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  #1  
Old 12-26-2016, 08:16 PM
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Default What Made Your Childcare/Daycare More Profitable?

Hello everyone and happy holidays!

Going over my yearly income and overall budget, I realized that the daycare wasn't as profitable as I hoped. And there was less profit then the previous year, I am not sure why honestly, maybe the weekly expenses for food or supplies.

Which made me wonder if any of you had tips or suggestions to share that made your business more profits?
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2016, 09:54 PM
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Our hours are the single greatest factor in our income. Despite doing the food program we have to cover 1 additional meal and 1 additional snack, we have a lot of part time parents BUT and here it is: It's easier for me to tell you when we closed....

We are licensed for 12 + 4 school agers but have a lot of odd ball schedules our kids schedules are:

Kid 1: 6:00-5:30 (M-F)
Kid 2: 7:30-4:30 (M-F)
Kid 3: 8:30-5:30 (MWF)
Kid 4: 7:30-5:30 (MWF)
Kid 5: 10:00-6:30/ 2:00-11:00 (T/ W-F)
Kid 6 and 7: 7:30-4:30 (Any 3 days except W)
Kid 8: 7:30-5:30 (M-T,TH)
Kid 9: 9:00-5:30 (M, W-F)
Kid 10: 8:30-5:30 (T-F)
Kid 11: 6:00-5:00/ 12:30-5:30 (M/ T-TH)

Kid 12,13,14: 3:00-10:30/ FLEX 10 Hr day (F/ Saturday-Sunday)
Kid 15/16: 8:00-8:00 (Saturday)

With such long and extended hours we are able to register far more kids than most home sites.

And 4 before school kids and 2 after school. School agers alone are 300$ weekly- assuming there are no days off if there are and the kids need care there is an added charge. The 2 flex children are 260$ weekly, the 3 are covered by DSS- appx 140 a day.

We have non-traditional hours and are the only daycare around the area open 7x a week- that has been, and continues to be our greatest selling point. Because of our hours we have a larger than your typical home daycare sized staff- which limits OT and such.
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2016, 03:24 AM
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I haven't sat down yet to figure that all out for myself(the business part of this business isn't my strong point) but I already know ways I need to start cutting back.
And you nailed it with your supplies and food. I found myself hitting the dollar store for holiday decorations, good idea right?? Totally wrong. I ended up going 3x for Halloween alone and each time spent between 20-50 bucks. I had a dcf party so put a lot more into it. Same with Christmas. I have stacks of things not used. There is a lot of waste with our food. I think I'm still cooking for my summer crew of big eaters.
I need to learn to rein those 2 areas in and simply spend less, do without or use up what I already have on hand.

And wow, PP, I don't know how you do it with such a schedule.
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  #4  
Old 12-27-2016, 06:22 AM
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I envy those of you who can take school agers. Our schools have before and after care, and it is reasonably priced and well run, so no one needs it here. If you can take before and after school aged kids OP, I would look into that.

Some of my logic may seem backward, but it works out financially to my benefit:

1) I do not transport. This saves me needing a bigger vehicle, car seats, etc.

2) I buy a curriculum. It does cost about $130 a month for 9 kids, but all craft materials are included, I get manipulatives, nice posters, many things I can reuse. In September's box I get a calendar set to use for the year. I never have to run to the store to buy craft supplies, and find I save money in this department. I've been doing curriculum for about 3 years, and have so many extra materials now I don't know what to do with it all! But I save everything. Some people are excellent shoppers and could find everything for less, but the quality of the other stuff you get is great.

3) By using a curriculum I get a higher quality dcf.

4) I shop at Aldi's. No excuses. We have 4 grocery stores around us, and here are the prices if I buy the same things for a week of groceries at each place (a week of groceries is for 3 people all food, and 6 daycare kids for breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks for 5 days, and all paper products and cleaning supplies).
D&W: $400
Meijer: $325
Walmart: $200- $225
Aldi: $130
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2016, 08:33 AM
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An Excel spreadsheet, organized supplies and prioritizing

I have a spread sheet with my expected income each month, taxes (I budget out my quarterly taxes over 12 months), yearly renewal fees (divided into 12 months so as not to destroy me every December anymore ), monthly food budget, misc/education budget, insurance etc. If my income dips on a given month I try to cut back on misc daycare expenses so I don't have to cut into my profit transfer to my personal account.

Supplies - I have monthly themes and a tub to store the supplies, toys, resources in. The first year I spent about $100 month on specific theme toys, decorations and books. Now its like $25 a month to renew and refresh supplies but to kids and parents it seems like a magical huge amount of new stuff every month. This even helps with little things like extra stickers. I didn't have to buy anyone winter or Christmas stickers this year, which seems like a little thing but it adds up.

