There are many things to consider once you have your home daycare service business off the ground. Operations and marketing is one thing however one should consider the human aspect of daycare service. There will be times when there would be disagreements or complaints from customer. There also possible accidents and liabilities that would need resolution. I have learned in the years of doing home daycare service that there should be a way to protect myself and my business from these liabilities.
There is a necessity to have a home daycare contract. This contract protects you and your business and allows coverage regarding arrangements on childcare. Drafting one can take time and sometimes be frustrating but in the end it can save you and your business.
So what should your contract have? You may want to list down certain things and if possible get legal advice from an attorney.
Your home daycare service can have the following:
• Operation Schedule
• Holiday Schedules
• Procedures for drop-off and pick-up
• Registration Fees
• Late Charges
• Payment Schedules
• Payment Methods
• Requirements for Admission
• Contract Termination Policies
• Disaster emergency procedures
• Closure in severe weather conditions or calamities
• Procedures on possible suspicion of child abuse or neglect
• Medical Emergencies
• Medication Procedures
• Policies on additional medical expenses that may arise
DAY TO DAY CHILDCARE
• Food Arrangement
• Nap Time
• Infant Provisions
• Field trips and outdoor activities
• Extended Care
These are just the basics of what should be included in your home daycare contract.
You should explain in detail all necessary procedures and policies that your daycare service will provide. It should provide a clear cut detail on what you will be doing in specific cases and all your responsibilities. You should also indicate what the responsibilities of the parents, such as pick are up and drop off, medication and other relevant information needed for the care of their child.
Having a comprehensive contract will ensure successful operations on your part. You should discuss with the parents their responsibilities and the scope of your job. Make sure that they understand completely your role and what specific services your daycare service provides. This will avoid any misunderstandings and wrong assumptions to the job that you are required to do. You do not want to be pointing fingers with the parents incase something goes wrong. You should sit down with the parents to explain everything in the contract.
Be very elaborate on what your role will be in case of any emergencies. Be sure that they will give you all the necessary information that is needed in taking care of their child such as special instructions if the child has some medical conditions or if there are certain things that the child is not suppose to take. Any medical history relevant to childcare should be explained by the parents and if they do not do so, make sure you indicate that you will not be held liable.
Your contact must also be clear on the expenses involved in the care of their child. Make sure that the due dates and rates of the services are well in order and documented so that each party is aware of their responsibilities. You do not want to be arguing that you did not specify what the due dates were and what additional expenses that was incurred. I cannot express enough the need to be as detailed as possible. Include details on your policy regarding any late fees, reservation fees and deposit procedures and rates to other things that need to be considered.
You should also include the day to day and common procedures in your service. You can indicate what type of food, information and daily activities you plan to provide. You should note that as much as possible do not let the parents bring toys from home. Include the things that you are willing to do and what you will not be doing.
Don’t assume anything. You should indicate if there is specific attire that you prefer kids to be wearing to help you with taking care of them. You should be thorough in discussing all these details. The contract is necessary since, yes you will be talking to parents about all this, some of them may forget that you have discussed it with them and having it down on paper can prove to be useful to remind them that everything you have discussed is right there.
You can list down everything you feel necessary in your contract. Talk to parents and friends if you have no idea what else to include in your contract. You can also ask your lawyer to add to the list that you have already put down. They will have some experience on the usual troubles and complaints that happen between parents and daycare service. You contract can change dramatically over time however as much as possible have everything down before you even start.
Have a draft of the contract always ready. When a parent inquires of your service you can discuss it with them and if they want anything added you will be able to modify your contract as needed. Be sure that any changes you make you allow your lawyer to have a look and the other party. You do not want to go into a binding agreement only to regret it in the end.
Remember the primary goal of your contract is to protect your business. Take your time to think about all the aspects that’s involved in your service. Don’t be too hasty. Remember childcare can be a complicated task more difficult than putting up your business. There are a lot of unforeseen things that can happen and you may want to think out of the box and be prepared for anything and make sure you are covered by your contract.
Finally be sure that the parents sign the contract before taking their child. Have all involved individuals sign so that the agreement can be finalized.
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