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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Starting a daycare
Galea1215 11:53 PM 02-23-2014
I am starting a daycare and have a few questions I am hoping you can help me with. How do you decided how much to charge? Does everyone charge a registration fee or materials fee? If so how often??

Thank you in advance
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Starburst 12:58 AM 02-24-2014
Well, I haven't started mine yet either but I have worked at a home daycare and one of my CD teachers used to own a family child care and I took her FCC business administration classes (covers policies and contracts).

The prices depend on your area (state, city, cost of living) and what you offer (infant care, preschool, before/after school care). You'll want to try to stay in a reasonable range of what the other providers in your area are charging. You want to charge enough to were you can feel comfortable with but don't want to price yourself out of the market (when your starting out and plan on doing this for a long time, you also want to be able to give yourself some room to grow- so it might make more sense to start on the lower end of your region's average range). The only thing is that you can't out right tell another provider (aka your "competition") that you are planning on opening a daycare and ask them what they charge because that can be considered "price fixing", which is considered an illegal business practice. You can try looking at websites (or craigslist ads) of other providers in your area (some may list their prices on their website), this way you can also compare the services they offer and that you are willing to offer (or not willing to offer). You can also go to your local Child Care Resources and Referral office (they usually have a list of all the local daycares, many of with include prices). Another good way to estimate is to look up what child care assistants in your area is usually willing to pay, even if you don't accept state assistants it's a good way to see what seems reason able for your local area.

Not everyone charges a registration or material fee, usually those that do charge anywhere from $25-$75 for the whole year (every year). Some also charge a 1 or 2 week deposit instead (some charge both a registration fee and 2 week deposit upfront) which covers the last 2 week of care when a notice of canceling care is given.

For some more ideas this lady has some good ideas (she focuses on preschool but most of her ideas can work for home daycares too):
http://www.startapreschool.com/training/graduation.html
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NoMoreJuice! 07:49 AM 02-24-2014
I've never charged a registration fee or supply fee, but the rates in my area are high enough that I have a comfortable amount for supplies built into my budget. Starburst is spot on about asking other providers and price fixing...but to me, that seems so absurd because you can't sell a product without knowing what the competition is pricing their product at.

I would snoop around and check out lots of websites. I would also talk to friends/family that you know and ask what they are paying. Keep in mind that daycare centers usually have significantly higher rates than family daycare homes.

One other thing to consider is how you are intending to have the parents pay you. Many of us have had to file with small claims court before, and my experience with a parent that fell behind on payments led me to change my contract to advance payment. My families pay me in advance, either one or two weeks at a time (their choice). My contract basically says that they may not drop their child off Monday morning unless the entire week has already been paid for. Most of them pay me on Fridays for the following week or two weeks. This way, I will avoid ever charging a late fee (which you will find is so difficult to ask for! you will make tons of exceptions) or going back to small claims court (a nerve wracking experience). It is like a pre-paid cell phone contract. If you don't have minutes, your phone doesn't work.

Good luck with your business! You should definitely post here as often as you need, because there are some very helpful and experienced providers on here that will give you all the benefits of their wisdom!
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Tags:advice, new daycare, registration fee
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