40 answers

Whats the Going Rate for at Home Daycare?

I am watching a 7month old baby and have been charging $25/day for 6:45am-4pm and $35 for 6:45am-6pm. I only charge for the days I babysit (normally 4 days a week). The schedule changes frequently and I am "on call" all week. I normally get at least 12 hours notice of schedule changes from the parents. I get paid for the week on Mon so if any extra shifts are added I don't get paid for them until the following week. Today I talked to the parents about raising my rates by $5 a day ($30 for normal days and $40 for long days) bc my husbands pay check got cut at his work and bc I will need to put some money back to pay taxes at the end of the year on my income. We are a low income family so I wanted to try and save some for the end of the year taxes I will owe. The parents agreed and then came back and said that they wanted me to think about it more.... and that I need to add in the cost of gas they use to bring the child over and pick her up. They also said "the average home daycare charges $35/day and hours are 7am to 6pm, so we could take her to any home daycare.....not that we would" ~ So basically I don't understand what all this means and need some others opinions on it. Am I asking to much for the $5 a day raise? Should I just leave the rates so I won't lose the income?

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The average amount in my area for an at home daycare I have found to be around $175/week. The couple I babysit for said they would pay $120 a week so I may just go with that so that I don't lose her. I really enjoy watching her! I do think I will make a contract up though and try to include in loop holes or problems that may come up in the future. I really don't like discussing money with people bc it makes me very uncomfortable but I also want to feel like Im getting a fair rate. Their we're other reasons why the pay was being negotiated, changes that were happening. If anyone wants to send advice about what to have in my contract Id appreciate it!! Thanks everyone for the support!

NEW UPDATE: So I made a contract for the amount they wanted and everything. It is a weekly contract so they will pay the full amount even when she doesn't come. However, if I take off I day I said I would deduct that from the amount. They argued that too! Saying that they can take her to a daycare center for the price and food would be provided for her! She is 7 months old, still on formula and some baby food. I told them my contract is what I can offer and that was it. She gets one on one care here and she loves it here. I told them that if they wanted to take her some where else they could. He also brought up the gas again that I should caculate that into my price!! Well I think I suprised them by saying take it or leave it and by the time he got home he called and said he would accept the contract as long as I give 45 day notice to any of my days off! Some people you just can't win with but at least I try! I am still going to be watching her.

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I pay $25 per day for a 2.5 y/o. She is open from 7 am - 5:30 pm and charges per day, not different amounts for longer/shorter days. We pay her regardless if my son is there or not and we also pay her for holidays.

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I live outside of Dallas and pay $150 a week for my 7 month old. I consider that CHEAP compared to other inhome daycares and actual daycare facilities. I dop off around 7 and my daughter gets picked up between 4-5:30. Payment is always due on Friday before the next week and i pay for days shes not there and holidays. Its the least i could do for my daughters caregiver! good luck!

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I pay 175/week, no exceptions, pay for days I'm there and days I'm not. that averages out to 35/day. Every daycare I've talked to, you have to pay for the whole week, whether you're there or not. we get 2 weeks unpaid, and she gets 2 weeks paid vacation.

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wow! what an eye-opener! I live in mid-MO....& I am on the upper scale for inhome daycare: $80/week, with some of those days 10-12 hours long. All of my parents feel I do not charge enough....& yet, all of my parents are financially struggling. Good jobs are hard to come by in our small town! A basic secretary makes about $10/hour- if she's lucky, a teacher with a Masters - about $35,000......& the average home runs about $100-150,000.

I periodically check the competition....& it ranges anywhere from $10/day for inhome care to $20/day for state-compliant facilities. A few daycares range in the middle, as do I. I recently bumped up my infant care to $90/week......& maybe it's time to check out the competition again! Thanks for the eye-opener. !!!

Now to part of your question: it sounds as if your families have shopped around & have found other options. The $5/day raise is actually a lot. Usually increases are $5-$10/week. You have chosen a career which is taken for granted by many parents, & most families resent having to pay a chunk of their wages for their children's care. It's sad, but true. You'll hear all kinds of comments about how little you make & what a shame it is....but when it's push come to shove....forget it! Good luck getting cooperation on salary increases! In the almost 9 years I've been doing this, I've met with resistance with each rate increase. I hate having it turn into a point of contention!

