I know, I know, shortest break ever.
I make extra money by babysitting children during the week (we’re in the process of paying off massive student loan debt). Currently I provide care for two families - one 3.5 year old boy, and 2 year old twin boys, in addition to my own kids. I had been caring for the 3.5 year old’s older brother, too, until he went to kindergarten this fall. I cannot provide after school care for him at the moment because I do not have a vehicle large enough to pick him up from school (and he could not get bused to my house).
The twins are moving at the end of the month, which is going to cut into my income significantly. The parents of the other boys are really unhappy with the school aftercare and have actually pulled him from it. Ideally, they would like me to pick him up after school, and offered $400 on top of my regular wages to help us purchase a van (even with the twins gone, we don’t have a car that can seat more than 5). Starting today, the dad is actually using his lunch break to drive his son to our house.
I appreciated the offer of extra one-time money, but I’m really thinking what I need is a raise. If I am going to be picking up from school, the reality is that I’m not really going to be able to provide care for any other families (they are expecting a baby as well). My husband and I think we should just go ahead and buy an 8-passenger car, because their 3 kids plus our 2 (none being able to sit in the front seat) already fills a standard minivan, and the likelihood that we would have another child in the next few years is pretty high. However, selection is somewhat limited for 8-passengers, my husband and I have never purchased a car from non-family, and he would prefer to sell our older car rather than our newer one, so we need to come up with a lot of funds even if we buy something old (which I want to, and my husband has talked about financing but I really, really, really don’t want to!)
My thought right now is to ask the parents to please provide car seats for their children’s use (which would probably roughly equal to the $400 they are offering) and to ask for a raise. But I don’t know how much is reasonable. This is the first family I started with and they pay $120/week (4 days). I know that is a steal, but I was also new, didn’t provide transportation anywhere, and they knew I would probably care for other children. Now it’s going to be just them, * picking up from school, and I have experience. I don’t think $120/week is doable (I was planning on raising it after baby came anyway, but I think I need to do something now and then again after I begin caring for baby.)
So I guess I’m looking for two things (maybe I should have 2 threads…). What would you consider reasonable for in-home childcare, and how the heck do I buy an 8-passenger vehicle on the cheap?
(My research suggests that $250/week is reasonable for our area for 2 children, and that $400-$500 for 3 children including a baby. But that’s a HUGE increase over what they are currently paying, and they are a great family so I’d like to keep them. I think we’re both interested in working together for the long haul.)*