Another article for newsletters..
Paying a day-care provider should not be the last thing parents want to do.
Daycare providers provide a very needed service in exchange for what's
usually a very nominal, but nonetheless a very needed, paycheck. Just not
paying is something many parents feel they can get away with, in part
because there often is no company to back up the provider, no strong-arm
collection agency sending out threats.
Here are some fictions lots of parents live by that make the difficult job
of child care even more difficult:
- "My provider has no overhead, so she must be doing really well."
- "My provider has a husband, so she really doesn't need her check until
- "People in business for themselves know that payments are
NOW let's turn this around and see if this fits the client as well as the
provider. You are informed by your boss:
- "The office overhead is such that we are unable to pay you this week."
- "You have a husband [or wife], so you really don't need your check until
- "This is a business that receives payments helter-skelter, so the
employees can wait, too."
First fiction: Overhead in a daycare DOES exist. A food bill for a home of
10 children is generally around $150 a week, including milk. Cleaning is
another expense. Replacement materials also consume a great deal of a providers
Fiction two: Most providers don't work for fun. They work to help, if not
support, their homes. Paychecks are important -- every week.
Fiction three: If payments are helter-skelter, then it's only fair that
daycare hours be helter-skelter, too, and you won't mind being called in the middle of the day to
retrieve your child.
Any self-employed person knows that when clients get TOO far behind, they
can't catch up. That's why the following suggestions are good business
practices any child-care provider should use to remind parents that
child-care payments are important:
- Payment for child care should be made in full and on time, or there
should be a late charge of 10 percent, a late fee, or both. Late means setting a
definite pay date and sticking to it.
- Contracts between clients should state if day care is tuition-based (every
week the same payment whether the child care space is used or not) or
whether child care is an hourly matter. Hourly charges should be twice a tuition
- There should be a limit on how many missed weeks are allowed before the
provider calls in the debt. Child care should be suspended until the debt is
paid. Unpaid debts should be reported to a credit bureau. Parents should
believe that the payment made to their child-care provider is one bill
that's well-spent. If this is not the case, then parents should start looking
again for other child care. It only makes good sense ... child-care business
~ This article ran on April 3,1999 in the Carroll County Times written by Julie Lyden ~