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Childminders - how far in advance would you charge a retainer?

(8 Posts)
Tinker Fri 22-Jul-05 12:24:59

Am currently on maternity leave and hope to not go back until work in January. Have a childminder currently for after school only for my eldest daughter. Contract to be renewed soon. However, childminder has now mentioned that I will need to pay a retainer from September until January for the baby. Normally 1/2 the fee. Is it normal practice to charge it for 4 months? Thanks

ayla99 Fri 22-Jul-05 12:39:05

The NCMA recommend arrangements are not made until after the birth of the child. However, once the child is born it is quite normal to pay half fees - if you don't pay a retainer she can offer the place to someone else. She's still losing out financially because she'll have to turn other people to keep your place for you. Its very unlikely that anyone would want the place just for the 4 months before you need it.

Also, being a childminder I've found some parents can be quite vague and change their minds about what days/times they want - by formalising the agreement in a contract and paying a retainer its quite clear to everyone what has been agreed. The parent knows they have the place booked and the childminder isn't turning other families away unnecessarily.

By paying a retainer you should also be able to use the place (upon payment of full fees for the time booked/half fees are still due for any time not booked) if you want to. (Some parents find this useful - medical/hair/beauty appointments or to ensure their child is settled in before they actually start/return to work)

HellyBelly Fri 22-Jul-05 12:40:48

I'm a childminder and if someone wanted a space saving for a future date then I would want a retainer of about £100 for keeping the space for them. Having said that, I'm quite a new childminder and haven't come across this yet. Thinking about it, your childminder won't be able to take on new business (unless she was to do it and then give them notice but I'm sure she wouldn't do that as wouldn't be fair on the child) and therefore would loose out on money.

I'll be watching this thread to find out what more experienced minders would do!

Sorry I was no help at all in the end was I!!

katymac Fri 22-Jul-05 13:20:00

I have a baby starting in Jan - the mum offered to pay a retainer from June. I have said that I will contact her when I get an enquiry (which would "threaten" her space) and she can pay the retainer from then...she's happy and so am I

HellyBelly Fri 22-Jul-05 14:01:19

That sounds fair. I wouldn't want to ask for it unless I had to turn down business.

Tinker Fri 22-Jul-05 14:28:24

Oh, thank you all. That makes sense since I think she has had enquiries for from September onwards.

alibubbles Fri 22-Jul-05 16:51:03

Message withdrawn

ThePrisoner Fri 22-Jul-05 20:43:08

You should only be charged a retainer if minder actually has a free space at that time, which minder then "guarantees" not to fill

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