One of the most common complaints from home daycare providers is how to deal with daycare parents who are consistently late. It is easy to understand how parents can find themselves arriving late.
Work deadlines, rush hour traffic and a quick stop at the corner store can all result in them being late to pick up their child.
However, it is the child care providers responsibility to set up their work day so that they do not consistently have to work overtime without pay. Even when the clock says our work day has finished, we can’t walk away from our responsibilities until each daycare client has been picked up.
Here are two secret solutions to help you finish your day on time.
1. Charge a late fee
Many home daycare providers charge a late pick up fee to their clients. This fee is clearly stated in the parent contract so the clients are aware of the policy before they enrol into your daycare.
The rate of fees vary from an extra five dollars for being 10 to 15 minutes late to $2.00 for every minute over the designated pick up time. The choice is yours on what you charge and how you want to reinforce your policy (a warning first, added to pay at the end of the week or paid in cash on the spot).
2. Change your hours
Set your daycare hours with a 30 minute buffer. If you are the type of person who would never feel comfortable charging a late pick-up fee consider shortening your hours by thirty minutes.
Keep charging your same rate of pay but reduce your hours by 30 minutes. If your daycare parents are 10 or 15 minutes late, you will still finish your day on time.
Be prepared to lose some clients if you reduce your hours. Not all your daycare parents will be able to pick up 30 minutes earlier.
However, you will find out the ones who can make arrangements to be on time.
There is a difference between being late occasionally because of unforeseen circumstances and being consistently late. Choosing to stop at the grocery store for a few things on the way to pick up their child is a conscious decision to arrive late.
Daycare clients who value the service you provide for their children will not choose to be late on a regular basis. This is the type of clientele that is preferable.
Setting clear hours and then speaking to parents when they are abusing them will help you find quality clients.
I had an experience where a parent was late the first three days his child was in my care. It was obvious from his behaviour that we were not on the same page when it came to pick-up time.
I spoke to him about the issue and made it clear that being consistently late wasn’t fair to me or his child.
He decided to withdraw his child from my home daycare. I felt this was a smart decision as it was obvious from the start that we had different views about the child care services.
Being clear and setting boundaries will help you find the most desirable type of client. Be prepared to lose some clients.
I believe it is worth it in the end. I currently have dream clients who are never late and consistently pick-up their children early. Being valued is a wonderful feeling.
May your days be full… and end on time.