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Retainer fees(18 Posts)
So I return to work from maternity in November, we have found a childminder that we like and she is charging us a retainer fee of £126 per month until I go back to work I understand why but other childminders we saw wanted a 2 week deposit which could be taken off first invoice when he starts. Any others had this?
This is all new to me
Wow, I think that's cheeky!
By all means, she may not confirm your spot (and be free to give it away to someone else who asks) but don't charge a retainer!
I would ask her to let you know if someone else enquires about the place before then to give you the option of first refusal, and if you want the place then you have to pay (likely full fees) otherwise take your chance that it's still there in Nov.
I've not heard of this before, but then some child minders charge for all sorts of things I think should be accounted for in overall price like sickness and their holidays.
I've heard of it before. They run their own business as they see fit. You don't have to pay it, you can always find another childminder. She's losing money by keeping a place open for you.
A retainer to keep a place for November is pretty standard. You are asking her to keep a spot open for 4 months, she could fill that space before then and be earning money. I get loads of enquiries and wouldn't be able to afford to just turn people away for months at a time.
I understand why just wondered how she was the only one we had seen doing it that's all.
Just wanted to know if anyone else had this?
She's doing it because she can. She obviously wants to work with you, but on the other hand, she must be popular enough to be able to fill the space before child starts with her. It's very normal and a lot of childminders do it or some variation of it.
Yeah guess your right to be honest the others we saw we didn't get that feeling with them if that makes sense, this one seemed really good- I guess we will pay it just weird how others don't do it...
It's to retain the space until November. If you like her, I would pay it, as it's a fair charge. If you chose to gamble on not paying it as a PP suggested, you could see your place given to someone else.
If you had come to visit me and requested a space for November I would've explained that I would need to charge a retainer each week/month to hold your childcare space. I charge retainers because I have previously held spaces for families who have then changed their minds at the last minute and decided they would go somewhere cheaper or to a nursery etc. and in that time I have turned other families away who required an immediate start therefore losing a lot of business.
I would have also suggested to you that as you are paying a retainer, the space is yours to use prior to November therefore settling in could be started at least a few months before and you could perhaps have one day per week where your child continues to come to my setting until they start they're proper full days.
Most of the childminder's I know charge retainers especially if the space requested is 4 months away. Either that or we would suggest to families to contact us nearer the time but bear in mind the space might not be available.
I would also ask for a retainer in these circumstances. I have turned away potential customers in the past, only to have the parent for whom I was holding a place decide not to go back to work. Another had a grandma suddenly decide to offer to do the childcare. (Grandma backed out of the deal shortly afterwards, but that's another story). I have also heard of unscrupulous parents "booking" a place with more than one childminder, to keep their options open. I'm afraid nothing demonstrates commitment like money up front.
The others might not have a space until November therefore aren't losing fees in holding it open for you.
Fwiw I don't hold spaces at all and would only charge a non refundable deposit.
I'm a childminder and would also be charging a retainer for a November space. I couldn't hold a space without doing that due to loss of earnings.
Everyone cm is different and I guess it's how they run their business!
I charge a retainer if I'm holding a space, I charge 50%. If there wasn't a space and the new child was starting when another finished, then I wouldn't charge. I get several enquiries a week and could fill all spaces easily so the retainer gives both myself and the parent a confidence in each other.
We went ahead with her, I totally understand why she charges it she has to earn a living like the rest of us just wondered if it was the norm. She was too good to let go and like you say money is the key to anything
That's good news! Pls make sure you've read the contract and her policies thoroughly too so you know what to expect and how she runs her setting! Also think about perhaps starting your little one earlier for settling in or start date so you don't feel you are wasting your money with retainer. Good luck xxx
'Also think about perhaps starting your little one earlier for settling in or start date so you don't feel you are wasting your money with retainer'
A retainer doesn't work that way, as it's nowhere near full fees. You could (if the cm agrees) start earlier, but you'd have to pay the additional amount to make up the full fees for those sessions.
Op - unless you're doing very few hours (or you've found v cheap childcare) then £126 sounds v cheap and nowhere near the 50% standard retainer, so I think you're lucky to be paying so little.
Leeloo2 I know how retainers work - I am a CM. Poster would also be aware of how they work as her CM would have thoroughly gone through this with her.
Bringing a start date forward and having extra settling in sessions is something I have previously done with parents paying a retainer.
It is a lot of money to lose over four months but I get that parents don't want to pay until the child starts so a fifty percent is a good compromise.
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