Aibu to expect people to pay me on time.....

(46 Posts)
Peachyjustpeachy Mon 05-Aug-13 22:34:46

Or at least let me know that they are struggling.....BEFORE the date the money is due?

I'm a childminder, I only have a couple of children, but I've had more over the holidays.

I am OBVIOUSLY poor. I'm talking threadbare carpets, holes in curtains, one pair of shoes each etc....
But caring and loving and all the kids love being here

This month I've given three bills out. The first couple claimed they haven't got the bill... I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
The second couple turn up with only half the money, and said.....I want to tell you we won't have the rest of the money for another 3 weeks when we get paid. Okay so it's a new job, and you always have additional costs, that first month is Always a killer...

But now, couple three, when I reminded them today that they are overdue replied with.....won't have it till 20th.

Totally pissed off. I don't have any savings and my outgoings increase considerable,you in the school hols when I'm looking after children.

So I'm pissed off.... But aibu to expect them to let me know, and at least give me the option of not spending mOney on their kids if they have no intention of paying on time.

I feel, ike cancelling all their future sessions, but I need the money

squoosh Mon 05-Aug-13 22:40:01

YANBU and it's a shitty situation they're putting you in.

They probably know they've got you over a barrel, you can't tell them to get lost because you need their money, when it eventually arrives that is. Maybe you need to get slightly sterner, post and follow up with email invoice if they're dragging their feet so they can't pretend they haven't received them.

MaryPoppinsBag Mon 05-Aug-13 22:43:39

No you are not being unreasonable I'm a CM too.
One of my customers persistently pays late and asks me to look after her child (6.30 am starts) at very short notice e.g. texting at 10pm when I was in bed asking for a 6.30 start the next morning. Nightmare!
And I think she uses a friend when she can to avoid paying so I'm going to set up a new contract with a minimum monthly charge that needs to be paid into my bank on a four weekly basis.

It's a difficult balance between losing customers and having them take the piss.

poorbuthappy Mon 05-Aug-13 22:44:36

Advertise your services everywhere. Stop taking the children of the parents who don't pay.
They are taking the piss but you are letting them.

Good childminders are worth their weight in gold. Have some faith in your ability.

Peachyjustpeachy Mon 05-Aug-13 22:45:12

Yeah all bills are due 7 days after their last session of the month so I had sent the reminders today by text. Truth is money I've hadsofar has paid some bills, but now I'm 500 short for another fortnight.

Wonder have money for us to eat properly, never mind providing fruit for the little ones that HAVE paid on time

quoteunquote Mon 05-Aug-13 22:50:19

Write into all new contracts that for every day a bill is not paid from the day when it is due you add a percentage.

and make everyone sign new contracts,

Only take future children if they pay several months in advance.

Quodlibet Mon 05-Aug-13 22:51:07

You are being far too forgiving. This is your business - OK, on a human level you can understand, but if people take you for a soft touch yours will always be the bill they choose not to pay. The mortgage/the supermarket/the petrol they can't say "oh I'll pay that in 3 weeks" so they do that to you. You need to be stipulating with them that payment on these terms is contractually the deal for looking after their child. It's not something that is negotiable.

Can you put late payers on a weekly payment scheme so that if they fall behind you can cut a contract with them without being out of pocket?

YANBU.

Could you have different terms for those who haven't paid, eg in response to the ones who "can't" pay until 20th you reply "well I can still take <child> as previously arranged but I'll need you to provide lunches/snacks/outings money during that period" so you aren't out of pocket.

Or set your fee scale like a council fines department so it's x per session if paid by the 5th of the month, x+5 per session if paid by 12th, etc.

Peachyjustpeachy Mon 05-Aug-13 23:16:46

Oooh I like the idea of weekly payments. I could put in the contract that if they are late paying two months in a row then they automatically go onto weekly payments....

EllesAngel Mon 05-Aug-13 23:46:28

I'd be tempted, in future, to add a late fee to any new contracts for those who are late in paying.

littlewhitebag Tue 06-Aug-13 00:02:16

Also for each day they are late an amount of £X to be added on. That should sort them out. You cannot be out of pocket.

HoikyPoiky Tue 06-Aug-13 00:03:26

peachyJustPeachy. Love your NN, is it Bill Bryson inspired??

It is definitely time to get stroppy.

