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  • Terming for Late Payments

    Just curious, how many late payments do you allow before you term?

  • #2
    I think three late payments are fair.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's what's in your contract, and what's in your contract is up to how you want it to work.

      One egregiously late payment is a good reason to terminate, so your contract should have fairly broad language instead of narrowing it down so much that you are handcuffed when you need to be free to take action.

      Two "Oops; I forgot" late payments is a good reason to terminate if you want to, because you are going to spend every weekend chasing down your income. If you want to give them the option of staying, you need to make them understand that you are serious about enforcing this.

      As soon as you decided to terminate care because of late payment, you need to stop providing care when there is money owed. Meet them at the door with their kid's stuff in a bag and a written notice of termination.

      Beware the client who says they are scatterbrained and asks you to remind them. Just tell them "You can set up a reminder on your phone or whatever calendar you use to remember your other appointments." Don't become their life coach. Always charge them late fees according to your contract.

      As soon as somebody tries to fight you about on-time payment or tries to negotiate out of payment on time or in the full amount, you need to cut them loose because they are just going to abuse you. They don't have to pay you late; they just have to try to get out of paying you for this to apply. And you don't need to have anything about that in the contract. The contract lays out what your fees are and your clients sign onto that. I had one family that I allowed to bullying me into reducing my rates. They were my first clients. Never again. It can be stressful because you don't want to lose that income and they want you to feel like the bad guy for expecting payment out of them, but you are never going to get a good referral out of someone who views you that way, and so you need to keep it professional instead of trying to keep it neighborly with someone who is trying to manipulate their neighbor.


      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you!

        This family just started with me last month and has had a hard time paying. They haven't been late yet, but this is the first full month of care, so the bill is more expensive.

        Dcm is not forgetful, I don't think they have the money. That's why I debated terming if I'm not paid by closing today (due date). I don't want a client that can't afford the bill.

        My policy states that repeated late payments may result in termination. I also have daily late fees and suspension of services. Although, I've found that most families don't read my policies so dcm may not even know about the fees and suspended services.

        I'm just trying to be proactive and have a response ready if she doesn't pay today.

        Comment


        • #5
          In that case, ONLY because this is the first full month, I would maybe send her a text or email with the balance owed and make sure it says it’s due today by closing. If it’s not paid Monday, term.

          If she’s late next month, when the 1st is on a Monday, I would greet her Tuesday morning the second with a term letter and the child’s belongings at the door.

          I’m not sure on what your exact policies but enforce them! I let a family pay late for three months before I started charging late fees (I know, I know) then I allowed them to pay the late fees for three more months before I finally said “If payment isn’t made by the EOB Monday you forfeit your spot.” As soon as they missed their first payment after I said that, I termed. I was so tired of chasing money.

          Comment


          • Sparkles
            Sparkles commented
            Editing a comment
            She should have got a reminder this morning (I use Brightwheel), and I sent another reminder a little bit ago.

            I figure if I still don't have payment this afternoon, I'll message and remind her that payment is due by closing or late fees will be applied and services will be suspended. I've never had to suspend services before and I've only had to apply a late fee once.

            I know most people do not do it this way, and I've never had a problem in the 6 years I've been doing this, but I get paid after care is provided. This is why I'm on edge and why I'm tempted to term if I have any issues. Dcm made 2 payments last week, but still has a balance of over half the monthly bill due. I'll never understand why some people can pay all their other bills first, but for some reason, paying the person that cares for their child so they can work, is not a priority.
            Last edited by Sparkles; 2 weeks ago.

          • GirlMomma
            GirlMomma commented
            Editing a comment
            Sparkles in that case, I’d probably term/suspend then. I wouldn’t let her get behind. Especially being a newer client.

            10 years ago, my car was in repossession because I couldn’t pay it. But my at home daycare lady was paid. Life is hard sometimes and you gotta “rob Peter to pay Paul.” But I figured I could get another car/find a ride to work, but if I didn’t have childcare, I was screwed. The family I “took a risk on” pays me the Thursday before their bill is due… because I’m the first bill that gets paid out of their paycheck. I appreciate that more than they’ll ever know!

        • #6
          Sproutary has been a great tool for me! I pay $8/month. I have some parents that pay me one month up from, others that pay two weeks up front and others that pay me weekly. It manages that for me so parents have a choice on managing their payments and I stay paid in full. My parents get invoices Sunday afternoon so there is no, “Oops! I forgot” come Monday morning when the payment is due.

          Comment


          • #7
            Sorry to keep going lol but both of my aunts did home daycare to stay home with their kids. My one aunt didn’t have a back bone… one persons childcare bill got up to $1000 before she was paid. I vowed to never do that. Lol

            Comment


            • Alwaysgreener
              Alwaysgreener commented
              Editing a comment
              My sister's had a child Care before I did. I'd always wanted to open one and was a little jealous when she did it. When I went to open I sent her my handbook contract to get her opinion and realized why she quit. She said that I had too many policies that I shouldn't have a contract and I shouldn't charge when the kids were not there. Ding ding ding that's why you didn't make money and stay open. At that point I remembered she had once told me she charged by the minute at the end of the week so if the kids only showed up for 30 minutes she only charged for 30 minutes. If they are gone for days at a time because a free care somewhere with Grandma she didn't charge.

            • GirlMomma
              GirlMomma commented
              Editing a comment
              Alwaysgreener yep! The aunt that was owed $1000 didn’t have a contract either. I think my other aunt did.

              I’ve had other grandmas mention me not getting paid when the kids are out sick and I told them that I don’t offer sick time, only vacation weeks. So I guess back in the day, it was common for at home daycares to pay by the day.

            • Alwaysgreener
              Alwaysgreener commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes it's the mindset, I don't use the service I don't have to pay.


              My sister quit child care and became a house
              cleaner. She still works without a contract and still will not charge her clients when they cancel the day of.

          • #8
            Since they are new enrollees, I think it's very likely that what they are doing now is what they are going to use as their baseline for future behavior. That is, it's only going to get worse.

            Comment


            • #9
              I don't allow attendance until they pay. If they don't pay by the end of that first Monday at home, I fill their slot, Tuesday.

              Comment


              • #10
                Welp, the day is almost over and still nothing. I sent a very blunt message. Dcm said she will pay, and that she's been busy.
                Last edited by Sparkles; 2 weeks ago.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by sparkles View Post
                  she's been busy.
                  🤨

                  orly

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Did she end up paying you?

                    Comment


                    • Sparkles
                      Sparkles commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yes. So, after I messaged her reminding her that payment is due by closing, she said she will get it paid and has been busy (like, too busy to pay daycare?? She's had plenty of time).

                      Then dcm sends a message right after that someone else will be picking dcg up and they'll send that person with a check. I did end up getting a check, but I wonder if it would have been late had I not said anything. She's always paid electronically, so to get a check, and only after I messaged her, was a little suspect to me.

                    • GirlMomma
                      GirlMomma commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Sparkles I would definitely keep an eye on it. I would get annoyed if it was always paid at the last minute. I’d also be careful with a check since she’s always paid electronically before.
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