How to Start a Childcare Business

Every city, town, and village needs childcare centers. They’re crucial parts of local communities, enabling parents to work and creating healthy, happy experiences for kids to learn and bond with others. If you’re thinking about how to start a childcare business, there are several things you should be aware of.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start a childcare business that lasts.

Choose a Location

The first thing you need to decide when considering how to start a childcare business is whether it’s going to be an at-home center or a daycare facility.

Many small but mighty childcare businesses are run by one professional in their home. It’s a flexible option where even your own young children can be present with you while you run the childcare business. However, the cost of this startup can be difficult without ample preparation or support. You need the right amount of space dedicated to the daily activities of your business, meaning a smaller living situation isn’t ideal. 

Running a childcare center at a facility can be easier if you have enough money to rent or buy a dedicated space. Renting out a childcare space is convenient, as you get the entire space to run your business. But if you’re committed to operating a facility, there are often more regulations you need to follow.

Learn the Regulations and Get Licensed 

One of the most crucial parts of starting a childcare business is obtaining the right licenses and abiding by regulations. It’s wise to get yourself covered early so you don’t run into any conflict with the law and so you can start operating your business smoothly.

Look into everything you need at a federal and state level. Some cities and counties have different regulations you’ll need to be aware of, too. Do your research and contact local education boards to find out exactly what you need to get legitimately licensed.

Establish Your Finances 

Get clear on the financial requirements of your new childcare business before getting too far into launching into the business. Create a forecast that makes clear how many children you’ll need to enroll, and at what prices. This means knowing your budget, the cost of any overheads you’ll have, and any fees due for licensing. It should also include clear financial goals so you can work your way up toward success in your business.

Learn how to create a childcare center business plan which will help you have a clear direction in your business, especially for the first several years. If you need assistance with the finances during startup, look into government grants and tax credits available to you.  

Set Up Bookkeeping and Accounting

Along with getting clear on the financial details of your business, you need to plan what type of bookkeeping you’ll use. This includes the details of:

  • Enrollment and tuition costs
  • Financial tracking
  • Parent billing
  • Childcare software 
  • Tax details
  • Organizing write-offs and school supplies

If you set good accounting practices in place before your business gets up and running, it will make it much easier for you long-term. Don’t try to do it alone — consider investing in a digital platform geared specifically for childcare providers. This will save you a lot of time, money, and energy for years to come.

Create the Curriculum

What’s a childcare center without a curriculum? Come up with the learning plan for your daycare center. Tie in your childcare center’s core philosophy and modes of operation in your schedules and methods. 

Consult the Early Childhood Education (ECE) standards in your state and implement a balance of play, hands-on learning, and structured lessons daily. Make it unique— your childcare center stands out somehow, so include it in your teaching model.

Hire Staff to Join Your Team

If you’re planning to run a childcare business with the help of others, you’ll need to think about your hiring process. Here are some key questions to consider when getting ready to hire employees for your team:

  • What qualifications are you looking for?
  • What are the childcare center’s values, principles, and philosophies?
  • What level of experience do you expect each staff member to have before hire?
  • What curriculum will you direct the teachers and staff to implement?
  • What will you include in the employee handbook?
  • How will staff communicate with each other on-site during work hours?
  • What will be the clear expectations for each level of staff?
  • How will the onboarding process work?

Every childcare center is different, so choosing employees that reflect the standards of your business is essential.

Marketing and Promotion

You’ll need a strategic marketing plan to ensure that families can easily find you and enroll their kids in your new daycare center. It’s helpful to have an online presence, whether with a custom website, social media accounts, or online listings on sites like Angie’s List or Care.com.

Know which demographic you serve in the area your childcare center will be in. Target your marketing plan toward the niche you serve and you’ll have better luck converting leads into sign-ups. Leverage local outreach opportunities, such as public bulletins, family planning centers, neighborhood parks, and local babysitting services.

Write Your Policies and Contracts

When it’s time to finally set your business in stone, finalizing it beyond licensure is a milestone worth celebrating. Create your school’s policies, guidelines, and contacts for:

  • Parent and teacher agreements 
  • Health and safety standards
  • Food and allergy protocols
  • Staff files
  • Legal documentation
  • Emergency plans
  • Field trip liabilities
  • And more

If you need help, hiring a lawyer might be a good idea so you can make sure all your bases are covered and nothing is left out. 

Invest in a Childcare Software

When you’re finally welcoming kids to your new childcare center, run your business smoothly by using a childcare management software. These digital tools help you organize your business in every way possible. 

From payment processing to ongoing parental communication, childcare software apps like Daily Connect provide you with the streamlined processes you need to run your business. 

Features of childcare software include: 

  • Shared event calendars
  • Parent-teacher communication 
  • Center-wide communication tools
  • Health and COVID-19 protocols 
  • Staff communication and attendance tracking
  • Contactless sign-in and sign-out
  • Billing and payment management
  • Documentation and authorization file management
  • Learning and assessment tools
  • And more

If you’re starting a childcare center, the process can seem overwhelming. Having all the tools you need in one versatile platform gives you quick and easy access to the most important information you can always refer back to. 

