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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Policies For Drop-Ins
kendallina 12:00 PM 02-04-2011
Hi all,

As many of you know, I run a preschool 3 hours/day out of my home. Financially it's okay, but I really need to be making more money, so I'd like to add in some drop-in children and/or one full-timer.

My question is, what are your policies for drop-ins, specifically:

Do they have to contact you by a certain time in order to have a spot?

What if they reserve you and then the child is sick, do they still pay (my regular parents do)?

How much do you charge for drop-in...do you charge extra because it is drop in?

Anything else I need to be thinking of?

Any help you can give me with this would be great. Thanks!!
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Cat Herder 12:12 PM 02-04-2011
Just say no!!!!

Ok, I assume you know how disruptive it is and how much you are going to want to run screaming through the streets...

So:

I used to allow the folks from my waiting list to call on the Friday before the week to see if I had space for occasional drop-ins. They already had their paperwork on file and I just charged them my daily rate, plus $10.

I also would send out little preemptive emails letting them know when I would have room, usually from someone that scheduled vacation.
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kendallina 12:23 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by Catherder:
Just say no!!!!

Ok, I assume you know how disruptive it is and how much you are going to want to run screaming through the streets...

So:

I used to allow the folks from my waiting list to call on the Friday before the week to see if I had space for occasional drop-ins. They already had their paperwork on file and I just charged them my daily rate, plus $10.

I also would send out little preemptive emails letting them know when I would have room, usually from someone that scheduled vacation.
I know, I know . I have read all the threads about drop-ins, but I need more money and at least if I did drop-ins I would still have some days where it was just me and my daughter in the afternoons. If I did a full-timer then I would feel like I had no freedom. Plus, most of my drop-ins would come from my playgroup and I already know those kiddos and their parents.
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nannyde 12:23 PM 02-04-2011
NO drop ins.

I wouldn't do it. It's SO hard.
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Cat Herder 12:28 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by kendallina:
I know, I know . I have read all the threads about drop-ins, but I need more money and at least if I did drop-ins I would still have some days where it was just me and my daughter in the afternoons. If I did a full-timer then I would feel like I had no freedom. Plus, most of my drop-ins would come from my playgroup and I already know those kiddos and their parents.
Got a nice phone voice, I hear s...e...x...y... singles are wanting to talk to ya.... Just teasing...

Eh, I know it can be difficult. I do wish you the best of luck. It can't hurt to try....we all have different likes/needs and you may not be as type A as I am... I NEED my structure, routine and peaceful little world...
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Live and Learn 12:34 PM 02-04-2011
I don't do drop ins anymore.....
Way too much work.

When I did I charged minimum wage for the day...not hourly.
At the time it worked out to about twice what I was charging for a full-time full day client. I had a regular drop in family. The mom would give me her monthly schedule for my approval and if she didn't show she still had to pay.

I hate drop ins. WAY TOO MUCH WORK!!
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cillybean83 12:39 PM 02-04-2011
i've never had a drop in...what's so bad about it?? I was thinking of taking drop ins and now y'all have scared me! lol
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nannyde 12:42 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by kendallina:
I know, I know . I have read all the threads about drop-ins, but I need more money and at least if I did drop-ins I would still have some days where it was just me and my daughter in the afternoons. If I did a full-timer then I would feel like I had no freedom. Plus, most of my drop-ins would come from my playgroup and I already know those kiddos and their parents.
Don't do it. Don't go to the dark side. Stay here with us......... You are safe with us..........
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kendallina 12:47 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by nannyde:
Don't do it. Don't go to the dark side. Stay here with us......... You are safe with us..........
As helpful as it is that you tell me not to do it, that doesn't turn into a paycheck for me . At least tell me what's so awful about it. And, keep in mind that I don't have any other children besides my own DD in the afternoons or on Fridays, so it's not like I have anything else to do...well, you know what I mean.
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Live and Learn 12:50 PM 02-04-2011
where do I start?!.......
1) you know how Mondays after a holiday are often a drag with your regular full timers because the parents ran them ragged? Imagine that every day for drop ins.
2) they aren't here often enough to fall into our daily routine.
3) they aren't here often enough to learn not to back talk or be sassy.
4) they aren't here often enough to know to not stand on the sofa?
5) they aren't here often enough to learn that I set the schedule
6) they don't nap as well because this isn't their regular place....or maybe their parent doesn't even put them down awake for naps.
7) if they are a tiny baby then they don't know me well enough to be comforted by my presence.
And on and on and on....
I used to due drop ins when I did not have a choice financially but as soon as I could I transitioned to full time only.

