View Full Version : HELP! Having an awful time after introducing late pick up charges!

14-07-2011, 01:02 PM
Hi all,

Just wondered if anyone had any advice on how to deal with parents who are kicking up a fuss about the late pick-up charges I have just introduced. The reason for introducing the charges was because this particular set of parents were always dropping their child off early and picking her up late and not calling to let me know. Not only is it immensely irritating, but it has meant that I have been late for collection of another child I have to pick up from nursery.
Last week I introduced a £10/15min charge, not as a money-making exercise, but to try and put this particular family off being so regularly late. Every other family have accepted these charges and think they are fair but the parents who are always late have not been happy about it and keep asking for 'meetings' in the evening so I can explain how I can justify the charges.
I'd hate to lose this family as they use me 4 days a week, 9 hours a day and I can't afford to lose out on that sort of money. It's just really upsetting me that they feel they can use me for free childcare. They actually live a few doors down...often I see them arrive home at 4.50pm but they don't come for collection until 5.30pm (15 minutes after the contract ends). How can they have a problem with these charges? If they stuck to the contracted hours, they'd never have to pay a charge...it's within their control!
Any advice on how to deal with them, without aggrevating them would be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance.

14-07-2011, 01:46 PM
Hi :),
Some parents really can't get their heads round the rules - or the fact that its you that makes them :rolleyes:

I would just explain what you have said here. "The amount I have set is deliberately at a rate to discourage late pick ups. If you collect at the time agreed you will never have to pay".

If you are able and willing perhaps you could offer to extend the hours by 1/2 hour?

If they argue the toss; that's not fair because this or that might happen / what if there's an earthquake, etc try not to get dragged into a separate conversation about that. A brief explanation: it messes up your day and the routines of other children etc is good, but - Keep bringing them back to the contracted hours and the time they agreed to collect by. Its hard, but they have taken advantage of your kind nature. Time to dig in.

Really hope it goes ok. Good luck :thumbsup:

best wishes,
Wendy :)

14-07-2011, 01:56 PM
What Florabird says.:thumbsup:

Get tough with them - set it out plain and simple. Tell them this is how it is - end of. And if they feel they cannot accept them they are welcome to go elsewhere. I know you say you don't want to loose them but I have learned the hard way .. i would rather be without the money than have my life made difficult by an awkward family.

As for making you late - well I wouldn't be waiting for them and make me late for any other child - incuding my own. if they didn't have the courtesy to be one time then I would go as planned and they would have to come and find me...

The Juggler
14-07-2011, 02:02 PM
agree with florabird too - and YOU! How can they have a problem. They obviously need pointing out that paying this late collection/early drop fee is totally within their control. If they live so close how are they managing to drop early :panic: :rolleyes:

Chatterbox Childcare
14-07-2011, 02:06 PM
I would offer to permanently extend the contract to the hours that they are using and then you would know where you are and they wouldn't be offended by the charges

14-07-2011, 03:13 PM
I think you need to remind them of what their contracted hours are, and what that means (ie. they cannot drop off, or collect after, the agreed times). If they want to extend their hours (and if you're happy to), tell them how much extra they will have to pay every day. But then also stress that if they go outside these new hours, the late/early fees will still apply.

Like everyone else has said, it is totally within their control whether or not they pay these charges. They just need to understand something that seems very straight forward - stick to your times & you won't get charged!

14-07-2011, 03:14 PM
me too i agree,,,, nursery charges £10 for every 15 mins to pay for 2 members of staff £5 each ... ofsted wouldnt like it if your always over on your numbers because of their lateness!!!! good luck and stick to ya guns hun x

14-07-2011, 05:20 PM
I find it's often parents who don't fully understand that

1. it's actually your business so you are the boss - in that they don't 'employ' you so get to tell you what to do

2. it's entirely up to you what you charge - they wouldn't ask a painter/decorater to lower his hourly charge etc and there's NO way they'd stay at work longer hours for NO extra pay ever!!

3. it's not just their child you have to care for - so you don't ever need to pick up other children as theirs is definately the most important etc

4. you will charge what you've said - many feel it's not them and doesn't apply to them - had some parents collecting children whilst on the mobile phone so couldn't really do a quick chat about the day/anything, did a newsletter saying that parents should have the courtesy to complete conversation prior to collection and to ease things I would hold onto child for a few minutes whilst conversation was sorted (how long does it take to say, sorry, can you call me back at x time!!??!!)

Maybe a 'meeting' to discuss your new charges with the possibility of PERMANENTLY extending their hours would help.


14-07-2011, 05:25 PM
Hi hun,
Im in the process of being registered so have not yet had to deal with this but i have worked in many nursery's and have watched my manager deal with parents who have issues with late fees.
They sent the parents a letter (put the letter in their hand and said this is an explanation of why we have a late fee policy.) Parents excepted this as a) it was on paper. 2) they had a copy of the late fee policy and 3) because they could not dispute the fact that they had been warned in writing.

I suggest you write a letter, include a copy of your late fee policy and be confident when you give it to them. I would also put a note if your diary? child's day book or somewhere the date you gave it to the parents. I would send them the letter because they can not argue with black and white but face to face they can beat you down and make you feel you are in the wrong.

This is how i would word the letter

Dear (parents names or parents of child's name),
As you have asked for an explanation of why I have introduced a late collection fee. I have taken it upon myself to write this letter to you with the explanation you have asked for. I have placed it in writing so that should you need to refer to it at any point in the future you are able to. I have also enclosed my late fee policy for your viewing.

