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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How to Charge?
mabell 12:00 PM 11-01-2017
Hello all! New to the site (and to daycare) so forgive me if this has been answered. I've done searches, and although they had good info, I still didn't find what I needed. This may be long...sorry in advance!

My sister in law and I are opening a small day care center in the spring (licensed for 28.)
We are struggling with how to charge...not really the rates but the way we charge.

Hourly? My daughter was at an hourly center and I loved it. The hourly rate was a little high but I wasn't paying for hours/days I didn't need. Her schedule for the following week was due Friday by a certain time. Although this seems to be very good for parents, I am struggling with how well it would work from a provider stand point (keeping full attendance every day, unknown staff schedules until days before, etc.)

By the day? This seems like a decent option...but how do you make sure to keep full attendance? Do you put a minimum amount of days per week they need to attend or require a set schedule? Do you offer 1/2 days (so many hours at specific times?) Do you put a cap on how many hours a "day" consists of (like 9 or 10)

Weekly? This seems the most simple...offer weekly packages containing a different number of days. But do you require set days for the 2 and 3 day kids, so you can fill the empy spots? And what about 1/2 days? Again, do you put a cap on the number of hours involved at that price?

Do you charge more for infants/diapered children? Do you only allow so many spaces for non "full time" kids?

On a side note, our area has retail, factories, a college and a hospital so schedules are all over the place! There are huge waiting lists for the 2 centers in our town (one which charges daily and has a 12 month wait list for toddler and no foreseeable opening for infants, and one that charges weekly but also has a dialy rate.) Any help is greatly appreciated
daycarediva 12:14 PM 11-01-2017
From a business perspective, having steady, reliable income is crucial.

I would NOT do hourly or daily rates for this reason.

I would do a set weekly rate that is broken down into daily amounts (eg. 30/day=90/week for 3 days)

I am one of the few people that loves part time kids. I charge a higher daily amount and when I fill the opposite days, I make more.

175/week full time/5 days (35/day)
160/week 4 days (40/day)
135 week/3 days (45/day)
100/week/2 days (50 day)
55/drop in days

that is for up to 10 hours of care. Additional hours or portions thereof are $5/extra

for part time, set schedules. EG M/W/F. If they have a rotating schedule, they need to pay for a FT space (that is what they are taking up, you cannot fill varying days)

I do not offer half days. There is NO way to fill an afternoon. If you do, what happens with ratios when a child who is supposed to be picked up at 12 stays until 12:30 and the other child arrives at 12:15 as scheduled?

Charge more for infants. The ratio is lower, it costs more to care for them.

I do not charge more for diapered children. I find parents lie about potty training or try to force it earlier when you do. I raised rates and supply all diapers. Now I get zero complaints from parents about using too many diapers and less lying about potty training progress.

mabell 12:32 PM 11-01-2017
Thank you!
This is pretty much exactly what I had concluded. My husband (who obviously has financial stake in this) doesn't like the idea of charging people for time they may not need/use. If my daughter's daycare was a daily rate though, you bet your bottom I'd be needing and using those hours I wasn't at work (grocery shopping solo? Omg yes!)
Leigh 02:42 PM 11-01-2017
I would only consider weekly or monthly. Tallying hours is not somthing i enjoy doing. Losing income is something i enjoy less. You only have so many spaces, and to let someone use that space without paying for it makes no sense, and unless you fill that space with another child, you're giving away your income.
amberrose3dg 03:11 PM 11-01-2017
Another thing to consider will you be hiring staff? It will be a nightmare trying to staff if you let parents pay as they use or hourly. You will need to have your center staffed and will need reliable steady income. Almost all daycares do it like this and parents should be used to it.
mabell 08:37 PM 11-01-2017
We will be hiring a staff.
Does anyone take a "wait list" on an age group until they have enough to start a few at a time?
Example: Ratio for age group is you wait until you have 3 or 4 more to "open slots" so that you're not losing money by paying the extra staff?
daycarediva 05:02 AM 11-02-2017
Originally Posted by mabell:
We will be hiring a staff.
Does anyone take a "wait list" on an age group until they have enough to start a few at a time?
Example: Ratio for age group is you wait until you have 3 or 4 more to "open slots" so that you're not losing money by paying the extra staff?
I was a director this summer of a small center. When we reorganized classrooms/space, I waited until I had it full before opening it. I set a tentative date, advertised for that specific classroom "Eg Doodle dots daycare has openings in the brand new caterpillar room for six two year olds!" we already had people in mind to teach, just called them with a job offer and start date. I did overlap their time some with other classrooms so they got the flow and time to set up the space/invite families to come meet them/see the room, etc. HTH!
Tags:charge, charging hourly, daily, hourly, paid days off, paid holidays, paid sick days, rates, weekly
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