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  #1  
Old 01-09-2013, 08:47 PM
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Default Times Are Changing - Long Story Sorry

I've been doing this job for 10 years. I've bent over backwards, sideways, and basically contorted my body like an acrobat for so many many families.
In the last year we finished our basement and I finally got the daycare space I had always dreamed about. Most of the children enrolled are a great fit (one doesn't work out well but it's a sibling and is only here a few hours a day). Our days run pretty smooth and for the most part I enjoy my job.

I've never had much of a backbone and I my goofy ADD type nature has made it hard for me to be seen as professional by some. It's something I work on.
I read posts on here and they help me to say no, to enforce my policies and value the service I provide.
The main things I've learned this last year are that the more you value your services the more other people will, to stick to my policies and to make this job what I want it to be and what my family needs it to be instead of trying to work around other people.

I had one client who was second shift. I started watching her child about 2 years ago and it was supposed to be a short term solution for her because I don't actually provide second shift care. Short term drug out to 2 years. I finally told her I couldn't do it any more and gave her the 2 week notice. Then crazy enough her job switched her to 1st shift that started the week she would be termed but it would only be 3 weekdays, the times would change every week and there would be times she wouldn't get off until 6 or later. I firmly stated that I close at 5 pm, I don't do varied schedules and that there was no wiggle room. I felt a little bad but it was so much better than the anxiety I would have had in the past about not helping someone, especially a single mother.

I recently raised my rates and switched them so that individual rates depend on the pick up times of 3:30-5:30 (drop off no earlier than 7:30 am, no later than 9 am). If they pick up at 3:30 their rate is $125. If they pick up at 5:00 it's $150. Another member shared that was how they billed and I thought it would work great for me since most of my clients already left at 3:30 and I would love to make a little less but get off earlier. I also added more paid holidays (from 6 to 10) and am adding 5 paid personal/sick days. My clients do not get any free days except for 1 or 2 weeks a year when I'm on vacation. In addition I changed how I did my interviews and made parents aware that I would be making the final decision on who to accept into my program when I finished interviewing all of the interested parties.

I made all of these changes because of posts I read on this site and it is awesome. I had an interview the other day for 2 children. I only have one slot open but one of the siblings was an newborn and I don't accept children under 8 months. The family was great but I told them I wouldn't be able to accept the baby until August and only if I had room. I also informed them that I don't give a sibling discount. I know my rates are in the high range in my area for 5:30 pick ups (most charge a maximum.of $125 for full time). This meant the family would be paying quite a bit more than average for our area and they would have to figure out placement for the baby for a few months so I never figured they would call. They called! They chose me! I then informed them that I would be finishing my interviews by Friday and I would let them know if I would be able to accept them. It felt great!

This may not seem like a big deal to some people but in the past 10 years I have accepted almost anyone that wanted a spot unless there was major red flags. I've extended my hours and done things I would prefer not to do just to keep clients. In all of these years and probably around 100 clients I've only really ever been acknowledged by a handful. I've bent over backwards so many times and the parent usually says "I owe you one" then the next minute they break one of my policies or leave for someone cheaper. Looking back it seems it was the clients that I went out of my way for that never really appreciated me and made my life harder. The clients that really valued me never asked for "special" because they didn't want to risk loosing me as a provider. Does that make sense?
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by nanglgrl View Post
I made all of these changes because of posts I read on this site and it is awesome. I had an interview the other day for 2 children. I only have one slot open but one of the siblings was an newborn and I don't accept children under 8 months. The family was great but I told them I wouldn't be able to accept the baby until August and only if I had room. I also informed them that I don't give a sibling discount. I know my rates are in the high range in my area for 5:30 pick ups (most charge a maximum.of $125 for full time). This meant the family would be paying quite a bit more than average for our area and they would have to figure out placement for the baby for a few months so I never figured they would call. They called! They chose me! I then informed them that I would be finishing my interviews by Friday and I would let them know if I would be able to accept them. It felt great!
Love this ^
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:04 PM
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I am so proud of you!! It does feel great to stand up for yourself and still be valued!!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:13 PM
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This is a really nice post you wrote, thanks for sharing! It really resonates with me. Although I've only been doing this for a year, SO much has changed and it is due in huge part to this forum, as well as trial and error and experiences this year. I now unashamedly charge in the high range for rates in my area and enforce policies without it being a dramatic issue.

When I started I was desperate and would take just about anyone for any hours. I was taking 7-6 and I had a 10 hour maximum but my very first people I signed I made an exception for and let them have 10.5 hours at no extra charge, and in fact turned into 11 hours but I never charged late fees. I had a first family that said can we have 12 hours one day and 8 the next because it all comes out the same anyway???