I do have a few recommendations. If you do not have a policy handbook, please consider creating one. Set your hours & rates in "stone".....eliminating that fluctuation which makes budgeting so hard. Instead of the $25/$35 change-up based on the # of hours.....flip to a flat rate of $35/day. Set your rate schedule based on full or part-time......anything over 30 hours/week is considered full-time & warrants a full week's paycheck.

When your families register with you, ask them to designate full or part-time. Your salary is then based on that pre-set designation....& you will have a guaranteed paycheck each week. If you have a family who only needs you a couple of days/week, by having this pre-set designation - you are free to fill in that other part of the time slot....again, guaranteeing you a full salary & not leaving you hanging by a thread!

For my policy handbook, I clearly state that once the full/part-time designation is set....I get paid, regardless of whether or not the child is present. The ONLY time I do not get paid is if I take off a day or take vacation. I get paid for their personal days, all public holidays, & their vacations. This process will also eliminate you being "on call", which will make your life much easier! & I do require a phone call if the child is not coming for the day....

Soooo, make a handbook. Set your rates/schedule & have a sit-down conference with your families. Flat-out tell them that you are trying to be fair to all involved, & this is now your policy & that you hope they will stay with you. My biggest fear is that you approached them...stating/divulging your husband's loss of income as your reason for the attempted increase. These parents don't care about your financial standing.....they have their own worries & concerns.....& your loss does not have to be their responsibility. I know that sounds harsh, but I've seen it all with my families & have learned my lesson! My income, my finances.....are mine & not their problem or issue! & the fact that they are being resistant to the increase says that they are willing to move on...... Good Luck & stand strong!

7 moms found this helpful

Bottom line, I think you should charge what you feel you need to charge and leave it at that. If they say, "We could take our child to another daycare" you should be polite but firm and say, "Well, I understand. If you want to look into that I will be very happy for you. But I am going to raise my rates and I hope you decide to leave your child with me." You could also mention that you already have a relationship with the child and change in routine is never easy and a new daycare might also mean registration charges, etc. It's up to you but I think what you want to charge is very fair.

It's hard to stand up for our value but don't be afraid. You can do it. Just handle it with a smile and a patient voice and you will be communicating professionalism.

5 moms found this helpful

I was doing this for $25 a day and just told them I couldn't do it anymore. The schedule changing without much notice, on being on call at any hour any day of the week including weekends wasn't worth it to me. So I agree, if you had a set schedule, then it would be okay for what you are charging (even though I think you could charge more), but the headache and hassle of dealing with unpredictability should be a higher fee.

Daycares that are open for longer and night hours and weekends always charge more, home providers who have to work around those odd hours should as well.

Them asking you to include their gas is ridiculous. And call their bluff, if they want to go somewhere else, fine, I'm sure you could find another child to care for as well. Stand by your rates, do not give excuses.

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Here's the things you need to keep in mind. No matter what a parent says, there is very little loyalty in the daycare world. I've done this 24 years and have many clients that have been singing my praises left and right, day and night for months. But mess with their money, make them pay for a vacation while they are gone (theirs, not mine), tell them they MUST pay in advance when they think a personal expense should make me wait for my money, and or change the rate because they are coming later and later every single day...suddenly, they are threatening and or just out the door.

The next thing to keep in mind is that competition is stiff. Every single day people get pregnant or laid off and think, "Gee, I'll run a daycare". It's sad to see how many people get into daycare as a lark, an after thought, and not because of a well planned life desire. So they sweep in, place a few ads and realize that it's hard to get clients at first. So they lower the rates. The last few years with people getting laid off a little more often, we've had more and more new pop up daycare's to contend with. In the end, the vast majority of families get burned by inexperienced people and land back on our doorstep. Here's another fact to deal with and it's not nice. Some people will keep and harbor a little list in their mind of things they feel you didn't do or should have done. They'll think they like you over all and your great but... Then when you raise your rate they are calling around looking for a new daycare. Sometimes a person will end up finding someone that charges even more than you do and they'll leave for the higher priced daycare because they are awed over the wonderful set up the person has. So it's very important not to give your clients reasons to look around. Some woman have more money than you or I could know what to do with and they set up these AWESOME huge playgrounds indoor and out and some of the rest of us could never compete. But compete we must in one way or the other.

