Contracts aren't really valid any more in this coronavirus crisis - we have been shut down so it's an exceptional circumstance rarely covered in a standard parent/provider contract.
It can be hard to start a conversation about money - it's awkward and you might feel anxious. Don't beat around the bush - hi, how are you all? How are my tiddly peeps getting on? Yes we are all fine thank you - I need to talk to you about your invoice for April...
Respect parent decisions - if they are self-employed, for example, they might have less money coming in than you; if parents are being paid by an employer, they might still be worrying about their job security or cash flow - you don't know their outgoings or the pressure on them financially.
I spoke to every family individually - can they afford to pay for April? If yes, great ... if no, ok fair enough, thank you for listening to me.
I explained - yes I know we are getting a govt grant but you know how much I plough back into the business so my net is very low... and it will be taxed so that's a huge percentage straight back to the treasury... and it's not coming until June. I need to know whether you can support me financially now.
I said - yes I know there's the option to claim universal credit but ... you'll need to do that one in your own words - some self-employed colleagues can claim it and some can't, but it's less than £100 a week and the delays for claiming will be huge!
Then I did my budget based on April fees, what's already in the bank and the grant I will be getting from the govt in June ... I stopped paying for anything unnecessary and cut monthly outgoings by talking to companies, saying the words 'coronavirus' and 'self-employed' and asking for their help.
I have made a list of some of the steps you might take to balance the books in my latest newsletter - https://independentchildminders.weebly.com/news.html.
I will ask parents again before bills go out at the end of the month for May but April is a 5 week month, so hopefully we will be nearer the end of this thing by then... or at least we will have a better idea of the timescales involved.
If April fees can be stretched through April and May (cut back, no unnecessary spending, talk to utility companies etc) ... the government grant comes in June ... well, hopefully we can keep going financially for that long.
The govt said if it went on for longer than 3 months there'd be the possibility of more grant ... or universal credit can be applied for at any time if the bank is empty and you don't have a partner who is employed ... this is an excellent article for more advice -
I hope this helps. Sarah