What holidays do you take in a year and what do you charge parents?
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  1. #1
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    Question What holidays do you take in a year and what do you charge parents?

    Hi, I know everyone asks this but wanted to ask again! What do you charge for term time only contracts before and after school? I currently charge £4 per hour and a half rate retainer fee in the hols to keep the space open for the following term. I have spoken to parents about a slight increase in hourly rate but no fees in the hols and they wanted to keep things as they were. Do you charge more if you don't charge for the holidays?

    I had someone start before the summer. I didn't do the contract and said we'd start in the September. The first morning of school in September I rang to see where they were and they'd dropped me. This has happened to me twice. I was considering starting a registration fee of £10 which includes all the paperwork (policies, permission forms etc). I'm printing all my paperwork off for parents and putting into a file then they've finished before we get started! Annoying as alot of hard work has gone into writing my paperwork, then printing it all off etc Was also going to include a usb stick in this price for files, photos etc for parents to take home daily. Does anyone else charge a registration set up? It was a thought.

    I also currently charge full rate if I'm open and nothing if I'm not. I do allow parents 2 weeks free for them to take holidays. Some other childminders in the area allow 4 weeks at half rate for CM holidays and 4 weeks half rate for parent holidays. This bugs alot of people as they are paying for the Cm holidays. What holidays do you take? Tbh, I've started taking more holidays since my children have started school and give parents my holidays in January for the rest of the year. This is normally about 4-5 weeks for the year, then still giving parents 2 weeks. As most of my lo's are due for contract reviews or renewals I was considering stopping their 2 weeks for free. Alot of local childminders say I'm doing myself out of pocket, then one of my parents said she expected to pay for her holidays. Don't want to be upsetting all my parents!

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    I am term time only.
    My parents are teachers mainly so this works out fine for me.
    I will offer occasional days if needed in holidays if I am not away.
    I charge full price in term time, full price if anyone goes on holiday ( eg with grandparents) or if they are sick. If I had to close I would not charge. Long term sickness ( more than a month) of the child is negotiated .

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    I take a 4 week deposit when signing a contract - no pay - no place, no start - no refund (unless I'm the one that chooses not to start the contract)

    I charge slightly more for part timers be that for : before and after schoolers, Term Time Only, Holidays Only, or children that attend for part of the day
    Charging a retainer during the holidays, by rights, means that space should be kept available for the parent to use, so that would restrict taking on a holiday only child (more money), or doing activities during the holidays - having to be back by 3pm just in case parent decides they need care....no thank you.

    Holidays - if I'm not open I don't charge.
    I allow myself 5 weeks and give parents dates in January so they have plenty of notice (1wk at Easter, 2 in the summer and 2 at Christmas generally).
    If a parent wants to take time off when I'm working, they pay, the same as they would if the child was ill.


    I think you need to identify why you are looking at changing your fees - is it because you aren't happy with them, or because others are telling/advising you to change them so you are in line with them - AKA Jealousy that you have work and they don't or the local (using Bunyips term here) 'childminding mafia'?

    If you are happy with your fees, and parents are happy with your fees, and you are making a happy living then why fix something that's not broken?
    The beauty of this job is that we are all different and it's down to those differences that we have parents choose us over CM x, y or z.

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  6. #4
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    Thanks for that. My TTO never want me in the hols and are happy to pay the retainer. Regarding the start up, I normally do the first 2 weeks on trial and they pay each week. I've never had problem with the payment, it's just the frustration of sorting all the paperwork then they decide childcare will cost too much and make alternative arrangements. To be honest, I'm not bothered about taking kids on after school or during the holidays so I'm happy with the payment I get I was trying to make it easier by having an all round figure.

    Regarding the holidays, many CM's in my area hardly take any holidays and charge parents for full all through the year. I do need my break and give plenty of notice and don't charge. Other CM's have said my parents have a few weeks to choose from with my holidays and should pay in full regardless of their holidays. It's when I have these conversations I feel I am doing myself out of pocket. I feel I am very fair with parents and everyone is happy but then when they expect to pay for their time off and don't, I guess that's why! LOL!

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    I charge full fee for child/parents holidays sickness late start/ early finish. I don't charge for my sickness. I take four weeks unpaid hols each year. As my children are both older I take 2 weeks in term time and two weeks in school hols. I spread the fees over 12 months so I get the same each month.

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    All my before and after school children are TTO I don't charge a retainer as their parents don't need me and to be honest I don't really want a house full of big kids who get bored really easily in the holidays.
    I take 6-7 weeks holiday a year parents are told in January, I average my fees out so I get paid the same every month.
    If parents want holidays at a different time to my holidays full fees are payable.
    Love Amanda

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    I have had TTO children in the past and when I did I charged a higher hourly rate than my non-TTO children and I didn't charge anything during the holidays because I didn't want the spaces used. I did however expect payment for September to be paid at the end of July in order to guarantee no-one would turn around near the start of the new school year and tell me they don't need me anymore, all parents were fine with that. My holidays are the same for everyone, tto or not. If I am open and it is a contracted day they pay, if I am closed they don't pay. So if a tto child took holiday during term time they would still have to pay me. If they take it during school hols then they don't pay me as they are not contracted to me that time.

    xxx

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    Give or take a bit of negotiation/flexibility, for school runs, I charge:-
    • £10 for before or after school: includes up to 2 hours care and and breakfast or tea if they're here at the time it is served.
    • £15 for before and after school: includes up to 3 hours care and and breakfast and tea if they're here at the time it is served.