NOW I have clients that only come 3 hours a day, but pay for a FULL time spot. Clients that only come 3 days a week but pay for 4 just in case they might need a 4th day. I have families that always pick their kids up early when they can and keep them home when they're sick. It's wonderful.

I am so happy for you!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:40 PM
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Thank you for posting! It seems like you have made a lot of positive changes this year. I sort of struggled when I began and learned the hard way about many issues. I did figure these things out on my own but what a help this forum would have been, if I had discovered it sooner. It has still helped me a lot since I joined. it is great to see other providers making positive changes and it is very inspiring!

Last edited by Michael; 01-10-2013 at 12:57 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:14 PM
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I totally agree with you! I am not even going to start my Home Daycare for a couple years. Until then I am going to school and preparing for it. Like you said I get sooooooo many ideas from the other ladies on this forum that I would have never thought about and reading and learning through all of you will help when I do open it run smoother. This is a great forum to be apart of!!
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by EchoMom View Post
This is a really nice post you wrote, thanks for sharing! It really resonates with me. Although I've only been doing this for a year, SO much has changed and it is due in huge part to this forum, as well as trial and error and experiences this year. I now unashamedly charge in the high range for rates in my area and enforce policies without it being a dramatic issue.

When I started I was desperate and would take just about anyone for any hours. I was taking 7-6 and I had a 10 hour maximum but my very first people I signed I made an exception for and let them have 10.5 hours at no extra charge, and in fact turned into 11 hours but I never charged late fees. I had a first family that said can we have 12 hours one day and 8 the next because it all comes out the same anyway???

NOW I have clients that only come 3 hours a day, but pay for a FULL time spot. Clients that only come 3 days a week but pay for 4 just in case they might need a 4th day. I have families that always pick their kids up early when they can and keep them home when they're sick. It's wonderful.

I am so happy for you!
I'm so happy for you too! I'm glad it only took you a year. I wish it hadn't taken me so long.
I think one of my biggest downfalls was my sympathy towards single parents and students with children. I tended to believe every sob story and to change my program to meet their needs. When I started watching the second shifter the mom called and asked if I did second shift. I told her no and she started crying. She asked me if I knew anyone that did and I told her no but to call our local referral place and if she couldn't find anyone to give me a call back. A few days later she called back because she wasn't able to find anyone and I agreed to do it on a temporary basis. It ended up being 2 years because felt I just couldn't make her life more stressful. Then I realized that yes I was making her life easier but I was suffering, my children were suffering. Ug, why did it take me 2 years?

I confess I've never charged a late fee although I should have at least a thousand times. Don't cyber smack me yet! Lately I've been waiting for someone to show up late so I can charge them. Not that I want to work late or charge extra but because I WANT to use my backbone!
I also have gotten really good at saying, " I'll think about it and let you know" when I'm put on the spot. All because of this forum.

Recently I had one of my parents call and say she was going to be 15 minutes late because she was caught on a call and I responded with, "thank you for letting me know! I won't charge you a late fee this time but that only applies to THIS instance" (I would have charged if she was late a lot but this was the first time and I have NO problems with her). In the past I would have just said "o.k" and never mentioned a late charge even if the parent was a habitual offender.

I realize I wasn't using my backbone because I didn't want to anger anyone. I thought I would lose business that way. Then I read about how providers on here enforce their policies when needed but rarely if ever does the parent respond negatively and how the parent rarely makes the same mistake twice. These providers also seem to be the most appreciated by their clients, better paid and sought after for daycare services in their communities.

I think most of the people on this board are probably great with the part of the job that consist of nurturing and teaching children but it seems where these providers differ is they demand respect. They have their policies and expect them to be followed. They value themselves and their services and in turn so do the parents.

Like you I'm growing! Yeah for us! The more I do what I want the better clients I seem to attract. Right now I have a parent paying to hold a spot for 3 months while her husband is laid off. I've never had someone pay to hold a spot! I never even had the courage to ask or give that as an option. I also have a client that comes from 8-12 every day and pays for full time care.

