Hot Tips

You Charge HOW Much?
It's usually the first question that prospective parents ask: "What do you charge?"
When we tell them, the response you often hear is, "You charge how much?"

One of the hardest things we have to do as providers is justify our daycare rates. Some parents have a hard time comprehending the costs of running a childcare business and, like anything else, they are looking for the best deal. Most parents are willing to spend more on an auto payment than they are for quality child care. And yet, they are trusting us with their most precious possession - their child.

The good news is that we can suggest ways for them to "reduce" the costs of childcare without compromising our rates for quality care.

First, make sure you are utilizing your company's flexible spending account. (Most companies have one.) Money is set aside from your pretaxed income (up to $5,000 per year) which lowers your taxable earnings. You must use a licensed and registered provider, and you must use the money for childcare by each year's end (or you lose it).

Also income earners are eligible for a child care credit of 20 percent of their child care costs, for a maximum of $2,400 (up to $480 per child).

If you still have concerns about the cost of daycare, we would like to point out that I am usually less expensive than the daycare centers in my area. Furthermore I would like to go over the benefits of my childcare and the cost of doing business in the next few paragraphs.

I offer a family environment including nutritious meals and snacks. Since I am providing breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack according to the Food Program requirements, I would like to ask you to think about the cost of groceries.

The children in my daycare do a variety of crafts. Crayons, tape, scissors, markers, paper, pipe cleaners, foamies, paints, etc. all cost money. With six or so children playing with toys, games, puzzles, books, etc. for the better part of ten hours per day, the cost of repairing or replacing these items is much higher than one child playing with his own toys at home for a couple hours in the evening.

Strollers, cribs, bedding, car seats, and changing tables all require more care and cleaning. The dishwasher has increased use due to more dishes, and an extra load for daily sanitation of toys put in mouths of babies. I go through more cleaning supplies (mops, vaccum bags, sponges) because of the daycare.

Special items adding to the family atmosphere might include special treats, a small gift if we visit a discount store, or admission to a children's event. I celebrate each child's birthday with a gift. We have other parties to celebrate a theme or teach a concept. These may include special crafts, snacks, or field trips.

Utilities cost more because of the increased use of electricity, heat, air conditioning, water, garbage, and gas. Vehicle costs are higher due to additional insurance, gas, and wear and tear by providing transportation to outings. Furniture wears out faster.

Training costs for me (so I can provide the best care possible) including CPR and first-aid, nutrition classes, playground safety, and children's issues to name a few. And the list goes on.

By now, most parents realize that there are more behind the scenes costs than they realize. I would like to conclude by saying, "You cannot put too high a price on the well being of your child and the dependability of your childcare provider. Isn't it worth the cost?"