I would write to them to remind them that you have to be paid immediately as you have bills to pay. Why should you be put into a situation of potentially needing to borrow money.

Weekly payment sounds like a good idea too.

A woman near us had so much trouble getting money off the parents of her charges she changed her rules, when they book in for the days they need for that week, they had to pay when dropping off the child and pay for the whole week or not drop the child. All paid up front, stopped the chancers from trying it on.
I had to wait 3 months for one payment, she pulled her kids owing a whole month, then took two more to pay me, after me making many phone calls and posting her the bill.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 06-Aug-13 07:40:13

I'm self employed, too. I require payment on the day of the clean. Either bank transfer or cash. I know that I would be screwed if I let people pay after the fact.

I think it would make sense to charge a week in advance. Have reasonable terms regarding cancellations, with a proportion of the money not refundable depending on how much notice given.

Good clients will respect that.

Runningchick123 Tue 06-Aug-13 07:52:52

I used to pay my childminder before or on the first day of the care. I would never have dreamed of paying in arrears. I needed the childminder as much as she needed my money so its a case of mutual respect as good childminders are hard to find.
I think you should adopt the same policy that some private nurseries have - if fees are not paid in full by then end of the day in which they fall due then 15% late payment fee will be added and if payment remains unpaid for more than 5 days without written agreement then the child's place will be suspended and debt recovery proceedings will start.
Sounds harsh but you are running a business. Those same parents wouldn't go the supermarket and say 'I need the food now, but will pay you in three weeks time'

Snugglepiggy Tue 06-Aug-13 08:26:28

This is most unfair on you.I am self employed and look after animals not children but when I started my business almost a decade ago I made it clear that that payment,be it cash, cheque or bank transfer was weekly.For that weeks bookings.
All but one of my customers have respected that but one - and I had an intuition would be a bad payer from the outset.I gave her a months lee- way ,then told her I couldn't hold a place for her as I had a waiting list of other potential clients.Value yourself and your business and replace customers who don't pay on time.
DH was in the building trade for many years and lost his business partly through bad debts - and recession- so it toughened us up!Its exactly as Running chick says about shopping.My analogy is they wouldn't book a meal eat it and then say sorry can't/ won't pay today but will pay whenever it suits us.

Peachyjustpeachy Tue 06-Aug-13 08:29:29

thanks all... i needed to rant and to sort my feelings out, and you are all 100% correct!

Peachy... its time to get stoney!

redskyatnight Tue 06-Aug-13 08:29:44

I've never used a childminder but all the forms of childcare I have used have asked for payment in advance - with stringent penalty terms built into the contract. The trouble with being nice is that people take advantage ...

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 06-Aug-13 08:44:32

Would it be totally impractical to make people pay by the day? I really feel for you.

Cheeseatmidnight Tue 06-Aug-13 08:53:32

As harsh as it sounds, no payment in advance = no care. I had to take this line in the end, I also introduced a £5 per day late payment charge. That made them pay on time!

livinginwonderland Tue 06-Aug-13 09:09:35

Make people pay in advance, either every Monday or on the 1st Monday of every month. If they don't pay, they don't get care.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 06-Aug-13 09:17:18

Child care, like cleaning, is seen as woman's work, and so not respected. Plus, women are supposed to be "nice."

If you put your foot down from this point on, your existing clients may take offense because they don't respect you. But new clients will respect you.

Don't try to appease everyone. There's such a demand for quality care that you can hold out for the good clients.

WeleaseWodger Tue 06-Aug-13 09:18:09

Impose late penalties. Nurseries charge £5 for every 5 min you are late for this very reason. Parents would take the piss otherwise.

Ireallymustbemad Tue 06-Aug-13 09:23:38

I used to pay the childminder in advance. Now I use after school club we get invoiced in arrears but there is a £25 charge if you pay after 10th of the month.

Good luck. I agree you need to be more strict, they can't see you as a choice or flexible payment they must start seeing you as a necessity payment.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 06-Aug-13 09:24:06

You can change your terms and conditions with your existing customers as long as you give notice. Write a letter tonight and hand it to them tomorrow stating that as of 1st September you will be introducing late payment fees of X per day. Then issue invoices 7 days prior to when they are due again hand them to parents or use e-mail that automatically e-mails you when they open the e-mail.
Future children that you take on switch to payment in advance rather than arrears.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now