Most daycare managers don’t go into the child care business for the money alone. That being said, you are still trying to run a business; and businesses need revenue to succeed. It’s in everyone’s best interest (yours, parents’, even the children’s) for your child care business to succeed.
Parents will spend an average of 7.8% of their monthly income on child care arrangements. They understand the value you bring to both their and their children’s lives. As such, everyone should be on board with making timely daycare payments. Unfortunately, collecting a parent’s daycare payment on time isn’t always easy. To that end, here are three tips on how you can help encourage parents to make their daycare payment on time every time:
- Have a clear and enforced late payment policy
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a late policy is important. A standard late policy many daycare centers use is to charge a 5% penalty for a late daycare payment. That is, if the weekly daycare payment is $400, charge a $20 fee for any late payments. If charging a penalty doesn’t suit your business, you could employ a dis-enrollment policy instead. For instance, a payment that’s over two weeks late can result in having the child dis-enrolled from care.
Regardless of the policy you choose, make sure there is no ambiguity. Be clear and upfront about your policy from the outset. During the enrollment process, tell parents how they can make their daycare payment, how often payments must be made, and what will happen if they fail to make their daycare payment on time.
- If Dad hasn’t paid, ask Mom
Parents will often alternate their work schedules so they can tag-team child rearing responsibilities. You may have given the bill to Dad two weeks ago when he dropped Johnnie off, but it’s Mom who usually comes to pick him up. If Dad doesn’t seem receptive to paying, mention it with Mom. It’s not uncommon for one parent to be the primary financial manager in the home. There’s a good chance if the parent who you handed the bill to hasn’t paid, he or she isn’t said Financial Manager of the home.
Similarly, don’t assume just because you always see the same parent at pick-up and drop-off that he or she is the best one to consult about a late daycare payment. Mom could be the drop-off and pick-up person, but maybe Dad is the Financial Manager. In either case, don’t be afraid to tag-team parents as they tag-team their child care and home management responsibilities.
- Use a daycare management software
Everyone gets busy and busy people tend to be forgetful. Less than 33% of children have a stay-at-home parent. This means your children’s parents are probably very busy people. Mom and Dad likely don’t want to miss their daycare payment due date, but when they’re trying to get three kids dressed, fed, and out the door in time for their 9 a.m. meeting, it can be easy to forget the daycare check sitting on the counter. Likewise, if they’re already running late from Timmy spilling his juice on Annie, it can be hard to stop by the daycare office to make a credit card payment. Why not make paying easier on busy parents by giving them an online option?
Online child care management solutions not only make paying more accessible (so if Mr. Smith remembers at midnight he owes you for Johnnie’s child care, he can actually take care of it then and there), they also come with automation. Parents can schedule payments to go automatically each week or month as your bills come through. One less thing to have to remember equals one less stress on Mom and Dad’s plate, which makes for happier parents, children, and daycare managers alike.
Child care management software doesn’t just benefit parents, either: You can forget about having to manually bill each and every parent, and those pesky trips to the bank each week to deposit daycare payment checks. The management system will take care of it all for you. Besides, how many people are using checks these days anyway?