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Child Care Tuition Processing in the 21st Century

“Oh, Mrs. Jones, thank you for your payment. Let me just write you out a receipt.” Sound familiar? It’s the age-old way of taking payments for child care or just about any other business. Now be honest. You’ve probably got a manual receipt book tucked in your desk drawer, just like thousands of other child care, daycare and preschool owners.

Video: Tuition Processing in the 21st Century

Does it work? Well sure, if you don’t mind being interrupted as various parents drop off payments throughout the day. That is, assuming they “remember” to pay at all, let alone on time. Some of them may even pay by cash, which could leave you open to finding a bit less money in the till at the end of the week. And, if someone “forgot” to make out a receipt, how would you know for sure – wink, wink?

The hand kept receipt book may have been a fine tool for the 1970’s, 80’s and even the 90’s. But, now that we’re well into the twenty-first century, it’s no longer the most efficient or secure way to accept payments for tuition and other fees at your child care business. What words would best describe the perfect payment processing system for your preschool or child activity center? Ultra-secure? Super convenient? Parent friendly? Easy to use? Those phrases all define Tuition Express, a service provided by the biggest name in child care management, Procare Software. Continue reading

Stepped Rate Child Care Billing

The following question recently appeared in the ProCare Tech Support “IN” box.

“I am setting up our child care tuition fees, but we do not have weekly rates. Our billing uses a stepped rate charged ahead of time. Here’s our rate schedule:

Infant Rates

  • Up to 3 Hours/Day $21 (level 1)
  • Up to 4 Hours/Day $25 (level 2)
  • Up to 5 Hours/Day $29 (level 3)
  • Up to 6 Hours/Day $33 (level 4)
  • Daily MAX  $35 (level 5)

Please let me know how we can enter this to be billed according to the days they are scheduled in advance.”

You can absolutely do this kind of stepped rate billing in ProCare. In fact, one of our standard billing formulas fits this case perfectly.

Continue reading

How to Change Child Care Billing Rates Without Rocking the Boat

You may be thinking about increasing child care fees at your daycare, preschool or similar child-centered business. It certainly would help to generate more revenue, but you’re not sure how to get the message out. You want to retain as many children from your current enrollment as possible, but you realize some people may be upset.

child care billing rates

It’s an uncomfortable subject, as families often plan and budget for their child care expenses far in advance. You may be wavering and wondering how to effectively increase tuition rates without rocking the boat too much.

How to Change Child Care Billing Rates

Here are a few suggestions for how to change your child care billing rates, while reassuring parents that these costs will maintain or increase the high-quality care you provide their children.

Put it on Paper

Start by writing down your reasons for this necessary increase in your child care billing rates. If parents understand why, they are apt to accept it more easily. Some reasons might include the rising cost of utilities, which affects both summer cooling / air conditioning costs as well as winter heating.

Another factor might be gasoline prices, especially if your center provides transportation for the children. Food costs are also on the upswing. If you provide snacks you might consider asking the parents to do so instead, on a rotating basis. Typically, though, the most expensive part of providing quality child care and early childhood programs is payroll.

Hiring qualified instructors to supervise their children is of the utmost importance, and meeting the teacher-to-child ratio requirements that allow for individualized care, means hiring more staff, and therefore higher payroll costs.

Quality Child Care

The idea to get across to families is that quality child care is a priority at your center. In order to continue providing the level of services families have come to expect a modest increase in rates is necessary. If you have held rates steady for some period of time be sure to point that out like this:

“Rates at ABC Child Care have remained at their current levels for more than three years”.

Empathize with what parents are going through too and pledge to hold costs at their new levels for as long as you reasonably can. Perhaps you could say:

“We understand that having quality child care at predictable rates is important to your family budget. We pledge to maintain our new rates for at least 12 months and give you ample notice if a change is required down the road.”

This emphasizes that ultimately, these costs go towards the care of each child, and assuages fears that costs will continue to rise moving forward.

Cashflow & Cost Cutting

Another thing to help the financial bottom line at your center is, of course, to keep costs under control and maintain a steady cash flow. These are areas in which Procare can help. Especially with making sure you get paid on time.

Procare’s Tuition Express payment processing service is the key. Payments are automatically transferred from family checking or savings accounts directly to your bank account. You may even choose to offer credit card payments as an option. Either way you’ll rest assured knowing your center receives every dollar in a timely, predictable manner.

Final Thoughts

Raising the costs of your child care or daycare center can be a tricky task. You are sympathetic to the budgets of the families you serve, but at the same time, you have to ensure your business can continue to run.

By being open and clearly communicating with parents throughout the billing process, and informing them to each expense that is causing prices to rise, you are more likely to retain their business despite higher costs. Similarly, adopting solutions that keep track of billing, payroll, and cash flow for you will help you stay aware of your financial needs, to give ample notice for billing changes. Here’s to wishing you every success in your child care business and until next time, cheers!

Looking to simply the child care billing process? Learn how Procare can help. 

If you have questions or comments about this article (or suggestions for another article) I’d be pleased to hear from you. Drop me a note at phil@procaresoftware.com.

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