,provider relationship.
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LysesKids 05:31 PM 07-17-2015
Originally Posted by care giver:
I live in a metropolitan area and the freeways are a mess from 3pm to 6 pm everyday,sometimes it can take over a hour just to get somewhere that ordinarily would only take 15 minutes in normal traffic. I tell my DCP's to please give me a call if they are stuck in traffic and will be late. I would rather they be safe then try and rush to get here by closing time. But on the other hand they know that I will not put up with them being late too many times and I will charge a late fee if it keeps up.
You can't control what the freeways are going to be like so I give them a little bit of leeway,specially in the winter here with the snow and ice.

I know that my parents appreciate me doing this and it helps with the parent,provider relationship.
I understand this... Obama came Pellissipi Univ in January (I live in Blount Co by the Airport, The College is in Knoxville)... roads were blocked off for 2 hrs morning & 3 in evening; I told the parents that drop off must be before 8am and pick up between 3-4pm; the parent that was late? (she showed @ 4:20) The one that had to get all the special Limousines for the entire entourage (she worked at one of the the car rental at the airport) ... I couldn't get out of my 240 home neighborhood until 7pm that night because the road leading to the hwy was at a dead stop. She quit no notice the next week
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Sunchimes 08:48 PM 07-17-2015
I just signed a family that was worried about being late since traffic is often a mess. If she left work exactly on time, she would get here exactly on time. I explained late fees, etc. Dad asked if they could contract for an extra 30 min a day. I quoted a higher price for it, and they were both happy to agree. I think I'm going to like this family.
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mommyneedsadayoff 12:24 PM 07-18-2015
When I had my daycare in Texas, I would offer the parents a trial week to see if the current hours will work. For example, if they wanted 8-4, but found that leaving work and traffic made it so they kept getting to my house by 4:15 or 4:30, then at the end of that first week, we would extend the hours and add the extra money to cover it. I know traffic is terrible in major metro areas, but for the most part, you know about how much time you will spend in traffic, depending on when you leave work (wit exception to traffic accidents and stuff). If you leave at work at 4, it will take 45 minutes, but if you leave even 15 minutes later, it may take you an hour. It is best to just give yourself the cushion and pay for the extra time so you don't have to stress about it everyday...traffic is stressful enough without having to worry about pissing off your provider!
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BumbleBee 03:08 PM 07-19-2015
I'll echo what others said and tell her you are not flexible with closing time. Don't even mention to grace period.
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Tags:flexible hours, pick up issues
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