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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Handbook and contract help?

    I'm new to this, just started in February, and had initially wanted to be flexible, accommodating and helpful to parents. As a parent, I was a shiftworker and had to spend up to $1200/month for one child to get care for all our shifts. M-F workers in my area pay $700. Unfortunately, I've already had issues with parents haggling for lower rates, longer days, being late for pick up, dropping off an hour late with no notice, and not sending necessary items (like no shoes many times for a 1.5yo when I'm required by the province to go outside twice a day).

    I've just gotten approved by an agency, and I do need to add things to my handbook to meet their regulations (simple things like a breastfeeding policy and including where our menu is posted). I'd like to take this opportunity to tweak other things in my favour and 'blame' it on the agency. Overall, this process is positive for parents, because it means I'm getting monthly inspections, and they know I'm being held accountable to the regulations, plus they can apply for government subsidy. I'm going to sit down with each parent outside of hours to go over the new paperwork, help them fill in the agency's form, and talk about the changes. My rates won't change, but I will now enforce being paid for scheduled days that they are absent, and only 2 weeks of discounted rate for vacations (after that they pay full rate to hold their spot).

    What is the most important point of your contract? What do you wish you could have laid out to parents in the beginning?

  2. #2
    Euphoric !
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    For me, things I now have and didn't at first..

    1) Payment is based on days registered not attend.
    2) Payment is made in advance. EMT before arrival on fee day or cash in hand on arrival. Those who pay cash and won't be here on fee day must pay by EMT or bring cash prior business day. No fees = No care = No exception. Will be turned away at door.
    3) Late payment charge of $20 per day balance is owed.
    4) 4 week notice, fee due regardless of attending.
    5) Instant termination if they dose and drop, pay late, pick up late more than once, if parent or child is aggressive verbal or physical to anyone in the dayhome.
    6) Late pick up fee of $1 a minute
    7) Enrollment fee (not deposit) equal one week fees (daily rate x number day register). Credit to final week of care if here more than 12 month. If leave sooner, no credit. This reduce people wanting short term care until space open in centre.
    8) Closed all public holiday and stat day with pay.
    9) 10 paid personal day per year for own sickness or vacation.
    10) No discounts - not for their vacation or siblings or any other reason

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  4. #3
    Outgoing kindertime's Avatar
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    My first piece of advice, give yourself the flexibility to change the policies as you go along. Obviously, you'll want to give parents notice in writing of any changes, and maybe you'd wait until new contract signing, but you should think of your handbook as a flexible document. People, in general, are creative. I've been doing this 10+ years and situations come up, that I could never have imagined. You'll see that on the forum, too!

    My second piece of advice, know your rules, make sure the parents know them, and then enforce them. "What's the big deal? I'm only 2 mins late." Becomes 5 mins late and so on. This also applies to other policies, besides payment and attendance. If a child comes without outside shoes, meaning they can't play outside, then you would be perfectly justified in turning that parent around at the door and sending them home. When I make rules for the kids (and the parents) I always try to have a specific reason for it. Something concrete so I can say, "we do this, because of that." I personally have a rule about no food or toys from home. When a child walks in with something in their hand, I will take it. If its food (and I use that term loosely, usually candy or junk) it gets thrown out. Toys get handed to the parent on the way out the door. When this happens, it is very clear that the parent has left it for me to be the 'meanie.' This policy is in my handbook.

    Lastly, there is no reason you can't offer flexiblity for parents in terms of hours and days, but you still need to have a steady, reliable income. I have read on this forum that providers who have part timers will require a certain amount of notice to change days of attendance. And often will leave at a specific time in the morning to go to the park, playgroup, etc. And so the parents who show up late, are required to meet the group where they are.

  5. #4
    Expansive... BlueRose's Avatar
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    for a sample hand book and other home daycare forms check out www.homedaycarebusiness.weebly.com

  6. #5
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    Thanks all for your insight! I agree, kindertime, about sticking to my policies. One dad works shifts and slept in one day (arrived 15min late). I told him it was ok, the kids were enjoying their play. Then it's been 50/50 since that he's late, or he texts asking me to keep them up to an hour extra. I have a late fee in my handbook, but didn't feel comfortable charging it (I just charged my hourly rate for the hour extra). I'm going to communicate better about my policies, lower my late fee slightly, and be consistent with charging it each and every time.

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  8. #6
    Shy
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    I have been think of creating a handbook. Does everyone find it more helpful? I want to add a little more professionalism to my daycare so I think it was be a good idea.

  9. #7
    Expansive... BlueRose's Avatar
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    RedWagon8823 - Yes a handbook can be very helpful. I have mine right on my website so they know exactly what I except from them and what my policies are before they even come to an interview. A handbook means they don't have to bother you about what your policies are they can just look them up.

  10. #8
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    I have had a much better time since making a handbook. Now I send it electronically before the interview, which saves time for everyone (filters the ones who wouldn't like my philosophy, and means I don't have to go through policies in the interview, just answer their questions). I have a line in my contract saying they have read it and agree to my policies. Since implementing it, I switched to full time only, and these families have been great, no issues with policies, hours or payments.

  11. #9
    Shy
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    This sounds great! I'm going to put some thought into what would be nice to ad, what you you recommend. I am recently with an agency but I'm going to be leaving in two months because they keep giving me the craziest clients

  12. #10
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    Are you having an easy time leaving your agency?
    I thought it was hard to leave them?

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