    I've had a few gripes about these 'higher' fixed fees (compared with normal hourly rates) but:-
    • Schoolies consume a lot of food and resources (crafts, etc.) in a short time.
    • I have to consider the additional walking time and disruption to be at school in time, or return after - ie. it's a 2-way trip for each school run, which parents don't consider.
    • I still have the same fixed costs of registration, insurance, subscriptions, time taken over invoices, newsletters, etc. whether I have a child for a day or for an hour.
    • A lot of people will pay £10 - £30 an hour for services such as dog-walking or hairdressing which involve far less cost, training and responsibility than caring for a child.
    • I've had enquiries for school runs of as little as 20 minutes which, if done on an hourly rate, simple aren't worth the candle.

    I don't charge any extra or retainers, etc. for TTO. I may consider an enhanced rate for TTO in the future. I'm getting more and more TTO clients and it may become unsustainable. Having not put in any fee increases in 3 years, I'd be tempted to apply a fee increase to TTO contracts first, IYSWIM. Problem is that, with the rate for LA funded hours lagging behind, I'd have to bring in a 10% fee increase to raise my actual income by less than 5%.

    I offer all-year-round clients up to 4 weeks free for non-attendance for their own holidays. Reasons given in numerous previous posts (some quite recent, so search through my profile for recent posts, or tell me if you want me to bang on about it in full......again. )

    I don't charge for my own holiday closure periods. My own holidays this year amounted to 7 days which I chose to go away (a Monday-Friday and a Friday-Monday closure.) I close at Easter and Christmas on days when nobody wants me. I ask clients to give me the dates they need a few weeks ahead of Easter and Christmas, then base my closure on those who bother to reply, and announce it. Somebody who couldn't be ar5ed to reply invariably moans that they "really need Christmas Eve" and I no longer budge once I've made the annoncement. I have some vain hope that they'll finally get it and learn, but it just don't happen.

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    I used to take just 12 days off but realised I needed more time off - mainly because hubby gets 6 weeks and I found I didn't like being at work while he was going out for lunch but also because I'd been feeling tired and stressed the last couple of years so last year took 26 days off and tried not to think of the inconvenience to families and lost income... It was lovely! In the interests of keeping things simple I don't charge when I'm not working but do if I am.

    I've been struggling with my decision to only charge parents from drop off to school. Several come at 8.30 when we leave for school so charge 8.30-9.00. I realise I employ an assistant just for these school runs which doesn't make sense, nor do I want to lose the families so feeling a bit stuck! I do have these children for full days in the holidays (no assistant needed then) so figure it all works out in the end.

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    I charge everyone the same rate by the hour so no fixed fees but do have minimum 2 hours for after schoolie. I don't charge retainer for TTO mindees as I prefer to be quieter in the holidays & as I take all my leave during school holidays it doesn't affect TTO children.

    For year round mindees I charge for 51 weeks of the year (closed between christmas & NY) & take 4 weeks paid leave per year plus sometimes an extra week unpaid. I inform parents of my dates at the start of the year and they've always just coincided dates so don't end up paying twice for cover. If children don't come for any reason they still pay but I don't charge for my sickness.

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    I take 4-6 weeks a year depending what holidays we have planned. If we have a booked Holiday then I tell parents well in advance otherwise it's 4 weeks notice as per contract.
    Parents pay 50% when they take holidays(4 weeks notice) and 50% when I'm in holidays. 4 weeks maximum on either side. If they take more then it's full fee. If I take more than 4, then I don't charge a fee.
    TTO pay 50% retainer for the holidays where I am working.
    For new starters I take a £100 non refundable deposit on signing of contracts. This then gets taken off their first months fees and also used towards settling in sessions. So if they use £50 worth of hours and then decide they do not want the place, I do not lose out. I get what I have worked for and retain £50 for the inconvenience. However in reality, everyone takes up their place and this is deducted off the first months fees. So if they go ahead with the place,they are not actually losing anything either. Works well for me.

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  21. #12
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    I offer all-year-round clients up to 4 weeks free for non-attendance for their own holidays. Reasons given in numerous previous posts (some quite recent, so search through my profile for recent posts, or tell me if you want me to bang on about it in full......again. )

    I don't charge for my own holiday closure periods. My own holidays this year amounted to 7 days which I chose to go away (a Monday-Friday and a Friday-Monday closure.) I close at Easter and Christmas on days when nobody wants me. I ask clients to give me the dates they need a few weeks ahead of Easter and Christmas, then base my closure on those who bother to reply, and announce it. Somebody who couldn't be ar5ed to reply invariably moans that they "really need Christmas Eve" and I no longer budge once I've made the annoncement. I have some vain hope that they'll finally get it and learn, but it just don't happen. [/QUOTE]


    Hi Bunyip - yes please feel free to bang on about it - had a quick look through your posts and there's alot! Didn't see that particular post!

