View Full Version : Cancelling Contracts Before Start Date

07-04-2011, 04:35 PM
Please forgive me if this is in the wrong forum

I am the husband of a childminder and a question has come up.

A couple of months ago, my wife completed the relevant contracts etc and agreed to look after a child - start date a month later. The week before the start date, the mother found that her hours had been drastically reduced and it was not worth her working so she didn't take the job. Naturally she did not need my wife's services. She had given my wife a post dated cheque for the 1st month's fees. The date on the cheque was the start date on the contract. She asked my wife to destroy her cheque, which she did.

My wife checked with the NCMA who advised her that as the contract was not in force until the start date then she could not do anything about it.

Question 1 - Is this correct and if so how do other childminders deal or prevent this situation?

On a different tack but similar situation. Another mother has just approached my wife and been signed up etc. She had completed a contract with another childminder but since completing the contract had seen some things she did not like and decided not to use this original childminder. Again this was before the contact started (in fact in this case, the childminder had left the start date blank!). Now my wife who sees this other childminder at the school is being accused of poaching and threatening to report her to the NCMA.

Question2 - How do you deal with situations like this?

Many thanks for any replies and advice

07-04-2011, 05:22 PM
I would ask for a non refundable deposit - usually half of a normal months fees.
That should stop these parents moving from one childminder to another before contracts start.

I have had a parent start with me after she paid a deposit to someone else, she was happy to lose it but its only happened once.

The deposit can be any amount you want but I normally charge a little bit more than half for a part timer and a bit less for a full timer. The deposit then goes towards the first months fees.

Parents!! Ood 'av 'em!!!!:laughing:

07-04-2011, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the quick reply.

A deposit is something that we have discussed but...none of the childminders in this area charge one. So it is the old - who will be first and will they loose business by charging the deposit where as others don't?

07-04-2011, 05:40 PM
The most annoying thing is losing the business having turned other contracts away in the meantime. :(

Unfortunately NCMA are right - if the contract hasn't started then you cannot keep the money unless it's written into your agreement with parents that you keep half or keep the whole amount as a retainer for your services regardless of whether the child comes to you.

Maybe your wife needs to research retainers and make changes to her procedures.

Not a lot can be done about the 'poaching' question I'm afraid. Parents change their minds and childminders get upset...

I would suggest your wife makes sure her contracts / fees policy state money in advance to stop it happening to her - once bitten and all that.

I hope this helps :D

07-04-2011, 05:47 PM
I have had similar before and now I take a non-refundable deposit - this is written into the contract:

if the contract is taken up as planned then the deposit is offset against final fees

if the contract is not taken up as planned by the client the deposit is non-refundable.

sorry this has happened to your wife.

NCMA told me that the start date should be from when you sign the contract.:rolleyes: and this will cover any fees taken

Baildon bears
07-04-2011, 05:47 PM
I ask for a months deposit up front and if they decide they don't want the space I keep it but if all goes ahead that months deposit goes taken off the first months fees, as far as other Childminder goes it's a difficult one I have been in a similar situation where a parent has chosen me over others it's just jealousy just tell her to keep her head low, be professional and it will blow over they will soon find someone else to talk about.

candy cat
07-04-2011, 06:48 PM
I also do a childcare acceptance form which clearly states if they don't take the place it will not get refunded! If we booked a holiday and cancelled it then wouldn't get our money back would we!.....If you would like a copy then email me:)