Hi all, sorry as this has probably been asked before... is it common for child minder to charge a half hourly fee for my oldest dd whilst she's in school as a "retainer"? my friend thinks it's really inappropriate and that I'm paying too much. But my two dd's are her only two children she looks after. She has two dd's herself. she works flexible hours and has the girls on different days every week. 2-3 days a week.
I thought it was quite common to charge a retainer?
I don't know of any childminders who charge a retainer for a school aged child. But as others have said, £67 per day doesn't sound like bad, especially as your childminder keeps the number of child she looks after low and is willing to do shift work. I am in the south east and charge £6/hour for shift work, which works out at £60 for the younger child, and £24 for the older one. So although I wouldn't charge a retainer, my total rate would still be higher. If you have been happy with the service and the rates up until now I wouldn't worry too much about what your friend is saying.
Your friend is rude. Wonder if she's paying her mum illegally (if care is provided in her mum's home) or (if in her home) paying full tax etc?
Don't think school-age DC count as under 5s, or at least can request a variation of rules from ofsted (my CM looked into it all), so she's not taking up a space, but as others say the question is more whether you are happy with the price for her services and what you might have to pay for other local options / whether they'd be as good.
I pay a fairly high after school rate for dd for similar reasons to you, few DC, like the care, she gets lots of attention etc. I also need a pick-up by car at a different school to the CM's DC, and dd takes up a space in that car!
I think it would be more common NOT to charge for the hours your elder daughter is at school, but a lot would charge you for both children for the whole week if you have different requirements from week to week, and that would probably cost you a lot more than you are paying. Does it really matter what the charges are nominally for, so long as the overall cost is fair for what you are getting? I also think £67 a day for two children, one all day, one before and after school, sounds quite reasonable, and for variable days, it sounds very reasonable indeed.
If your oldest child is in reception then I don't think she is classed as one of you under 5's if she is only having her before and after school holidays. I would charge full price for the younger child and hourly rates for before and after. If it were pre school, I would be charging full price for your older one. If you are happy paying what you are paying and happy with the care then I would say it is best not to rock the boat
Another one here who would not charge a retainer for the school age child but if the days change each week I would charge you for everyday for your youngest for keeping the space open. So even though my daily rate would be quite a bit cheaper (£49 for both) overall I would cost more, so I think you have got a good deal.
This is why it's so important to look at the whole package that a childminder is offering and choose the deal that works best for you. Everyone's requirements are different and it's not enough to say what a childminder ought to be charging, or to claim they are overcharging because it isn't what you might expect.
I'm glad you've got a good arrangement with your childminder that you are happy with. It's really no business of anyone else's.
Just wanted to come back and add the bit about flexibility.........if you need her to keep Mon-Fri available for whatever days you might book then I'd charge full price for every day so like others have said, it's about the whole package! I.e. my charges would be £45 min (would be slightly more as I charge more before 8am) for the youngest each day and £15.75 for the eldest so that would be £60.75 EVERY DAY of the week. If she's only charging your day rate for the days you use, you are getting a very good deal. It's obviously just the way your childminder has done it as a retainer that has made your friend react like that (not that it's any of her business if you're happy!) but looking at the whole package, you've got a great deal!
I am a child minder and I also wouldn't charge for time when a child is at school and I have never heard of any child minder doing that. Maybe nursery, if it is a short time and it means that I can't take on any other children. I charge a suitable fee for before and after school and many childminders make good money just from these hours alone. I would charge a retainer for holidays. But there are no rules, everyone works differently and the point is you are both happy with this arrangement.
looney, when you put it like that, wow, I have got a good deal. I'm really glad I asked now. I had no idea about what was generally accepted before and what sort of charges were involved for flexible hours. Thanks all.
I don't charge a retainer whilst children are at school and I don't know, and have never known, any CM's that do. I only charge before and after school and for any time I have them in the hols. I wouldn't get any work if I charged for school age children when they were at school!
Starry - if you compare what you'd pay based on how I and many otherscharge to what you're paying now, I'm sure you'll be very happy with the difference and can shove that info in your friend's face! It's just the way she's gone about it that is unusual but the end result is much better for you and you sound very happy with her too