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Childminder charging whilst child at nursery

(26 Posts)
PhoebeMcPeePee Tue 16-Jun-15 13:13:21

I'm interested to hear from both parents and childminders (I'm a cm) as I'm struggling to balance what is fair for the parents but also makes business sense for me.

It boils down to can I reasonably charge for a child's place whilst they are at pre-school? A bit of background that may or may not make a difference: I've cared for child A & 2 school age siblings for 2 years. At Easter A qualified for EYFS funding and whilst I didn't offer it at the time I registered so mum could get her 15 hours free. Mum mentioned last that she wanted her to do some hours at nursery before she starts school next year but would let me know if/when she got a place. Mum has now contacted me to say she's got the full 15 hours she applied for & can I collect A from nursery on my 2 days instead of usual daytime care.

I had assumed that since I've only recently registered for Eyfs funding specifically for her child that nursery attendance would either happen over the 3 days I don't look after her, or split the 15 hours some nursery & some with me.

I can't afford to give up a pre-school place for just 2 hours wrap-around but realise if I say sorry, I'm going to to have to charge you even when A is at nursery then I risk losing not only A but also her 2 siblings & with few enquiries this is very risky. They are already my least 'profitable' places (term time only, no before school & early pick-up) but really lovely kids and I've always just about managed on the current rate but definitely not room dropping any hours .

Any thoughts or advice what would be a fair suggestion?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 16-Jun-15 13:15:15

As a parent I think it's fair that you charge while the child isn't there. If parents aren't happy then they sort alternative childcare leaving you with a space for someone who's paying. It's normal practice.

Ticktockwedontstop Tue 16-Jun-15 13:25:21

As a parent who uses a CM I think the parent should be charged for the full day. It is not as if you would be able to take on another child for the hours the child is in nursery. My daughter attends pre-school every morning but we continue to pay the full day and rightly so.

Sigma33 Tue 16-Jun-15 13:32:09

I agree with the others, however, if you want to keep the family it may be worth finding a middle ground.

I would hope that they would also want to keep you if the children are settled.

Earthbound Tue 16-Jun-15 13:39:31

I think it's fair to charge while the child is at pre school. You can't reasonably expect to fill her place for the time she is at nursery and if you don't charge you will be out of pocket.

I would expect any CM I used to have this policy.

Tanith Tue 16-Jun-15 13:41:04

Who will look after the child when the nursery is closed? Who will have the hassle of breaking up their day to collect her from nursery? Who will have the extra work of liasing with the nursery and working in partnership with them?

You can absolutely justify charging for the place while the child is at nursery.

HSMMaCM Tue 16-Jun-15 17:52:48

I don't take children to pre school or nursery any more, but when I did I charged. I charge for my availability and if I'm available all day, then that's what I charge for.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 16-Jun-15 17:56:04

If you are dropping and collecting then totally fair to charge for the time between.

If you are doing collection only onwards, and wont be expected to be available for early pick ups (sickness etc) or to cover if the child is too ill to go to preschool then id just charge from pick up time onwards.

ArseForElbow Tue 16-Jun-15 17:56:26

I was charged for a full day when ds2 went to a childminder, he was only at nursery for 3 hours.

minderjinx Tue 16-Jun-15 18:45:04

I have done nursery drop off and pick up in the past. I think being paid for the time barely compensates for the hassle of doing it to be honest. By the time you look at travel time, fuel/parking (if applicable), the fact that it restricts and adds stress to the day for yourself and any other children, I'd far rather have the child all day. My own children went to preschool for one term and it was plenty - I can't really understand the keenness to get the little ones into an institution as early as possible - they learn just as much at home.

lovelynannytobe Tue 16-Jun-15 18:59:37

If it's just a wrap around care for a pre school aged child ... I would say - as it is impossible to fill vacancy just between pre school hours you have a different rate for it ... and then just quote her a different (higher) price ...

Maryann1975 Tue 16-Jun-15 20:06:41

I was in this situation a couple of years ago and will be in it again in the new year. There isn't enough demand for Childminders in my area for me to risk losing a current family by charging them full fees while there child is at preschool. I also think it is good for children to do some sessions at a preschool setting prior to starting school, it gets them used to the structure they will see when they start in reception.
What I did and will do again, is to say I won't accept preschool children who are doing two sessions a day (ie a full school day) at another setting (so I won't take them for 9 and pick up at 3). So they do a morning at preschool and I pick them up at lunch time and have them for the remainder of the day.
I can now claim funding, so I am going to suggest the family either leaves the child with me full time, and then they get the reduction of 15 hours to their bill or if they go to nursery, the bill goes down by only 10 hours. It's the best I can hope for I think.
I'm also a bit jealous of Childminders who can pick and choose their families and don't have to worry about situations like this because of lack of places elsewhere, there are so many nurseries in our town that not all of them are full and none of the Childminders are running to full capacity. parents can afford to be choosy and find somewhere else very easily if the terms are not what they want.

BlackandGold Wed 17-Jun-15 09:36:34

In your post you say you're being asked to collect the child from Nursery, so that implies you're not responsible for them whilst they are there. Is that correct? If so, it might have a bearing on how you approach this with the parent.
If you're having to both take and collect them then carry on charging!