OP- I know you run a preschool program...how well do you think that will work with drop ins?
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kendallina 12:55 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by Live and Learn:
where do I start?!.......
1) you know how Mondays after a holiday are often a drag with your regular full timers because the parents ran them ragged? Imagine that every day for drop ins.
2) they aren't here often enough to fall into our daily routine.
3) they aren't here often enough to learn not to back talk or be sassy.
4) they aren't here often enough to know to not stand on the sofa?
5) they aren't here often enough to learn that I set the schedule
6) they don't nap as well because this isn't their regular place....or maybe their parent doesn't even put them down awake for naps.
7) if they are a tiny baby then they don't know me well enough to be comforted by my presence.
And on and on and on....
I used to due drop ins when I did not have a choice financially but as soon as I could I transitioned to full time only.

OP- I know you run a preschool program...how well do you think that will work with drop ins?
I'd only offer drop-in to preschool agers (well, 2 and up) and only in the afternoons and Fridays when preschoolers aren't here. It would never work when my preschoolers are here as our day is very structured.

Anywhoo...anyone else want to answer the questions?
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kendallina 12:57 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by Catherder:
Got a nice phone voice, I hear s...e...x...y... singles are wanting to talk to ya.... Just teasing...
If the price was right...well, it probably is, but I'm not going there.
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JenNJ 01:37 PM 02-04-2011
When I opened over 2 years ago I took on 2 drop in families. I charge $7 per hour for one child and $12 an hour for 2. I don't provide food for those children. I let parents shoot m a text the morning of or night before but I only take drop ins on Wed and Fri and they all know this.
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Blackcat31 02:45 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by nannyde:
Don't do it. Don't go to the dark side. Stay here with us......... You are safe with us..........
LOL!!!

I would NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER do drop-ins again! Did I say never, because I mean NEVER EVER!!! It isn't the always the drop-in kid that is the problem, it is the regular everyday kids I have in care already and how they react to the drop-ins sometimes....too much disarray for me. I, like Catherder, adore the routine and calm everyday schedule we have. Add 1 drop-in and I might as well hang out in the bathroom all day with the shower curtain wrapped around me for security.
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kendallina 03:21 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
LOL!!!

I would NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER do drop-ins again! Did I say never, because I mean NEVER EVER!!! It isn't the always the drop-in kid that is the problem, it is the regular everyday kids I have in care already and how they react to the drop-ins sometimes....too much disarray for me. I, like Catherder, adore the routine and calm everyday schedule we have. Add 1 drop-in and I might as well hang out in the bathroom all day with the shower curtain wrapped around me for security.
lol...I can just picture you with the shower curtain wrapped around you while children run amuck (is that how you spell that?).

Bolded part...that's why I think I may be okay with having drops-in, because when they come it would only be me and my daughter. And, her and I are pretty relaxed when it's just us. I think she'd enjoy the company.

