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Is this a bit cheeky?

(34 Posts)
bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 19:55:26

DH and I own two daycare nursery businesses in SW London. Both have been opened for a few months and are gradually filling. We take children from 18 months to five years and offer full daycare from 8 - 6pm at £40 per day for all ages. If a full week of daycare is booked we charge £160 per week, which is effectively a 'buy four get fifth free' deal. Sessions (5 hours) are £25. We provide free nappies and suncream and a two course home-cooked organic meal, plus snacks.

Our prices work out at: £4 per hour for a full day, £3.20 per hour for a full week and £5 per hour for sessional care.

We have a parent who wanted to book two hours care for her two daughters for three days a week. As we are a new nursery and have places we said yes. This was done with the understanding that as the nursery fills and we have parents wanting to book the full five hour sessions, we would require that she books the full five hour sessions for her daughters. Once this was established she then asked to pay £3.20 per hour for each child, we explained that the £3.20 per hour fee was the discounted fee for those booking a full week's care and that the sessional rate was £5. She's now decided that she wants to book the two hours from 11am - 1pm. Effectively she is booking her children in for lunch each time. DH and I feel that a child attending for a two hour session should be provided with a snack, children attending for a full session or a full day would require a proper meal. Once we've deducted salaries, overheads and organic ingredients we are barely making any profit from her £60 per week total fees. We're trying to run an ethical nursery and have tried to help out parents who are struggling, waived or staggered deposits etc. but we feel this is a bit cheeky. What do you think?

oooggs Sat 30-Jul-05 20:06:31

I think this is taking the mick. But I do feel sorry for her (she is probably doing this because she can't cook ).

On a more serious note, she should be booking two hours within either session, am or pm. Not spanning both.

katymac Sat 30-Jul-05 20:09:51

Yep - I think oooggs is right either morning or afternoon - if she wants lunch on a 2 hr session she needs to pay extra.

I know I'm only a C/Mer but it blocks up a place for the whole day you can't have a morning child (who would/could leave at 12 or 1) and neither can you have an afternoon child (who could/would start at 12 or 1) - so you're stuffed

Aimsmum Sat 30-Jul-05 20:11:12

Message withdrawn

oooggs Sat 30-Jul-05 20:11:21

Yes especially as it is discounted, ok fine whilst you have spaces to maybe span the two sessions but lunch costs extra.

poppy101 Sat 30-Jul-05 20:11:29

Why don't you just explain that she will either have to book a am session or a pm session and that it isn't feasible to have the child just for the lunchtime, put it down to paying the staff and having to make sure that you have extra staff to cover lunchtimes etc.

Explain that she will have to ensure that she doesn't over lap the two sessions otherwise you will be strict and will charge her a full day rate. She won't do it again, and won't want to pay this, but explain that your costs are simply too high. I know it is mean, but if you are new business starting out then you will have to watch every penny. It you don't set out a policy now then you will have other parents doing this in the future, and it depends if you can financially and staff wise cover this.

oooggs Sat 30-Jul-05 20:12:00

Sorry, I seem to be up on my soapbox on this one

foxinsocks Sat 30-Jul-05 20:14:10

I think that's seriously cheeky

I think that now you're busy, she should either take an am or pm session and be done with it. It's not in your financial interest to do what she wants.

I also think your rates are very good - when my dd had to go to nursery (about 4 and a half years ago), you had to pay the full week rate for 4 days as well as 5 because so many people wanted 4 days they had a huge gap on a Friday!

Hope it's all going well.

gigglinggoblin Sat 30-Jul-05 20:18:37

no way would my nursery allow that, i would have to pay full day rate (which imo is entirely fair). if she wants to continue and you have spaces i would charge £5 ph + an amount to cover the cost of the meal. but then im a meanie

Fran1 Sat 30-Jul-05 20:35:05

Regardless of her taking the mick.

The manager of your nursery should be having the children's best interests at heart. And no child is going to settle into such an envrionment when they are only attending for two hours, when the rest of the children will be there far longer - having more time to settle and get to know each other. This poor child is going to wander in at the busiest time of day, and then be whisked off again - probably when the rest of the children are going to sleep?? So she will neither be benefiting from mixing with other children, nor from stimualting activites. You need to take into consideration the purpose of your nursery, are you a babysitting service? or are you providing a stimualting environment for children to learn and develop?

bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 20:53:34

She's paying £5 per hour for each child. She wasn't happy about this initially but we have a fantastic friend/manager who very politely told her to pay the sessional rate or forget it!

We need all of the fees we can get at the moment, we're about half way to our 'break even' figures, but we're narked because we feel we're already offering a really good deal compared to other nurseries in our area. It's good to have lots of little bums on seats from a business point of view, prospective parents feel uncomfortable when being shown around a two-thirds empty nursery, Our morning session at the moment runs from 8am - 1pm so the crossing session factor isn't an issue at the moment. I think the point that we have to pay extra staff for lunch-cover may be a good one.

As hub2dee says - If I want to wave a big capitalist stick around, I should expect to get whacked by it from time-to-time.

hunkermunker Sat 30-Jul-05 20:58:42

Bubble, the nursery near me (the only one I'd really consider sending DS to) charges £47 a day for an under-two (they only take them from 18mo anyway). Then it's £37 for an over two.

