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Old 01-13-2013, 09:58 AM
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providerandmomof4 providerandmomof4 is offline
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Default Having A Hard Time Getting Over Past Clients

I have an add out right now and would really love to get one maybe two more full time children. The problem is...I'm having a hard time getting over my previous families that weren't a good fit and now I don't want to interview anyone! In the past I have ignored a lot of warning flags that were there with families and accepted them anyway. It wasn't a big surprise when they didn't work out.

So I've had a few calls and wouldn't give either one the time of day. After talking to both parents and listening to the same old lines....I ended up telling one caller that my spots were filled and I told the other caller that I would call her back...but then couldn't muster the mental energy to actually do it!
Line #1. "Well, I work a variety of shifts but I can find someone to pick up dck on the shifts that you're not available." Ummm, no. I've heard this before and it always turns into parent trying to coerce me into working hours and shifts that I originally said I would not.
Line #2. "I am in the process of trying to get approved for state subsidy and in the meantime I guess I will have to pay you cash." Sorry, but been there and done that, and it didn't work. Either they wanted me to go unpaid until their subsidy kicked in, or it was like pulling teeth to get payment.

I'm worried that I have become jaded and don't really know how to overcome this. I feel like I need to protect myself from being taken advantage of but at this rate I will never get a new client...: Has anyone else been in this situation?
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:29 AM
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EchoMom EchoMom is offline
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Oh boy, I TOTALLY understand and am dealing with the SAME tension in myslelf. I've been open a year and being a newbie, desperate to get started, I took on just about ANYONE in the beginning. I took on people that wanted 11 hours of care a day, people that wanted crazy schedules, people that didn't want to waste a single dollar or leave any minute of care unused. Needless to say, I just had a huge turnover/purge in my daycare and am now in the process of filling back up again.

The new people that started are paying much HIGHER prices than Daycare 1.0 (LOL), and they also pay the HIGHER price, with much FEWER hours. I don't have anyone that wants such long long hours for their child. Now I have people who come 3 hours a day but pay the whole full time rate. Or people who pick up early whenever they can and don't ask for a discount, etc.

The new people GUSH over how happy they are with my daycare. But still, things turned SO ugly with the mean things the termed parents said to me that now I'm having a hard time trusting these new people.

Jaded is exactly the word. I feel like I can't just enjoy their compliments and praise and enthusiasm because I just think, Oh yeah, you like me now, but eventually you'll turn on me and think I'm the wicked witch of the west just because I told you no on something.

It's really hard not to bring in the bagage of Daycare 1.0 to the new 2.0 version. I have to remind myself that hopefully this new clientell is fundamentally different than the first group. These people would not go with just a newbie as I was a year ago. These people love my 2 dedicated playroom/nap rooms that I didn't have a year ago. These people love all the outdoor equipement I didn't have a year ago. These people pay higher rates. These people pay me for holidays closed. These people only ask for 3 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours of care, not 11.

But yet on the other hand, human nature and the potential to turn nasty is in all of us. So I proceed with caution, but really WANT to enjoy the breath of fresh air it is.

Yes, it's tough to fight our jadedness because we got burned. But we've learned and transformed our businesses so hopefully it will be so much better from here on out!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:30 PM
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Blackcat31 Blackcat31 is offline
 
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Why not take this opportunity to set the ground rules from the get go? Why just turn them away? That is a guaranteed loss.

If you interview them, you can tell them "NO SPECIAL!" right up front. Let them know what rules and policies you will not tolerate and if they break the rules, you will term them.

What if they listen and are great clients? Plus what do you really to lose when you are already losing by just telling them no.

I also think it would be good practice honing your backbone.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:43 PM
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cheerfuldom cheerfuldom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Why not take this opportunity to set the ground rules from the get go? Why just turn them away? That is a guaranteed loss.

If you interview them, you can tell them "NO SPECIAL!" right up front. Let them know what rules and policies you will not tolerate and if they break the rules, you will term them.

What if they listen and are great clients? Plus what do you really to lose when you are already losing by just telling them no.

I also think it would be good practice honing your backbone.
I agree! I understand getting jaded....that happens but it goes to far now that you are acting unprofessional (not returning calls as promised) and turning potential clients away.

For the first scenario, I would say "I want to make it clear that once we agree to your daycare hours, I cannot provide services at any other hours, no exception. If you need more flexibility than that, it would be better to continue looking for a daycare that is a better fit than mine. You will have to have someone come get your child if you cant. It would be unacceptable to me to not have someone to pickup on time each day. As long as you can work within those boundaries, I would be happy to begun taking care of Aiden on a trial basis"

For the second, "Hi Kristen. I wanted to call you back and let you know that I would be happy to begin taking care of Ava on a trial basis. I need to be paid my weekly fee of X amount each Monday at drop off. There are no exceptions to that rule so if you arent able to make payments, I will have to turn Ava away at the door. We can handle payments this way until your subsidy arrangement is worked out. Is this something that you can agree to?"

Give people a chance to prove you wrong. You have to continue doing daycare right? so you have to get these spots filled and you have to take a chance on these families. If you end up terming, well that happens with daycare....a lot. but on the other hand, you might get better at weeding out the bad families up front. The first time that family 2 tries to drop off with no payment, turn them away and let them know that if it happens again, they will be terminated immediately. They can go get the money immediately!
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:59 PM
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providerandmomof4 providerandmomof4 is offline
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Thanks ladies...I agree that it was unprofessional of me to not call her back. I never, ever, would have done something like that in the past. I'm just so tired of being lied to. I have some really great families right now and it took me a long time to get the bad weeded out. I just hate the emotional rollercoaster of starting a new family especially if they are already mentioning things that I know from past experience, didn't work out with other families that I had in care. I should know better than prejudging a family, because one of my best dcf I thought for sure wouldn't last....but they have been with me for six months now and always figure out a way to make it work. I don't know, I guess I was hoping that I wasn't the only one who had trouble letting go of past burns.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:11 PM
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BumbleBee BumbleBee is offline
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You are definately not the only one who has a hard time with past burns and how they play a role in interviewing new families.

I'm having a situation with one family right now and it seems like everything they do irritates me. The irritation began after the "big no-no" happened and started the situation. I feel so incredibly guarded every time I deal with this family...and I don't feel that way with my other ones.

I have no advice, just simply letting you know that you're not alone.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:32 AM
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I know exactly how you feel. I have been burned by so many families within the last 6 months that I honestly question if I am in the right business. I still have 1 problem family but they are only here until May. When I first started out I took anyone just to get families in here and I learned my lesson. I tend to judge before knowing anything but I also have learned to tell people its just not a good fit. This is hard business to be in. You would think parents would be more understanding but they are not.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:14 AM
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I experienced the same thing, but from the other side of the fence. After emailing, calling and interviewing with many providers that were not a good fit for our family at all, I began to get very discouraged. Having been burned once by a very flaky SAHM, I almost didn't contact our current provider because she listed herself as that in her advertisement. But along the way I learned how to spot red flags sooner in the process, I developed a list of questions to ask by email or over the phone that significantly cut down on the number of interviews and I learned to trust my gut. We ended up finding a FANTASTIC provider about a year ago with whom we have a great relationship so I view the interviews and trials as practice for finding a great situation for our family.

Maybe trying to view the past bad experiences as a learning opportunity would help? You know what issues don't work for you so maybe you can head them off at the pass.
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