I felt bad charging her for full time at first but then I thought what a pain in the butt it was going to be for me to have someone leave right before nap and how I would never find someone to fill the remainder of the day so I would be limiting my income. I couldn't believe she agreed to it but she is my best parent. She never breaks policies and shows/tells me how she appreciates me all of the time. I took off 3 days for paid holidays Christmas week and 2 the following week and her child wasn't here the other days because dad was off work. I felt bad charging her the full rate for those 2 weeks and came close to offering her a discount but I held strong and didn't. She obviously didn't think twice about paying her regular rate for 2 weeks because she added a Christmas bonus on top of it!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:59 PM
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so totally true!
Love this site and these ladies on here.
I actually got a family to pay me for my vacation 2 weeks ago that flat out said they won't and they even payed a late fee VOLUNTARILY because I wrote them a very strongly worded letter that in order to hold their childs spot in the day care they have to pay by ____ date !

yea, we so totally rock!
sorry, my Crush the Turtle comes out some time!
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2013, 05:22 AM
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I have learned that people can not take advantage of you without your permission. A bigger lesson I learned was to not make other people's problems.., my problem. I now say, "I appreciated you asking me (to help you), But I can't. Thank you though." It really throws them when you thank them for NOT helping them out in a pinch.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:26 AM
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This is a nice wonderful post-

This is why I take the time to offer up advice that has helped me, because help was here when I needed it.

I still have days where I get caught up and I am seasoned for the most part, I think it is just the nature of my caring personality.

It is so true that when you have rules and boundaries and limits, people respect that. When you don't, people tend to take advantage or push. I think when your first starting out it is hard, you just want to get clients in and see your business flourish- then resentment comes in for not knowing how you should have handled things the right way in the first place. I call this a learning curve and again even being seasoned in this job, I still have learning curves and duh moments-

Best-
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:25 AM
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nanglgrl!!!

It's only a JOB until you begin to love it. Then it becomes a profession.

I picked up on a few different valuable tidbits that you posted about that are so true!
  • Never sacrifice you/your family for anyone else
  • Valuing what you do is a MUST
  • Backbone is necessary but not as much if you interview and enroll carefully and on YOUR terms
  • Your policies should never anger anyone....when you enforce them, you SHOULD feel good about it, not apprehensive or fearful of a reaction.
  • Long hours and constant availability isn't required to have a steady income.

I am so happy for you!! The next 10 years should be all down hill!
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2013, 07:41 AM
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I think when you are firm in your policies and clear about expectations, it shows that you are confident in your profession and experience....something that most parents do value! they want someone that looks like they know what they are doing and that is worth paying for so yes, you will get better clients once you start running your daycare in this way.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:09 AM
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What a great post! It's so true that this forum has given us all the power to actually enforce our policies and be a true professional in this field! I've gotten such a huge backbone from this forum. I have such great families and I firmly believe that part of it is from being clear from the beginning what the rules are and how things are going to be. It's the rules that are in place that let us have so much fun at daycare!
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanglgrl View Post
I'm so happy for you too! I'm glad it only took you a year. I wish it hadn't taken me so long.
I think one of my biggest downfalls was my sympathy towards single parents and students with children. I tended to believe every sob story and to change my program to meet their needs. When I started watching the second shifter the mom called and asked if I did second shift. I told her no and she started crying. She asked me if I knew anyone that did and I told her no but to call our local referral place and if she couldn't find anyone to give me a call back. A few days later she called back because she wasn't able to find anyone and I agreed to do it on a temporary basis. It ended up being 2 years because felt I just couldn't make her life more stressful. Then I realized that yes I was making her life easier but I was suffering, my children were suffering. Ug, why did it take me 2 years?

I confess I've never charged a late fee although I should have at least a thousand times. Don't cyber smack me yet! Lately I've been waiting for someone to show up late so I can charge them. Not that I want to work late or charge extra but because I WANT to use my backbone!
I also have gotten really good at saying, " I'll think about it and let you know" when I'm put on the spot. All because of this forum.

Recently I had one of my parents call and say she was going to be 15 minutes late because she was caught on a call and I responded with, "thank you for letting me know! I won't charge you a late fee this time but that only applies to THIS instance" (I would have charged if she was late a lot but this was the first time and I have NO problems with her). In the past I would have just said "o.k" and never mentioned a late charge even if the parent was a habitual offender.

I realize I wasn't using my backbone because I didn't want to anger anyone. I thought I would lose business that way. Then I read about how providers on here enforce their policies when needed but rarely if ever does the parent respond negatively and how the parent rarely makes the same mistake twice. These providers also seem to be the most appreciated by their clients, better paid and sought after for daycare services in their communities.

I think most of the people on this board are probably great with the part of the job that consist of nurturing and teaching children but it seems where these providers differ is they demand respect. They have their policies and expect them to be followed. They value themselves and their services and in turn so do the parents.

