Help with in home childcare please!

Sammie - posted on 08/31/2016 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi, I am new to Circle of Moms and I am seeking advice. I want to apologize if this gets a little long, but I want to provide detail so that you understand what I've got going on here. So I am a stay at home mom and my daughter is 22 months old. I have been doing in home childcare for a year now. Over the course of the year I have provided care for 3 families; the first for about 4 months, the second is still in my care, and the third is also still in my care.

The first family was for a school aged child who was 9. For privacy's sake I will not be using the childrens' real names. We will call this boy Franklin. I only ever met Franklin's mother in person about 3 times. She would drop him off outside and he would come knocking on his own. His mother's boyfriend would come pick him up and pay me. The problem with this family is that the mother would either cancel 5 minutes before she was supposed to drop Franklin off, or not give me notice at all and never bring him. This was a common occurrence. After having this happen on Christmas Eve and New Years' Eve I decided it was time to part ways.

Child number 2, Lee, has been in my care since the beginning of my in home childcare. He is only 6 months older than my daughter, so they get along as well as 2 toddlers can. His mother pays me on time and we get along great. She works as a waitress and sometimes comes for Lee a little later than expected, but I understand that and she lets me know if it is going to be much later. I have no problem with this family. They will be moving come springtime and I will no longer be caring for Lee as they are moving an hour away.

Now here's my issue. The third family's child, Bradley, is 2 months younger than my little girl.I have been watching him for about 7-8 months and he is still in my care currently. all 3 toddlers play fine most of the time, and when they aren't making my house look like a tornado swept through, I generally have no issues with them. His mother is very nice and we have extremely similar personalities. She used to pay me great, and pay a little in advance usually. But as of the past 4 months or so she hasn't been paying me regularly. Now I would like to say,my rates are not expensive! I only charge $3/hour and that includes meals and snacks. So price is not the issue. She has only been giving me $100 every 2 weeks when, on average, I care for Bradley about 8-9 hours M-F every week. She knows she owes me money but always beats around the bush or seems to completely ignore the fact. I feel that it is partially my fault for letting her get too comfortable with me. But that is no excuse for her to under pay me. For example, today she owed me $363 and she gave me $100 when she picked up Bradley. She seems to think that is an adequate amount and gave no second thought. As I said, she has become quite comfortable with me, so I know she has money to spend. She is always buying Bradley expensive shoes and getting Starbucks every day, among other things. And she is always late for pickups and dropoffs, which I cannot stand.

Other than the issue with Bradley's mother, I feel i am neglecting my daughter time and, please don't judge me and say I'm a horrible person, but I am just tired of having my house torn apart day after day, things getting broken, and my carpet destroyed beyond repair. I used to wake up happy to be able to stay at home with my baby and care for others so she could have little playmates while also making money. But I am beginning to resent the thought of getting up and doing this, not because I hate the children, but because I would like to provide childcare in a different setting, like a daycare center. Anywhere but my personal home really.

I'll wrap this up now. I would like to stop my in home childcare come spring, when Lee's family moves. But Bradley's mother has recently told me that she loves me caring for her son so much and she wants me to continue for years to come, even after he starts school.

Please help me out. I need to be paid regularly and if Bradley's mother cannot pay me I will stop caring for him until the past due is paid. I don't know how to go about any of this. Any advice is appreciated!

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Sarah - posted on 09/02/2016

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I would agree with others with the receipt. I would write the full amount owed and then a couple options on how to make payment. I would write out your options on the receipt and have them circle and initial what option they are wanting. In your options I would calculate in the fees that will keep occurring.....for example week fees plus $100 dollars. I would have the figure calculated out so they can see the $ amount that will be owed each time. Then I would decide how will you address the issue if they don't follow through. Are you ok with just getting some of it (puts you back where you are now.) If they miss a payment or payment is not paid in full for what was agreed upon will child not be able to attend until full payment made. This does run the risk you don't get paid, but as others have stated you ard cheap and for them it is easier to pay you then to pay somewhere else. Sometimes once you put a boundary there then they realize they need to pay their bill. As someone else suggested I would also mention about needing to be paid or having to end care with them and take on someone that us able to pay. This gives them a heads up that their spot might be in danger. Then if by chance you do have to stop care until they pay they realize that you will follow through if they don't follow through on their end.

Sarah - posted on 09/02/2016

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Also, if you do continue home care, when you write your contract up it is reasonable for people to be charged a late fee if they do not pay on time. I do think a formal written letter that states the amount due, and one or two options on how to pay. Pay in full or break it up over 2-3 months.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/02/2016

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You really need to give her a typed up bill to show her how much she owes you. Get the receipt book, and make sure to write the FULL total at the top with the subtracted payment amount.

Michelle - posted on 09/01/2016

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In addition to what the other ladies have said, you can provide her with your bank account details so she can use internet banking to transfer the money. That way she can't use the excuse of not being able to stop at an ATM.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/31/2016

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Present her with a bill, weekly. But, before that, you need to tell her that, until she is current on her bill, you will be needing payment for each week in advance. Break up what she owes in back care up, and tell her she will need to pay a portion each week with her normal rate. If her normal rate is 120 a week, and she is 270 in arrears, she can pay you 150 a week for 9 weeks to take care of the back pay, in cash, on Monday morning. Write up a simple agreement, and both of you sign it. If you have someone that could notarize it, arrange to have that person present.

