Early morning customer getting earlier

(53 Posts)
Snugglepiggy Fri 15-Mar-13 21:16:16

We run a dog boarding/dog day care service from our home.registered and very professional and have very generous opening hours compared to many local kennels.All part of a more personalised service.
However one customer,who has also become a friend over the years has taken to arriving before 7am and sitting outside the house waiting sometimes 10 minutes earlier.She is very keen to get to work early and when the weather was bad I cut her some slack,but its increasingly annoying me as I feel it's rude.I am often still in the bathroom,on the loo or doing my ablutions and it makes me feel grumpy and pressured to open for business.A handful of other customers who don't seem take seriously drop off and collect times because we work from home and we 'will be in anyway' have taken advantage over the years,but I have been so tired lately that this recent early morning thing is getting me down.

Snugglepiggy Tue 19-Mar-13 15:01:05

Ginger I know I didn't find much info on the childminders section.Just an old thread about opening hours which did make me realise they do have similar problems.
Yesterday she was actually late for her ,but 6.45 arrival and out of her car wandering around.So tried a large but subtle hint.Please don't chat to your dog outside so early.My next door neighbour is ill(true -currently have chemo)and I don't want to disturb them and the dogs staying have very acute hearing and some of them kick off and bark.True - they did this morning.Please wait in your car until 7 WHEN WE OPEN and I will be out to get your dog.
There I cant be clearer than that!she seemed to take it OK and a bit sheepish.Think she knew she was pushing it.

Isabeller Tue 19-Mar-13 09:50:25

Sounds like you are sorting out the boundaries and communication strategy well. Just offering one extra thought for your own comfort.

Is there anything you can do about your bathroom window to create a barrier which makes you feel more private from your front garden? Tall plants inside or outside in hanging containers or window boxes? Shutters even!? Obviously it depends if bathroom is on ground floor, size of garden etc. I hate the idea of someone wandering about outside my bathroom while I'm inside.

Hope you get your peaceful start to the day back soon smile

Humpty You could tell people they can't come in early for reasons like insurance, etc. People seem very used to believing anything about insurance related to events. wink

GingerBlondecat Tue 19-Mar-13 09:25:36

previous person wrote
marcoprontSat 16-Mar-13 04:00:39

Take a look at the Childminder's forum. There is advice on similar situations there.

I've had a look but cannot see any, what am I doing wrong?

Sympathies OP. I work for a charity, and we do weekend events, starting at 11am. The first people ALWAYS arrive at 10.15 for this, meaning I have to get there earlier and earlier to set up. I do this for time in lieu, not overtime pay, so it narks me something chronic. I've had one instance where I put my foot down with a guy who arrive ONE AND A HALF HOURS EARLY for an event - said 'sorry, I'm not set up yet, you'll have to wait somewhere else, there's a coffee shop down the road', he said 'no, I'll come in and wait', I tried to say, well you can wait in the lobby and he PUSHED PAST me and sat himself down. Some people have no sense of others having any needs. If you can stand firm, do - it will save your sanity.

EffieTheDuck Sun 17-Mar-13 18:04:45

Snugglepiggy, you sound exhausted. Is there any way someone could help you out for a bit until you can get a long lie now and again?

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:54:23

I understand that Zwisch but although it is home boarding it is my home and I have that the very reason why people seem to take liberties and expect an almost on call service.ie. any time that suits them.I suspect your child's nursery is seperate building from where the staff live and they come to work.Therefore they can get a up ,get a cuppa and get dressed without you just outside their bathroom window?And said customer does not have a long commute to work - 20 minutes tops.
Anyway going to stop now as I sound like I am whingeing. Knew it anyway but just done a quick check of several comparable services locally and we open up 1/2 hour earlier than one, and an hour earlier than the rest so will take Tiggys and other advice to stand firm!

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:22:28

If you're running a business you need to adopt a more business-like attitude. It's perfectly normal for customers of almost any business to wait outside until opening. I do this with our childs nursery because I have a long commute and an early start and every minute counts.