Marda is right. It really put them off to hear about your husbands job issues. They feel like they are paying for a service and it's not their problem to figure out how you are to survive. And to be fair, no one can survive on the pay from just one child. Can you have another child in Texas without being licensed? Or maybe you could consider licensing if your living arrangements meet the guidelines.

Lastly, about raising rates at all.. I almost never raise any rates no matter what. I belong to daycare groups all over the USA and even some other countries. These woman talk about raising their rates every single year. Every year I see them complaining that they lost 1-2 clients and then they are scrambling to get the money to advertise for more. Let's say the person has 6 kids in their care and they lose 2. The increase of 5 bucks per WEEK they were going for only increases them 20 bucks from the 4 that stayed. But they lose 100 bucks or week or so TIMES 2 from the families that didn't stay. If it takes them a month or two to get those 2 vacancies filled, the money they lost isn't going to be easily recovered. Now the raise has effectively lowered their income for the year when it's all said and done. It's hard enough to replace people when a child goes to school or a parent loses a job. The last thing you want to do is lose them for money.

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You were given lots of great suggestions. I have a home daycare and have been doing it for 17 years. First suggestion is to check around and see what centers and home daycares are charging, be sure to ask them about hours, what is included in their fee, vacations and paid holidays, and on call/drop in rates. To suddenly raise rates by $5 a day is a lot, especially for the reasons you gave. I raised my rates my $5 a day to 2 families last Sept, each family has 1 child and they were using my daycare 1-2 days a week, sometimes less, so I felt it was justified, and if they didn't like, they were free to find someone else. Did your husband's hours get cut or just the pay? Perhaps he could find a second job, you could take in more kids, you could get a second job or start a home business.

I think once you check out flexible schedules and drop in rates, the $5 increase won't seem so bad to the parents. I think the on call thing could be discussed. Perhaps you could agree on getting paid a set # of days per week, so you could budget better. The best thing for you is to have a home business or advertise for another child.


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Eh. Yeah, you're asking a little much for our area. I was charging $25/day for childcare 2 years ago. They could easily find that rate around you so I'd take the $25/35 you're making now. If you'd like to make more $, why not take on an extra child?

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It totally depends on location, but here in my Chicago area the going rate is somewhere between $200-$325/week. Some areas, such as yours in TX, may be much lower, but that person would have multiple kids to make up for it. When I was doing home daycare I charged $225/week per child for full time care. I had set hours 8am-6pm and they paid $225 a week no matter if they were here or out sick or on vacation. The only time they don't pay is if I took a day off and did not provide backup childcare. That only happened maybe 2-3 times in about 5 years--when I was very sick and could not open. If this is the only child you are watching, then honestly you could be making better money dunking fries at the local McDonalds. You also have no health benefits or vacation pay. You need to take an honest look at your situation and decide what will and won't work for you and your family. Be fair to yourself, don't leave it to the family's to give you what you deserve. It still shocks me what people expect to pay to have you take care of the most "precious" people in their lives.

BTW--these people sound like jerks. Why bring up the car gas--what does that have to do with you? If they don't want to drive their child over, they would get a nanny to come to them. And trust me it would cost them about four times more!

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I am responding before I read the responses so I repeat something I am sorry. THAT LADY HAS LOST HER MIND, no way can she find decent childcare for less than what you charge. Much less not make her pay for for a solid 5 days and Holidays. PLUS YOU BEING AVAILABLE ON WEEKENDS AND FLEXABLE WITH YOUR TIME. All my girls were taken to an in home child care till they started Pre-K. I paid $150 a week, for 5 days - 7-5. If a Holiday fell within the week or if my child was sick, I still paid for the entire week. She got 2 weeks vacation a year. I did NOT have to pay her for this time. I also got 2 weeks a year and I did not have to pay her while we were gone.

Compaired to the rules and prices of a regular daycare I considered that a steal. Plus my children loved her and she had them reading by the time they went to Pre-K. The only reason we did Pre-K was because I wanted my kids in the school environment to get them ready for kindergarten.

Sounds to me like you are giving her a deal. Stick to your guns and do not back down, If she does start shopping around for a new daycare shes going to be in shock of actually what a great deal you are offering her.

One more thing. REALLY, the Gas was an issue, this is crazy, she would have to drive for child regardless. I'm sorry, but these people dont sound like they are very nice to begin with.

Good Luck

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