Time to put up fees?
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  1. #1
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    Default Time to put up fees?

    Hi everyone.

    Hope you're all well and have got the summer hols off to a nice start.
    I'm just wondering what some of you guys are charging currently. The last time I put up my fees was 4 years ago and I went from £4.00 an hour to £4.50 inclusive of meals. I've always thought taking the children on outings was my choice so have never charged for that either. Just budgeted fairly and made sure the children are all taken out at some point in the month. A newer childminder was telling me she charges £4.50 per hour for those that don't eat and £5 for those that do. She also charges on top for outings.

    £4.50 - £5.00 is what I'm thinking but it seems like a big jump especially when I've had people with me a long time. Don't know what to do.
    What are you guys doing re charges?
    I'm based in North Essex
    Blondes have more fun!

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    This is so dependent on your local situation- in some areas £3.50 is normal and in some areas it is £6 per hour. Have you done your local research? And I mean really local- even the next town can have lower/higher rates than you. Also think whether you want to be middle-of-the-road or 'reassuringly expensive'? Are you offering more than the 'usual' CMer in your town? If you put up your rates to a level slightly higher than others in your town/street then parents may ask why and what are you offering for that?
    If you think you are currently lower than the local 'normal' rate then there is not much harm in a small rise to keep up. I have only ever made increases of about 20p per hour but then I am on the higher side of the local fee range.
    New childminders do sometimes start off with higher fees compared to those who have been around a while- but then they may not make another increase for years!

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  4. #3
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    Once an eyfs child starts I don't tend to put their fees up. I know it will end when they leave for school so it may last 4 years or 1 year. I have asked 50p an hour more for 3 new starters. My eyfs children are all on different rates. My schoolies are £1 per hour more than the lowest eyfs child's rate and I daren't raise it as the school offer care at a fraction over half my hourly rate. I feel parents would then vote with their feet. I am one of the more expensive childminders. I feel it all depends on supply and demand. Do your research and take it from there. I have recently renewed contracts and put it in there that fees will be reviewed annually but at the moment I feel happy with my rates and don't want to push my luck.

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    we put ours up 10p per child per hour every year - it's a steady increase and parents don't complain... you have to stay competitive in your area so I'd say check locally

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    I have been running 2.5 years and £5 per hour was the going rate when I started, then about s year ago I did some research and found people were charging £5.50-6.50, so £5 inclusive of everything was cheap!
    However I didn't want to put existing parents fees up as many had siblings etc and are all brilliant parents, get on well and pay on time so didn't want to risk losing them.
    Instead all new starters go onto £6 per hour rate, and with losing a couple to school next month I've filled their space with new children on my higher rate which I don't think going up a whole £1 per hour would have gone down too well wth parents but new parents are happy to pay my rate as it is within the area average.

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    it is a tricky one - I usually state that my fees go up once a year - so I do it in line with tax year in April but a lot of childminders do in September and I think now I am starting again and I am starting in September I will do September too - it will be a year since I start again and will be a time when some children will naturally move on to pre-school or school places.
    I don't think the price going up .20-30p an hour each year is too much but .50p could be seen to be a lot. I prefer to keep all my parents on the same rate - seems fairer and easier to know whats going on but can see the sense on having new starters start on the new rate and keep existing customers on same rate. I've put my fees in line with the local over subscribed nursery but would have liked to have charged more. I will be charging a day rate so will definitely think £1.00 more a day next year is not out of line!
    I think its a good idea to make an annual price review part of your policy so parents can expect an increase in line with the increasing costs and so it doesn't have to be a big jump all in one go if its been a few years - having said that if they are paying a lot less than other childminders in the area they are going to know its a bargain and accept that they need to pay more.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlondeMoment View Post
    Hi everyone.

    Hope you're all well and have got the summer hols off to a nice start.
    I'm just wondering what some of you guys are charging currently. The last time I put up my fees was 4 years ago and I went from £4.00 an hour to £4.50 inclusive of meals. I've always thought taking the children on outings was my choice so have never charged for that either. Just budgeted fairly and made sure the children are all taken out at some point in the month. A newer childminder was telling me she charges £4.50 per hour for those that don't eat and £5 for those that do. She also charges on top for outings.

    £4.50 - £5.00 is what I'm thinking but it seems like a big jump especially when I've had people with me a long time. Don't know what to do.
    What are you guys doing re charges?
    I'm based in North Essex
    I'm in a very similar position and considering introducing a rise from January of next year, by which time I will have been trading 5 years and have never yet put my rates up. I still always discuss fees individually, but it usually comes out at £4ph give or take. Like you, my fees are all-inclusive, and I also don't charge when children are at preschool or during my/their holidays.

    I don't like the idea of raising fees, but costs have gone up and the final straw is that I now have a lot of TTO and wraparound care clients and this doesn't make for any sort of stable income.

