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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Can We Talk Contracts/Policies for Just a Minute?
Josiegirl 03:44 AM 03-16-2016
Does everyone update both the contract and handbook each year for clients, whether they've been coming 10 years or they're brand new? If you change your policies or rates, does anyone ever get grandfathered in?

I just eliminated my sibling discount so I need to have both dcfs that it affects, sign new contracts, correct?
As you can see, I'm terrible with paperwork and keeping things updated. I tend to stick it in their folder and forget about it. Some of those contracts have been in their folder, never changed, for several years.

Also, I have 1 dcf with 2 sibs. They come 4 days a week as opposed to 5. Dcm considers her to be fulltime so she pays a little more than what I would charge for pt but because I'm eliminating sibling discounts, I'd have to increase her rates another $10 a week. That doesn't seem fair to me that she'd be paying the same for a 4 day week as the others do for their 5 days. How would you handle that?
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childcaremom 05:47 AM 03-16-2016
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
Does everyone update both the contract and handbook each year for clients, whether they've been coming 10 years or they're brand new? If you change your policies or rates, does anyone ever get grandfathered in?

I don't like to change my rates for existing families unless there is a drastic change in my costs, like groceries. Or if they were moving from full to part time or vice versa. New families come in at my new rate. If I was changing the rates, then contracts would get changed.

I just eliminated my sibling discount so I need to have both dcfs that it affects, sign new contracts, correct?
As you can see, I'm terrible with paperwork and keeping things updated. I tend to stick it in their folder and forget about it. Some of those contracts have been in their folder, never changed, for several years.

In this case, I would.

Also, I have 1 dcf with 2 sibs. They come 4 days a week as opposed to 5. Dcm considers her to be fulltime so she pays a little more than what I would charge for pt but because I'm eliminating sibling discounts, I'd have to increase her rates another $10 a week. That doesn't seem fair to me that she'd be paying the same for a 4 day week as the others do for their 5 days. How would you handle that?

I have 2 new families that just signed who work 4 day weeks. I am charging the full weekly rate. For many reasons but mostly because I would never be able to fill in that one day per week. They can use that day or not. I suggested that even if they only want to use the morning for errands or whatever. I remember reading that some providers do not provide the option of using the extra day so you could just not even give them the option of attending, as well. This is their rate, period. I don't discuss daily rates anymore, only weekly.
I replied in bold.

I don't do yearly updates, as my contracts are open-ended. I do fill in the start date but no end date, unless it is a specific arrangement that I have with the family. Example, we are moving to part time for 2 months due to job change or switching hours for a month while dad is away. That sort of thing. Then I would have it clearly marked that there is an end. Otherwise, it is open.
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Snowmom 07:02 AM 03-16-2016
If there's anything I need to change, I update both my contract and handbook as I go through the year.
I save the original as the date on my computer. Ex: Handbook 2016. Then at the end of the year I handout new contracts and new handbooks to all my families and start over.

I don't grandfather in any rates or policies. That's not to say that I don't do favors or make exceptions for my favorite families, I just cover my butt by making sure I'm consistent with the nitty gritty across the board.

If it was mid-year and I wanted to make a significant change, I'd just write up an addendum to my contract and have people sign off on the change (not writing up a whole new contract though). Although in your situation, it sounds like your changing a lot, so I'd probably do a summary of changes attached to the contract.

I used to break down FT, PT, Daily and Drop-in rates. Now I just charge a weekly rate based on pick up time. I don't care how many hours are used a day/week. The rate is the rate. It what I need to turn the lights on, so it's what I require.
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LysesKids 07:04 AM 03-16-2016
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
Does everyone update both the contract and handbook each year for clients, whether they've been coming 10 years or they're brand new? If you change your policies or rates, does anyone ever get grandfathered in?

