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Old 02-17-2014, 07:45 AM
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Question Should I Take This Client? Red Flags?? Should I Try Or Run??

Received an email from a dcm with a 20 month old. She is due in Sept with baby #2, will need care in Dec.

She is leaving her current provider. She first told me that it was because her provider did not take part timers, and she needed care only 4 days per week.

She then told me, in a separate email, that the provider took too many kids and didn't take direction from the parents. (that's when my little 'red flag' feelers turned on).

So I emailed her back, and told her that schedules, etc, are set in stone at my daycare, and I have to keep everyone on the same page, but I was interested in more information concerning what she was talking about concerning taking the lead from the parents.

She replied that the provider gives the kids nutra grain bars and goldfish, and she doesn't like that, bc it prevents her child from eating healthy food. She prefers to give her berries and whole foods. She told me that the provider wants the children to tell her "all done" when they are finished eating, and when to use sippy cups, bc all children are different and develop individually. (Her dd is 20 months old, so Im wondering if the parents want her to still use a bottle?? I also don't have issues with the children telling people they are done, when finishing meals- all of my dck's ask to be excused before leaving the table. Even my 13 month old signs all done-its good communication imo).

She also said that she knew that her child was very happy and safe at the providers, but she couldn't get over the issues.

I just don't know... I serve only healthy food anyway, but we do occasionally have goldfish, I think a 20 month old using a bottle is a bit weird, and I have the children communicate "all done" when they are finished eating. Ive never had any issues with any of it- it also makes me wonder how the mom even knows all of these things- is her current provider having to write down all meals and snacks? Does mom hang around at mealtimes and observe the dcp asking the child to communicate "all done?"

I feel like this mom, despite her saying she is laid back, seems a bit high maintenance. Shes leaving a provider where she knows her child is safe, happy, and has all of her needs met, bc of the issues she stated above.

I want your thoughts??? Interview or run?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:47 AM
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Do the interview. Interview doesn't mean you have to take them.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:50 AM
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Do any of these seem like red flags or am I being overly sensitive?
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:03 AM
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I wouldn't bother to interview this one. I'd tell the mom that it sounds like much the same way that I do things at my care, and I don't think that she would be any happier with me than with the current provider, and wish her luck on finding the right fit.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SunshineMama View Post
Do any of these seem like red flags or am I being overly sensitive?
Those could be red flags or they could be nervous pregnancy hormones.

It could simply be that the other provider does not give a sibling discount and your rates will be cheaper with two kids in care. (some are embarrassed to admit this)

It could be that she is desperately trying to win your approval and thinks she is flattering you by trashing her old provider.

It could also be the stereotypical transition from 1st kid to 2nd kid. My bet is she will become more laid back pretty quickly after the birth.

I'd do the interview and see how she interacts in your environment.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:08 AM
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I would interview and try to keep an open mind but then trust your gut. I had a family who started out telling me all their requirements for snacks and lunches...no high fructose corn syrup, no junk food, etc; seemed reasonable enough but I still had a feeling I'd never be able to satisfy them. Turned out I was right. I wish I had told them to bring their own food and only given their child what they brought. No matter what I fed her it was wrong. Stupid me for not trusting my gut. Nothing but grief. More than once I've been sorry I didn't listen to my own instincts but I'm learning slowly but surely.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:08 AM
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Really only you can make this decision. We don't know how badly you need another child in care, how hard it is to find new clients, etc.

I do see red flags though. She knows her child is happy so I think most parents would overlook the other (minor in my opinion) issues. So they must be BIG issues to dcm.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:10 AM
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If you are seeing red flags don't do it. (I am trying hard to follow this advice as well.) If your gut is telling you something follow your gut.

Every time I end up with a family that gives me trouble (either the child or the parents) I end up saying "I should have followed my gut!"

She also may not be being honest about the true reason for leaving the daycare and is looking for excuses but they don't make much sense.

I serve goldfish and cereal bars on occasion. It's not ALWAYS possible to feed berries everyday, sometimes a cereal bar is just fine!
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:11 AM
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It seems like a minimal reason for leaving.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by preschoolteacher View Post
It seems like a minimal reason for leaving.
That is one of my major concerns as well. She said that she trusts her current provider, her child is happy and safe, and that she is having all of her needs met. Her reasons for leaving seem so minor, that it makes me question what the real reason is. Or...if she is that concerned about those minor issues, then she will find nitpicky things with me as well.

It could be the pregnancy hormones. But im not sure if I want to deal with a hormonal momma lol- ALL of my friends, and my sister are currently pregnant! lol
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:50 AM
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Interview and get a better feel for it; you can always say no!