PhoebeMcPeePee Thu 18-Jun-15 22:58:25

Thanks all. No unfortunately I don't have the children before school - at present older siblings are dropped off at school where I collect younger one so she would be dropped at nursery by mum & I'd only be responsible from pick-up. I'm going to have to talk to mum and explain I cant afford to keep A on as a wraparound and see where that takes me hmm. I have another pre-school child all day plus another schoolie & my own DC (all under 8) so unless someone leaves or I miraculously find someone only wanting care until 3pm, I can't add another child so sadly I think they will either need to pay for the place or look elsewhere which will undoubtedly mean filling 3 spaces.

minderjinx Fri 19-Jun-15 06:37:31

I wouldn't necessarily despair of finding someone who will go by 3pm. That is a much better prospect than finding one to fit in to a typical two and a half or three hour slot. I have had children do five or six hour sessions before with parents working early shifts or fitting within their own older children's school hours. Perhaps try advertising those hours specifically and see if you get any interest before making a decision. If there are other local childminders, let them know you would consider a child for those short hours - a lot would say they were not able to do them as it would not pay enough, but they may get enquiries they could pass your way.

HSMMaCM Fri 19-Jun-15 06:49:09

Is the nursery term time only? Do they expect you to keep the spade available for holidays?

BreadmakerFan Sat 20-Jun-15 19:29:44

If the child becomes I'll while at nursery who would collect? If you, definitely charge as normal.

electionfatigue Sat 20-Jun-15 21:36:06

I'm a parent and I have a nanny - she has 3 hours free while my oldest is at school and youngest is at preschool. I fully expect to pay her for it and have never suggested otherwise - she does a bit of ironing but I've also made it clear that some of it should be considered a break, as she doesn't get a proper lunchbreak. You should definitely charge. If you were feeling kind you could knock off 10% I suppose.

Ternet Thu 25-Jun-15 22:00:38

I have just had this problem and have dealt with it by stating that if the parent does not want to pay, the slot will not be made available when for example, strikes, closures happen. I've offered 5 1/2 yrs service to a family and all of a sudden they refuse to pay for the morning slot, yet had the cheek to ask for 'occasional' provision without retaining if and when reauired. If parents under value, yet expect everything, the answer is 'NO!' Either they pay, or make yourself unavailable. Their loss.

minderjinx Fri 26-Jun-15 07:36:08

Ternet, whilst I sympathise, this is a scenario which comes up again and again. I think we need to be clear with parents that the contract terms we agree are the ones we agree to. They do not have the right to unilaterally change them, for example by changing days or hours or by deciding not to pay for services they have agreed to pay for. So in other words, if they want to drop a day or some hours, they need to give proper notice and then renegotiate a new contractual arrangement and fees. If the new days/hours are less attractive, or new services are needed, such as drop offs or pick ups, then we need to decide if they are viable and what an acceptable rate will be for the new arrangements. Continuing as is is not a foregone conclusion. I have also been in the situation of offering a good rate for full time hours only to be told later that parents want to drop hours at odd times of the week to allow gps to "help out", leaving spaces at odd times which will be viritually impossible to fill, and wanting those hours on an ad hoc basis (but guaranteed) for when those gps are sick or on holiday. I think it shows a stunning lack of ability to put themselves in the childminders shoes that they think this is acceptable and assume it will be accepted. They would be up in arms if their own boss told them that as of next week they were required to do a split shift and two daily journeys to work for less pay.

SocksRock Fri 26-Jun-15 07:43:16

My last childminder charged half rates during preschool hours. Her contract also stated that she charged until she was back at home from the drop off at full rates. So for a three hour session I got charged 1 hour at full rate and 2 hours at half rate.

Groovee Fri 26-Jun-15 07:48:45

My childminder charged for the 2.5 hours Ds was at nursery because she was the one who would be called to pick him up in an emergency. It was a pain money wise but realistically she couldn't fill his place for that short time.

You just have to be upfront with mum that she will have to pay for the hours if you are dropping and collecting.

If I had dropped at nursery prior to going to work then I only paid from when she collected him. This just happened a few times when I was a later start at work.

Aquadoodle Thu 09-Jul-15 21:33:13

I must be properly lucky. I managed to find an Ofsted outstanding rated childminder to look after my DD around the afternoon nursery hours, I.e. 4 hours before nursery and 2 hours after. I pay her £7 per hour, and she takes childcare vouchers!! She does pick up another little girl from that school at 3.30 for whom she does after school care for.
Oh and term time only.
Is this the holy grail of childminders?? SW London, zone 2

reddaisy Sat 11-Jul-15 21:17:52

Our childminder also doesn't charge when DS or her other preschoolers are at pre-school, we know we are lucky but these are the terms that she set. We are probably her most profitable family - two DC lots of hours - and she isn't full so it probably makes sense for her to make her terms as appealing as possible to families in our area. When we first started looking for childcare all of the childminders were full but now there are more of them and they all have spaces, it is swings and roundabouts I suppose.

Figster Sat 11-Jul-15 21:21:08

My ds goes cm mon-thu but on Thursday he now also goes to pre school she does pick up and drop off and in school hols has him those days. We have to pay her on pre school days as otherwise would lose his place and we need her non term time.

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