Nearly a quarter of children less than five years of age are enrolled in a form of organized child care. Likewise, organized childcare facilities care for a quarter of the 32.7 million children in child care arrangements. With so many young lives under your care, managing an organized child care facility is a hefty responsibility, but one that comes with some of the greatest rewards. Unfortunately, one of those rewards is not managing the budget of a daycare facility.
When it comes to running a successful childcare business, management is everything. From managing the children’s daily schedule to managing the staff to managing the budget. Each of these are so vital to a successful childcare business, that we wouldn’t discuss them all in this article. Instead, we’ll focus on the one that will be the framework for the rest: managing the daycare budget.
Why a budget is essential to daycare management:
The purpose of a budget is to help you estimate your income and expenses for a given period of time. From how much you need to charge parents as daycare payment to how many crayons you can afford to buy and how much you can pay your staff – – and yourself! – – your budget holds the key to all other aspects of daycare management.
How the budget can help you structure your business:
Ever buy something in a flurry of spontaneity only to be consumed by regret later? We’ve all been there. It’s easy to get swept up in a great new item or amazing sale and swipe your credit card before the numbers have tallied in your mind. The beauty of a budget is it can help you prevent such spontaneous and unnecessary expenditures. Tempted to buy a set of those cute new tricycles you saw at the store but not sure if you should? Hark back to the budget: Were new tricycles in the plan for this month? If not, don’t buy them. If you can’t get them out of your mind, find a way to fit them into next month’s budget.
Spur of the moment expenses can be the death of a business. By building a budget and sticking to it, you can ensure the income you receive from parent’s daycare payment is enough to keep your business hopping along strong. (Kangaroo pun intended.)
You don’t have to be a slave to your budget:
It can sound like your daycare budget is the slave master driving your bus, but that’s not the case at all. You control the budget, not the other way around. If you ever find you don’t like the budget you’ve made for your daycare, change it. As the example of the tricycles above was intended to show, your budget is as flexible as the income and expenses that go into it. Yes, there will be fixed numbers, such as utilities and the salaries you provide your staff, but there will also be expenses you can do without for one month to buy tricycles instead.
A budget is a worksheet, designed to help you create a better management system for your daycare. If anything in it doesn’t work for you, think of ways to change it; be it by raising the price of daycare payment, holding fundraisers, or cutting expenses. You are the master editor of your business’s budget.
The importance of time management in running a daycare:
We know, we said we were going to talk about only budgeting in this article, but this is related. A conventional budget is a financial tool to help you manage where the revenue from the daycare payment you receive is going. There is another type of budget that is equally important, however: your time management budget.
Any time spent pouring over the numbers in a budget plan is time not spent enjoying the greatest reward of running a daycare: the children. While you’re busy crafting and revising and managing your financial budget, consider the value of your time as well. If you find yourself weighed down by the time requirements of managing the finances, outsource to a bookkeeper or accountant. No business can run on one man or woman alone, least of all one dedicated to rearing our nation’s children.