As a childcare owner, you and your staff provide an essential service to the families in your community. But running a daycare business isn’t always easy. You know more than anyone that it takes dedication, time, and hard work.
From keeping track of every child’s schedule to constantly managing tuition and late fees, handling invoices for daycare businesses is an extremely time-consuming task. Whether you operate a small, in-home daycare or a multi-million dollar childcare center franchise, the billing and invoicing process is generally the same. The good news is it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.
If you want to manage all your childcare invoices more efficiently, keep reading. Here’s your guide to creating and sending invoices for your daycare business.
What is a Childcare Invoice?
A childcare invoice is a financial document that lists every billable item a parent needs to pay. An invoice can be paper or digital. Either way, they notify families what they need to pay and how to pay it.
A childcare invoice should include:
- Line items and their costs (services, fees, add-ons, etc.)
- Total childcare bill amount
- The parent or legal guardian’s address
- Childcare payment information
- Payment due date
- Childcare contact information
Itemized invoices give parents a complete view of what services they’re paying for. This includes monthly or weekly tuition plus any late fees, taxes, or special childcare add-ons a parent consents to.
For example, one family might agree to pay monthly tuition at a fixed rate, plus additional costs for hot lunch provided by the childcare center three times a week. Another parent may pay for occasional hourly care and prepare a packed lunch for their child. Every family is different, which is why having an invoicing system in place is so important. It eliminates confusion.
No matter what a family pays, due dates and multiple payment methods allow customers to pay childcare bills correctly and on time. After the due date, most childcare centers charge a late fee as outlined in their childcare center policies.
How to Send Childcare Center Invoices
Many childcare business owners use digital invoicing and parent billing systems today. However, there are several invoice options you should consider to cater to different preferences.
Send an invoice in the mail to the parent or guardian’s address. Upon receiving the invoice, they can then pay their bill using cash, check, credit/debit card, or online.
In-Person Invoice Notices
You can physically deliver invoices to parents when they drop off or pick up their child from daycare. This is a good way to remain approachable and attentive to customers. It also encourages open communication between you and the parents.
Automatically email invoices throughout every billing cycle so parents have early notice of what they owe. Then, they have the option to pay online, bring cash or check to you before the due date, or mail their payment.
Parent Billing Software or Childcare App
Use parent billing or childcare software to automatically send, notify, and receive all forms of childcare payment. Automatic mobile payment options are ideal for many parents today. Nearly 94% of millennials claim they prefer to use mobile payments when available, so this is likely to be the best fit for most childcare businesses.
How to Create a Childcare Center Invoice
No matter what method your daycare center uses to send invoices, you must first decide how you’ll create them. Whether you care for several children or dozens of fully-enrolled classrooms, here are a few options.
Manually Type Your Childcare Invoices
The old-fashioned way to send invoices is to manually calculate tuition and fees every parent owes and then create individualized documents. Today, some businesses still use word processors, spreadsheets, and Google Docs to draft these out. However, this method can be time-consuming and leave room for error.
Use an Accounting Software
There are several popular accounting platforms that businesses use today, and daycare centers can benefit from such options. These platforms organize expenses, handle payroll, and integrate with tax documentation software to make finances organized and accessible. Examples include Quickbooks, Zoho, Xero, and FreshBooks.
Set Up a Childcare Billing Software
An option one level above accounting software is a childcare management software, ideally one that comes with billing and invoicing features. Because this technology is developed specifically for childcare businesses, it makes billing and payment processing easier for everyone as it integrates with every other aspect of your center.
Whether your childcare tuition is at an hourly, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rate, using childcare software lets you streamline the billing process. Payments are secure, parent billing is automated, and bills can be paid and tracked directly within the childcare app.
How to Automate Your Childcare Center Invoices
When it comes to automated billing, a childcare management platform offers the most customizable features.
Here are some tips to automate your childcare invoices:
- Make sure parents understand billing due dates and late fees in your childcare policies.
- Establish clear, consistent billing cycles. For example, childcare bills are due every other Monday or every first of the month.
- Create a recurring invoice schedule. For example, invoices are sent weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on your billing cycle. Make sure to send invoices before the due date.
- Set up automatic email reminders or app notifications for parents. Reminders can be sent 3-5 days after sending an unpaid invoice, the day a payment is due, and the day a childcare bill is considered late.
- Encourage customers to set up automatic payments for recurring childcare. That way, parents always pay on time and avoid late fees. They can also adjust their settings in the childcare app to accommodate the family budget.
In addition to being convenient for parents, childcare billing software makes your job a lot easier. You can accurately manage payment information for every customer, save time with automatic invoices, and observe financial data to make wiser business decisions.
Best Childcare Management Software With Invoice Features
Set up everything your childcare center needs to automate and keep track of all invoices. With the most comprehensive childcare management software, Daily Connect, you can take full control of everything from tuition and parent billing to curriculum planning and learning assessments. Managing invoices for daycare businesses transforms from a nightmare to a piece of cake.
No matter what size, location, or type of childcare program you run, Daily Connect will help you optimize all the business aspects of it. Reach out to get a free trial of Daily Connect today.