View Full Version : What would you say?

28-05-2016, 09:56 PM
28th of each month is my pay date (in advance for the following month). Each parent payed me on time today via bank transfer, but one parent hasn't, despite me reminding her on Wednesday tea time that the fee is this Saturday. This parent is very nice and so is her child (who is after school only) but i find that nearly every month on pay date i'm having to text her to remind her. She does pay me that same day then. Last month on the 28th she apologised saying sorry i sent the money this morning but will double check. Guess what.. I know she didn't send the money that morning as seconds later it appeared in my bank account.

I'm a bit miffed as i text her late morning today to remind her that the fee is due today and i said apologies if she had already transferred it. Don't really know why i said that as i know she hadn't sent the money! 10.45pm and still no money from her! Mum is quick enough to text me about things and i always reply, but she hasn't even replied to my text to say sorry or that she has sent the money. I know bank transfers go through on a weekend as 2 other sets of parents did it ok today, so she can't use that excuse! I know she's not away and she's a mum who's in her 20's so at a guess she's always got her mobile phone with her.

I can see me having to contact her again about the fee, so how do you think i should go about it.. Text or phone call and what's the best way to word it? I do charge £10 a day late fee but i have never had to use this with any parent. Is there a way i can word it politely by bringing the late fee into it? Should i maybe wait until after the bank holiday before contacting her or you think i have every right to do it tomorrow (Sunday)?

28-05-2016, 10:35 PM
One way is to put the late fee on the next invoice as a charge, then offset it with a discretionary credit/waiver, with a note to the effect that the late fee is being waived on this occasion, but you reserve the right to charge it in future. This in itself can provide the required jolt for some parents.

If that's not enough, and the problem persists, then you build up the evidence over time to say, "look, I've waived £100/whatever in late fees, but it's still happening and look how often it's happening."

IMHO it's important to show the fee as chargeable in this way, and to use that important word "discretionary". It you just ignore it all the time, you can run into a legal problem of "custom and practice". ie. You sort of lose the right to apply late fees and/or expect prompt payment because the client can demonstrate that you were, in practice, content to accept late payment.

There was a recent example of this on Nutmummies. A lot of the comments were that the CM had always accepted late payment, so that had become the norm and so she had no legal right to enforce payment on time.

29-05-2016, 09:53 AM
Thanks. I decided to text her again, just under an hour ago, and asked if she had received my text from yesterday regarding the fee. Still waiting for a reply, but doubt i'll get one! Going to have to ring her otherwise. Feel peeved off about it!

29-05-2016, 02:39 PM
I try not to text / message about fees - if that's the parents preferred contact method then I'll do it once but then I go straight to a letter with the outstanding balance detailed and a copy of the contract / fees policy with the relevant late payment information highlighted ...

It's really tricky to stay professional and businesslike especially when you get friendly with parents - but that's why we have contracts etc.

I hope it is resolved quickly :D