To make it more official I guess a yearly contract is the answer. If you have it on Word, then you only need to make a few changes and reprint it....put it this way, Tescos do this for their staff and it does make sure that everything is down on paper, to cover you in all legal respects.....am not a lawyer but having it all signed and legalised has to be the best way imho.
if you are a NCMA member then they advise you to use theres as it covers you if any disputes like non-payment.but you can buy others on market.i update my contracts every 6 months and review every 3 months incase of changes.if you only renew every 12 months you are restricting yourself to putting your prices up gradually so when you renew every 12 months parents will think you are increasing your prices to much
I get a new yearly contract from my childminder every year. I like it because it reminds me what the terms are. I think it's probably a good idea too so that any changes are formally in writing all in one place.
Her contract is only a page or so (I think it's a standard one from the council) ...it outlines the rates, hours, holidays and what's included (food, not nappies etc.). (She has different deals with different parents depending on whether they are full time or part time or just occasional users) I just sign it. Not much work on either side.
I print out my own contracts in Word. The only writing I have to do is signing my own name, and dating each page!
For new families, I renew after first 3 months, thereafter six monthly and whenever hours/days change; this is quite often with some of my families!
This would cost me a fortune with NCMA. I know I can't use their legal representation but I am still entitled to their legal advice and I can use the small claims court to pursue any substantial unpaid fees.
Its probably a good idea to get a lawyer to check them.
A contract is a written record of what each party is agreeing to. I can't see that its any less binding if a lawyer hasn't seen it first.
IMO if the NCMA contract doesn't include the full details of the agreement (and as each family's requirements are different it may not do) then it could cause more problems than using your own contract which makes clear the individual agreement.
The only problem I can see is if your wording was ambiguous or contradictory, for example. As long as its clear to understand and not breaking any laws I can't see a problem.
I need to personalise each contract as I have different arrangements for different families and there was no space on the NCMA contract to add extra clauses.
Eg, one mum rings every week to tell me which mornings she will need. As the child is over 8 I am happy only to charge her only for the days booked. But I didn't want her turning up without booking first or phoning late the night b4 etc. So I needed to put in the contract how much notice she must give me and what the charges are if she doesn't book any days or changes her mind about the days she's booked.