I don't see red flags, per se....I'm actually wondering if the child uses an *open cup* and the current provider doesn't let her?

I would write down your concerns and the things she talked about and then ask for more detail. "I remember you mentioned that you don't like that your current provider wants the children to say all done; can you tell me more about that, or why it bothers you?" (Maybe she wants her daughter to say, "May I be excused?")

The one thing that slightly concerns me is her assertion that goldfish and nutragrain bars stop the 20mo from eating healthy food....that seems preposterous unless there's something going on like mom is sending in kale chips and child would rather have the goldfish....I don't know if you're like me but I adhere to food program guidelines even though I don't "have" to so there's always a healthy variety of healthy foods. And some treats here and there. But what's life without treats?

(I once lost a client because at the interview she didn't like that one day we had donuts, bananas, and milk for snack--my daughter's first day of kindy and one dcb's birthday on the same day!)
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:52 AM
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I'd go ahead and interview her, then trust your instincts once you've had an opportunity to meet her.

One thing I've found over the years is that people rarely tell the whole story about why they are leaving their current provider. Sometimes they make it out to be much worse than what it was, sometimes they try to down play it so it doesn't seem like they're "high maintenance." You could try to combat this by asking for their current provider's information as a reference. Whenever I've asked for a former provider's info I normally get a lot of back pedaling, which tells me they're not quite being honest .

Nothing can substitute for your own intuition in these cases .
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:20 AM
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I would meet with her first, and get that "in person " feeling.

She could have a combination of reasons for leaving the daycare. I would go over your program with a fine-tooth comb and then directly ask her if she feels that you would be a good fit? Ask her what would prompt her to leave a provider she knew and trusted, because it can't just simply be about goldfish and nutrigrain bars, even if she would prefer to feed fresh berries and such at home, that cannot be a motivating factor for one to pull their kid from a satisfactory child care situation. (I would outright ask and see her body language; if she gives you a flustered, hurried response, perhaps it is simply because you'd be cheaper or another reason she's not mentioned and she doesn't want to admit it; if she is honest about that, then I'd probe more). If you find out that something else was going on, have her be specific. If it IS about rates, then ask her if she intends on being long-term. Tell her your concerns that "If you took the baby out of this lady's care (even though child was given excellent quality care) because I'm cheaper, how can you assure me that you won't do the same thing to me for the same reasons if someone else cheaper comes along?" See how she responds.

If you don't get a good feeling, ultimately, I would continue interviewing other prospects and go with your gut. But, certainly you can give her the opportunity to interview. Like a PP said: Interviewing her doesn't mean you have to take her.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:53 AM
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You have all given me a lot to think about. Im not sure about the cheaper suggestion- I am actually on the pricier side, and would be charging her full price regardless of how long they are here, which I confirmed with her up front. Aah- decisions, decisions.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydaycarelady View Post
Really only you can make this decision. We don't know how badly you need another child in care, how hard it is to find new clients, etc.

I do see red flags though. She knows her child is happy so I think most parents would overlook the other (minor in my opinion) issues. So they must be BIG issues to dcm.


what seems like no big deal to me/other parents is a HUGE deal to some. It just depends on their priorities. Nutragrain bars I would even make an issue over, honestly those things are processed junk.

A LOT of people would leave over food issues. That's the #1 reason I have 2 of my current clients. There is a licensed daycare in our area that is VERY misleading. One Mom didn't know until she came to pick up at lunch, the menu said spaghetti and meatballs, diced peaches... chef Boyardee and peaches from a can! and they are a 'real food' family, the kid gets ZERO processed foods at home. I am the healthiest alternative in the immediate area (although I do still serve some processed food- they are usually the healthiest alternatives and organic). I am gradually moving away from anything processed.