I just eliminated my sibling discount so I need to have both dcfs that it affects, sign new contracts, correct?
As you can see, I'm terrible with paperwork and keeping things updated. I tend to stick it in their folder and forget about it. Some of those contracts have been in their folder, never changed, for several years.

Also, I have 1 dcf with 2 sibs. They come 4 days a week as opposed to 5. Dcm considers her to be fulltime so she pays a little more than what I would charge for pt but because I'm eliminating sibling discounts, I'd have to increase her rates another $10 a week. That doesn't seem fair to me that she'd be paying the same for a 4 day week as the others do for their 5 days. How would you handle that?
I have a start and end date on my FT contracts because I age children out before their 2nd birthday; my Drop-in contracts specifically state that "Pay by the Day" is not regularly scheduled care and is not guaranteed to be available at anytime.

I charge monthly, in advance, without refunds (I will credit to the next month if I close due to my illness). Pay by the day is offered for PT & Drop-in. TN considers infant PT to be 19 hrs or less weekly, 20 hrs or more is FT, so it makes no sense to offer a 3 or 4 day PT here though many license exempt providers do (I go by how a licensed provider would be paid by the state & how they work hrs).

Because my babies are here 18 months at most, the rate stays same for the contract, unless they quit, then they would fall under new rates ( if I have changed them) if they needed care again before their child is 18 months old

Policies change across the board when they are updated... no grandfathering here
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thrivingchildcarecom 11:36 AM 03-16-2016
As far as updating annually, I don't think its a bad idea. I guess the reason I haven't done it in the past is I think it might make them consider moving on to preschool.

What I usually do is if I change a policy I issue a Policy Change Memo and ask that parents sign and return it. I put an in effect date on the policy so whether or not it is signed and returned it will be in effect. Since I post my handbook on my website I make the change to the handbook and just upload the revised edition.

Even though I try to keep things consistent (simple) as possible, sometimes you will probably have to make a judgement call and either make an exception to your rates, rules, etc. With regard to the current parent sit down and run the numbers. Maybe you could hold off on the increase for that family for say 6 months, that way they might feel they are getting a break, but you will eventually get the right tuition amount. See if you can have a meeting of the minds.

Hope that helps.
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Josiegirl 02:55 PM 03-16-2016
Thanks everybody!
As far as rate changes, I've told just the 2 dcfs who come only during vacations, all their kids are in school FT. For those 2 families, the increase will kick in 4/1. The 4 day a week dcf will be off this summer so maybe I'll either leave them as is because they do use a lot less hours than most or I'll set their increase for after the summer. I have another dcf whose oldest dd will be returning in April because I've been saving her spot; mom was out on maternity leave. Baby sis will be starting at the beginning of the summer. I'm not sure when to eliminate the sib discount with them. I've given them a huge break by only charging 50 bucks since Christmas to keep dcg's spot open.

Sorry so long, just thinking out loud.
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rosieteddy 08:56 AM 03-23-2016
I would eliminate the sibling discount effective now.I would let new baby mom know in April what weekly tuition will be when infant starts. You could include the money she saved since birth as you held both spots for their family.I offered a small break like 10.00 dollars per week off for sibling.That is 520.00 savings for a year to parents. Even 5.00 would be a savings if you felt you needed to offer it.
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midaycare 10:05 AM 03-23-2016
I have a pretty extensive contract. It covers most things. I havent felt the need to update it in 2 years.

I do grandfather in rates. I have some paying really low rates, because they were my first clients, some paying middle rates, and some paying high rates.

I am going to change a few things with a new family that is signing on, but it's all minor. I won't have the other dcf's sign it.
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MarinaVanessa 05:21 PM 03-23-2016
Personally I consider 4 or 5 days a week full time and charge the same weekly rate. I do let the client know that they are more than welcome to use the extra day if they want to since they pay for it. I charge the same for 4 days because it's pretty much near to impossible for me to find a client that can take that extra day so they're pretty much taking up a full time spot.
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Tags:contract - renewal, policies
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