Your nurseries sounds so lovely - I want DS to go to one! Any plans for expansion north of the river? [pester emoticon]

Eaney Sat 30-Jul-05 21:01:59

You sound like a very good nursey to me. Where in SW are you?

bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 21:11:26

I couldn't agree more Fran1! We are providing an excellent environment. We have a qualified Primary/Early years Curriculum Teacher in both nurseries, excellent NNEB staff and fab surroundings/resources. We genuinely set out to provide nurseries that we would want our own children to attend. <Bubble polishes halo> But it's true. We've offered free childcare to our managers and 50% to other staff. We're not greedy and we want everyone to do well from this business. Can't shake the feeling that the more reasonable we are with parents, the more it is abused, though. Nurseries are recommended by word-of-mouth and if this mum tells her friends about our fab nursery then the loss of profit will be justified. Just as long as they don't want the same deal.

I totally agree that a two hour session is more of a 'drop-in/babysitting service but both sisters have been to nursery before and are confident and outgoing girls. At their initial visits they were straight into the thick of things and our manager has no qualms about them attending for such a short time.

All DH and I want out of this is a reasonable standard of living. We currently live in a two-bedroomed flat with no garden and three boys If we can help people out on the way, good.

bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 21:15:22

And hunkerdimunkeri, if I could. I would.

hunkermunker Sat 30-Jul-05 21:17:08

We'll just have to move south of the river then

How are you? My toes are smooth and lovely

bobbybob Sat 30-Jul-05 21:19:54

This is cheeky. I asked if ds could go to nursery an hour earlier for his afternoon session as he was missing his rest time by arriving at 1pm and was told it would be the full day rate, which was $11 more. Even though he would just be lying on a bed with all the other children. I was prepared to pay the $5 more so it was like the parents who send their kids 8.30-3pm (which is actually an hour more and would include a meal)but not $11.

But that's their rule and they stuck to it. in the end I paid the whole day rate, but now take him in at 8.30 in the morning and have changed my work roster around. His nursery also wasn't full.

You should stick to your guns, because she may well recommend you and then you will have to be firm all over again. if she doesn't like it, she is welcome to try to find a better offer!

foxinsocks Sat 30-Jul-05 21:28:25

bubble99, I hope business continues to pick up. We live basically half way between your 2 nurseries. One thing I've noticed one of the private nurseries around here making a killing on is offering to take children for the other half of the day after their nursery session/half day reception at the local schools. e.g. nusery sessions here are 9-11.30 or 12.50-3.20 and part day reception (till the term they turn 5) is 9-12.15. This nursery has a woman who picks up the kids (in dd's class) and takes them back to the nursery. Either they are brought back to the school at 3.20 for pick up or are kept at nursery till the parent's return from work. I know for the bit between pick up and 3.20 when they return she charges £17.50 (not including lunch - they have to take a packed lunch with them).

As none of the other nurseries will do this, she is doing very well!

foxinsocks Sat 30-Jul-05 21:31:48

just realised I've used lots of nurseries in there!! when I mean nursery session, I mean the sort of pre-school nursery year they do at state schools (the year before reception). I hope I've made sense!

bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 21:44:29

Perfect sense foxy! We have a lovely MW who has two girls at one of our nurseries. One starts school in September and she asked if she could drop her in at 8am for us to take to school, across the road, at 08.55 am. We can't do this as we have only two staff in at that time but we can pick her DD up at midday for the first term and 3.20pm thereafter (charging £15 for both the midday and 3.20pm pick-up) and care for her till 6pm. The dad works at the hospital too and they've managed to alter their hours in advance to make sure that one of them can drop her off at school and we'll do the rest. DH and I are delighted that we can do this, we're armchair socialists on the quiet and it's so good to be able to help people who do such valuable work.

bubble99 Sat 30-Jul-05 21:56:11

And HM. Your foot-hair growth is being temporarily suppressed by your hormones. Wait until you hit the last trimester and we'll see you on 'South-East News at Six' as a reported Yeti sighting.

hunkermunker Sat 30-Jul-05 21:58:37

LOL Bubble! No, it's being suppressed by Veet

foxinsocks Sat 30-Jul-05 22:02:00

I think that's an excellent service to offer bubble (and I hope she tells lots of mums/dads at the school and they give you their business!).

Skribble Sat 30-Jul-05 22:06:26

You could allow this 2 hr session on the strict understanding that this until all places are taken. Get the manager that persueded her to pay £5 to explain. If she can be flexable with times perhaps she could be persudeed that this time isn't as suitable due to staff being busy orgainising lunch and darling child won't get enough attention.

hub2dee Sun 31-Jul-05 21:15:38

Wotcha bubb. I think you need to shake your big stick some more.

You mean for £10 she gets two hours care and a nice meal ?


Methinks a lunch charge ought to be relevant. As you point out, 2 hours during another daypart might just get a snackette.

If I come just for one hour, will you do me an organic meal and unlimited sunscreen for £5, and as many nappies as my new babba will go through in 60 minutes - she, she' not weaned yet, so I'd just be having her meal IYSWIM...

PS - Hope all well with 'stuff'

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