to think this is a bit cheeky and they should let us off the charge?

(51 Posts)
freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 10:48:11

Our school hires out their hall to the community for events, we've hired it for our daughter's birthday party in a couple of weeks time.

They charge an hourly rate to hire, then an additional hourly rate for 'care taker's time for locking up - so if you hire it for 3 hours you pay 3 x the hourly rate, plus 3 x the care takers rate, which more than doubles the basic hall charge

If you're a regular hirer, you can have your own set of keys, and not pay the care taker's rate

There are several key holders who all take it in turns if the care taker isn't available to lock/unlock. My DH is one of the key holders.

So, last week I drop off the hire forms and the cash which covered the hire charge and I rounded up as an extra donation. Thinking that as DH had a key and will be locking up behind us, we'd be treated as the other regular key holding hall hirers

But no, I get an additional invoice today for the 3 x hourly care takers rate, ignoring the £8 extra I rounded up on the hire charge

Trivial I know, but I'm annoyed - the amount of times DH has gone out to lock/unlock (we live closest to school so seem to be the first port of call), I would have thought they'd let us off the care-takers charge

Janek Mon 08-Jul-13 10:53:50

I would ring up and query it. Say you presumed that as there was no need for the caretaker you didn't pay the caretaker's charge. You are either capable of locking up, in which case you can do so, or you're not capable, in which case why do they ever trust you?!?

fluckered Mon 08-Jul-13 10:54:42

if it was an invoice i would phone. perhaps its a mistake. explain you are a regular key holder and wont be calling on a care taker. phone before you really get annoyed and possibly jump the gun. it may be a mistake or perhaps if not can sort it easily over the phone.

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 10:57:51

I reminded them when they gave me the invoice that DH is a key holder so we didn't need the caretaker

One-off hall hire is subject to the care takers charge apparently

CloudsAndTrees Mon 08-Jul-13 11:03:27


I would be really pissed off at that and would be tempted to cancel the booking and get DH to give his keys back. That could be cutting off your nose though if there isn't another easily usable hall near by, so maybe not. If you keep the booking, I'd still want DH to stop being a key holder.

These types of community voluntary jobs should come with small perks where they are available, and it's not like they will actually be losing any money.

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 11:07:54

We were a bit lax organising her party so struggled to find an available hall - the school hall is more expensive than anywhere else, even without the caretakers charge, so they were a last resort.

But yes, if they insist on the charge, it'll be the last time DH ever goes out to lock up for them

would it be really awkward of me to insist that if we're paying for the caretaker, they need to send the caretaker out to lock up?

ShaggingZumbaStylee Mon 08-Jul-13 11:08:26

Tell them dh can't do key job anymore! Honestly they want people to do these things they need to play nice

ShaggingZumbaStylee Mon 08-Jul-13 11:09:17

Of course not Freddie!

CloudsAndTrees Mon 08-Jul-13 11:32:26

If you are paying for the care taker, then it's fair enough that you get a care taker. One that doesn't have things to do to sort out his own child's party.

sparechange Mon 08-Jul-13 11:58:49

I would give them one more chance to rectify this before cancelling the booking and handing back the keys

I presume the 'caretakers charge' just goes to them, rather than to the caretaker who is required to lock up?
Seems grossly unfair to not recognise the unpaid job that your DH has been doing to allow them to rake in the extra cash by waiving it on this occasion!

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 12:26:09

If the caretaker does it, he does get paid overtime, however, his hourly rate is a fair bit less than the charged hourly rate so they still profit from it

He is off every other weekend, so when the other voluntary key holders do it, the school gets all the cash.

The weekend we've hired it, is his weekend off.

There is a dance class in the hall in the morning, followed by martial arts (who are both key holders) followed straight after by us, so the hall will be open when we get there anyway, and DH will lock it on the way out when we're done - they want £45!

Even if we didn't have a key, he'd only need to come for 10 minutes at the end, he doesn't have to let us in so the 3 hours is a cheek to start with.

ENormaSnob Mon 08-Jul-13 13:09:42


45 quid for you to lock up after yourselves?

They are taking the piss big time.

FeckOffCup Mon 08-Jul-13 13:23:44

YANBU I would tell them that if they are charging you for a caretaker that isn't even available that day your DH will be resigning as a key holder and they can fine someone else to put up with the hassle of having to lock up the hall on caretakers' weekends off.

NatashaBee Mon 08-Jul-13 13:24:22

YANBU. I'd insist on the caretaker being there since they charged for it.

