A best practice in the child care industry is to raise tuition annually. This is a great way for child care centers to keep up with rising costs and appear business-minded. Prevent upsetting parents by springing increases on them without notice. Parents care less about how long it has been since the last increase than they care about how much the current increase will affect them and how they budget. Typical increases should be about 3-5%, similar to the cost of living. Staying consistent with tuition increases helps parents plan and ensures they are not surprised by rates when they are presented.
There are two times during the year that are common for tuition increases: January and August/September; the beginning of the calendar year and the beginning of the school year. This is helpful for parents when planning and also easier for the child care center than raising rates at each child’s enrollment anniversary. Planning these tuition increases well in advance will only help with parent satisfaction.
Once the increase has been scheduled, be sure to let parents know about the increase in a variety of ways. Send an email, send home a letter, post a notice, and consider using technology to reach parents at your child care center. Would your parents like a notification upon sign-in or maybe a text message? Finding every way to reach all your parents is important in case they miss one message, and you don’t want them to see the increases for the first time after the payment has been processed.
Another great reason for increasing tuition on an annual basis is to remind parents that you are providing them with a service, similar to a school. There are many efforts in the works to change the way parents think of child care and establishing your center as a school with tuition rates helps shape the way parents think.
With more money coming in from parents due to tuition increases, you can start thinking of ways to recognize teachers in your child care center. Annual increases for staff are a great benefit and will help keep quality teachers in your center. With the cost of living continuously increasing, make sure that your teachers feel valued and appropriately compensated. Plus, pay increases are a great way to boost morale!
Raising tuition costs can be scary at first, but planning ahead will assure that parents understand the thought process behind it and will not be upset by a small increase.