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CMs: do you offer sibling discounts?(14 Posts)
Question for childminders: I am trying to find out how common sibling discounts are. DD currently goes to her CM 4 days a week. DC2 is due later this year and I envisage going back to work after around 9 months. CM has already indicated in the past that if I had another one she'd be happy to take him/her. Since it is still early stages I haven't even broached the subject but am trying to cost everything out from now and just wondered if offering a sibling discount standard practice amongst Childminders?
Second question...while I think of it...I intend to keep DD with the CM while I am on ML but on reduced hours. She currently does 35 hours a week, what is the minimum number of hours you would accept in this kind of situation when a parent is on ML? I would def. return to her full time when I go back to work. She is very popular and constantly in demand so I THINK if I went down to 20 hours she would be able to find another mindee for 15 hours (but then I'd need those 15 hours back when I go back to work...) I don't want to leave her out of pocket or anything but whilst on ML we will need to manage childcare costs carefully. We are in central London (if that is at all relevant!)
None of my three childminders have offered a sibling discount. In some ways siblings are 'worse' than singles in that you can risk losing a big chunk of income if the family circumstances change.
My current cm would only keep a ft place open if full fees were paid. She couldn't afford not to. Very few families would want a fixed term part time place.
I don't, basically if a family leave it's 2 spaces to fill so more of a risk business wise. When I first started I held a place for a sibling pair who left after a term because dad had a job in the middle east. They didn't bother mentioning they wanted something short term, grrrrr.
But each minder is different.
I've used 5 or 6 different CMs
for various legitimate reasons over the years, and had never heard of a sibling discount until I read of the idea on MN, so it's not common round here. Don't see why they should, tbh, as they are allowed a limited number of dc, and if you happen to have 2 taking up 2 of the places, then I'm not sure on what grounds you think you should then be paying less.
I don't offer a sibling discount and would charge to keep the place. My families have always kept the first child on their normal hours. However ... It's worth asking, as some CMs can offer this flexibility.
I do offer a discount and would charge a retainer to keep the place.
I offer sibling discount of 10% off first child subsequent children at full. When eldest leaves discount passes to sibling. I look after families who have 3/4/5 children.
I have 2 children currently on ml. 1 comes 2 days and has reduced to 1. Ml will be 6 months. Other comes 4 days and has remained the same. Ml will be 18 months.
Good communication with both lots of parents and I know their babies will be starting when they have said so I am not at danger of holding a place for nothing.
I don't offer sibling discount for reasons mentioned above and whilst I couldn't afford to keep a place without charging I have cut down hours slightly (8-6pm became 9-5pm during ml) and wouldn't want to take on someone new to fill a space unless I could offer long term care which would mean you wouldn't have the space after ml. Definitely speak to your cm and see if she has any suggestions.
i don't offer sibling discount as Icouldn't afford to. I don't take asecond deposit though.
For ML if the days change I can't guarantee they will be available when the parent goes back to work. I might be able to reduce hours slightly within the day.
At the end of the day i have to earn a wage to keep my family....that works out at a set number of full days of childcare per week plus after school care. It's business not that I don't feel for all parents juggling the finances and childcare.
I offer a slight discount however I sometimes wish I didn't as siblings are harder work, they wind each other up more and it can get hairy!!
Secondly I would charge in full for 35 hours, unless you were happy to risk loosing those 15hrs when you returned to work. I can do this because the need for childcare is so high near me, if I needed to keep hold of the business I may be more accommodating and only charge a retainer. It's tough on you but your situation isn't very financially attractive to a CM.
I used to do both. Can't afford to offer the sibling discount now: I was finding that parents would expect the free entitlement as well and we're struggling to offer that, too.
One parent had the discount and the free entitlement for her eldest and expected me not to charge for the hours she was using a preschool, even though I was taking and collecting the child
The keeping a place during maternity leave. I really did try to do this, but so many mothers took advantage that I stopped it. By taking advantage, I mean I'd be keeping their place only for them to change their working arrangements so they didn't need me as much when they returned. They invariably told me with as little notice as possible.
The final straw was the mother for whom I kept two full time places for 3 days open for 8 months, the older child attending about half that time. A month before they were due to start full time, she announced she was dropping to one day with me. I had a month to fill 2 full time places, having lost all that money trying to keep them open for her. It was a very quiet time and it was months before we found someone.
Then, a few months later, she decided she was getting an au pair because it was cheaper and gave notice.
I originally decided on £4.50 for first child and £4 as sibling discount for second. Then decided it would be easier to just make them all £4.25 each and save hassle when one of them gets too old and leaves and the other one goes up in price!
WRT hours, that's something you'd need to discuss with each individual CM as it depends a lot on how many hours they want to work, the ages of the DCs they already mind etc.
I childmind on top of other business pursuits, so happy to flexible, many of my mindees are just 2-3 days a week and I enjoy the odd day off when I don't have any children booked in over the holidays. If it were my only source of income I'd have to be a bit more ruthless.
Thanks for all the replies, very useful. We had no expectations that there would be a discount and have been saving monthly since I found out I was pg on the basis that we would be paying the full amount x2 next year. It's just that I suddenly came across this concept of sibling discounts on MN recently and wondered how common it is. Obviously the CM is running a business and our financial constraints are not her concern as we chose to have 2 close together
I'll ask her once the pregnancy progresses, her motto is "everything is negotiable" when she talks about her fees so who knows!
DD will be entitled to her 15 free hours a week from September next year but if I've understood correctly from reading other posts on here, it is not really financially viable from CM's to offer this as the amount they get for Local Authorities is lot less than the amount they actually charge. So it's standard practice for the CM to still charge for the 15 hours if I send DD to a nursery since she will be unlikely to find another child for those hours. We are trying to work out if it would therefore be more cost effective to just send DD to nursery for the full 35 hours we require and keep DC2 with the CM. I'd prefer not to though, she adores her lovely CM.
Tanith - it baffles me when parents treat childminders shabbily considering they do what should be considered one of THE most important jobs for a parent. My CM often gets paid late or parents regularly turn up late to pick up their children without warning - ridiculous.
No sibling discounts here because it cost me the same to look after a sibling as it does any child that would fill that space, they don't eat less food or take less space in the car or use less resources because their sibling is with me. Also they take up a full space.
The ML I would expect the place to be paid for if the space was there. If a family didn't want to pay then they would have to take pot luck when they wanted the spaces I'm afraid. I can't afford to loose a full timer's money for upward of 9 months.
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