Reduction of hours!
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  1. #1
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    Default Reduction of hours!

    What do you do when families book places months in advance then drop the odd evening/morning because of school karate,hockey,gym club once the new school academic year starts and the schools announce their clubs timetables?
    Parents seem to think it's fine to do this as its only one session out of their five days but when several children do this, it obviously has a financial impact on the business.
    I was supposed to be full and have turned lots of business away,but when just one session is dropped, it's hard to fill it again until the following September. This is so annoying when we r literally only in November.
    I have a 6 week cancellation policy when children leave completely but nothing really in place for a reduction of hours. Just wondered at everyone does?

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    Quote Originally Posted by poppy321 View Post
    What do you do when families book places months in advance then drop the odd evening/morning because of school karate,hockey,gym club once the new school academic year starts and the schools announce their clubs timetables?
    Parents seem to think it's fine to do this as its only one session out of their five days but when several children do this, it obviously has a financial impact on the business.
    I was supposed to be full and have turned lots of business away,but when just one session is dropped, it's hard to fill it again until the following September. This is so annoying when we r literally only in November.
    I have a 6 week cancellation policy when children leave completely but nothing really in place for a reduction of hours. Just wondered at everyone does?
    I don't have anything in place for reduction in hours either but I think some people do have in their contracts something about parents have to give 4 weeks notice of changes in contracted hours. Make it clear though that if an after school club is cancelled at short notice eg: teacher running it is ill or involved in Xmas play rehearsals instead that it will be at your discretion whether you step in to collect that child as it's really the parents responsibility if they want to use the school for unpaid childcare.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppy321 View Post
    What do you do when families book places months in advance then drop the odd evening/morning because of school karate,hockey,gym club once the new school academic year starts and the schools announce their clubs timetables?
    Parents seem to think it's fine to do this as its only one session out of their five days but when several children do this, it obviously has a financial impact on the business.
    I was supposed to be full and have turned lots of business away,but when just one session is dropped, it's hard to fill it again until the following September. This is so annoying when we r literally only in November.
    I have a 6 week cancellation policy when children leave completely but nothing really in place for a reduction of hours. Just wondered at everyone does?
    AFAIC a reduction in hours amounts to a new contract because it is a significant change. It amounts to a tearing up of the old agreement to put a new one in place. So, from a contractual position, the usual notice period should apply in full.

    Personally, I'd waive the notice period and make the change when required, but I'm in the fortunate position that it wouldn't cause me any financial problems, especially with schoolies. So I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to do the same as I.

    IIWY I'd apply the notice period. Face it, they would expect the same if you changed the hours, days, fees or terms. Make sure your contracts reflect this, and change them if necessary to make it clear.

    I'd be tempted to also make it clear that you are turning away genuine enquiries too. Keep an active waiting list. You're not obliged to accept a current client's new preferred hours. They might well think twice if you could show them you have a family eager to fill the space in full.

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    How annoying for you.

    Out of curiosity, do you know if the school clubs are free or also incur a charge?

    I guess at the end of the day these parents just don't know how your business operates. You need to make it clear at the signing contracts stage what happens if a child wishes to do an after school club. As childminders we can't foresee every issue that might come up (like school clubs) but we have to learn from experience going forwards.

    I had one family who suddenly dropped one day a fortnight due to the mum's new contract at work. At first I was gutted, but actually it guaranteed me their custom over the next few years because they would never find anyone who would take them on with the irregular days without charging them full fees, so for me it was worth it in the long run. I did actually manage to find another mindee to make up the hours too - his mum just needed a few hours for her home run business and could be very flexible, so you might just be able to find the odd mindee to fill in some of the gaps.

    Do you know what you are going to do about the families in the short term?

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppy321 View Post
    What do you do when families book places months in advance then drop the odd evening/morning because of school karate,hockey,gym club once the new school academic year starts and the schools announce their clubs timetables?
    Parents seem to think it's fine to do this as its only one session out of their five days but when several children do this, it obviously has a financial impact on the business.
    I was supposed to be full and have turned lots of business away,but when just one session is dropped, it's hard to fill it again until the following September. This is so annoying when we r literally only in November.
    I have a 6 week cancellation policy when children leave completely but nothing really in place for a reduction of hours. Just wondered at everyone does?
    I don't offer a reduction for this as it changes every term/half term with children doing different clubs on different days and sometimes they don't run. My parents are fine with this.

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    Will you be expected to cover when school clubs aren't on, are cancelled, school's closed, Inset days etc?
    If the answer to this is yes, then I would continue to charge, as they're taking a space just not attending. (I would also charge if they do full days in the holidays for the same reason)
    If the answer is no, then I would look to see if it's worthwhile continuing with the contract and make a decision that way.

    Sometimes you have to way up the pros and cons of a situation, if it works for you, great, if not, then you have to work out what will and put that across to parents.
    I also have a 4 week notice period for contractual changes

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  10. #7
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    I also don't offer a reduction. I charge as normal as normally the first & last week of term the activity/class doesn't run. I also make it clear to parents if they want to cancel the space notice has to be paid and it's unlikely they'll get the space back if their child doesn't like the activity or is cancelled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddleywinks View Post
    Will you be expected to cover when school clubs aren't on, are cancelled, school's closed, Inset days etc?
    If the answer to this is yes, then I would continue to charge, as they're taking a space just not attending. (I would also charge if they do full days in the holidays for the same reason)
    If the answer is no, then I would look to see if it's worthwhile continuing with the contract and make a decision that way.

    Sometimes you have to way up the pros and cons of a situation, if it works for you, great, if not, then you have to work out what will and put that across to parents.
    I also have a 4 week notice period for contractual changes
    If parents completely cancel a single day afterschool place, then 4 weeks notice has to be paid for that day.

    If they say child is going to need a space next term when club etc has finished, then I continue to charge, as otherwise I will not guarantee a space.

    If child is going to need to attend when club is cancelled, not on, don't want to go etc, then I carry on charging for that space.

    HOWEVER! just because a parent wants to reduce days, it doesn't mean I have to accept it. I do tell parents that if they wish to alter their contract, I do not have to agree, and can cancel a contract.

    good luck x

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