Today, I would like to look at how to successfully convey your rates to clients and how to develop a strategy to know how and when to raise your rates. Oh and don’t miss the FREE DOWNLOAD!
Enrollment is something that is constantly on a child care provider’s mind. Of course, you need children to enroll in your program, but if you do not consider what you will charge, even if all your enrollment spots are filled you still may not bring in enough income to make your business viable. It is absolutely imperative to know how to set your rates and when to raise them.
Today, I want to talk to you about why it is important for a child care provider to consider how they will set their rates and why they should charge that. Then, because this can be such a make or break issue, I will continue the discussion addressing how to successfully (and professionally) convey your rate policy to your potential clients as well as how and when to raise your rates in Part 2. [Read more…] about How to set your rates & when to raise them, Part 1
Today is a crazy day in LA. All of LAUSD schools are closed related to “credible threat”. To my knowledge this has never happened before. I saw this on the news when I woke up this morning and immediately started thinking of what the parents where going to do if they where not able to take off work today. Our child care started receiving calls and texts as early as 7:15 am regarding back-up care for some of our former students. Thankfully we were able to help.
Do you offer Drop-In/Back-up care?
This morning I sent out a message to our child care families and put out a post on our child care’s website as a reminder that we offer Drop-In/Back-up care. Do you offer Drop-In/Back-up care?
In a recent post, I listed many extra services you might offer at your child care. One I added many years ago was Drop-In/Back-up care. I initially saw how this worked from my days as an intern at a daycare facility. When I saw the need in my community for this service I knew I wanted to add it to my menu as well.
I have a separate one-page contract for these occasional clients and have them update emergency info at the same time. I keep in touch with them in emails throughout the year for when there are breaks in the school year. Spring, Summer and Holidays are usually when I start getting reservations for a day here or a week there. It is not my primary service, but when you see a need in your community, and especially in your clientele base it just good business to see if you can fill the need.
Sometimes it may lead to a seasonal or even a weekly enrollment
Not only is this a great way to stay in touch with former clients and maybe continue to service them, it is also a way to get the word out in the community that you are there for them if they should ever need Drop-In/Back-up care. Sometimes it may lead to a seasonal or even a weekly enrollment.
As I said before, when this crisis arose today some of my previous clients started calling. On our child care website I stressed that “This is just another reason why it is a good idea to have a relationship with your local childcare providers if you have young children. You just never know when you might need a back-up plan.” Accordingly, I will be taking contact info over to the local schools this week just to reach out as a Drop-In/Back-up care resource for parents in the community who may be in need of alternate child care arrangements in the future, for any reason.
I also posted a local ad reminding our community that we offer Drop-In/Back-up care at our child care. I noted “If you are a working parent and you have young children (school age or younger), think about making a plan about how you might deal with emergency situations like today. You might find it a good idea to reach out to the child care providers in your community to inquire if drop-in/back-up care is available should you ever need it.”
Another way to service the community that you serve
Hopefully, this turns out to be a false alarm and I am certainly not encouraging capitalizing on tragedy. This really is another way to service the community that you serve. If you already have this in place at times like this Drop-In/Back-up care really can be of great assistance.
Do you offer Drop-In/Back-Up Child Care? Is this a service you might consider offering your community?
Deciding which services to offer your child care clients can seem simple, full and or part-time right? Well, just like super stores offer many more products than small boutiques and bring in more clients, you may find having more services to offer your clients can lead to more enrollment. Speaking of which, here’s a list of 10 child care services I have added to my business over time:
10 Child Care services your Child Care Can Offer
- Drop in/backup – From my intern days, I realized that there was a whole other market out there. There were stay at home moms, freelancers, entertainment industry types that had a need for childcare just maybe not on a daily basis. I quickly added drop-in and back up care to my list of child care services. It was rather easy I just set a daily rate for these non-regular clients. Side note: since these are not regular clients I find it best to require cash payment and have a strict cancellation policy.
- Half-day – Offering a half-day service came after an oops moment. I remember one little boy that was particularly difficult to get down at naptime. It was a fight every time he attended. At the time it didn’t even occur to me that perhaps a half-day schedule would be better for him. I’m embarrassed to say that it didn’t hit me that I should’ve offered that option to the parents until the mom announced that she was enrolling the little boy in another school that had a half-day program. OK so now I would have a half-day program. I actually offer a morning half-day with an afternoon add-on for an additional fee.
- After school – Before leaving your care some clients may inquire whether you offer after school services. While this is another service to add to your menu, there are some considerations that should be made. Decide whether or not it is actually worth it for the fee that you will charge. The scheduling to offer school pick ups could also be an issue as you will usually have children that are in the all day program so you will have to account for coverage and supervision while you are away doing pickups. Lastly, if you have multiple clients that go to different schools it might be rather difficult to make pick ups at multiple locations.
- Seasonal – With many school systems offering on/off track schedules now a days, the need for seasonal care is definitely there. Often times there are considerable gaps in the school year where parents will need to find childcare alternatives. By offering seasonal care you can enjoy a potential increase in income at certain points of the year.
- Babysitting – To be honest most care providers have such a long work day and week not many would even consider offering babysitting services as well. Not to mention, we try desperately to shed the “babysitter” stigma. So you might want to punt this by simply being a referral service. If parents inquire about babysitting for after hours, you can turn this into an opportunity for your assistant to make some extra income. Having an in-house referral service is an added benefit for the parents that you serve because the children are already familiar with the care providers.
- Date night – To be honest this is a new one for me. I recently had a parent mention that the local YMCA offered date night babysitting about once a quarter. She suggested that I might think about offering that service as well. Once again considering that this might be another opportunity for my assistant to make extra money or alternatively as a fundraiser for the childcare I have made plans to incorporate this into my services as well.
- Vacation coverage – In an upcoming post I will address making fellow providers into colleagues rather than rivals and this is actually an extension of that. Taking vacations can often be very difficult for home childcare providers. Parents express concerns about finding alternative care while you’re gone. Additionally there is a real concern about whether clients might leave your business if they find a temporary solution that they like better. Reaching out to other providers in your community that you trust and inquiring about a temporary vacation coverage agreement for clients who might be in need of temporary coverage is another option to provide increased and seasonal income for their business and possibly yours as well.
- Temporary care – When I started I noticed that in my area many of the larger daycares had waiting lists. Well what where the parents on the waiting lists going to do until a spot opened up? At the time, I thought well maybe if I offered to provide a temporary child care some clients might wind up staying. So in my I ads I specifically addressed that I was filling a need for those parents in limbo.
- Holiday care – Much like seasonal care, during the various holidays when the schools are out, I make a specific effort to reach out new as well as former clients of older children to inquire if they need coverage during the Spring, Summer or Winter break periods.
- Parenting classes/certification – Finally another service you might offer would be parenting classes or certification classes such as CPR and first aide. Offering such a service has a dual benefit as it also gives credibility and professionalism to your business.