The toughest question that most child care businesses face is this: How do I get parents to pay on time?
Without a doubt, collecting child care payments is sometimes the most difficult and unpleasant aspect of the job.
This is a tricky question, because it takes many different strategies to get parents to pay on time.
Here are some suggestions to consider that could help to Collect Tuition and Child Care Payments on Time:
• First and foremost – parents need to meet their obligations. Your services are of value! The center has financial obligations too.
• Set the tone immediately. Tuition policies should be covered thoroughly upon enrollment to prevent misunderstandings or any miscommunication. Cover your late fee policy point by point.
• Stay on top of payments. Directors hesitate to question parents when payment is not made on time. Be careful you don’t convey that it is not an issue if payments are not timely. You are not being unreasonable in asking parents to pay or for enforcing your policy.
• Be consistent in enforcing the late fee policy.
• Act immediately. When directors let a balance get out of hand, you risk losing that child.
• When working with parents who are chronically late or parents who really struggle, find out when they get paid. Do some research so you can share some community resources that may help them. Perhaps they may qualify for child care assistance payments. Remember – you are already helping parents by providing consistent, stable quality child care for their child(ren). If they lose their child care, as research shows, then parents often lose everything.
• Be physically present in the morning drop off and evening pick up times.
• Develop a relationship with your parents. Encourage them to come to you in advance if they think they are going to have a problem paying due to some unforeseeable personal situation.
• Put up reminder signs in the entryway or sign-in table: “Just a Friendly Reminder – Tuition is Due Tomorrow.” Also, in small print you can state: “If you have already paid your tuition for this week, please disregard this notice.” If a sign is up all the time, parents will stop seeing it, so consider doing it on weeks with holidays, etc. when traditionally parents forget to pay before being off work.
No, collecting money from parents is not fun, but it is one of the responsibilities of the job. When thinking about the equipment, classroom activities and staff raises you could provide, it puts a new perspective on the importance of collecting tuition.
With our ChildWatch Software we provide flexible billing for fixed rate, hourly and a la carte. You can quickly bill all of your clients in just a few clicks. It will also integrate with QuickBooks. Learn more about how our Business Tools will make it easier to collect child care payments today!