I would interview and get a better feel for the family and situation. If nutrition is really that important to her, have her write a list of the kiddos favorite meals, fruits, and veggies. Show her a menu sample, ask what she specifically wants avoided, that sort of thing. Nutrition is important to me, and I LIKE getting clients with the same food concerns. It means that all of my healthy, organic meals aren't going in the trash or being 'ruined' with ramen noodles and canned corn for dinner. I also find that if nutrition is a priority, so are discipline and having supplies......in my experience anyway
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:15 AM
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I would definitely interview her. What do you have to lose? Sometimes things are not explained write in an email or text. It's better to get it in a conversation. Maybe she's just coming across bad.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:38 AM
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Maybe she's out comparing daycares to see if she can find something better? Wonder if she's already been visiting others?
I think, if it were me, I'd meet with her, let her read all the paperwork, especially going over the concerns she's already expressed about the other provider, see how it all feels to you. Never hurts to meet with them, right?
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
I wouldn't bother to interview this one. I'd tell the mom that it sounds like much the same way that I do things at my care, and I don't think that she would be any happier with me than with the current provider, and wish her luck on finding the right fit.
I agree 100%
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
I wouldn't bother to interview this one. I'd tell the mom that it sounds like much the same way that I do things at my care, and I don't think that she would be any happier with me than with the current provider, and wish her luck on finding the right fit.
I agree, also. This sounds a lot like the dcm I posted about here several months ago. She was perfectly happy, and her daughter was well adjusted at her current dc center, but she was still shopping around?! The reasons she gave me were petty ones, and I was weary about the whole situation.
She wound up signing a contract, and backing out at the last minute. Her reason- her current dc decided to "work with her" on her an earlier drop off, so she could stay?! She never even mentioned hours as a reason she was leaving. I think some of these wishy washy parents interview all around to see if the grass is greener, and waste our time completely.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:42 PM
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"the provider took too many kids and didn't take direction from the parents"

This alone would make me not interview.

Unless the provider is over-ratio, "too many kids" is the DCM's personal opinion. A parent has no right to decide or have any input into how many kids a provider has as long as she is legal.

Her comment makes it obvious that she expects to give directions in the care of her child. It is clear she does not understand that she is not hiring an employee or that she is looking to enroll her child in a GROUP setting and is not entitled to individual care.

I don't think she would be a good fit.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
I wouldn't bother to interview this one. I'd tell the mom that it sounds like much the same way that I do things at my care, and I don't think that she would be any happier with me than with the current provider, and wish her luck on finding the right fit.
I don't think she will be happy at your house either.

Last edited by Blackcat31; 02-17-2014 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:06 PM
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I really dislike wasting my time. I have terminated a family that seemed too demanding before they even began here (after giving a deposit) due to 3 e-mails that didn't sit well with me. I refunded them and told them I hoped they found a better fit elsewhere.

There is nothing in this world that makes me dread work more than a Harvard Mom/High Maintenance Mom or a parent who doesn't follow policy. We all have our things that we just can't live with so you have to decide if this is something you can.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meeko View Post
"the provider took too many kids and didn't take direction from the parents"

This alone would make me not interview.

Unless the provider is over-ratio, "too many kids" is the DCM's personal opinion. A parent has no right to decide or have any input into how many kids a provider has as long as she is legal.

Her comment makes it obvious that she expects to give directions in the care of her child. It is clear she does not understand that she is not hiring an employee or that she is looking to enroll her child in a GROUP setting and is not entitled to individual care.

I don't think she would be a good fit.
I agree - and further I think if you go through with the interview you may feel more tempted to take her on...I know I would
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:33 PM
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I personally would not waste my time. I don't have a problem with the parents having whatever reasons about leaving previous childcare....my biggest problem is that she has already given conflicting stories about what is going on in this scenario. If you are not confident enough to go thru every detail on your contract and ask some pointed questions about her expectations as well as enforce all rules from the beginning, then I would pass on this. Yes, what you are seeing are red flags. Its up to you if you want to take the risk or not.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Those could be red flags or they could be nervous pregnancy hormones.

It could simply be that the other provider does not give a sibling discount and your rates will be cheaper with two kids in care. (some are embarrassed to admit this)

It could be that she is desperately trying to win your approval and thinks she is flattering you by trashing her old provider.

It could also be the stereotypical transition from 1st kid to 2nd kid. My bet is she will become more laid back pretty quickly after the birth.

I'd do the interview and see how she interacts in your environment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSabre25 View Post
Interview and get a better feel for it; you can always say no!

I don't see red flags, per se....I'm actually wondering if the child uses an *open cup* and the current provider doesn't let her?

I would write down your concerns and the things she talked about and then ask for more detail. "I remember you mentioned that you don't like that your current provider wants the children to say all done; can you tell me more about that, or why it bothers you?" (Maybe she wants her daughter to say, "May I be excused?")

The one thing that slightly concerns me is her assertion that goldfish and nutragrain bars stop the 20mo from eating healthy food....that seems preposterous unless there's something going on like mom is sending in kale chips and child would rather have the goldfish....I don't know if you're like me but I adhere to food program guidelines even though I don't "have" to so there's always a healthy variety of healthy foods. And some treats here and there. But what's life without treats?

(I once lost a client because at the interview she didn't like that one day we had donuts, bananas, and milk for snack--my daughter's first day of kindy and one dcb's birthday on the same day!)
Both of these. I'd do the interview and then trust my gut.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:57 PM
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What did you choose to do?
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