Marketing/Pricing
I am good at telling people what I am good at. My FB page is full of theme specific activities, sensory explorations, science experiment, book/craft combo lessons etc. I have a decent website (I need to update it-but to a new family its fine). I am one of the few in home daycares, that offers curriculum, largely play based and is all day (but only 7-5). Parent on my wait list have reported back there is very little out there that is similar to my program. Because of this - I charge a lot more. I am priced at a super cheap center or most expensive in home. I used to be afraid to charge more and felt a little guilty, but now I see it as every dollar more I charge is one more dollar that goes to my children. With that, I remind myself that the point of my daycare is #1 to provide MY children with an excellent daycare experience #2 to make as much money as possible. This helps me make sure my purchases for the daycare are necessary, helpful and economical and helps me save as much money as I can to go towards net profit. I also try and save 20-75 a month in the business account to help cushion during a low income or unexpectedly high expense month so I don't have to cut back on my profit transfer.

Grants - I apply for at least one grant every year. Now that I have enough big stuff, I try and spend the grant money one disposable things like paint, paper, glue, craft supplies etc first as I know I will have to buy those things. And then I buy things that need replaced puzzles, toys that have broken, then I try and buy things that will compliment upcoming themes, and then a type of toy I rotate out a lot. I try and make the purchases be as beneficial to the program as possible...just being really thoughtful about it.

And I think most importantly. Track every dollar. This is easy with a separate account, but is possible without it too. Just make it a priority to balance your budget weekly or monthly so you can assess your unique situation.

Cheers to becoming filthy rich in the new year!
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2016, 09:25 AM
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I shop at Aldi, farm co-op, and EVERYTHING is made from scratch.

I rotate my own curriculum and supplies. I have TONS, and when I find something inexpensive off season I can add it to my box then. Saves a bunch.

I no longer do paper anything. All notes to parents are online, menu, newsletter, everything. Ink was a HUGE expense.

I raised rates years ago and supply diapers and wipes. Amazon subscribe and save makes me come out WAY ahead.

I charge more per day for PT spaces than I do for FT. That pushes some 4 day kids to enroll 5 days, and those wanting set 3 days pay enough that if I don't fill the opposite two days, it's worth it.

No batteries.

No transportation. No field trips.

The dollar store is a killer for me, too. I only go there ONCE for party items and stick to my list.
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2016, 09:54 AM
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I teach zoo phonics and hardly ever close. Most I've ever closed was 3 days in a row which was thanksgiving week.

I'm also very family oriented and hold a lot of family functions.
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2016, 10:15 AM
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Default Food Program and Raising Rates for the business?

I have a question about increasing income in child care. I have been in business for 15 years now. For the first 5 years I did participate on the food program. It seemed in those years I never was able to get the full income each month. They always found "something" wrong. So I stopped the food program altogether. I am currently State Registered and am only an inspection away from becoming State Certified so I can pick up more kiddos. I know financially the food program will help income wise. But, is it really truly worth putting up with all the extra work involved? Also, what is the best way to raise your rates for current families?
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2016, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunlight View Post
I have a question about increasing income in child care. I have been in business for 15 years now. For the first 5 years I did participate on the food program. It seemed in those years I never was able to get the full income each month. They always found "something" wrong. So I stopped the food program altogether. I am currently State Registered and am only an inspection away from becoming State Certified so I can pick up more kiddos. I know financially the food program will help income wise. But, is it really truly worth putting up with all the extra work involved? Also, what is the best way to raise your rates for current families?
My FP is all online. It's obvious if I miss a component. I am meticulous about doing it monthly, and then just checking the attendance, totaling it and emailing it in. I am on tier 2 and yes, I think it's still worth it. I get about $250-275/month

I would start with small increments. "To cover the increased cost of operating, effective X/X/X, the prices of child care will be raised to $X."

Even $1/day per child is a nice cost of living increase. For me, that would be $1560/year
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2016, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daycarediva View Post
My FP is all online. It's obvious if I miss a component. I am meticulous about doing it monthly, and then just checking the attendance, totaling it and emailing it in. I am on tier 2 and yes, I think it's still worth it. I get about $250-275/month

I would start with small increments. "To cover the increased cost of operating, effective X/X/X, the prices of child care will be raised to $X."