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:11:55

Thanks Tiggy that made me smile!She does have a very generous holiday entitlement so at least I get a reprieve and tbh that's possibly part of my problem.I'm pretty good in the mornings myself but only take a couple of weeks a year holiday which given that the rest of the time I work 7 days a week is probably not enough even though i love my job.Weekends are a bit quieter but still 'on duty'.Think Iv'e been getting progressively tireder and grumpier and when I was still on the loo half dressed the other day I nearly lost it!
Thanks for all replies.

tiggytape Sun 17-Mar-13 16:47:43

I don't think you are grumpy about her wandering up your drive talking loudly to the dog making her presence known but I have to confess to being an annoying early person. I don't expect anyone to open up early for me though. I have 2 kids who have totally different activities / school times so often it is simply not worth going home between one thing ending and the next starting. I sit outside with a book in a hopefully unobtrusive way but wouldn't dream of parking up the road a bit as I wouldn't occur to me I was making anyone uncomfortable.

Is she wants to drop off at dead on 7am, she might feel ‘safer’ arriving early so that she is there the second the doors open. I think it is something some people find very odd but something that lots of other people –-I-- do without even thinking that it perhaps seen as pressurising others.

A newsletter seems the way to go. She might still turn up early and sit outside though - just ignore her. Pretend its the Harrod's sale and throw the gate open with a flourish after a 10 second countdown at 7am smile

Jux Sun 17-Mar-13 16:26:46

Absolutely right. No way are you just being grumpy! You could put in a bit about respecting your privacy out of hours, which mit deter her from walking around on your property. I do think she's being very rude.

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 14:25:48

Just to clarify the newsletter is for all my customers as I also have problems at the other end of the day.I am not going to 'tell her off'.She has also become a friend who has many lovely qualities and not just a customer, and therein lies the problem in a way.And it's precisely because I am running a business that I feel I need to re-establish boundaries on opening hours.
Of course I don't own the pavement, the area I am talking about involves walking up my ungated front drive and front garden which lead to my front door and directly under our bedroom and bathroom.Sorry to seem pedantic but at such an early hour- not talking 9am here- it has started to feel like an invasion of privacy and as if I am am being pushed into starting even earlier.
But maybe it's just me bit a bit grumpy and oversensitive.Seems being on duty 7 days a week and offering a 12 hour service during the week and 10 hours at weekends it's reasonable though to have our hours respected?

Tryharder Sun 17-Mar-13 13:52:01

I don't get this. She's not knocking on your door or asking for favours or taking the piss in any way. If she wants to turn up early and wait outside let her! You do not say that she is complaining so I do not see the problem at all. You do not own the section of pavement outside your house after all!

You are only going to open a can of worms if you start putting out letters or telling her off in any way. You are running a business not volunteering your time or doing her a favour. Some of the advice you have been given is geared towards the latter, not the former.

rainbow2000 Sun 17-Mar-13 13:48:37

Yes the newsletter is the best way and also mention no in the garden before a certain time as they wouldnt be insured

Jux Sun 17-Mar-13 13:37:52

Good. Be firm. Don't let her railroad you. Hope she takes it well.

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 09:25:55

Thanks again for feedback.The area she wanders around is at that front and a parking area with no gates but directly under out bathroom window.Hence why it winds me up!
Our large back garden has a huge wall around it and our gates now have a coded lock specifically for security.We are very aware of dog theft.
I should explain before this gate we used to unbolt the old one when we went down to get a cuppa so she could pop the dog in the garden,but that got to be a pain trailing out in PJs when cold and wet, and disturbing the boarding dogs earlier than necessary and getting them all wound up and barking wanting their first walk.
I was very specific with all our customers this new gate was our new 'trades ' entrance and we no longer brought dogs in and out our front door.I also explained to her very nicely and clearly no longer wanted to let her put to dog in and just go.This is a different dog.Younger and yappier and I have neighbours to consider.I do think also because sometimes if the weathers good or I have an exceptionally busy day I do go out for a very early walk she is hoping to catch me.
No I'm standing firm.Newsletter, no concessions unless exceptional circumstances and by arrangement for ALL my customers and at either end of the day.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 16-Mar-13 09:03:28

Just never ever EVER open the door before your official start time.

The more you do it, the more she (and others) will expect you to do it.

Then they will get arsy with you on days you DON'T do it.

I think you should send them all a letter, stating your start times and unfortunately you will not be able to take any animals in before this time.

