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zigzag
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Can I ask about your fee's policy. We currently allow parents to pay half termly. This usually means that the last week of term I am sending out reminders and getting a bit twitchy about getting the money in. Inevitably there is always one family who still make me wait until after the half term I am thinking of changing our policy so that this does not happen. Would be interested in finding out what other pre-school settings do?

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I send out invoice in plenty of time - I charge half-termly in advance - so on envelope it says for example 'Fees Invoice Spring term 4 - fees should be paid by Friday 26th February' (this being the first Friday of first week back) and if they are not forthcoming I start reminding from the following Monday....

 

Are you following me?

 

I do not/will not let fees 'build up' - we are such a small setting there is no 'room' for non payment

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Well I'm a push over - I usually allow them to split large amounts - over £200 - to be split into 3 equal amounts and payable by, say 28th of the month. Under £200 - 2 equal payments to be paid by a date in the last month of term.

 

I too am now sending out reminders........

 

given that our lovely county have changed final feee payment to 26th August - I guess I had better tighten up and make sure I have all fees in by half term! Can be such a lot of money f

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Two weeks up front by card/cash and monthly standing order thereafter. Any parent who has a problem can come and talk to one of us and we will help sort it out. If someone gets behind, or misses a payment, we will come to a payment agreement but it has to be based on paying the fees for that week/month and some over to clear the debt - otherwise, they will just get further behind. I met someone from another nursery this morning who told me they had lost over £8000 last year in fees with parents getting behind and leaving whilst in arrears!

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We invoice per half term and the bill needs to be paid by the end of the 4th week. I've just started adding £5 late payment charge if it's not paid by the 4th week. I find it is always the same parents that are late.

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I invoice the 1st week of term and divide the bill between the months in the term - then allow them to pay monthly by DD or cash - no cheques - still get the late/non payers even when I send reminders with the £10 fee for each reminder letter as per our Non payment policy but as Diesel10 has says it is always the same ones who are late paying. I am considering saying on my next invoice that if payment options are not followed I will insist on upfront payment.

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1/2 termly in advance with a date stating when payment is due (2 wks later)

If payment not recieved after week 1 an email reminder of the amount owed is sent

If by the Weds of the 2nd week a text is sent and if not recieved by the due date then £5 'admin charge' to be added to the bill

The procedures are printed on every bill and since I started doing it this way I've not had a late payment - before it was a policy that sat in the policy book and that, as we know, is hardly ever looked at by a parent

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I invoice for payment whole term, 1st of the month or request to committee for weekly. I have asked the subject to be added to agenda for next committee meeting as we are having real problems with late payments. We introduced paying by bank transfer or standing order and our problems seem to have increased. Parents lie about paying, pay in odd amounts, blame the bank or blame us for giving the wrong details! One parent complained that I didn't understand that she only got maternity pay, then someone cloned her card so account was frozen, then the money went into the wrong account and this week her account is frozen again! I need to really make sure our policy covers everything and the order and timescale and adding a late payment charge. Spent this week trying to sort it out!

Edited by lsp
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I invoice for payment whole term, 1st of the month or request to committee for weekly. I have asked the subject to be added to agenda for next committee meeting as we are having real problems with late payments. We introduced paying by bank transfer or standing order and our problems seem to have increased. Parents lie about paying, pay in odd amounts, blame the bank or blame us for giving the wrong details! One parent complained that I didn't understand that she only got maternity pay, then someone cloned her card so account was frozen, then the money went into the wrong account and this week her account is frozen again! I need to really make sure our policy covers everything and the order and timescale and adding a late payment charge. Spent this week trying to sort it out!

I'm afraid that I refuse to allow payment by bank transfer - I want either a cheque or cold hard cash - I don't want to have to keep checking account to see who has, or more likely not, stumped up.......

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If you have a smart phone and a 3G signal, you can get a card reader that will take card payments. I know they take a very small percentage, but it's certainly an option. You could pass on the charge to parents. My daughter has one that she uses when we do craft fairs. https://sumup.co.uk

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Then could you pass your new version on to me please zigzag???? Lol. It's on my list for Easter.

 

Cait - would love to have card reader but no signal where we are. I have to stand in particular corner in the office to make or receive phone calls.

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Aim

We aim to ensure financial stability of the Preschool by having a fair and consistent process for pursuing non-payment of fees.

 

Method

 

If a family has used the services provided by the Preschool without payment or their payment is dishonoured, the Preschool will follow the following staged procedure:

 

1. Issue an ‘Overdue Account’ invoice asking for payment in full within seven days. If payment is received within seven days no further action will be taken.

 

2. If payment is not received a ‘Second Warning’ invoice will be issued asking for immediate payment, in full in seven days plus a £10.00 administration fee. If payment is received within seven days no further action will be taken.