Even $1/day per child is a nice cost of living increase. For me, that would be $1560/year
I hate entering the FP stuff BUT its like 10min of work 5 days of week, so less than an hour a week of work. I am on tier 1 (my DH is in school full time so we qualify based on our low family income - in a couple years we will be back on teir 2). For now I make $650-$750 a month of extra income. Its great and $100 more than I spend on groceries. Even after I am back on tier 2 it will be about $170 more a month or $2000 a year, which is totally worth it to me.
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  #11  
Old 12-27-2016, 11:39 AM
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Cooking from scratch. Rotating menus, bulk shopping and meal prep in advance. My extra freezer paid for itself in one year.

Same process for pre-packaged curriculum. Cheaper to buy "off month" kits for 12 kids, then use them every other year with a program that serves 6 kids.

Get paid in advance. Always.

Offer no discounts. Ever.

Never confuse "profit" with "personal fulfillment". Know which you need at which stage of life. Don't apologize for meeting your own needs.
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2016, 12:28 PM
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Thank you very much for your replies!! I think I will give the FP another try. I hope my area has it online as well. I really like the idea of purchasing pre-packaged curriculum on the "off Month" and will start doing this as well. I am actually excited again for trying new things!! Thank you ladies!!
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2016, 12:40 PM
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What software do you all recommend I use to track meals? MMK, Kid Care? Or something else?

How would I send it over to my local USDA? Mail, email?

Sorry for the questions just trying to figure out my next step!!

Thank you in advance!
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2016, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunlight View Post
What software do you all recommend I use to track meals? MMK, Kid Care? Or something else?

How would I send it over to my local USDA? Mail, email?

Sorry for the questions just trying to figure out my next step!!

Thank you in advance!
I am on Alliance for Children and we use Minute Menu to submit online, I'm sure it depends on your local programs.
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2016, 03:04 PM
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I was going to say that the program you will use to claim will be determined by your FP.
COntcat your local FP and they should fill you in on everything.
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  #16  
Old 12-27-2016, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunlight View Post
What software do you all recommend I use to track meals? MMK, Kid Care? Or something else?

How would I send it over to my local USDA? Mail, email?

Sorry for the questions just trying to figure out my next step!!

Thank you in advance!
NOT kidkare! Seriously, don't bother.

I use quickbooks.
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2016, 03:26 PM
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NOT kidkare! Seriously, don't bother.

I use quickbooks.
Misread, thought you were asking about income/ expense tracking.

My food program sponser uses kidkare for meal tracking.
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  #18  
Old 12-27-2016, 07:57 PM
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Changing to contracted hours where my tuition increases for pick up every 15 minutes after 3:30. My base rate starts at 3:30 and then increases. I work less hours because parents use less of my time since they have to pay more so I make more per hour. It also decreased food expenses since I no longer do an afternoon snack (which food program didn't really cover since for most it was the 4th meal/snack of the day and I'm on the lower paying tier).
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2016, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzii View Post
Our hours are the single greatest factor in our income. Despite doing the food program we have to cover 1 additional meal and 1 additional snack, we have a lot of part time parents BUT and here it is: It's easier for me to tell you when we closed....

We are licensed for 12 + 4 school agers but have a lot of odd ball schedules our kids schedules are:

Kid 1: 6:00-5:30 (M-F)
Kid 2: 7:30-4:30 (M-F)
Kid 3: 8:30-5:30 (MWF)
Kid 4: 7:30-5:30 (MWF)
Kid 5: 10:00-6:30/ 2:00-11:00 (T/ W-F)
Kid 6 and 7: 7:30-4:30 (Any 3 days except W)
Kid 8: 7:30-5:30 (M-T,TH)
Kid 9: 9:00-5:30 (M, W-F)
Kid 10: 8:30-5:30 (T-F)
Kid 11: 6:00-5:00/ 12:30-5:30 (M/ T-TH)

Kid 12,13,14: 3:00-10:30/ FLEX 10 Hr day (F/ Saturday-Sunday)
Kid 15/16: 8:00-8:00 (Saturday)

With such long and extended hours we are able to register far more kids than most home sites.

And 4 before school kids and 2 after school. School agers alone are 300$ weekly- assuming there are no days off if there are and the kids need care there is an added charge. The 2 flex children are 260$ weekly, the 3 are covered by DSS- appx 140 a day.

We have non-traditional hours and are the only daycare around the area open 7x a week- that has been, and continues to be our greatest selling point. Because of our hours we have a larger than your typical home daycare sized staff- which limits OT and such.
I used to have hours and schedules similar to this.
Many in my area still do.

