non-paying / late paying parents
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  1. #1
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    Default non-paying / late paying parents

    Ok, probably not the first post on this... and probably not the last. but I need a wee bit of advice.

    I have been looking after two school age boys (after school hours) for the past six weeks. The mother is Polish so language can be difficult.

    On going to the school the first day to pick them up I went over to the teachers and introduced myself showed them my ID etc, etc, one of the teachers reply was "oh, another childminder" ... yeah, warning bells went off.

    First week of payment (and so it begins) the mum said tax credits were not in and could i wait until they did, I was ok with that, because i'm kind of easy going
    (I should mention at at the initial meeting mum was very adamant she get "number so she can claim tax credits"

    Second week I txt her what she owed me for the two weeks. I do out an itemized invoice and hand it to her every week, or to whom ever is picking the boys up. She txt back "why was I charging so much." I didn't get paid until several days after the agreed Friday payment day. I thought 'oh great another one'.

    The school holidays (Christmas) I charge half my normal fee for days off, normally parents txt me if their kids will be coming or not, she didn't. I went up to the school ( it was out early) to pick the kids up and they weren't there. I got them for 6 hour one day that week, they arrived one morning unannounced at 11.30 am (everyone else was off. I thought I was going to give my house a good tidy.) I charged my usual half fee for the days off for the hours I normally have them (not many hours) and my usual fee for the hours I did have them that day. I txt mum the bill on the Friday what she owed me for that week and she complained "I have boys only one day why I charge so much".... I received a part payment for that week with the promise of I'll pay you the rest later (I think you know to out come of that).

    The following week same thing have kids only a few hour for one day.... I didn't get paid for that week. She has also been expecting a taxi service from me running her kids home, ok I done this twice for her I don't normally mind. I have done this very rarely in the past for parents sometimes peoples cars break down or they are held up at work. But, she was beginning to expect it on demand,

    This week the kids are back at school, so yesterday (Friday) I txt her the total of what she owes me. Again the "why am I charging so much." so on pick up dad picked them up with the promise "We pay you tomorrow; maybe Sunday" I very firmly said "Tomorrow." (My husband joked I had on my Mr potato-head angry eyes He also says I should tell her to find another childminder)

    Honestly If she hasn't paid me by 5pm today I just want to get rid of her. Or am I being to harsh? I has only been six weeks but I can already see a habit forming.

    I did have a parent in the past who was like this before. I told them off for not paying me on the day specified and the amount owed. I don't charge the earth ((£2.50 per hour), I'm going to raise them in April) it's was usually ok for 2-3 weeks after that then it's back to excuses and no payments.

    So is getting rid of her being too harsh? I'm kind of done giving chances. My Husband says shes just taking advantage of my kind, easy going nature and she'll just keep doing it. I know he's right on this, and I know I'm a soft touch especially when it comes to kids which she will emotionally dangle in
    front of me the plea her case.

  2. #2
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    You are absolutely not being harsh in wanting to get rid of this parent. Reading your post, I had the thought "why hasn't this CM given notice yet" well before you first mentioned it. But, make sure you check your contract and call the legal team at your insurer or professional representative body to ensure you go the right way about it.

    This mum is taking the wee-wee, and it sounds like you're not her first victim, and she almost certainly knows 100% how she's going about it. I'll stick my neck out and risk the lazy accusations of racism to say she may well be hiding behind the "me no understand" so-called "communication difficulties" to try and wear down a string of CMs to get away with it too.

    I suspect she's running up a debt she has little intention of ever paying. Your insurer should be able to chase that for you. I'd be tempted to tell her they'll pursue her through the courts and that may cost her more than just wht she already owes, what with costs, etc. and a CCJ will stuff her ability to raise credit for the future.

    Do yourself a few favours for the future.

    Start valuing yourself, and then other people might treat you with some respect. £2.50 is such a joke fee I'm not surprised this mum things she can take the pee. Raise your fee to something realistic, then you'll be taking more seriously.

    Always take payment up front. Alternatively, take a payment deposit of a month's fee up front; it amounts to the same thing. No payment = no childcare, no exceptions. Make sure all clients understand this, and that you'll turn them away at the door or refuse to collect from school if necessary. They will soon learn, because it will cost them ore to lose a day at work. Make this clear in contracts.

    Never wait for Tax Credits. Frankly, they're none of our business (unless HMRC contact you with a query.) Mum pays you, and she then claims back the TCs; end of. It doesn't matter whether she's getting the money from TCs, an employer, or turning tricks for the milkman: she pays you at the due time, and that's all there is to it. As it is, she might not even be entitled to TCs, or she might have already banked the TCs - and you've no right to know in any case, as it's entirely between her and HMRC.

    If you're on good terms with other local CMs, then share information on bad clients. We haave some serial bad-payers, trouble-makers and nuisance parents in my area, but sharing information means they aren't constantly stinging each of us in turn, one after the other. A lot of people know we do ths, so they now thing twice.

    Good luck with this. Hope you get a good replacement soon.

  3. #3
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    If I am not paid I don't work until I am paid - I explain that up front to parents very clearly during our initial interview so there is absolutely no misunderstanding.

    Start as you mean to go on and withdraw care until payment has been received - I don't chase it - I give an invoice with payment date on it and wait...

    We deserve to be treated with respect x

  4. #4
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    I haven't got much too offer except Bunyip's and Sarah 707 has given you great advice.
    So sorry you are having to go through this.
    It is so difficult with non payments to be a childminder.

    I would say like to afore mentioned people but my like button has disappeared .