Like you I'm growing! Yeah for us! The more I do what I want the better clients I seem to attract. Right now I have a parent paying to hold a spot for 3 months while her husband is laid off. I've never had someone pay to hold a spot! I never even had the courage to ask or give that as an option. I also have a client that comes from 8-12 every day and pays for full time care.

I felt bad charging her for full time at first but then I thought what a pain in the butt it was going to be for me to have someone leave right before nap and how I would never find someone to fill the remainder of the day so I would be limiting my income. I couldn't believe she agreed to it but she is my best parent. She never breaks policies and shows/tells me how she appreciates me all of the time. I took off 3 days for paid holidays Christmas week and 2 the following week and her child wasn't here the other days because dad was off work. I felt bad charging her the full rate for those 2 weeks and came close to offering her a discount but I held strong and didn't. She obviously didn't think twice about paying her regular rate for 2 weeks because she added a Christmas bonus on top of it!
You have written such a nice post and I am glad that you did! I too am like you, I tend to feel bad for people and believe every story! I also have learned a lot since joining this forum. I haven't opened yet, but am in a couple of weeks and from reading this (your) post and others, I have realized that I'm going to HAVE to have a backbone in order for families to respect me. I keep going through different scenerios (sp?) in my head of difficulties that may arise and what I would do or say to respond to them. I would always think "well I could fudge the rules just for that", but not now! Thank you for writing such an inspiring post and making me realize that you can actually be "too" nice!
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:53 AM
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This is such a positive thread! Way to go on having your daycare the way you finally want it! I always have my "dream", but no matter what I'll always want to keep changing it, ha ha! I LOVE what I have now and have been proactive to get things how they are.

I opened 12 months ago and i'm full and have employees now and going to be on maternity leave. I couldn't do ANY (ok most of it) without this board! I was going to open and charge lower rates to get people in the door and I choose average rates and negotiated SLIGHTLY for one family which gave their infant a lower rate but they're one of my best families. The first family I had I had MANY MANY issues and let them go after 6 weeks mostly because of how miserable I was! Late payments, payments by cash under the door when I was out of town, requests for special treatment without a dr's note, arriving in pj's BEFORE I was even dressed and ready to be open knocking on the door, arriving in diapers from the night before, needing to be bottle fed immediately.......it goes on!

I ended up having average rates and sticking to the standard paid vacations and personal days and no sibling discounts........everything that seems typicaly here and in my area from research. I value what I do and I don't want to discount because I feel I'm worth it. Now with half a year experience I filled all my last spots very quickly and expanded just because it looked and felt like an official quality daycare. No more answering people's questions "We would do this". Now it's "We do this".

I agree to other posters, it's very much a learning curve when you open and continually. I was on that and still am some. I'm come very far from the support and advice from this board. Thanks for posting!
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by nanglgrl View Post
I've been doing this job for 10 years. I've bent over backwards, sideways, and basically contorted my body like an acrobat....... In all of these years and probably around 100 clients I've only really ever been acknowledged by a handful. I've bent over backwards so many times and the parent usually says "I owe you one" then the next minute they break one of my policies or leave for someone cheaper. Looking back it seems it was the clients that I went out of my way for that never really appreciated me and made my life harder. The clients that really valued me never asked for "special" because they didn't want to risk loosing me as a provider. Does that make sense?
"How about that ever elusive kudos?" Alanis Morissette


KUDOS to you!!!! and thanks for your inspirational message.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:50 AM
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Thank you so much for your post. I am a lot like you and tend to back over backwards for my families and in return I get slapped in the face. I have a hard time getting strict with people and I have learned so much over the 2 years doing this. I have learned if you give them an inch they will run a mile with it. I also have been burned so many times by certain families that I honestly thought this was not for me. I am finally working on a new handbook with strict policies and raising my rates. If they dont like it they can find another sitter. So many people think this is an easy job but its not. Its very difficult watching other people's kids but the parents are even harder to work with. They seem to want everything for nothing or everything should be handed to them on a gold platter. I am tired of it all and its coming to an end. Each family is getting the info tomorrow so we will see how many show up Monday.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by coolconfidentme View Post
I have learned that people can not take advantage of you without your permission. A bigger lesson I learned was to not make other people's problems.., my problem. I now say, "I appreciated you asking me (to help you), But I can't. Thank you though." It really throws them when you thank them for NOT helping them out in a pinch.
another great thing to do and keep in mind! I need to make a list!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:41 PM
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I am so happy for you!! The next 10 years should be all down hill!
Let's hope right! It took me long enough! I think what I really have to start doing is writing things down. I have a horrible memory and forgive so easily that I often forget a parent did something until they do it again or until my hubby or one of my friends says "wasn't that the same family that _____".
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