However, I changed to contracted hours and stopped taking school aged kids and I now make MORE money working LESS hours.
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  #20  
Old 12-29-2016, 12:10 PM
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Thought of this thread while making lunch - I am not as good at from scratch as a lot of ladies on here, but I know making my menu 90% vegetarian helps me keep my food costs down too Lots of rice and beans, cheese, and peanut butter.
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  #21  
Old 12-29-2016, 12:21 PM
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Controlled Chaos, your right! Rice, Beans, Peanut Butter do keep food costs lower. Plus, the kiddos like it!! We have been making homemade burritos. I have used rice, and beans and even some left over chicken. With a side of raw veggies, dip and orange slices my kiddos here love it! Even the very picky eater I have is eating everything and wanting another helping.

I did talk to my local Food Program and the software they use is Accutrack. So I guess I will be using that too. Hope it is user friendly
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  #22  
Old 12-29-2016, 08:04 PM
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Default Where does everyone buy their Curriculum?

Where do you buy your curriculum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by midaycare View Post
I envy those of you who can take school agers. Our schools have before and after care, and it is reasonably priced and well run, so no one needs it here. If you can take before and after school aged kids OP, I would look into that.

Some of my logic may seem backward, but it works out financially to my benefit:

1) I do not transport. This saves me needing a bigger vehicle, car seats, etc.

2) I buy a curriculum. It does cost about $130 a month for 9 kids, but all craft materials are included, I get manipulatives, nice posters, many things I can reuse. In September's box I get a calendar set to use for the year. I never have to run to the store to buy craft supplies, and find I save money in this department. I've been doing curriculum for about 3 years, and have so many extra materials now I don't know what to do with it all! But I save everything. Some people are excellent shoppers and could find everything for less, but the quality of the other stuff you get is great.

3) By using a curriculum I get a higher quality dcf.

4) I shop at Aldi's. No excuses. We have 4 grocery stores around us, and here are the prices if I buy the same things for a week of groceries at each place (a week of groceries is for 3 people all food, and 6 daycare kids for breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks for 5 days, and all paper products and cleaning supplies).
D&W: $400
Meijer: $325
Walmart: $200- $225
Aldi: $130
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  #23  
Old 12-29-2016, 09:39 PM
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Ideas to increase daycare revenue

- Annual registration fees

- Federal food program can get you up to $4.88 per day per child

- Head start partnership

- Quality rating system increases from subsidy based programs

- I also offer drop-in care to my customers or the ability to book more care for those who come 2-3 days a week and want extra days. Most part-time parents want to book extra days and someone is usually out so we have room.
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2016, 08:22 AM
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Check out Kris Murray: https://www.facebook.com/childcarebusiness/

She has terrific ideas. I have her Marketing book and it is chock full of great, realistic ideas. Also, I don't know if you are able to spend serious money on Software but Procare is terrific! I have used the software as well as using tech support. They are wonderful! They have a module for the food program as well as many other modules for Child Care finances and reporting. Best of luck. Try not to nickel and dime your profits away! Budget! Ask for donations for holiday decorations...
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  #25  
Old 01-02-2017, 09:57 AM
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We've always run on contract. The only children whose contracts are written to the tee, is the child who is here late at night. We don't charge hourly but by they day. So my family of 3 F-Sun pays 135 daily.

Our contracts are for 8 hours daily + 1 hour of travel. If a parent picks up late they are charged- 20$ per every portion of 15 minutes they are late- curbs their shenanigans quickly

we had a mom who called asking to pick her kid up 3 hours late! we said no, she did it anyway, needless to say she was not happy with her late fee of 240 and pulled shortly thereafter.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovetheSun View Post
Hello everyone and happy holidays!

Going over my yearly income and overall budget, I realized that the daycare wasn't as profitable as I hoped. And there was less profit then the previous year, I am not sure why honestly, maybe the weekly expenses for food or supplies.

Which made me wonder if any of you had tips or suggestions to share that made your business more profits?
What do you use to track this? I love that you do and are able to see this so clearly.
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  #27  
Old 01-11-2017, 01:16 PM
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Thank you all for taking the time to share your tips. A lot of them were so useful, and I will definitely apply them!

I am feeling motivated to be more careful this coming year happy face

Preparing for my taxes helped me realizing that the income vs expenses wasn't great in 2016. Lesson learned!
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  #28  
Old 01-27-2017, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daycare View Post
I teach zoo phonics and hardly ever close. Most I've ever closed was 3 days in a row which was thanksgiving week.

I'm also very family oriented and hold a lot of family functions.
What sort of family functions? I would love to have some - I was thinking maybe two family picnics.
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