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Babysitters this is how you deal with parents who are late returners

late returning parents Jul 10, 2022

Make sure before your booking starts that you have asked the parents what time you can expect them to return home. There are 3 main reasons for this: 

  1. You might have made plans for after the booking such as a follow-on booking or a social engagement
  2. For your safety - parents or a trusted friend will be expecting you home shortly after the scheduled booking is due to end
  3. If the parents have not returned on time and you are unable to make contact with them you can assume that something might have happened to them and you can alert their emergency contact. 

Here are a few tips to deal with parents to avoid late returners:


  1. Communicate

If you do have a follow-on booking make sure that the parents are aware of this so that they are mindful of the time. Make sure you remind them on the day of your booking too - they might not think that staying late will be a problem for you. 

  1. Be flexible 

As mentioned in previous lessons it is good to have a grace period of 30 minutes on either side of the end time of the booking for a parent to return home. Often parents can get caught in traffic, have a meeting that is overrun, or a taxi that does not arrive on time. It's good to be flexible and factor this time deficit into your day - especially when considering doing back-to-back bookings. 

However, if you are a regular sitter for a family that repeatedly returns home late then it might be best to talk to them about it and let them know that you have committed to other plans after the booking (even if you haven't) and you have concerned parents/friends worried that something has happened to you when you are not home on time. Ask them to contact you if they are running late or know that they are going to be back later than expected so that you can communicate this to those who are waiting for your return. If you are on a booking and the parent has not returned on time then it is important that you call them - sometimes parents unintentionally lose track of time. 

  1. Late return fees

If you do land up staying later at a booking than expected due to the parent returning late make sure that you charge them a late return fee which can be up to double your hourly rate for anything after the 30-minute grace period. 

Many parents are often super apologetic and somewhat embarrassed for not returning home on time and will often give you a hefty tip to compensate for the inconvenience of you having to stay later than planned. If this is the case you will need to decide if you want to charge them a late return fee in addition to the tip you received. In other cases, parents won't even bat an eyelid in which case charge them the late return fee and consider whether or not you accept a babysitting job from them in the future. 

Just a note on parents who return back earlier than expected. 

This is just as frustrating as parents who return back too late. Make sure that before your booking starts that a parent is aware that you have a minimum booking of 3 hours. In this way, if a parent returns home after 1.5hours that you still receive your 3 hours pay. This can be annoying especially if a parent has booked you for a 6-hour booking and you can only charge them for the minimum 3 hours (especially if you are relying on the 6hours pay) but it is one of those occasions that you just need to take on the chin and consider whether or not you accept future bookings with that family again. Most respectable parents will acknowledge that they booked you for 6 hours and pay you for the full 6 hours even though they were only out for 1.5hours. 


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