She's taking the piss, but if you continue to let her, she will begin to think that she has the right to, and then may get arsy if you later try to change things.

manticlimactic Sat 16-Mar-13 08:13:34

There are dog daycare services? Never knew!

cece Sat 16-Mar-13 08:11:11

I sometimes turn up early and sit ourside my childminder house with DS2. If I am pushed for time I want to be sure to get him in dead on time. Hence we get there slightly early so we are there for doors opening. I really really would not expect her to open early for me. I am happy to wait outside and would hate to think she gets stressed by me doing it. It just makes good sense to me to be there slightly early so I can drop him off on time.

Likewise though I sometimes sit outside if I get there early at the end of the day to pick him up and wait for the end of the day. (My CM prefers it if I don't pick him up early as it upsets all of the childrens' meal time).

Jux Sat 16-Mar-13 08:08:11

Include in CAPITAL letters in your newsletter that you are not insured for before 7.30 so clients cannot use the garden if they are early.

I think she's presuming on the friendship, tbh.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sat 16-Mar-13 08:04:53

I think ANY concession would just result in the proverbial give-an-inch, take-a-mile. She needs to learn that you don't open your door until 7.00am on the dot 100% of the time.

Re the wandering round in the garden - do you have gates you can close (or lock, if needed)? I'd be reluctant to suggest she leaves the dog tied up unattended with the current spate of dog thefts.

whosiwhatsit Sat 16-Mar-13 07:57:44

You probably won't like this idea much but I thought I'd throw it out there.... Any reason she has to wait WITH the dog? As you say she's a friend could you ask her if she'd like to drop the dog off ten minutes early but leave it outside tied up? Or in your kennel? Maybe this would solve your problem and her problem and the dog might not mind too much. I'd be worried that she would start leaving the dog earlier and earlier so you'd have to be clear from the beginning - only ten minutes and a limited trial to see if it works out for both of you.

(My first post on mumsnet, hi all, be gentle!)

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 07:44:55

Rotten appreciate what you say but it's a very easy run through to mine from her house at that time of the morning,even if all the lights are at red it's nothing of a journey.
Christmas yes I just wish she would park up further away if she's early,that was really thoughtful of you.
Oh well I guess there are more important things to get in a stew about and I will just not have to look outside until 7 and chill!If it gets any earlier or the wandering around my garden gets more frequent with light summer mornings,which I fear it might, I will say something though.

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 07:29:17

Thanks for the replies.Will take a look at childminders site for tips.never thought of that as they must get similar situations.
Probably my wording but no way am I offering a 6.30 start for any money, and yes I think she would turn up early for that!I meant 7.30 start, but I do realise with traffic etc. people need to be on their way.
Schoolgovenor I think you are right about chill out time as she's had a tough time at work recently and think she is psyching herself up to go in,plus she doesn't sleep well and is a really early riser.
Thing is because we have chatted she also knows I have had a a tough couple of years running a business 7 days a week 50 weeks of the year whilst juggling lots of family demands.I do feel a bit petty but that time to hug my tea cup,potter around before I start is becoming increasing important.Sometimes I get up super early and take the dogs out that are holiday boarding before 'opening up' but that's my prerogative.
I did consider the generic newsletter a while back because several other customers try it on from time to time at the other end of the day booking flights and making travel plans that they know make it highly unlikely they will collect before closing time, and yet still banging on the door because they thought we'd be in/ wouldn't mind/ they were passing and didn't want to have to come out the next morning for the dog.
So I will put together a friendly but firm one and send it out.

teacherandguideleader Sat 16-Mar-13 07:22:22

I feel your pain.

I am always early for the Guide session I run as I go there straight from work. I was sometimes up to 45 minutes early. I used to enjoy sitting in the lobby reading a book / ipad etc. There is another club in the hall before us. Parents cottoned on that I was there early and started dropping their children off earlier and earlier. It really narked me. I don't get paid for Guides anyway and it annoyed me that parents were trying to get more time out of me. I also don't know where I would stand if there was an accident, as I don't think we would be covered under the insurance I pay. I also really enjoyed that 45 minutes of 'me time'.

I now go somewhere for a coffee, and turn up dead on the time I start - there is no point being early as I can't get in the hall and it has stopped parents using me as a free babysitter.

In your situation I definitely wouldn't start accepting her dog earlier - her drop off time will just get earlier and earlier. She doesn't pay for you to have the dog before 7, so don't open the door until 7.

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