FeckOffCup Mon 08-Jul-13 13:24:30

*find not fine

MaxPepsi Mon 08-Jul-13 13:29:57

I'd submit an invoice for your DH's charge as a key holder.

And suggest all the other key holders do the same too. When they find they no longer have any volunteers they will have to change their money grabbing ways!

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 13:59:10


DH has volunteered to do school pick up this afternoon and is going to have words. We're not paying £45 for a service that DH is providing on a voluntary basis.

Common sense says that even if it was the caretaker's weekend on, DH being a key holder would just lock up on our way out.

They keep moaning that the hall isn't hired out enough, is there any bloody wonder?

I don't think I can cancel completely, I rang round every local hall when we first booked it, being the last weekend in July, they're all booked out for fetes and stuff, so the school was our last resort anyway, but DH will be handing his keys back if they do insist on the charge.

Half an hour I'd be willing to pay, an hour at a push, as we don't need anyone to open up, as it's already open from the previous hirers

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 14:13:02


The actual hire charge came to £31.50, I gave them £40

They've invoiced me for the full 3 hours without taking off the £8.50 I over paid, or made any effort to give me back the change

NoComet Mon 08-Jul-13 14:24:25

"They wonder why the hall isn't hired out enough?" grin

Our local village hall, who charge for setting up time, extra rooms for using as a crèche while we set things up etc, etc, etc and are very grumpy, wonder why the PTA use the school hall for free or do all our setting up during toddlers, when various school mum's are there anyway.

They also moan we don't support their fundraising events.

We accept the hall is expensive to run and we are happy to pay a reasonable charge, but it's a small school in a small village, we need to make a profit.

NoComet Mon 08-Jul-13 14:28:00

Some of the PTA parents are really good at refreshments and running bars and others have various contacts for freebies.

If the hall committee were pleasant, we could work together, but they are not.

ZenGardener Mon 08-Jul-13 14:28:29

Well definitely get them to take the 8 pounds off.

zipzap Mon 08-Jul-13 14:34:35

I'd start to invoice the school for £45 every time your dh goes to lock or unlock the school!

laeiou Mon 08-Jul-13 14:37:44

If they insist on the caretaker fee if give it minus the overpayment since you need the hall, but return DH's keys at the same time. And if course ask who'll be locking up after your party. Also, tell the other keyholders what happened.

Bloody hell. Our school hall is ten per hour and you pay for what you use for the party but have as long to open up and clean up as needed, as long as its not otherwise in use. Bargain!

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 14:55:34

The basic per hour charge isn't too bad, £10.50 per hour. Although its the top end round here, most little church halls are £6-8 an hour.

It's a huge hall, we don't really need anything anywhere near as big, but it's our last resort.

We've hired it for 3 hours - 2 hour party, half hour each side to set up/clear up. We've only hiring the hall though, no kitchen facilities or anything - the kitchen is an additional charge

It's the £15 per hour caretakers charge that's killing it

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 14:57:04

Oh, and I will be knocking off the £8.50 if they insist. It just added to my annoyance

So it costs more per hour for the caretaker than the hall? Does he also do balloon animals and pass the parcel?

BackforGood Mon 08-Jul-13 15:11:38

They need to rephrase the booking agreement tbh.
£10.50 is actually extremely cheap to hire a hall for an hour, but as you say, there is no way they can surely justify an hourly rate for a caretaker who is going to come out and lock the door at the end only even if he was.
I don't understand why they don't Have a fixed fee to book the hall (including say the first 2 hours) and then an hourly rate on top of that. The fixed fee would include the caretaker's fee.
However this would only all be relevant if the caretaker were actually coming out to lock it. In your cse, I would not only be refusing to pay the caretaker's fee, but putting in an invoice for all the times your dh has gone out to do it ~ let them see how unrealistic they are being.

AuntieStella Mon 08-Jul-13 15:24:24

It seems silly to say that some key holders do not have to pay the caretakers charge but some do.

If they are really going to hold you to the letter of the rules, then knock off the overpayment when you (graciously even if you have to force yourself and have a stupid drink afterwards).

Then make sure every single key holder is unavailable (and include DH on the basis they've made you pay) and see if they have to call in the actual caretaker.

Once they come to their senses, perhaps you can ask them to re-value the benefit they get from the volunteer key holders and consider a change in the rules that does not discriminate between them on the basis of levels of usage.

AuntieStella Mon 08-Jul-13 15:25:16

"stupid drink" sounds fun but confused - I meant 'stiff drink'

MissStrawberry Mon 08-Jul-13 15:55:37

Definitely point out to them how unreasonable they are being. Make them justify each and every decision. They clearly don't know how stupid they are being so do everyone in the future a favour by educating them.

