Originally Posted by kimmie-pooh
I have no idea what to charge them. Daycare Centers around here charge outrageous prices! I was going to divide their prices in half, but it still seems like a bit much.
I helped a friend once for a number of months watching her two children. I made a verbal contract with her, said that I could only do it for no more than 3 months, the first month for $80/week (for both kids!) including breakfast/snacks/lunch and then $100/week after that...very cheap for California prices but I was trying to help her get back on her feet.
Anyway, after healthy breakfasts & snacks & lunch (including fresh fruit and veggies), there wasn't too much more left but I was at least making a little (we were going through a very broke time!!) but when she started to get behind on paying me ("sorry can't pay you now, but in two weeks I'll catch right up, 'kay?)...then suddenly I could barely afford our own food, let alone feeding her kids, also. I did it and she did catch up but somehow she never started paying me the $100, she conveniently forgot and just paid $80 all the time. I was embarrassed to fight her and even after three months, she still continued to bring them until a couple of weeks later, when I finally put my foot down and said, "you have to find someone else to watch them". She did.
Anyway, I guess my points are this:
- Write it down and make a food plan for the week, figure out how much it will cost to feed the children, you might want to include two snacks a day, plus breakfast & lunch.
- Make a month plan and think about what other extra activities you would like to do with the children and figure out how much that would cost. Think about a portion of your gas costs, too. Occasionally, if you take the children for a day trip to a museum, or something, will you end up buying everyone lunch or snacks there? Factor that in.
- Make sure that if you end up being really annoyed with having so many kids around, the huge mess the kids make (perhaps after everyone is gone, you will need to clean for half an hour before you make your own dinner), all the food prep you will be doing, all of the diapers you might be changing, etc., that you actually have some profit to make it all worthwhile. It's kind of you to want to help your friend but it doesn't help if you end up hating doing it day to day because there is no profit or dependability in it.
- Get it in writing, very important. Make copies for both of you, write down your expectations (kids to be brought in clean clothes daily, with an extra change of clothing, with all of their diapers and extras as well) with a latest pickup time and perhaps an extra charge for late fees...otherwise it will be too easy for her to be late here and there, possibly really disturbing other plans you have. You can always include a small grace period, but in my experience, some parents might take advantage of the grace period and end up arriving exactly at that time every day.
[the lady whose children I watched would often be dropped off with no diapers, no wipes, in dirty smelly clothing and I would end up having to buy disposables for them and I'd undress them and wash their clothes and re-dress them before the end of the day. Yes, I guess it was a bit of a nightmare and I was silly to stick around and do it for so long, always thinking that I was helping out but really, I was just being trod on, since the next sitter she got, she paid much better than I.]
Sorry for the diatribe! Good luck to all of you.