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CM CLUB - Babysitting & Overnight Bookings, booking fee????

(8 Posts)
looneytune Mon 20-Jul-09 10:15:05

At the moment I do overnight and babysitting and just take the money on the day, however, this is getting more popular so I want to have a proper system in place. I do have one lovely family that I do regular overnight and babysitting for, however, they do quite often just cancel and say they don't need me as plans have changed. The thing is, I've sometimes turned down another booking and not only that, it sometimes messes up my own social diary (i.e. once tried to arrange family get together but I was booked and couldn't make other dates, they ended up moving to another date and then I was cancelled and therefore could have gone on the original date planned but by then they'd changed the date). This is fine most of the time, that's life, things change and all that. BUT.....I was wondering if others ever charge some kind of booking fee? Just thought maybe people would be more firm in their plans if they knew it would cost them something regardless? I don't want to seem money grabbing or anything, this is why I haven't done this before in nearly 2 years of offering these services. It's just that it's starting to effect things, especially now I have more bookings. My time when I'm not working is very precious.

So, what do others do?


AtheneNoctua Mon 20-Jul-09 12:30:32

I think as a parent I would be a bit put off on a booking fee because it would be yet another charge. However, I do see your point. How about a cancellation fee? If they cancel say withing 48 hours of booking, half the fees are due or something like that. That way it's not an additional fee for nothing, but a fee for cancelling.

looneytune Mon 20-Jul-09 12:59:46

Oh sorry, I didn't mean a booking fee on top blush I meant this came off the overall fee. For example, overnight stay = £50, they pay say £10 when they book and the other £40 on the night - something like that is what I meant Would that be ok do you think? Just an idea. I'm not after more money, just for my diary not to be full of tipex wink

gigglinggoblin Mon 20-Jul-09 13:06:47

I would charge the full amount in advance. Get them to pay through paypal if they cant see you before and make it clear this is non refundable. As you say your time is precious, if they want to secure it they should pay for it. As a cm I still charge if mindee doesnt come. 48 hours is a great idea.

looneytune Mon 20-Jul-09 14:42:18

Yeah, I'm the same, don't charge if I'm available but I do charge if mindee is off through no fault of my own. I just feel a bit funny about asking for the whole lot up front when it's's a bit different to normal minding as if I don't do it, I'm not working whereas daytime contracted minding I'm still working with other families. I do feel it would be ok to charge full if it was less than 48 hours notice. I just want something to secure the booking at the time, just to make me more confident with what my diary's doing wink

How does this sound:

- £10 to secure booking, this will be deducted from the main invoice. Non-refundable if booking cancelled.
- all bookings cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be charged at full rate

Thoughts please???

nannynick Mon 20-Jul-09 15:01:00

Nice idea but how will you go about obtaining the money if they do cancel? Suppose it is easier if you are childminding the same child/children during the week.

AtheneNoctua Mon 20-Jul-09 16:17:41

I think you should be a tad more leanient. Like £10 booking (deducted from total fee), then if the cancel with less than 48 hours notice they owe you half (minus the £10 booking). If they cancel a week in advance I think I'd let them off.

Sitters is a whole lot cheaper than this. They charge a £4 booking fee. But, I could cancel on the day without further penalty. I however think that's a bit cheeky. SO I usually let the sitter show up and pay her and tell her she can go after she plays with the kids for 20 minutes (and this is just so they get to know her in case she shows up again).

looneytune Tue 21-Jul-09 09:28:49

Nick - I did wonder this but it tends to be for current mindees atm.

AtheneNoctua - I agree. Tbh, I think the £10 booking fee would be enough. It's more about making the bookings more likely to happen as some are changed over and over. Maybe I'll say half if less than 24 hours notice, that sound more fair? As I said, it's more about people not just putting something in my diary in case and then changing their mind, if that makes sense?

Thanks for all your input lovely people

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