Anywhoo...thanks for those who answered my question . Any more?
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kendallina 03:22 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by JenNJ:
When I opened over 2 years ago I took on 2 drop in families. I charge $7 per hour for one child and $12 an hour for 2. I don't provide food for those children. I let parents shoot m a text the morning of or night before but I only take drop ins on Wed and Fri and they all know this.
Thanks for the info.
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ammama 03:48 PM 02-04-2011
I have a few kids that are considered 'drop-in'. They come one day a week, most weeks. I don't charge if they don't come, that's the benefit of drop in, but they do pay a higher per day rate than even my part-time kids do. My dck's (and drop in's) are all older. My youngest dck is 3, and my drop in is 2.5 yrs old. I have no problems with them at all.
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ninosqueridos 08:06 PM 02-04-2011
just a thought to throw out there...what about afternoon part-timers that come 2-3 days per week so you wouldn't have the not-used-to-you-ness that comes with drop-ins?
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kendallina 08:15 PM 02-04-2011
Originally Posted by ninosqueridos:
just a thought to throw out there...what about afternoon part-timers that come 2-3 days per week so you wouldn't have the not-used-to-you-ness that comes with drop-ins?
Oh, yeh that would be perfect and I would take it in a heart beat. I figured it might be kind of hard to find, though.
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Abigail 01:36 PM 02-05-2011
Originally Posted by kendallina:
Do they have to contact you by a certain time in order to have a spot?

What if they reserve you and then the child is sick, do they still pay (my regular parents do)?

How much do you charge for drop-in...do you charge extra because it is drop in?

Anything else I need to be thinking of?

Any help you can give me with this would be great. Thanks!!
I would call your local "drop-in" centers and ask what they charge and base your rates off them. Ours are all about $6/hour for an infant and $4/hour for older children. I would then put the rates really close to those rates because your home would be more comforting and sanitary/less germs than the drop in centers so they should choose you. Most of our centers have a rule of a four hour max and if you allow five or six hours that would be a life saver to those who want to do all their errands in one day.

I would say at least give it a try because you never know what it will be like until you try it! As far as spots go, well, drop-in is a first come first serve basis. Make sure they pay you in advance for the time they think they would be gone and then they pay the difference/you pay the difference if they're late or early. It should work out just fine. Drop-ins don't have a solid year round contract. Only if they became part time would I charge a sick fee, but not for a drop-in. It's first come first serve and during this time if you don't have any kids then you are free to leave home and do what you want and not wait around for anyone.
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momatheart 06:01 PM 02-05-2011
Before we were full at the center we did drop ins and I HATED IT!
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DBug 10:56 AM 02-07-2011
I do take one drop-in, but I won't do it for anyone else. LOVE this little guy, but the mom is, well, unique.

Here's the thing: no contract means they don't have to pay if I've booked a spot for him and then he's sick or G'ma is there to watch him instead. I've turned down my contracted part-timers as drop-ins on days where I had him scheduled in, only to have him not show up. And this past week, the mom was prepaid, and then didn't show. Now, because I don't have a contract with her, I had to agree to carry the balance over til the next time she needs care. Argh!

So, if you've gotta do it, at least keep yourself covered. Do up a drop-in contract with the same "retainer" system that a few other people have suggested. Have them prepay a certain amount and deduct the amount from their "account" for care days, sick days and no-show days, just like you would for full-timers. And make sure that whatever you charge is worth your while. I charge $6/hour for drop-in (f/t is $30/day), but if I could change it, I would make it $8/hour with a 4 hour minimum. That way I'd still be making my full day's rate, even if the child is only here for two hours.

And then, as soon as you can afford it, cancel the drop-ins!
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dEHmom 11:11 AM 02-07-2011
I do drop in/casual. I don't call it drop ins, but they pay me more a week than full timers do.

I don't mind it, but mine is currently 3 full days a week.

I would suggest if you are considering it, I would put a minimum on the the drop in. such as.....$5/hr minimum 3 hours, 2 times a week, or something like that.

Because the drop in thing, if it's once a week or month or 2 months, is way to hard on the child. So I changed that policy quick. It's not fair on you or the child, to see each other once in a blue moon. There is no way they can adjust.

Also, if you have napping times, make sure drop offs do not fall within that time frame, or lunch time etc. And if you have a website, they can check online whether you have any availabilities for drop in times for the week/day/month.