 

3. If after seven days full payment or a payment plan, agreed by the Preschool’s management, has not been received a ‘Final Warning’ invoice will be issued. At this stage your child(ren) will be unable to attend Preschool until full payment has been received. If payment is received within seven days no further action will be taken.

 

4. If payment is not received within seven days the Preschool will immediately begin proceedings in the County Court for which we charge an administration fee of £150 and all court costs. If the Preschool is required to attend at County Court, costs will be applied at a rate of £50 per hour.

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Zigzag - how do you or how are you going to deal with the parents who still don't pay. This is the problem we have got. Hours are reduced to funded only and they may pay off odd amounts. The debts are relatively small so it's not cost effective to use other methods to recover eg small claims.

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Zigzag - how do you or how are you going to deal with the parents who still don't pay. This is the problem we have got. Hours are reduced to funded only and they may pay off odd amounts. The debts are relatively small so it's not cost effective to use other methods to recover eg small claims.

I think the only way to deal with this is to step in lively and not allow the debt to build in the first place. Reduce the hours quicker to funded only.

 

Some parents who are "used to living with debt" aren't scared by getting into more debt. They won't feel duty bound to clear it, or find a way out of it, it's just a way of life for them and they don't see the impact on small businesses.

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Panders - wise words, you have summed it up exactly.

 

These are not, on the whole, working parents at my setting. I think we have to harden up and think like business. We can't afford to be the little village playgroup where we do everything for everyone for free. I also think we have that element of justifying 'allowing'the debt because the parents in question have other issues and we believe that the children may be in a more stimulating environment for a few more hours a week. So, like zigzag, this is the reason for reviewing our policy and the steps for non-payment.

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Panders - wise words, you have summed it up exactly.

 

These are not, on the whole, working parents at my setting. I think we have to harden up and think like business. We can't afford to be the little village playgroup where we do everything for everyone for free. I also think we have that element of justifying 'allowing'the debt because the parents in question have other issues and we believe that the children may be in a more stimulating environment for a few more hours a week. So, like zigzag, this is the reason for reviewing our policy and the steps for non-payment.

Iknow exactly what you mean Isp, the child is all the better for more hours with you and if that is the case, then your group could have a clause in your policy which has access to a discretionary pot, if you will, of money that is set aside for this purpose. The money raised through various means, but specifically to fund those children who need more hours, but parents cannot afford. At least then you would still be "paid" for those hours.

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Can I ask about your fee's policy. We currently allow parents to pay half termly. This usually means that the last week of term I am sending out reminders and getting a bit twitchy about getting the money in. Inevitably there is always one family who still make me wait until after the half term I am thinking of changing our policy so that this does not happen. Would be interested in finding out what other pre-school settings do?

We invoice half termly right at the start of the half term and say on the invoice that they have two weeks to pay or their child may lose their place, I then chase towards the end of the week before they are due telling them we need by the end of the following week. The vast majority come in without chasing, then there are the same few that are a bit late and then the same one who I have to chase again, but I always get there in the end! We do allow people to pay monthly if they request it, but insist that it is paid monthly in advance, we set out a schedule of payments until the end of the school year and they are required to set up a standing order.

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Panders - wise words, you have summed it up exactly.

 

These are not, on the whole, working parents at my setting. I think we have to harden up and think like business. We can't afford to be the little village playgroup where we do everything for everyone for free. I also think we have that element of justifying 'allowing'the debt because the parents in question have other issues and we believe that the children may be in a more stimulating environment for a few more hours a week. So, like zigzag, this is the reason for reviewing our policy and the steps for non-payment.

We had been like this in the past but can no longer afford not to be paid.. If parents are in need you might want to ask your parish council to help, our have helped out with cases previously as long as the parents live in the parish. We applied for 'poor' relief (don't tell your parents its called that!!!!!!) usually only for a short term for for a percentage of the bill...but every little helps!

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Wow, we have many policies but not a Fee's Policy! When we give out application forms it is in the T&C's rather than a policy. It's a good idea to make parents aware from the start. We used to be a push over, and listen to sob stories and reduce outstanding bills even! We are now much tougher, and even to the point that we need to threaten that the Tax Credit people will be contacted in some cases. It is business after all, and if finances fail, everything fails, and that is unfair on all the parents who do pay on time and it is many children that will suffer.

 

Things are going ok now although you do still get a few who unfortunately might struggle.

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I could've written this post myself!

 

I am sitting here boiling over the same names cropping up with unpaid sessions or lunch clubs. They are the ones who constantly avoid and ignore our warning letters!!!

 

I am now composing ANOTHER reminder note and have sent out texts to all offending parents (surprise surprise I have had no replies as of yet!)

 

I will be approaching our committee to move towards half termly payments from September.We have always prided ourselves on a flexible weekly payment system but it is now being totally abused by a minority. I have to remind ourselves that we are business and as much as it pains me to turn children away I need to get harder. It's the only way these parents will get the message :angry: :angry: :angry:

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