Running a childcare business is a labor of love. You’re an important thread in the fiber of the families you serve, from the children in your charge to the parents who entrust their precious young ones to you.
While that attachment is strong and important, so is making sure tuition and fees are paid on time. You are, after all, still running a business. If you aren’t logging into your EZCare or EZ-CARE2 system regularly to bill and record tuition payments, chances are your cash flow may be suffering the consequences.
Here are four things you should be doing to boost your cash flow and help make your childcare business a successful one:
Establish a Billing Routine for Your Childcare Business
Getting stuck in a rut is actually a good thing when it comes to weekly or monthly billing. Committing to a schedule of logging in and posting tuition on set days is a great way to make sure your tuition bills get delivered on time, and to get parents into a regular payment routine.
In your EZCare or EZ-CARE2 system, you can enter tuition weeks or months in advance so when it comes time to post it to family ledgers, you can do it with a quick click of a button. You can produce paper invoices right from your database to send home with little ones, or send custom invoice emails using EZCare’s merge and template features.
Make it Easier for Parents to Pay
To get parents to pay on time, you are going to need to accommodate the ways they like to pay. Your staff can enter traditional paper payments like cash, checks and money orders, but did you know that EZCare and EZ-CARE2 also offer a number of ways for parents pay online?
With EZCare and EZ-CARE2, you can provide parents with secure, PCI-compliant option to pay online through the Parent Portal, a convenient window into your system that allows them to view and modify contact information, schedules, and account ledgers based on permissions you set. They can enter information to make a one-time payment, and they can save that same payment method for future use so making payments is fast and easy.
EZCare’s online version also offers the EZSmiles parent engagement app for mobile devices. EZSmiles not only allows your staff to communicate important information and updates to parents throughout the day, but it also enables them to view and make payments right from their smartphones. Today’s on-the-go parents are constantly running. Make it easy for them to pay tuition while sitting on the sideline at a soccer game or standing in line at the grocery store.
Accepting online payments reduces the risk of data entry errors and means your staff doesn’t have to spend valuable time processing payments, playing cashier, and running to the bank when they could be working with the children and making your program all that you envision.
Enroll Parents in an Automatic Payments Program
Spend less time chasing payments by enrolling families in automatic EFT, otherwise known as auto-pay. Through the auto-pay enrollment form, parents are giving you permission to process electronic transactions using payment methods they designate. Because this gives you control over the processing, you can ensure these payments are processed and received on time.
35% of consumers are currently enrolled in automatic payments for important bills they pay weekly or monthly, and childcare costs fall into that category. Auto-pay helps take the guesswork out of who is paying when, and it provides dual benefits to parents. With auto-pay, they have one less thing to remember to do, and it removes the risk of incurring late fees.
Establish and Enforce a Late Payment Policy
When you don’t get paid on time, you can’t pay your bills on time. That’s a cash flow problem your childcare business can’t afford. Set clear expectations from the beginning so parents understand the importance of paying tuition on time, and reinforce this by including late charges in your fee structure.
Late fees can be charged in two ways, a flat fee or a percentage of the balance owed. You can assess daily, weekly or monthly charges based on the way you bill. Whichever method you choose, be consistent in enforcing your late payment policy. You can always make exceptions based on unusual circumstances.
Logging in daily and using EZCare’s accounts receivable features can save you hours of administrative time each week and protect the business end of your childcare business. By automating your billing and payment processing, you’ll be free to spend more time doing what you love most – building a childcare center with a healthy cash flow that provides great programming and a nurturing environment for learning for the families you serve.