I charge a week prior for the following week. That way there, if they call in sick, I still got paid! The policy of paying for your booked days vs attended days is still in effect.

I just changed my hourly rate to 8/hour
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kendallina 11:11 AM 02-07-2011
Originally Posted by DBug:
I do take one drop-in, but I won't do it for anyone else. LOVE this little guy, but the mom is, well, unique.

Here's the thing: no contract means they don't have to pay if I've booked a spot for him and then he's sick or G'ma is there to watch him instead. I've turned down my contracted part-timers as drop-ins on days where I had him scheduled in, only to have him not show up. And this past week, the mom was prepaid, and then didn't show. Now, because I don't have a contract with her, I had to agree to carry the balance over til the next time she needs care. Argh!

So, if you've gotta do it, at least keep yourself covered. Do up a drop-in contract with the same "retainer" system that a few other people have suggested. Have them prepay a certain amount and deduct the amount from their "account" for care days, sick days and no-show days, just like you would for full-timers. And make sure that whatever you charge is worth your while. I charge $6/hour for drop-in (f/t is $30/day), but if I could change it, I would make it $8/hour with a 4 hour minimum. That way I'd still be making my full day's rate, even if the child is only here for two hours.

And then, as soon as you can afford it, cancel the drop-ins!
Thank you! Very helpful suggestions. I will definitely do a drop-in contract and will consider a retainer system as well.
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kendallina 11:12 AM 02-07-2011
Originally Posted by dEHmom:
I do drop in/casual. I don't call it drop ins, but they pay me more a week than full timers do.

I don't mind it, but mine is currently 3 full days a week.

I would suggest if you are considering it, I would put a minimum on the the drop in. such as.....$5/hr minimum 3 hours, 2 times a week, or something like that.

Because the drop in thing, if it's once a week or month or 2 months, is way to hard on the child. So I changed that policy quick. It's not fair on you or the child, to see each other once in a blue moon. There is no way they can adjust.

Also, if you have napping times, make sure drop offs do not fall within that time frame, or lunch time etc. And if you have a website, they can check online whether you have any availabilities for drop in times for the week/day/month.
Good suggestions...thank you!
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e.j. 11:35 AM 02-07-2011
Do they have to contact you by a certain time in order to have a spot?
My drop-ins call whenever they know they need a spot. Most of the time, they call in advance but sometimes they might run into an emergency situation and I get little notice. I accommodate them when I can but they also know I may not be able to help if I don't have a slot available. As someone mentioned: it's first come, first served and no guarantee I'll have a open slot on any give day - the sooner they reserve a spot, the better their chances I'll have something available.

What if they reserve you and then the child is sick, do they still pay (my regular parents do)?
I don't have them pay if they have to cancel. I like doing drop-in work because it's extra money for me so I don't want to scare them away by charging them if they have to cancel for some reason. My regular parents do pay whether they are here or not because their slot is guaranteed and I rely on the income. Since I don't rely on drop-in money, I don't charge them if they're not here. (I do stress the importance of letting me know asap if they don't need me. So far, they've been good about doing that.)

How much do you charge for drop-in...do you charge extra because it is drop in?
I charge my regular parents by the hour and do the same for drop-ins. I don't charge extra.

Anything else I need to be thinking of?
I do have my drop-in parents go through the same interview process as my regular parents. I also have them sign the same contract so they know that my polices are the same for them in terms of payment, behavior, illness, etc... I know a lot of providers don't like doing care on a drop-in basis (and I understand the problems involved) but drop-ins have worked great for me so far. It's extra money I wouldn't have had otherwise and I've often had parents ask to become regulars based on the care I've given their child during drop-in hours. Good luck! I hope it works out for you.
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e.j. 11:47 AM 02-07-2011
I should have added that they pay me up front based on the number of hours they say they'll need me. If they need me longer, they just pay the extra at pick-up. If they don't need me for quite as long as they thought, they don't get a refund. They still pay me based on the hours they first told me since I've had then reserved that time for them.
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