Retainer or not ?
Thanks Thanks:  0
Likes Likes:  7
Dislikes Dislikes:  0
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    324
    Registered Childminder since
    2004
    Latest Inspection Grade
    GOOD
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Retainer or not ?

    Hello,
    Need an advice please : I have parents coming in a few days for a contract but the only problem is that baby is NOT born yet and they need me to start next April 2019 😮.
    Baby due in July and they will need 30 hours over 3 days and know exactly which days and time .
    What retainer could I ask ? I know that some childminder charge 50% retainer but it would be far too much for all this period . I was thinking about 10% ? Is that reasonable ?
    What would you do ?
    ( I will only start retainer once baby is born I guess )
    Thanks
    V

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    suffolk
    Posts
    1,376
    Registered Childminder since
    June 95
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Good
    Non childminder member
    childminder
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    It seems a long way off to be taking a retainer for me. Have you got the space now or when from? I mean if you have a space from like September then maybe charge from then?
    Someone will come along with lots more advice soon.I have never charged a small retainer unless I actually was keeping a free space and wasn’t even temporarily filling it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,789
    Registered Childminder since
    Nov 10
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I believe the advise is not to make any agreement until baby is born anyway. Pacey contracts advise not before 12 weeks before care.
    I'd tell the family to sit tight and wait to 12 weeks before care needed. Then they can pay a retainer if needed.
    In the mean time, keep in touch, reassure each other that space is still available etc. But anything can change between now and then. Don't get yourself trapped in a situation you may regret in a year's time.

  4. Likes bunyip, loocyloo, Kiddleywinks liked this post
  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    at my computer, of course
    Posts
    4,986
    Registered Childminder since
    Nov 11
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by moggy View Post
    I believe the advise is not to make any agreement until baby is born anyway. Pacey contracts advise not before 12 weeks before care.
    I'd tell the family to sit tight and wait to 12 weeks before care needed. Then they can pay a retainer if needed.
    In the mean time, keep in touch, reassure each other that space is still available etc. But anything can change between now and then. Don't get yourself trapped in a situation you may regret in a year's time.
    This is correct.

    Personally, I’d happily sign a contract more than twelve weeks ahead of care with the right clients, and I wouldn’t charge a retainer, but that’s my personal decision.

    By far the bigger issue here is that you’re dealing with an unborn child. The advice has always been that you should never sign a contract in such circumstances. That includes advice from Pacey, and I believe their insurance/legal support team will not help if you get into dispute over such a contract.

    I can understand both you and the parents wanting to firm things up but, sadly, we have to accept that not all pregnancies end happily. If the worst happens (miscarriage or still birth) you are left with a lot of their money for a service you can never provide. You’d be obliged to refund it, and even that will prove to be a very uncomfortable situation.

    If the baby is born with disabilities, you are legally obliged to provide the childcare service, which potentially could mean you have to spend thousands of pounds on training, equipment and adaptations to your home.

    In any case, I seriously doubt you have any legal basis on which to demand a retainer. It requires you to keep a place available for the client's use. But how can they use it before the child is born? This might be construed as obtaining money by deception, which is a criminal offence. And once it is born, you are obliged to let them start using it immediately . In effect, you’d be contractually committed to take the newborn, even if merely weeks/days/hours old!

    These are extreme examples, but stranger things have happened.

    Hopefully all will turn out well, Inshallah, but do you really want to take these risks?
    Last edited by bunyip; 06-06-2018 at 01:51 PM.

  6. Likes loocyloo liked this post
  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Neverland
    Posts
    2,137
    Registered Childminder since
    Dec 11
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Good ;-)
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Agree with everything said above, there are too many variables that can affect parents requirements or my availability between now and next year.
    So many times we hear of hours changing from 'full time' to the bare minimum making it unworkable/not worth it, grandparents/family/friends stepping in before a start date, or parents staying at home after all.

    I do charge a 50% retainer if I have an available space already, but, I won't sign a contract with more than 3 months before a starting date, and once a contract is signed, that's when I start charging

  8. Likes loocyloo liked this post
  9. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    324
    Registered Childminder since
    2004
    Latest Inspection Grade
    GOOD
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thanks for your reply . I wasn't going to do any paperwork until baby is born anyway .
    I might write contract around December and start retainer from then ( small percentage I guess) until start day in April . I might also have changed and updated a few paperwork by then so there is no need doing that too early .
    Thanks ( never took retainer before but have a friend who got let down at the last minute after holding a space for FREE for 6 months)
    V

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    at my computer, of course
    Posts
    4,986
    Registered Childminder since
    Nov 11
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddleywinks View Post
    Agree with everything said above, there are too many variables that can affect parents requirements or my availability between now and next year.
    So many times we hear of hours changing from 'full time' to the bare minimum making it unworkable/not worth it, grandparents/family/friends stepping in before a start date, or parents staying at home after all.

    I do charge a 50% retainer if I have an available space already, but, I won't sign a contract with more than 3 months before a starting date, and once a contract is signed, that's when I start charging
    All too true.

    I have a client who was due to start three afternoons a week last November. A nice fit for me (I have some who only do mornings) and for mum, who struggled to find a CM prepared to do half days. Then she went for her 'return from maternity' meeting in October, only to be told her post was being made redundant. She now comes for four hours a week, to have some continuity for whenever mum finds work.

