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Or is this the done thing?

8 replies

tuliplily · 03/05/2021 13:59

A few weeks ago, we found a lovely childminder for our DC for the new academic year. We have since found out that we need to pay a monthly retainer fee until DC starts which is going to add up to a fair bit of money ( about £200). Is this normal?

We didn't do this with a different childminder for DC1 and we just paid a deposit of one day's care.

OP posts:

user648482729 · 03/05/2021 14:06

I’ve had 4 childminders; booked with varied amounts of notice and never paid a retainer. I can understand why they might ask for it but we wouldn’t have been able to afford to do that


OwlinaTree · 03/05/2021 14:06

I suppose the childminder wouldn't be able to fill the place between now and September. She's holding a place for you, but she might have been able to say yes to someone else who wanted to start straight away. So she's losing out on 4 months possible income.


tuliplily · 03/05/2021 14:14

@OwlinaTree I can completely understand why she's done it but it just seems like a lot and I didn't know if this was the done thing as it wasn't a few years ago with my eldest.

OP posts:

OwlinaTree · 03/05/2021 14:28

I don't know if it's 'usual'. I guess if you really like this childminder you'll have to pay it. That's her t&c. If you don't pay you'll have to risk losing the space. I don't think she's likely to change her mind by you saying 'no one else does this.'

I was very lucky with the nursery I used and their t&c were very fair imo. However some of my friends were not so lucky, paying for days when the nursery was closed etc etc. It's an expensive business, and if there's more demand than spaces, the market changes to take advantage of that. Childcare was our biggest outgoing at one point!


tuliplily · 03/05/2021 14:31

@OwlinaTree you're completely right! Thank you x

OP posts:

lanthanum · 03/05/2021 14:36

It might depend on whether they have a space now, or not until September. If they're going to have a space from September, then probably all they need is a deposit on September's fees so that they're not left in the lurch if you change your mind. If they have a gap now, and promise the space to you for September, they're going to be stuck with a space they can't fill (and hence lower income) for a few months.


FeelinHappy · 03/05/2021 14:42

Yes if it's a space that's not available until Sept then that doesn't seem very fair, but either way you are stuck with it.

I suspect you may be a bit unusual in booking the space so far in advance. Round here nursery spaces get booked up months in advance, but CM spaces tend to have a much smaller turnaround time.

If it's £200 in total I think that's not too bad. If it's £200pcm then it's a lot and I would maybe be trying to include settling sessions in that. But ultimately yes they are her T&Cs.


DeciduousPerennial · 03/05/2021 14:51

If she has a space now but you don’t want it til September, then I don’t see the issue - that’s what would happen if it was a nursery.

If she doesn’t have a space until September, then why does she need a retainer? You sign the contract, pay a deposit, job done. A monthly retainer for a place which is already filled is her double charging for it, and not someone I’d really want to be signing up with tbh - I’d be worried what other stings in the tail there would be.

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