4 Ways To Cut Costs At Your Child Care Center
Child care centers are often run by leaders with a passion for educating children who look to provide high-quality child care programs as a way to contribute to their local community. However, starting a child care center is a challenging task as the market is competitive and profit margins are tight. It’s important to function efficiently in order to be profitable and to be able to continue operating.
If you are a Director or Owner of a child care center you might be asking yourself "Where can I cut expenses without compromising the quality of my programs?" This is a great question to ask, and in fact, I have been there myself. As you work through your yearly budget I want to discuss four areas that will save you money and still optimize operations at your center.
Good employees are the foundation of any successful business, and child care businesses are no exception. Generally, centers experience high turnover rates for early childhood educators adding to the overall staffing costs of your center. As you manage turnover it’s important not to give in to the temptation to rush your hiring decisions. How you handle this will make or break your staffing budget.
Following proper procedure to ensure that you hire the right staff for your center the first time around is essential. Hiring the right people can make or break your business, and poor hiring decisions will prove to be costly. Once you’ve hired the right team members, ensure you onboard and train them correctly from the start. This will help minimize the turnover rate for your center as much as possible.
Also, consider rewarding employees that you currently have on the team who are working above and beyond. A staff member who is well paid and cared for will be worth every penny. Keeping good child care employees and limiting turnover is your best way to keep staffing costs at a minimum.
2. Creative Curriculum
Having an engaging curriculum for each age group and classroom is critical for your child care center. Not only does a great curriculum enhance the child development of the children in your center it can also be a great marketing tool as well. Many curriculums on the market can be extremely expensive, but in all honesty, many of them are worth every penny.
Investing upfront in the right curriculum for your center is a big investment, but will pay for itself in the long run. To cut costs with your curriculum consider sharing one set for each age group in your center. Depending on your curriculum often a workbook can be shared among teachers, this is a great way to cut costs down.
Another way to cut costs is to get creative when it comes to the manipulatives required for the curriculum. Think before you purchase different materials for each age group, maybe you already have something in the center that can be used instead. Remember to buy smart and cut out any unnecessary spending.
3. Stay Organized
When running a business, one of the common areas of weakness is often a lack of organization, and child care owners are no exception. Staying organized is especially important for licensed centers, as you are required to have specific information readily available at all times. Misplacing staff certifications, child files, enrollment details, and payment records will not only cost you time and money, but it can also jeopardize your business.
Be sure to have a central place where you can manage all of your files. Avoid using multiple systems and programs to accomplish these tasks as this will greatly increase your chances of losing or misplacing files and information.
Utilizing child care software is one great way that you can stay organized with the business side of your child care center. Comprehensive systems will allow you to manage all things child care from one place. Allowing you to walk away from those manual methods like paper and pen, excel spreadsheets, and google docs. Don’t let another month go by without putting the proper focus on organization at your center.
4. Improve Efficiency
Many factors contribute to the efficiency of a business and child care centers need to have the proper systems set in place to be as efficient as possible. Create straight-forward pricing structures, pre-set schedule options, and detailed processes for how tasks are completed and paperwork is to be filed. Regular reviews should be completed, and small tweaks and changes should be made as needed to continue optimizing your operations.
You also want to limit how much information you track on paper as this manual process is tedious and time-consuming. Using programs like Microsoft Word/Excel or Google Docs/Sheets can help speed up the process for simple documentation, however, if you need a more robust system to manage this information at your center, you may want to turn to child care management software.
Child care software like Sandbox is built specifically to help you accomplish these tasks. Allowing you to both manage your center and engage with parents all within one app.
Although you may be feeling overwhelmed with the idea of adding all these items to your 'to do' list. Like most things, the best thing you can do is get started. Once you begin to make progress and you see results, you will begin to pick up momentum, making it easier to accomplish each additional task.
You will also notice that getting started with childcare software like Sandbox can very quickly help you with both staying organized and improving efficiency. Adding another expense may seem like the last you want to do at this moment, however, by improving these processes you will save hours of wasted time and energy, allowing you to more easily manage and grow your business.