    I'm considering going up to £4.25ph. This is an approximate 6% rise. Interestingly, I read just this week that average gross wages have risen 6% over the last 5 years, whilst people have generally paid less tax due to the rise in the personal allowance, so I'm now less worried about having to justify it to parents because of that fact. In fact, most parents will have 'won' in those circumstances, because their wages will have risen incrementally, so they've gained in the intervening years before my fees catch up, IYSWIM.

    For the same reason, I don't see that your 50p rise is at all unreasonable. I understand what you mean about families who've been with you a long time, but the fact is they are the very clients who've gained most out of you having taken so long to review your fees.

    This does seem to be another of those bizarre things that only happen in the weird world of childcare. When the prices go up in the shops, pubs, restaurants, gym memberships, cinemas, etc. they go up for everybody. Even my landlord (who gets a heck of a lot of money out of me ) won't let me pay beer prices from 2011, despite me having many more years of faithfully propping up his bar.

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  10. #8
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    Look at what everyone else is charging in your area. Around here it's £3.50-£4.50.

    I started 9yrs ago on £3, after a year I put it up to £3.50 as I realised I was underpricing myself. Then prices stayed the same for 7yrs until last year I put it up to £3.75 which is a good price for me. I don't offer cooked food and I don't want to as I hate cooking.....
    Some childmimnders charge £4-£4.50 but are offering a cooked meal after school.....something which sends the shivers through me so £3.75 is good for me and I offer a light tea (sandwich or something on toast)

    You can only charge what your area is charging. I have a family of 3 so offer discounts for them as £10.50ph is too steep so kept theirs at the £3ph
    Time Out.. The perfect time for thinking about what you're going to destroy next.

  11. #9
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    I have been minding 6 years and in that time risen by 25p twice (by sept). I do annual fee reviews and announce every April if I will alter fees in sept but any new families that start from the announcement will be on new fee. Parents have never even commented when I have increased fees and yet I always worry what they may think, especially families with 2 early years children. For the first time I have decided to give individual quotes for those using hours above their funded hours so that I'm not losing out so much (my la allows you to charge an enhanced rate for extra hours but not top ups for actual hours and not allowed to insist they use extra hours). I only have 1 on this but they agreed. I have 3 who turn 3 in Feb so will have mostly funded children from April next year so wanted to think ahead.

    I'm actually in line with minders in my area even though I feel I am more highly qualified and have more experience and so feel I could perhaps charge higher but I don't know how I could just suddenly put fees even higher.

    I am full 4 days a week for early years - all part time mostly 2 days a week.

  12. #10
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    I charge £4.20 an hour but changed last year for new starters to making that fee an all year round fee (apart from my holidays) whereas before parents had 4 weeks at half fee for their holiday. I know other childminders who are charging £4.50, but when I do my invoices I see how much they are for just children attending 2 or 3 days I think it does seem a lot of money for parents to find.

    The funding amount I get is £4.27 an hour so I don't want to increase my fees as it would feel like I was losing money for those claiming funding, so I think I'm going to restructure my meal policy as I have charged £1.50 for a cooked lunch and pudding for the last 8 years, when I returned to childminding 11 years ago I charged £3.60 including meals then after a few years started charging for meals rather than increase fees at that time.

    I am thinking of charging different amounts for different ages as yesterday I looked after an 8 year old and a 6 year old who started off with portions of pasta bake twice the size of the 3 year olds and they then asked for seconds. It's not often I have school aged children, they are my old mindees who come back a couple of times in the holiday more as a play date to catch up with me and their old friends.

    I was thinking of charging £1.20 for under ones, £1.50 for 1 to 3 year olds, £1.75 for 3 to 5 year olds and £2 for over 5's - or maybe I should charge £2 for 3 to 5 year olds too so I can claw back the funding shortfall for when I may want to increase my hourly fees next Sept? Even for parents of children coming 3 times a week it would only increase their bill by £1.50 but if I put my fees up 10p it could be extra £2.70

  13. #11
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    Thanks so much guys.

    I've been looking at the national minimum wage and over the past 4 years it's gone up by a whole £1.01 per hour. Considering I haven't put fees up in that long I think I've made up my mind that I'll def go up by 50p per hour.
    Blondes have more fun!

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  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex__17 View Post
    I have been running 2.5 years and £5 per hour was the going rate when I started, then about s year ago I did some research and found people were charging £5.50-6.50, so £5 inclusive of everything was cheap!
    However I didn't want to put existing parents fees up as many had siblings etc and are all brilliant parents, get on well and pay on time so didn't want to risk losing them.
    Instead all new starters go onto £6 per hour rate, and with losing a couple to school next month I've filled their space with new children on my higher rate which I don't think going up a whole £1 per hour would have gone down too well wth parents but new parents are happy to pay my rate as it is within the area average.
    whereabouts are you based alex_17?

  16. #13
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    Woking in Surrey, although on a recent course in some parts of Surrey rates were £7.50 per hour 😮

 

 

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