I agree, you are ridiculously cheap! 😀 Not a bad thing, in this case, because as little miss has stated, one week plus registration fees and deposit at a center would be around 300 or better, and they do not allow arrears.

Then, if you choose to continue caring for Bradley, use the opportunity of Lee's move to implement a written contract system that outlines your rules, payment expectations, etc, along with what families can expect from you. My sons' caregiver was awesome in that regard! She had a clear contract that outlined her expectations and needs, and how she would meet our needs and expectations, and she never disappointed us!

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Sarah - posted on 09/05/2016

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Peferct way to put it. There are some really great families out there. There are those that just don't get it and don't pick up on time or don't pay on time, but then there are also those that appreciate you SO much and will send you a special card or give you a little extra at times because they appreciate you so much......those are the ones that make it all worth it.

Sammie - posted on 09/05/2016

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Man. I wish this I was never put in this situation. I am going to start keeping receipts and set up some sort of payment plan with her. I have fully decided that when I next speak with her I am going to tell her something like this: "I have decided that since Lee will be moving soon I am going to start a contract system within the daycare that way when I begin caring for other children everything can be more organized and professional. I will have the contract ready in a few days and I would like you to sign one as well that way everyone is on the same page."
My thought is that if she refuses to sign then her intention is to not pay me for the services she owes. And if she will not sign, I will no longer care for her son. I expect that if that happens then she will not pay me, but honestly I would rather her find another provider if she doesn't wish to be responsible and keep her end of the deal, ya know?

Sammie - posted on 09/02/2016

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These are all great suggestions! She got paid this week and only gave me $100. It's the only payment I've received since 2 weeks ago when she gave me $100. I wish I had started with contracts when I began my childcare services. From now on, when I take on a new client, I will be providing a contract for sure. But I think the receipt book may be what I try first, that way she can't ignore the fact that she owes me money. This is why I am considering going to work at a daycare center, at least I'll get paid for my work. And I won't have to worry about issues like this.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/31/2016

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Well, give her the chance to pay up. If she doesn't within a week, let her know you can no longer provide this service for her without payment. Let her know this is your income, and tell her how much you enjoy her son, but other people are inquiring about openings. That you only want so many children in your care, and you cannot afford to have someone taking a spot from a paying customer.

You have to suck it up and do it. Providing receipts is to save your ass, not hers. It is to prove she paid you and how much and when. The carbon copy stays in the book. Write the receipt in front of them, initial it and have them do the same. In fact, this is good practice for ALL of your customers to do.

Sammie - posted on 08/31/2016

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Thanks, cheap as shit works for me haha! I know the receipt book things you're talking about. I think they actually have them at our local Walmart. I just don't know how well it will work out with her. Once a month or two ago she asked me how much she owed and after I told her for like 3 days she kept saying she didn't have time to stop at the atm or some other excuse. So Brad's grandma came to drop him off one morning and paid her debt off because she felt bad that I wasn't getting paid. I just wonder if that is what his mother is hoping will happen again.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/31/2016

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Don't take this personally, but you are cheap as shit! She will never find another day care provider for 8-9 hrs per week for $120.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/31/2016

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Well, you have provided her a service, so you should expect payment. What you can do (which may or may not work), is once again give her the total bill for what she owes you, along with her weekly bill separate. You can show her how much it is an offer a payment plan ($50-$100 or so) on top of her weekly bill until she is paid in full. Start writing receipts and keep track of EVERYTHING! I am sure they sell receipt books with carbon copy pages at a staples or store like that.

Trust me, she isn't going anywhere. Registration, plus first week at a regular day care will be more than what she owes you.

Sammie - posted on 08/31/2016

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Hi, thanks for responding! I actually keep a notebook with each child's "in and out times" I guess you could call it. I always write down when they are picked up and dropped off and the amount owed. So the amount owed, as of right now, for Bradley's mom is $262. I've spoken with her a couple times about it and she always says she is working on it and that she is thankful I am being patient. On a couple occasions when I have directly asked her for some of the money she owes she only gives me 20 or 30 bucks. I don't want to refuse care because I am afraid she will find a new childcare and never pay me. So yeah, like you said, money talks are difficult :/

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/31/2016

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Ugh...money talks are difficult.
Figure out exactly how much money she owes you, and hand her the bill the next time payment is due. Make yourself a copy, and for now on write down the exact time he comes and leaves for the day. Keep a very accurate tally that you can hand to them when it is time to pay with the total for the week. If they do not pay, let them know kindly that you cannot have him in your daycare until they are paid in full without lapsing on the current amounts due.
If you are not wanting to have in home day care, and you tell them it will be ending when the other child leaves, you may never get your amount owed to you.
For now on, you have to hand them a bill at the end of each week.

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