  11. Likes Kiddleywinks liked this post
  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    at my computer, of course
    Posts
    4,986
    Registered Childminder since
    Nov 11
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by v 1461 View Post
    Thanks for your reply . I wasn't going to do any paperwork until baby is born anyway .
    I might write contract around December and start retainer from then ( small percentage I guess) until start day in April . I might also have changed and updated a few paperwork by then so there is no need doing that too early .
    Thanks ( never took retainer before but have a friend who got let down at the last minute after holding a space for FREE for 6 months)
    V
    I’ve had a few parents drop out at the last minute. It's so frustrating and they don’t seem to realise the trouble they cause to us and the o5her families we turn away because they’ve blocked a space then not used it.

    I think the decision depends on what matters to you. Is it about needing to earn something from the space between contract signing and commencement, or is it to ensure parents don’t back out at the last minute?

  13. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    324
    Registered Childminder since
    2004
    Latest Inspection Grade
    GOOD
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    I’ve had a few parents drop out at the last minute. It's so frustrating and they don’t seem to realise the trouble they cause to us and the o5her families we turn away because they’ve blocked a space then not used it.

    I think the decision depends on what matters to you. Is it about needing to earn something from the space between contract signing and commencement, or is it to ensure parents don’t back out at the last minute?
    This is to make sure parents are really interested and less likely to change their mind at last minute ( although I understand things happen) . I will also have to turn people down to keep this space for an under one ( if it was an older one it would be slightly different )
    But also a bit of extra cash wouldn't hurt I guess 😁

  14. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    at my computer, of course
    Posts
    4,986
    Registered Childminder since
    Nov 11
    Latest Inspection Grade
    Outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by v 1461 View Post
    This is to make sure parents are really interested and less likely to change their mind at last minute ( although I understand things happen) . I will also have to turn people down to keep this space for an under one ( if it was an older one it would be slightly different )
    But also a bit of extra cash wouldn't hurt I guess 😁
    Difficult to respond appropriately to your situation, as I’m still not 100% clear as to your main priority. It sounds like you have several priorities.

    Either way, here’s my view.

    Retainers can be useful, but I’m not a fan of them on the whole, for several reasons.

    Parents generally dislike paying retainers. They perceive them as paying their CM to "do nothing"...... which is a precisely accurate assessment. It can get a CM/client relationship off on entirely the wrong foot, with the parents thinking their CM is only in it for the money and perhaps a bit lazy.

    They are also problematic because they do involve some commitment from the CM: it’s not just a pot of 'free money'. To charge a retainer for any given day/period you must be open and have a space vacant and available for the child to use on demand (on payment of a fee to make the retainer up to the proper fee.) So, you can’t charge the retainer if you’re closed. You must keep a vacant space: no slotting in a temporary child, an ad hoc client, or a few extra hours to help out one of your other mums, etc. If mum says you have the baby during that period, she only has to top up the payment and you have them: no ifs, no buts. Are you prepared to have a very young baby? .......at very short notice? ...... no matter how that affects your plans?

    I would opt for a deposit instead. The downside is, it doesn’t give you an income for the space, but neither does it oblige you to keep it vacant all that time, so you could use the space, so there's the potential to make it earn more for you. A deposit is more likely to make sure the client actually starts and stays with you.

    I take a deposit when the client signs the contract. I refund it if/when the child has completed a full month in my care. If they pull out any earlier, they lose the deposit.

    You need to write this into the contract and the receipt as a "non-refundable deposit" and that exact phrase is crucial. The contract must state the circumstances in which you keep the deposit. Some parents panic, thinking "non refundable" means they can never get it back, but that’s not the case. It just means you are allowed to keep it in the specific circumstances shown in the contract. If you fail to call it "non refundable" then you must give it back, no matter what.

    The exact amount to request as a deposit is up to you. You have to gauge it carefully. Essentially, it needs to be no more than they can afford to be without temporarily, but more than they’d want to surrender permanently.

    I started doing this because I had a string of parents (mostly school starters) who got cold feet before starting or shortly after starting. We also has some cheeky blighters who booked places in advance with multiple CMs, nurseries, etc, as if on a trial basis, then gave notice soon after starting.
    Last edited by bunyip; 07-06-2018 at 11:27 AM.

  15. Likes loocyloo liked this post
  16. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    7,622
    Registered Childminder since
    oct 02
    Latest Inspection Grade
    outstanding
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    You're good Bunyip! ... I charge a deposit and it is refunded in final months fees, but only AFTER child has attended for a MINIMUM of 6 months on the ORGINAL contracted hours!

  17. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    324
    Registered Childminder since
    2004
    Latest Inspection Grade
    GOOD
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thanks , it makes sense , I decided I will opt for a deposit which will be refunded after first month.
    Last edited by v 1461; 07-06-2018 at 12:51 PM.

 

 

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Quick Links and Advertisements

Important Information Links
Some Useful Quick Links
Advertisements

 

You can also find us on:
Retainer or not ? Retainer or not ? Retainer or not ?

We use cookies to make this site as useful as possible. They are small text files placed in your browser to track usage of our site but they don’t tell us who you are.
By continuing to use this site you are consenting to cookies being placed on your computer. Find out more here: Cookies in Use

Childminding Help and the Childminding Forum are part of Childcare.co.uk