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Quick Question for CM's re retainers

(12 Posts)
JonSnowsHarlot Thu 10-Oct-13 09:54:00

My lovely childminder is removing her holiday service so that she can get a better work life balance - gutting for me but fair enough!

However she is going to charge a retainer per day over the holidays. I thought a retainer was used when a parent does not want to use the service on offer. She says the retainer is to keep my DS's place for the termtime service - but surely thats what the deposit I have already paid is for?

Hopemore Thu 10-Oct-13 09:58:43

She is wrong.
If she is not offering the service and you will be back attending and paying once she is open again than you don't need to pay anything.
I am actually stunned, she is very cheeky and doesn't seem lovely at all.
If she was such a lovely person she wouldn't want to get some money fro free at your cats doing nothing to earn it.

JonSnowsHarlot Thu 10-Oct-13 10:01:36

Thanks Hope - I am hoping that either I have misunderstood or she has - otherwise I might be feeling less postive about the whole thing.

Hopemore Thu 10-Oct-13 10:04:07

Sorry my post is bad written.
I meant 'get some money for free at your cost.'

How long have you been using her services?

JonSnowsHarlot Thu 10-Oct-13 10:07:35

this is our 6th year - my DS has been with her term time and 4 days per week in school holidays since reception.

Hopemore Thu 10-Oct-13 10:08:35

Obviously it is her businees and she can charge what she wants but this is not a good practice so it is up to you if you want to pay or not pay. Also I think this is something that should be discussed at the beggining of the contact and it seems she just changed her mind:

Here is some guidelines of good practice for CMs:

^Retainer Fee
A retainer fee is a reduced fee which is paid when there is a delay between booking a childminding place and a child starting. If you have a current vacancy and a parent wants you to reserve the place for their child but doesn’t want to start straight away, it may mean turning down other parents that could have started straight away. Sometimes parents may want places reserved for several months and that could mean a significant loss of income for you. A retainer fee acts as compensation for the reduction of earnings you will experience by not filling the vacancy immediately. It is usually a proportion (often 50%) of the normal fee that will apply when the child starts to attend and is paid on the same basis (e.g. monthly/weekly) as the future service will be provided.

Whilst you are being paid the retainer, you should not fill the slot the child would usually attend. If the parents need occasional childcare during the retained period you should have the space to provide it (the full childminding fees would apply for the hours they attend). If you take on a short term placement for another child during a retained period you should not continue to charge a retainer fee as the place would not be available; instead a deposit would be more appropriate.

You should have a contract to cover the retained period which sets out the fees, notice period (in case a parent decides they no longer want the space) and any conditions. A retainer fee is not a credit against future fees. If the retained place is not taken up by the parent, the retainer fees are not refundable. This should be explained in the contract.

You can also use retainer fees if a there is a break in a child’s attendance, for example the parents do not require childcare in school holidays. Charging a reduced fee helps to prevent big dips in income that you would not experience with a child that attended all year around. As with a retainer used to reserve a place, you can only charge a school holiday retainer fee if you are available to provide care but the parent does not use your services. If you are on holiday or you take on a temporary child that fills the place then a retainer fee is not applicable.^

HSMMaCM Thu 10-Oct-13 12:14:11

I have heard of CMs charging fees when they are not working, but I wouldn't do it. It is her business, so she can run it however she likes. It is up to you to decide if you still want to use her services (I know it's hard when you've been there a long time).

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 10-Oct-13 13:03:28

I was considering charging a retainer so that if someone wanted occasional care at irregular times I would be available on whichever days they needed me, then when they didn't need me I would still be working, just with fewer children.

If your CM is not working at all during the holidays she can't charge you for it! She has obviously heard something along the lines of Hopemore's post about delaying the start/not filling a vacancy, and made up her own rule to suit. I would ask her to clarify and if that is her intention then suggest she looks up the definition of a retainer fee and think again.

Redbookworm Fri 11-Oct-13 22:54:30

I am a childminder and have had term time only children where the parents pay a half fee retainer on the holidays to keep the space but if needed they are able to send the children during the holidays. Surely she can't charge a retainer for unavailable childcare! Does this mean you will have to find alternative holiday care? So you will have to pay two childminders? This does not seem fair to me.

Hopemore Sat 12-Oct-13 17:03:41

What are you going to do OP?
Have you talked to her?

Nicadooby Sat 12-Oct-13 20:17:41

She's taking the mic, if it were you saying you didn't need her in the holidays then she could charge a retainer for your DD space but bit just because she has decided not to work them. Do you pay anything to her holiday time?

mercibucket Sat 12-Oct-13 20:41:15

maybe suggest she pays you a retainer to keep your business grin

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