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childminders who offer a flexible service and/or overnight care(13 Posts)
could I pick your brains please?
I am almost finished my registration process and have had some brilliant advice on a thread I started in chat. but it has come to light (for me anyway) that a flexible/overnight CMer is very hard to come by. these are things that I just assumed I would be offering and that most others did aswell but it seems not.
so I have a few questions if that's ok.
why is it so hard to come by that kind of care?
those that do offer it- what pitfalls should I look out for? are there certain aspects I should avoid.
how do you find it works with your own family (partner/dcs?)
how flexible can you be? could you take a dc at 6am tomorrow morning if asked now? could you do that regularly? do you do it regularly?)
how do you charge for 'antisocial' hours in comparison to your normal rate? do you have 2 rate but higher or a day rate and night rate?
do you find many people enquiring after early starts (how early?) and late pick ups? (how late?) or overnight care?
that's all I can think to ask right now but i'm sure more questions will arise as I read response. thank you in advance for reading and taking time to respond.
(BTW i'm a regular poster of 5 years who NCs often- i'm not just some cheeky rip coming to steal all your business models )
"do you have 2 rate but higher or a day rate and night rate?"
that should be -do you have 1 rate but higher or a day rate and night rate?
How many children will you be registered to care for excludibg your own?
If you filled one fulltime space and did not fill the others, would you earn enough? If you consider the ad-hoc spaces to be additional income but not need to be filled frequently then ad-hoc care could work. I know of a nursery that works that way, the contracted children pay the bills, the ad-hoc are the profit.
registered for 4 mindees. I could probably manage with 2 F/T spaces filled. would have to sit down and do the sums but off the top of my head I don't think I would manage with just one if no ad hoc work coming in also.
The trouble with taking on ad hoc work is what you then do if a full time parent comes along. Your full time place is taken up by someone only needing bits and bobs and bringing in nowhere near the same income.
One way round it is to contract a minimum number of hours that they commit to paying for each week then can be flexible with the days they actually come
good point moogy
what sort of rate would you charge in relation to your normal F/T rate for ad hoc care? just trying to work out in my head if it is viable.
When I first started minding I offered overnight care and I also took on shift workers on flexible hours. I have since decided not to do either and here are few of my reasons:
- I had one child arriving at 7am and another often leaving at 8pm so it was a VERY long work day and I was very tired. I prefer to have the children all doing the same or similar hours.
- I had one shift worker mum who would text me late at night asking if I could work the next morning. A couple of times she texted me after I had already gone to bed and I didn't see the texts. I was woken the next morning at 6am by knocking on the door!
- It was very difficult to plan my own life around work. I couldn't book appointments with the doctor/dentist as I never knew the shift patterns far enough in advance. I was also forever having to cancel play dates and other plans because the shifts would change at the last minute and I needed to be at home for a collection/pick up at a really akward time.
- I lost out financially. I took on a shift worker and we signed a contract for a minimum of 20 hours a week. I was happy with this at first but then my family finances became more stretched for various reasons and I needed to be able to earn more but I felt too guilty to give notice to that family just to free up the space for a full timer.
- Overnight care can be very tiring. I only offered it to exsiting mindees who were already well settled. Even so I had children crying at night for their mummies and they were very hard to get to sleep. I had a particularly bad night with one little 2 year old girl who cried endlessly and I ended up having to sleep next to her on a mattress.
Nowadays, I get enough enquiries that I am able to fill my spaces with children who do set hours every week so there is no real incentive to put up with all the hassle that shift work brings. I do feel really bad for parents who need flexible care and can't find it, but offering it just wasn't workable for me. If I ever did do it again I would charge a much higher hourly rate.
mamamaisie thank you so much that is brilliant insight. one point that struck me is when you said you needed to earn more but couldn't as you had a 20 hour contract with a shift worker. were you charging your standard rate for these hours and do you think your parents would have paid for a full time place (even if it was double your daily rate) for the the flexibility you were offering (meaning you didn't need to give them notice if a full time mindee came along?) after moogys post I was thinking that this may be a way round losing out financially whilst still offering flexible care, but that very much depends on whether parents are willing to pay it.
My CM offers an early breakfast for my children (have always dropped them just before 7.30 am, for a school drop off at 8.45) but she charges more per hour for that than she does for normal minding.
I'm fine with that, as that additional flexibility (she used to start at 8 until we came along) means that I can work.
She also does other bits and bobs (a drop off od DD at a club, stuff related to performances) and charges a normal fee for them if they are within her normal working day. However, we have been with her for many years and the flexibility has come AFTER the 'bread and butter' relationship, rather than being offered upfront IYSWIM.
I have been asked to do shift work cover, but the family didn't want to pay more for the anti social hours, so it was a no go for me. I can get enough work during normal hours to not need to work really early or late into the evening.
I know a cm who does over night and she is frequently up in the night with her mindee, she is often exhausted, doing a full day, then up over night, then working another full day, she doesn't get a break. She has gone down the shift worker route and says its fine, but looking/listening to her I wonder if it is really working or if there just isn't anything else coming her way work wise.
I would take on ad hoc work, as in if some approached me to cover their cm holidays, or if they just wanted a few hours each week to study, but this would be on the basis that is something more full time came up, I'd have to go with that. I would charge them the normal rate.
Yes, I did charge slightly more than my usual hourly rate, but it was only about 50p/hour more, which wasn't enough to make it worthwhile for me. The families I had wouldn't have been willing to pay for a full time place, they all made that pretty clear. One of the parents worked in a hotel, another at a restaurant and one in maintenance. I suspect that paying a full time rate would have made work unsustainable for them. But that's not to say that there aren't families out there who would be willing/able to pay more for the flexibility. I seem to get loads of shift work enquiries so there is definitely a lot of demand for this type if service.
To be honest I would have loved to find a FT CM who could do core hours plus early/late/overnight as needed to cover travel etc but I couldn't so we had a nanny. I think it's hard to come by because it's disruptive and very few people want FT care plus the flexibility so you end up with shift workers etc.
If it were me doing it I don't think it would be great for our family life with lots of different families, but if it were a regular mindee and the service was available if needed it would be a lot more manageable.
thank you all- this is really helpful to know. I have been thinking of using 'flexibility' as my USP but considering your responses I don't know if it would work to offer it in that way as I would leave myself open to being entirely dependant on shift work/ad hoc work for an income. I think i'll try and fill my FT spaces and then only do flexible/overnight for one mindee or if existing parents ask for it. so really- provide the care but only if asked for rather than it being 'my thing' IYSWIM.
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