Owners of daycare centers, family daycare centers, and preschools are feeling the effects of the state of the economy. Many daycare centers have experienced enrollment decreases, and as a result many childcare center owners have had to cut back. In addition many child day care centers have had to reduce services. Supplies alone can eat up a small budget leaving daycare business owners to look for alternative ways to cut costs and raise funds.
Fortunately, in times of economic struggle, there are several ways that daycare providers can reduce their business costs while continuing to serve children and families. Here are 10 ways to save money on daycare business costs:
1. Ask for donations from parents and businesses. Make a list of items the parents can donate or purchase and include these in newsletters, letters home, and post on bulletin boards in your daycare center.
2. Search for items on online classified websites such as eBay, craigslist or Kijiji.
3. Become a member of Freecycle.org It’s an online recycling network where members are able to post items they wish to donate/recycle. Freecycle has built “a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources, and eases the burden on our landfills.”
4. Hold a “Steak Night” or “Pasta Night” or “Pizza Night”. Partner with a restaurant that holds steak nights where you pay $12-$15 per ticket. A portion of the money goes to the restaurant and the balance goes to you the daycare. There, hold a raffle, raffling off donated items.
5. Hold a variety of fundraising projects. Get creative! Try recycling fund raisers, students’ artwork sales and auction and walkathons.
6. Charge parents an annual activity fee to buy extra supplies and toys to meet the specific needs of the children.
7. When the holidays roll around, rather than gifts from parents, suggest that you could use useful products for the daycare center such as Kleenex, Clorox, hand sanitizer, diaper wipes, etc.
8. Shop at thrift stores, yard sales and dollar stores. Also buy in bulk as often as possible from warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. This really helps stretch your dollar!
9. Barter: When businesses barter, they swap a good or service for another. You can even use a professional barter exchange —where members pay a commission fee for goods or services traded and more complex trades are possible. If your daycare has some plumbing or electrical work that needs to be done, you can barter with a plumber and in exchange offer child care services or even babysitting for a specific period of time.
10. Evaluate Your Vendors: Analyze your current vendors and their rates to ensure you are getting the best rates. See if you can lower the rates so that they are more affordable for your daycare center. Your daycare software vendor is a great place to start evaluating. You can even negotiate group buying power with other daycares in the area.
With a little creativity, your daycare business can be well on its way to generating and saving money.
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