  5. #5
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    I haven't got much too offer except Bunyip's and Sarah 707 has given you great advice.
    So sorry you are having to go through this.
    It is so difficult with non payments to be a childminder.

    I would say like to afore mentioned people but my like button has disappeared .

  6. #6
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    Well I did it. She came over this evening, Sunday, to pay me. I handed her 1 weeks notice and told her last day would be on Friday.

    She said 'No, No if you like I pay you on Friday.' and 'I should remind her to pay' I told her pay day is on Friday, and I txt you the bill every Friday afternoon and expect to be paid on Friday and not a day of her choosing, also reminding her I've had her kids 5 weeks and in that time she has paid me twice.

    It's not a nice situation to be in, for anyone.


    I will be rising my fee. When I started childminding I had a parent who worked for social services (whom I register through) She told me when she first came that her hubby's relative worked for the early years team (head of department), who deal with childminders. She worked in another department but they knew each other well. After a while I went to put my rate up, she hit the roof asking was i just out to rip her off, reminding me about said relative, and that she would be reporting me about my extortionate fee. When your new to childminding your aware reputation is everything and no one wants to be thought of as being just out to rip parents off. I eventually had to let this parent go she was a nightmare, she was absolutely furious. That made me nervous about putting prices up. But like a friend said "the public will learn you... " I'm more confident now that I was when starting out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    If I am not paid I don't work until I am paid - I explain that up front to parents very clearly during our initial interview so there is absolutely no misunderstanding.

    Start as you mean to go on and withdraw care until payment has been received - I don't chase it - I give an invoice with payment date on it and wait...

    We deserve to be treated with respect x
    Have you ever had to do this? I used to have a persistent late payer, i knew they would pay, when they got round to it and chose to but I dont think i could have not taken the child until they did so i admire those that stick by this rule

  8. #8
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    Totally agree with Bunyip and Sarah- unfortunately I learnt the hard way!
    Had one parent starting a new job so no deposit etc, would pay me as soon as her wages came through...... £125 that I never got paid as she didn't last the trial period.
    Also another family that I had been working with for quite a while so thought they were trustworthy, I fell for the sob stories about the leaking roof, having to move, the landlord that wouldn't release their deposit money, car broke down, etc, ended up losing £600 down to them.
    Stand up to this parent now, no money or no care, please don't fall into the same trap I did.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kls View Post
    Well I did it. She came over this evening, Sunday, to pay me. I handed her 1 weeks notice and told her last day would be on Friday.

    She said 'No, No if you like I pay you on Friday.' and 'I should remind her to pay' I told her pay day is on Friday, and I txt you the bill every Friday afternoon and expect to be paid on Friday and not a day of her choosing, also reminding her I've had her kids 5 weeks and in that time she has paid me twice.

    It's not a nice situation to be in, for anyone.


    I will be rising my fee. When I started childminding I had a parent who worked for social services (whom I register through) She told me when she first came that her hubby's relative worked for the early years team (head of department), who deal with childminders. She worked in another department but they knew each other well. After a while I went to put my rate up, she hit the roof asking was i just out to rip her off, reminding me about said relative, and that she would be reporting me about my extortionate fee. When your new to childminding your aware reputation is everything and no one wants to be thought of as being just out to rip parents off. I eventually had to let this parent go she was a nightmare, she was absolutely furious. That made me nervous about putting prices up. But like a friend said "the public will learn you... " I'm more confident now that I was when starting out.
    If you continue having the children then I'd ask for money up front - no money, no childcare. Sometimes you just have to be tough.

    Miffy xx
    Keep smiling!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kls View Post
    When I started childminding I had a parent who worked for social services (whom I register through) She told me when she first came that her hubby's relative worked for the early years team (head of department), who deal with childminders. She worked in another department but they knew each other well. After a while I went to put my rate up, she hit the roof asking was i just out to rip her off, reminding me about said relative, and that she would be reporting me about my extortionate fee. When your new to childminding your aware reputation is everything and no one wants to be thought of as being just out to rip parents off. I eventually had to let this parent go she was a nightmare, she was absolutely furious.
    Just in case anyone ever finds themselves in a similar situation, here is the correct response to this sort of blackmail.

    Remind the parent that you are accountable to no one, but no one, not even Ofsted when it comes to setting fees.

    Furthermore, tell them to go ahead and do their worst with regard to bad-mouthing you across social services, and their inbred nepotistic relative can do the same through the early years team. They will not only lose their respective jobs but also find themselves in court on a charge of misfeance in public office. It is a criminal offence and when they eventually come out of prison, they'll never work for another local authority ever again.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    Just in case anyone ever finds themselves in a similar situation, here is the correct response to this sort of blackmail. Remind the parent that you are accountable to no one, but no one, not even Ofsted when it comes to setting fees. Furthermore, tell them to go ahead and do their worst with regard to bad-mouthing you across social services, and their inbred nepotistic relative can do the same through the early years team. They will not only lose their respective jobs but also find themselves in court on a charge of misfeance in public office. It is a criminal offence and when they eventually come out of prison, they'll never work for another local authority ever again.
    No one messes with our Bunyip !!!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1rstie View Post
    No one messes with our Bunyip !!!!
    Oh but they do. They just find weird ways to do it.

    I have a current enquirer who seems like they'd be a good client. What's freaking me out is they now seem to walk past the house and peer through the window a lot. It's perfectly reasonable for them to go by, as they live close by, but I feel like I'm being watched and checked up on. I hardly dare put the tv on at weekends in case they think I have it on all thr time.

    OTOH they could just be doing what they normally do, but I notice them now since I met them.

    I'm beginning to wonder if it's just me being paranoid. Or am I paranoid about being paranoid?

 

 

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