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Retainer payments for childminders - how much?

(8 Posts)
rubles Tue 22-Mar-05 11:20:26

I have just taken on a childminder to start looking after my 11 month old at the beginning of May. As that is a fair way away, the retainer payment is quite hefty as it is on a weekly basis £ almost felt like I had been punched as I wrote out a cheque for hundreds of pounds for NOTHING. She already has a little boy who will be going to nursery at the same time as my daughter joins her so she is not waiting around for me, penniless. Why is it not a partly refundable deposit? I like the lady, (obviously), but I just wondered what everyone else expected to pay/be paid. I really don't have a lot of money at the moment AT ALL and this has depressed me.

CountessDracula Tue 22-Mar-05 11:22:21

Sounds odd to me - if you decided to send your dd to her now would she have the capacity or is this other little boy taking her place?

If so I think that's unfair. If, however, she is holding the place purely for your dd then it isn't as she may be able to get another child who could start tomorrow.

rubles Tue 22-Mar-05 11:27:11

She usually only takes one on at a time, although she was prepared to start my daughter earlier, if I needed, so there was potentially going to be a bit of an overlap with the two of them.

ssd Tue 22-Mar-05 11:41:05

rubles, I'm a childminder and I don't take retainer fees.I just don't feel comfortable asking for them.But then again I'm very soft and need to harden myself up.

Mind you, that seems to be a whopping fee you've paid.Personally I would resent it a bit,I wouldn't mind paying a bit but that's a fortune.

Maybe KatieMac will be along later to give you a more professional answer as she childminds full time and does the job very well/fairly.

CountessDracula Tue 22-Mar-05 11:58:33

Well I guess she is holding the place open for her then.

I dunno

alibubbles Tue 22-Mar-05 14:02:23

Hi rubles, experienced childminder here again (perhaps I should change my name!)

This is a difficult, but common problem. To take a retainer the place must be available now, you could use it is you wish and it is a good idea to do so, to settle your child in. The childminder is within her rights to charge what she likes to hold a place open until the start date, this is generally half fee, no more.

If she does not have a place available at the moment, but she knows that one is coming up, it would be normal to charge a deposit, set against future fees.

I just taken a £250 deposit for a place in September. I do not have the space at the moment, so could not chaarge a retainer.

BTW, this should all be on the contract you will have signed as there is a special place to sign about retainers and deposits. If you haven't signed a contrcat yet, why has she not given you one?

This is also your guarantee that the place will be available, if not all fees must be returned.

It sounds as though you have paid rather a lot, as beg May is only 6 weeks away, is it for a full time place?

lunavix Tue 22-Mar-05 14:12:38


How much is the retainer in relation to your fees, you say its 420 but how much of your fees is that?

As childminders we're advised to take 50% of our earnings as a retainer (we don't all do this though!) so for example if you pay 300 a month, they can ask for 150 a month!

It's basically because in the couple of months till your lo starts there, she can't take anyone else on. However if she didn't have the space, then she can't charge that much.

KatieMac Tue 22-Mar-05 20:59:16

Hiya Rubles I think that £420 a week for a retainer is quite a lot.
How much is your weekly fee?
Can you use the place before May (as a settling in period?)
If I was to start a child in May I would ask for half fee from now until then (eg at £240 a month (60 a week) for 2 days that would be 6 weeks at £60 = £360)
But I would expect the child to attend on a gradually increasing basis until they were F/T by May

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