    Thanks

  22. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    I offer all-year-round clients up to 4 weeks free for non-attendance for their own holidays. Reasons given in numerous previous posts (some quite recent, so search through my profile for recent posts, or tell me if you want me to bang on about it in full......again. )

    I don't charge for my own holiday closure periods. My own holidays this year amounted to 7 days which I chose to go away (a Monday-Friday and a Friday-Monday closure.) I close at Easter and Christmas on days when nobody wants me. I ask clients to give me the dates they need a few weeks ahead of Easter and Christmas, then base my closure on those who bother to reply, and announce it. Somebody who couldn't be ar5ed to reply invariably moans that they "really need Christmas Eve" and I no longer budge once I've made the annoncement. I have some vain hope that they'll finally get it and learn, but it just don't happen.
    Yes, please feel free to bang on about it! I did have a look through your posts and there's alot! Didn't see that particular post.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlot View Post
    Yes, please feel free to bang on about it! I did have a look through your posts and there's alot! Didn't see that particular post.

    Thanks
    This is a cut/paste of a fairly recent contribution. Those of you who've read it before, please feel free to tune out and I won't mind at all.

    I charge full fee for a sickness absence (exception: see below.)

    I charge nothing for my holiday (tbf, I don't expect my electrician to pop round and surcharge me a few extra quid on the work he did earlier in the year cos he's off to Spain next week.) It just strikes me as a weird thing for self-employed people to do, but then CMing has to be the weirdest sector I've ever encountered.

    TTO parents pay for...er...what it says on the tin: term time only. No sneaky little holiday retainers, but I do expect them to pay for the whole term, so no sneaky little let-offs cos the child goes to a party or playday at cousin Billy's to save Mummy the price of a new hairdo.

    My all-year-round contracts offer all parents the equivalent of 4 weeks unpaid absence. I get sick of hearing mums at toddler group saying, "I'm off work next week but still sending little Rupert to his CM. She charges me, so I might as well use it." I'm not sure I like that attitude, but I can't exactly blame them if they want to get something they're paying for. Personally, I don't want to incentivise that way of thinking/acting. I want parents to feel they are welcome to enjoy their time with their child.

    One big factor for me is that I hear considerable evidence that making parents pay for something they're not getting is one of the biggest reasons why clients feel aggrieved about childcare costs. To me, it makes perfect sense to not P-off my clients.

    It's worth adding that I normally expect 4 weeks' notice of parents' holiday absence and normally charge for sickness. But I'm not averse to making an exception to this if a parent takes a couple of days leave from work to stay at home with their sick child. That way, I avoid a lot of the problems other CMs have over parents trying to send a sick child to make everyone else at the setting poorly.

    BUT: this is me, my business and my way of doing it. It isn't the only way or the only 'right' way. We're all self-employed grown-ups and decide for ourselves and for our own reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post


    One big factor for me is that I hear considerable evidence that making parents pay for something they're not getting is one of the biggest reasons why clients feel aggrieved about childcare costs. To me, it makes perfect sense to not P-off my clients.
    I had a parent visit me this week with the very same complaint about her current childminder. She spent the first 10 minutes telling me how her childminder had said she would not charge for bank holidays and her holidays or child's holidays in school holidays, and recently had decided to charge for the bank holidays. 'Where did it say this?' she asked, 'in my new parents pack' (which mum had never seen) she replied.

    Mum only works on a Monday and Friday, ( and actually works in an industry when she may actually have to go to work on those days)

    The bank holidays was the first of her 'niggles' as she called them, and because she felt turned over by the childminder. She is now voting by feet and looking for a new Childcare provider!!!!!

  25. #16
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    Thanks for that. I don't charge for my sickness or holidays and agree with Bunyip - how can people charge when they're not available. I say the same, I wouldn't pay for a plumber if he didn't turn up.

    I have always charged half rate on bank holidays and double if worked but am always available should parents want me and am actually prepared to work them unlike some CM's who charge full rate regardless! Parents have always been happy with this.

    I know what you're saying Bunyip about "I'm paying I might as well send them". I get that when I offer 2 weeks free for all year childcare. I have taken more leave each year and have booked nearly 6 weeks this year over the 12 months and have decided to shut for Christmas without charging half rate for bank holidays - Yes, I did charge half rate because I used to have parents who worked shifts and required these days so I was prepared to work them. So my all year parents will only be paying for 46 weeks of the year now. I think that gives them the opportunity to book some holidays at least. I've also decided to charge a slightly higher rate for TTO but scrapped my half rate in the hols. tbh, it makes it simpler for me and costs less for parents. Everyone happy - I hope! There will always be someone moaning!

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  27. #17
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    One more thing - Bunyip, regarding you offering time to parents to care for a sick child, I recently had one sent to me poorly and when I rang the parents, they still wouldn't take time off work! They rang the grandparents! I could see parents scamming me out of leave saying their child was sick. Can't win!

 

 

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