How much you charge for your home daycare fees depends on many factors. People ask me all the time about home daycare prices and how to set them. Here are some things to consider.
Home daycare prices
The fees you charge for your home daycare business depend on the area you live in, the services you provide, and the ages of children you will be caring for. Many people charge different prices for kids under 2 and over 2. And then again different fees for school age kids.
Many people feel school age kids should be less expensive, but they use far more supplies and eat far more food in general than younger kids. In addition, they don’t take naps, so you actively watch them more hours a day. They also put a lot more wear and tear on your home and equipment than younger children.
Babies take a lot more time than kids over two, so consider that when making your rates. For 20 years I kept ages birth through 12. Over the past few years, I’ve stopped keeping infants as they are so much harder on your body and I’m not 24 anymore. There are also more risks with infants as well.
It’s difficult to keep toddlers and preschoolers from hurting babies on accident or from disturbing their sleep. It’s also hard to have activities with older kids when a baby may poop or get hungry and disrupt your plans.
A few years after that, I stopped keeping school age kids. I’m getting older and I wanted to simplify my work. I wanted to have less equipment in the house. And I wanted to focus on what’s the most fun to me and that is preschool.
How much should I charge for in home daycare
When you own your own home daycare, you get to set the rules and the rates. You can’t price yourself out of the business, but if you give excellent quality care, your reputation will allow you to charge what you want.
You need to consider expenses to run the business. I bring in a good chunk of change each year, but most of the money I make goes to care for the children. I spend over $7,000 a year just on food to feed them. That doesn’t consider all the toys, supplies, and other things I need to run my business.
Then consider what the going rates are in your area for center and home care. Most of the time centers charge more than home daycare providers can. But if you make a unique niche for yourself, you can charge more. Some people won’t pay it and some will be glad to. When you charge a little more, you get better clients as well.
I have definitely noticed that over the years. When I was a bargain, I got treated like crap. When I charged more, I got more respect. But I also give respect and present myself as a professional. So that makes a difference too. You have to respect yourself and your business for other people to. Do you have a proper contract and business policies? Do you act professionally with your clients? Are you open and honest in your communication?
These things are all important.
Home daycare rates
Some areas of the country have a high cost of living and some have low. Where I live in Oklahoma, the cost of living is very low and incomes are low. So, I charge far less than someone would in other states.
You can call a few centers in your area as a potential client and ask what they charge.
You can check the subsidy rates in your area.
You can also check with your resource and referral agency and see if they have a median rate that daycares in the area charge.
What are your special gifts and unique services that you offer? Your tuition rates should reflect if you offer something extra.
Do you supply all the diapers and wipes? Then you would charge more than someone who doesn’t.
Do you supply all the food or require parents to pack lunches?
Do you supply baby food and formula or does the family?
What about fees? Do you want to charge a curriculum fee or activity fee periodically? You could do it monthly or yearly.
Do you charge an enrollment fee? It’s a good idea because all of the time and paperwork you have to prepare to meet a potential client is costly. You can charge it before the interview and then if they don’t show up, at least you are compensated for your time.
Are you going to purchase curriculum? You can pass that cost onto your families if you would like.
Setting your prices for home daycare
Setting your home daycare prices can take a little time, but it’s easier to set them high than to raise them so remember that when you start out. I raise my rates every other year and it’s in my contract that I raise them in September. So, everyone knows they may go up and when they don’t, I make everyone extra happy. So, consider doing something like that to let people know the rates aren’t set in stone.
When you are going to raise them, use these steps to raise your rates. Make sure you give people enough notice. I would say a month is plenty. I put it in my days off in January what they will go up to in September, so there are no surprises around here.
No one ever complains about me raising my prices. Many people say their parents do. But if someone doesn’t want to stay, there is always another family out there that will be willing to pay you what you’re worth, so don’t worry about losing clients over rates. Working is not a hobby. They work their jobs to make money for their families. So do you.
You deserve to make a living too
Once you have decided what your home daycare prices will be, stand by them. Giving in to complaints and lowering prices is not good for you or for your business. I wouldn’t recommend giving sibling discounts either. It costs you the same amount of money and time to watch each child.
If a family has two kids enrolled, that doesn’t make their food or supplies cheaper for you. And 9 times out of 10 siblings fight more and cause more problems. So, charge what you charge regardless of how many kids a family is enrolling.
No one is going to take care of you and your family but you. So set the rates that work for your family and not everyone else’s. You are worth it and your services have value. No one is going to work any job for free.
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