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 17:06:03

So, DH has been in and had words. To no effect.

They are holding us to the charge. Apparently, only regular hirers of the hall don't need to pay the caretakers charge. We are a one-off hirer therefore liable to the charge. Rules apply to all one-off hirers, and helping out as a key holder doesn't get us "special treatment"

DH is no longer a key-holder and I've managed to rearrange the party for Friday after school and bagged another hall for £20 all in.

£40 back in my pocket

So the school have lost £40 and a key holder through their policy? Tat very short-sighted of them.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 08-Jul-13 17:17:26

Good on you (and dh). They won't get very far with that attitude towards their volunteers will they?

SillyTilly123 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:27:58

I would have liked to of (is have and of the right way round there?-brain fart) seen what would of happened if you went ahead with the party but your dp not being a key holder? Would they have had to call the caretaker in? Or another key holder (who would of course refused due to being busy wink)

laeiou Mon 08-Jul-13 17:40:40

Freddie- who have you and DH been dealing with at the school, it sounds like a real idiot. Will you be letting the HT or other senior people in the school know what's happened? I.e. that you would be charged £45 for the convenience of your DH locking up the hall?

Good to hear that you've found a cheaper solution.

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 18:07:43

It was the HT. I spoke to the person who deals with the hall hire, DH went in and asked for the HT.

But all sorted now, and while originally we wanted it on the Saturday, it's worked out quite well, the Friday is her actual birthday, and having it after school gets it over and done with leaving all weekend free. Just got to re-write all the invites now

Scruffey Mon 08-Jul-13 18:39:49

shock at the HT. Wonder what other crappy decisions he/she makes!!!

BackforGood Mon 08-Jul-13 18:47:50

Sooooooooooo short sighted of them!

MissStrawberry Mon 08-Jul-13 20:00:45

Good result!

QueenStromba Mon 08-Jul-13 20:28:08

That is ridiculous. They've been making money off your DH volunteering all year and they can't even waive the caretaker fee when he'd have been the one locking up anyway. I think most people would have waived the hire fee altogether given the circumstances. I hope word gets around the keyholders and the HT finds himself having to shlep into school at the weekends to lock up.

QueenStromba Mon 08-Jul-13 20:37:24

Strange. I asked DP what he thought and he agreed that you should pay the "caretaker's fee". It actually caused a bit of a row.

freddiefrog Mon 08-Jul-13 21:12:48

I think what's pissed me off, is that DH is considered a key holder when they call him out on a Saturday afternoon to lock up and it suits them, but he's not a key holder when it benefits us

Either he is a key holder, or he isn't

We are expected to pay £45 for a service, that DH is providing for them, for free.

If another key holder had to come out to lock up after us, then fine. Or even if it was the caretakers weekend on and he'd be losing out on overtime

DH is a school governor and helps a lot at school, I'm not expecting special treatment because he helps out, just to be treated as a key holder

And as the hall would already be open when we got there, it'd just be someone coming 10 minutes before the end to lock up, a 3 hour charge seems way OTT

MissStrawberry Mon 08-Jul-13 21:21:40

On what grounds, MrQueenStromba.

FannyFifer Mon 08-Jul-13 21:29:07

Make sure you tell all the other volunteer key holders as well.
Maybe they would like to hand their keys in also.

That is clearly a ridiculous stance from the school.

QueenStromba Tue 09-Jul-13 10:28:35

Something about it being the rule that regular bookers don't have to pay the caretaker charge, rather than keyholders not having to pay it. He's a bit ocd about rules though - maybe the HT is too.

freddiefrog Tue 09-Jul-13 10:48:47

They way it's worded in the booking forms is a bit vague

It's something about regular hirers can become key holders and not have to pay the care takers charge

As DH was already a key holder then as far as I could see, we shouldn't have to pay the charge

It doesn't make it clear that only regular hirers who have keys are considered key holders in the context of not paying the additional charge

ZenGardener Tue 09-Jul-13 15:00:36

Well they have lost the booking and a key holder now so they have shot themselves in the foot. Hope you enjoy the party at the other hall.

comingintomyown Tue 09-Jul-13 18:28:01

YANBU what idiots and I expect its left a bit of a sour taste about all the help hes given

hermioneweasley Tue 09-Jul-13 18:32:43

I would be RAGING! Just to confirm, has your DH 'resigned' as a key holder now? So they've lost his services?

Mehrida Tue 09-Jul-13 19:23:36

That's ridiculous. I wonder how much other money they've made off the back of folks like your DH doing their dirty work for free.

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