I have introduced a late fee as several of my minded children (This is a lie but then it doesnt seem like you are attacking them directly) are continuously being collected late and I need this to stop for several reasons. by listing the reasons you take away any arguments they may have
Firstly as you may already be aware I am inspected by a company called Ofsted, the same company with which I am registered to care for ___ under 3's and ____ 5-8 years old's. Ofsted carry out inspections which are unannounced and should i be found to be over my registered numbers Ofsted will enforce disciplinary action onto myself for breaching my registration requirements.
Secondly by allowing parents to arrive late for collection it disrupts my routine and my other minded children. As I am then late myself for school/Nursery collections (which then means I incur a late collection fee) or implementing my routine etc meal times and activities.
This is unfair to parents and children using my services therefore I have introduced a late collection fee to ensure this does not happen and that my daily routine runs smoothly, thus all children get the benefits of the routine not being delayed and all parts of the routine can be carried out without being rushed.
Constant late collection can also have an impact on the child who is late in being collected as it may cause said child to be come distressed and unnecessary upset. I wish to avoid this.
The late fee has been put in place as a deterrent, I do not wish to enforce it. However my priority is all the children within my care.
As you will appreciate as a parent it is my duty to ensure I am providing the best service I can and I am unable to do this if parents continue to collect their children after the contracted time.
As stated in my Late collection policy the penalty for persistent late collection will be a fee of £10 per ever 15 minuets.
For parents who collect children late as a one-off due to circumstances out of their control such as traffic or natural disaster will not be charged but will be expected to contact me and let me know that they are going to be collected late and the reason as to why the late collection is necessary.
I believe this letter has explained in depth as to why I have implemented a late collection charge and will have hopefully helped you gain an understanding into why I feel it is necessary.
If at any point any of the follow is unclear or you wish to discuss extending your child's hours please contact me.
Many Thanks and Kindest Regards
Your extremely annoyed child minder (I would sign this with my name not the phrase used lol)

Hope this helps, feel free to use the letter if you wish and I wish you all the best.

Tara x

14-07-2011, 05:50 PM
Wow! Thanks everyone. It's very reassuring reading all of your comments and has calmed me down quite significantly!! I love the letter and may have to use it if they come back to me again. I have already written a letter, sent out an updated late collection policy and written them another letter detailing what we talked about. Some people just keep needing to be told it seems!
I am getting to the point now where my sanity is preferable to their cash but hopefully it won't come to that and they will just accept it.
Thanks again for your support and advice - it's all very much appreciated!

15-07-2011, 07:30 AM
Some parents simply dont realise what 'contracted hours' means. I have had to write in newsletters that their contracted times are the times which their child should arrive and should have left by. One parent said to me 'what on the dot?' (as in 5.30 on the dot!) and was most surprised when I said yes! :laughing:

I have also pointed out that the finish time is the time their child should have left the building not the time parents should arrive to collect (and then stand around for half an hour discussing the boss, their bf or their inlaws...)

It works for a while and then goes back to square one with some people... :rolleyes:

17-07-2011, 12:36 PM
They are asking you for meetings to justify late fees? Ask them to justify to you why they consider it acceptable for them to breach the contracted times consistently which means they receive free childcare and you are unable to keep any appointments that you have made in your own free time.

17-07-2011, 02:07 PM
They are asking you for meetings to justify late fees? Ask them to justify to you why they consider it acceptable for them to breach the contracted times consistently which means they receive free childcare and you are unable to keep any appointments that you have made in your own free time.

Oh LIKEY ^^^^ very much:clapping:

28-07-2011, 01:25 PM
Hi all,

I wanted to update you on my situation as things have gone from bad to worse. Had a meeting with the parents, which became very heated. They were really patronising and attacking towards me and my new policy, so I got defensive and all did not end well.
This morning at the childs drop off, the father got angry again and removed the child from my care. What do I do?!! The kind of people they are, they'll probably take it further, not that I should have anything to worry about..., apart from my reputation.
How has it ended like this over a policy?!! I've documented it all, have accepted their withdrawal via email and have asked for them to still pay their 4 weeks notice. Is there anything else you think I should do?

Thanks in advance...feel awful about it, mostly for the poor, lovely child stuck in the middle of it, who'll have to now start afresh somewhere else.

28-07-2011, 05:20 PM
Just make sure that they don't try to wriggle out of paying the notice payments! It does sound as though they thought that they could do pretty much what they wanted and your views and policies were not valid:(


28-07-2011, 06:00 PM
Hi :),

Thanks for the update - sorry its not wored out more positively for you though :( . Bless, you must be very stressed by the situation.

To be honest it sounds as though you have done everything you can really. You've enforced some rules to make sure parents respect your reasonable expectations. Parents have refused to accept them. They are free to walk away but as you have not broken the terms of the contract they are still obliged to pay the notice period whether they like it or not.

I'd just keep everything calm and cool now. Make sure you have everything in writing and follow any advice from your insurance company regarding outstanding fees etc. As things do seem to get heated when you meet, I would try to avoid personal contact and stick with written communication from now on :thumbsup:

hope you get your money, but if not, be glad to be rid of parents who don't respect or value your setting and the service you offer. Their loss :rolleyes:

Good luck, hope another family come along soon :thumbsup:

best wishes,
Wendy :)

The Juggler
28-07-2011, 09:05 PM
sorry they didn't see sense hon. honestly, don't they realise they were totally in control of whether or not they paid these extra charges. all they had to do was respect the terms you set out :panic:

29-07-2011, 12:02 AM
Really sorry to hear it's ended this way.

Hope you get your notice money and find a new (much nicer) family soon

Miffy xx

30-07-2011, 07:42 PM
It's probably a blessing in disguise, they sound awful. You've done the right thing by keeping meticulous records about the situation. There isn't really anywhere they can take it and reputation works both ways. They'll have difficulty in finding another childminder who will put up with their ways so will inevitably find themselves either losing one income to stay at home, or relenting with another minder by accepting that they cannot have it all ways.