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CMs - please come & tell me about deposits

(11 Posts)
Murtette Fri 01-Feb-13 18:10:21

We've found a lovely childminder for DS and will probably sign the contract and drop it off with her this weekend. She asks for an amount equal to a month's fees to be paid as a deposit which she states is non-refundable at any stage. Is this usual? I think I'd expect a deposit to be used to offset the final month's fees or to be repaid once DS had left rather than as profit for her. As she has immediate availability, DS will do settling in sessions next week & the following week with a view to doing his full sessions from the third week so I'm basically paying her double this month if the deposit is never returned to me. I'd be grateful if you could tell me if this is standard or not as, if not, I will query it with her before signing. I do realise that one of the benefits of being a childminder is that you can set your own terms and, if this is one of this childminder's terms, that I will probably just have to accept it.
Thanks

HSMM Fri 01-Feb-13 18:11:49

There is no standard, as we are self employed and set our own terms. Some refund deposits against first fees, others refund when a child leaves and others keep the deposit to secure the place. You can ask her to clarify it, but then you need to decide if you accept her terms.

ReetPetit Fri 01-Feb-13 18:22:11

i don't know anyone who does that! are you sure the deposit is non refundable. I am starting a little girl next week and am not taking anything off the parents as it's to start straight away. Ask her!

ZuleikaD Fri 01-Feb-13 18:42:30

I charge a non-refundable deposit of the first month's fees if it's a long way in advance, but that is then the first month's fees. Others hold it over against the final month's fees. I would query exactly what she means as that's otherwise quite a surprising bonus for her.

lechatnoir Fri 01-Feb-13 22:36:22

If it's non-refundable then it's not a deposit it's double pay for the first month!! I'd be amazed if this is right (apart form anything I can't believe anyone would have the cheek to include this as a standard clause shock. More likely is it is held until the end of the contract so it could be years before you see it but if you fulfil all your contractual obligations she's having a laugh to say you don't get it back!!

lechatnoir Fri 01-Feb-13 22:40:22

eta - I charge a deposit of £50 (which I hold until the end of the contract) if someone wants a place more than 4 weeks in advance or I have someone else beating down my door for the place. I know a week/month fees is quite common but my hourly rate is quite high so thought I should show some compassion somewhere wink

dobby2001 Fri 01-Feb-13 22:48:44

I charge one weeks deposit to secure a place and this is returned as a credit against the final Months invoice. As others have said if its not returned then its not a deposit , its some form of registration or admin fee- which a number of nurseries around here charge.

Tanith Fri 01-Feb-13 23:53:39

Has she got it confused?

It's common to charge a non-refundable retainer if the place is to be held. I haven't to date, but having had yet another parent book a place for months, then reduce her days at the last minute, I'm going to from now on angry

A deposit is more usually a lump sum that is held, then returned, to guarantee the place (discourages people from messing us about).
Some return it after the first month; others keep it until the end of the contract to protect against non-payment.

HSMM Sat 02-Feb-13 09:39:19

You're right Tanith ... If it's a retainer, she would definitely keep it. However, it sounds like she's only retaining the space for 2 weeks, but charging a month?

Fightlikeagirl Sat 02-Feb-13 17:53:54

I charge a retainer fee if keeping a space open until its needed ( normally half the fees) This isn't refunded or used towards care as I see it as compensation for losing out on money from someone who could take the space straight away.
I also charge a deposit of a weeks fees which counts as the final weeks payment if the appropriate notice has been given and all other fees etc are up to date. This deposit is security for me if a parent leaves without notice or doesn't pay.
But as others have said it really is up to her what she charges and her terms. So therefore up you if you accept them.

Murtette Sat 02-Feb-13 20:50:13

Thanks for your responses. I think I need to clarify it with her. I think part of my confusion is that its called a deposit but is worded to sound like a retainer/registration fee.

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