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Cancelling a babysitter at short notice - what is the etiquette?

(14 Posts)
Ktay Sat 22-Oct-11 15:25:28

I've come down with a lurgy so have had to cancel my babysitter for this evening. Have left a voicemail and texted but not spoken to her in person yet so I can't gauge how annoyed/inconvenienced she feels. I'd really been hoping I'd recover in time, hence the relatively short-notice cancellation.

She gets quite a bit of work from me - a regular (but short) weekly booking, some evenings (roughly once a month) and I have passed her details on to various friends and NCT/nursery contacts who need reliable ad hoc childcare. On my voicemail I apologised profusely and suggested she babysit one evening next weekend instead (we don't have plans to go out but am happy to do something impromptu). Just wondering whether this is adequate 'compensation' or should I be paying her for this evening anyway?

(If relevant: she lives at home so her fixed outgoings are minimal; cancelling this booking won't mean she can't pay rent/turn the heating on etc.)

Thanks for any advice...

nannynick Sat 22-Oct-11 15:38:03

I would expect paying... 3 hours is my minimum. If she doesn't get your message and arrives at your home, pay her something. Otherwise add it on to next time.

If it's someone who I've been babysitting for many years, I probably wouldn't want paying but it all depends on how good a customer they are. So as it sounds like you do give her quite a lot of work she may not be bothered about payment - but that I feel is her choice to make rather than your's IYSWIM - I feel you should offer to pay, as it's not her fault you are not going out.

Moomoomie Sat 22-Oct-11 15:52:32

With Sitters, a babysitting agency, you do not have to pay the sitter if you cancel with more than an hours notice, less than you pay.
Seems polite to actually talk to her though, to make sure she has got your message,and maybe pay her extra next time.

HelveticaTheBold Sat 22-Oct-11 15:53:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ktay Sat 22-Oct-11 15:58:10

Thanks for all the advice. She has texted back (just to clarify, I had attempted to speak to her in person but had to leave voicemail) and is happy with the proposal of swapping to next weekend instead. Seeing her in the week for regular booking so can sound her out in person then.

nannynick Sat 22-Oct-11 15:58:30

Sitters would still charge parents the membership fee and booking fee. So £6 booking, plus whatever percentage of yearly/quarterly membership.

This babysitter isn't via an agency though, so it depends on the terms agreed between Ktay and the babysitter.

nannynick Sat 22-Oct-11 15:59:53

Glad it has been sorted. Sounds like she's very understanding, adults and children do get ill, it happens. As long as you are not regularly booking and then cancelling at late notice, she is probably quite happy.

CestTout Sat 22-Oct-11 16:17:44

I babysit regularly for a few families, one cancelled a few weeks ago (2 hours nitice) due to sickness and offered to pay me full whack. I refused as I'm happier to have more repeat bookings from being flexible. As it turns out I babysat for them last week and they gave me £10 extra (they tried to give 20 I refused).

I am sure if she knows you well and enjoys babysittIng she will be very happy with an extra £10 this week.

Ktay Sat 22-Oct-11 16:18:46

No, I don't make a habit of this - daren't risk getting in the bad books of a reliable babysitter grin

Ktay Sat 22-Oct-11 16:20:59

Sorry, cross-posted. If I pay her the equivalent of tonight's 5.5h booking for what will prob be a much shorter stint next weekend, hopefully she will be ok w that.

DottyandSpottyWot Sat 22-Oct-11 17:45:08

I babysat for families on a regular basis, and wouldn't take the evenings/days pay, as I wanted to keep getting work from them! The next time I babysat for them, they would organise a takeaway to be delivered or left me a bottle of wine (to take home!) just as a wee thank you!

ChippingInToThePumpkinLantern Sat 22-Oct-11 17:50:56

You are being really sweet. She sounds fine with swapping for next week so I wouldn't worry about it. I babysit a lot, the money is nice, but if someone cancels at the last minute I'm not too fussed, especially if it's a regular. It's sometimes nice to have an unexpected free night smile

magicOC Sat 22-Oct-11 18:39:47

I often get cancellations and normally it doesn't bother me as people do get ill from time to time.

I did take exception though to one parent who cancelled me 3x in the one wk (1st time, changed her mind an couldn't be bothered going out. 2nd time, same as the first and the third time with less than 2hrs notice, decided she didn't feel up to it.)

She offered to pay me £20 for my troubles, which I did go to collect as I wasn't too happy being messed around with little notice. Bare in mind if I had babysat for all 3 evenings I would have easily come out with around £100. Turned down other work to sit for her (one was booked 5wks in advance)

Never heard from her again, but, when I bumped into her in the street a few months later she admitted she had stopped asking me as she was annoyed that I had taken the £20 from her. I told her she was lucky it was only £20 as other nannies would have charged her a hell of a lot more, and agencies would have made her pay.

Anyway, her loss. I'm not losing sleep over it.

Ktay Sat 22-Oct-11 19:38:31

Thanks for all the input, I think I'm reassured it has been handled ok. MagicOC it sounds like you're best off without that woman's business!

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