Whether you’re just beginning to think about how to start a childcare business or you’re learning how to improve your new daycare business for long-term success, contact Daily Connect today to see how our platform can guide your everyday operation. 

The 6 Key Elements of a Childcare Center Business Plan

Running a successful childcare business takes work. So much of your care, time, energy, and financial resources goes into making it operate at its best. But things can become scattered and confusing when there isn’t a solid childcare center business plan set into place. What exactly is a business plan, and how can childcare providers use one? If you’re looking to put your childcare center on the right track, here are the best childcare business plan strategies you should follow.

Why You Need a Daycare Business Plan

Having a business plan gives you the foundation you need to build your business. Ideally, before starting a business you have a thorough guide detailing everything you should expect. It includes your startup budget, success markers, legal requirements, employee processes, marketing strategies, and more. 

What Your Childcare Center Business Plan Should Include

Creating a business plan isn’t an easy (or quick) process, but it’s a must if you want to make your vision a reality. Even if you’re already in business but simply want to improve, coming up with a new plan can be helpful to reach future goals. 

1. Mission and Goals 

Start with why you’re running a childcare center in the first place. Who do you hope to help? What impact do you want your school to have? What’s your larger vision? Establishing specific goals will give you direction when making important decisions. 

When it comes to goals, here are some necessary subcategories to get clear on:

  • Unique Mission Statement – the best brands have a strong mission that reflects throughout their entire business. Form a unique, clear mission statement that’s specific to your daycare. What sets you apart? Why do you do what you do?
  • Location – location will determine how you approach your business model. If you’re in an area that’s considered a childcare desert (little to no daycare available), you’ll have an easier time setting up your business than a location that already has a thriving population of childcare providers. Make sure you scope out the competition.
  • Type of Daycare – is your daycare an at-home center, a facility, or affiliated to a private or religious organization? Is there a gap in your local market for a childcare center like yours?
  • Success Markers – what are the indicators of success in your daycare? How many students need to be enrolled to be at maximum capacity? How much money does your business need to make before it can expand?
  • Budget – starting a business isn’t cheap. If you’re considering starting a daycare, get clear on your budget. This includes rent/mortgage, utilities, payroll, supplies, licensing fees, tuition, and more. 

2. Operational Policies

Childcare is a regulated industry, and all childcare centers have to abide by policies set by local regulators and governments. Policies keep your childcare center safe and in good standing, and also help ensure trust between you and the families you’ll potentially provide care for. Failing to define and abide by a clear set operational policies can ruin your business, so make sure you’ve thought through the details and are aware of what’s required.

Policy requirements vary by state and county. Here are the main types of operational areas you should focus on:

  • Health, Safety, and Sanitation – to operate a daycare, you need to follow health and safety guidelines. Make sure you, and your staff, are well aware of all the legal regulations and site-specific protocols your center will follow.
  • Worker’s Comp – if you or a staff member gets injured on the job, having a worker’s compensation plan can save your business a lot of money and legal trouble.
  • Liability Insurance – insurance protects and helps cover your childcare business from disastrous accidents. 
  • Crisis Plan – what are your action plans if there’s ever a crisis or natural disaster during daycare hours?

3. Teacher and Employee Responsibilities

If you’re relying on staff members to help run your business, it’s vital to create clear expectations to encourage professionalism. 

At a minimum, plan these factors of employee responsibility:

  • Accreditation – what credentials do your teachers and employees need to have to work for you? 
  • Hiring Process – structure the hiring (and lay-off) process to meet legal requirements. Make sure the people you hire fit into the mission of your childcare center. 
  • Curriculum & Activities – how and when will staff members need to plan (or deliver) the necessary curriculum? What activities will happen on a weekly and daily basis? How will you track learning and assessment?
  • Staff Communication – there need to be defined methods of communication between all staff members. Utilizing technology will help lower the risk of error. 

4. Tuition and Payment Methods

It’s important to understand how your childcare center will make money. How will families pay for your daycare center? What will your tuition fees be? Know the financial requirements your childcare center needs to keep running (and thriving). You should consider:

  • Cost of Each Child – tuition costs should be factored into your overall budget and annual financial goals. This is what determines how much it costs for each child to attend your daycare. Many childcare centers have plans that parents can choose from.
  • Electronic Payment Methods – these days, it’s rare for adults to carry cash or check on hand. Setting up online parent billing will encourage on-time payments, easier billing, and better tracking of funds throughout your business. 
  • Additional Fees – clarify any fees that need to be paid by parents, such as late fees, onboarding fees, or special activity fees.

5. Parent Communication Strategy

Communication between parents and teachers is one of the most important aspects of running a great daycare. How you communicate with parents says a lot about the character of your staff and the priorities of the business.

Here are some key things to consider when improving parent-teacher communication:

  • Scheduling – do parents have a way to view their childcare schedule? Everyone’s busy, so it’s beneficial to provide some sort of digital calendar to help them stay on track.
  • Academic Reports – if you can provide announcements, updates, and milestones for a child’s academic progress, parents will feel confident they’re getting what they’re paying for. 
  • Daily Communication – having a way to consistently relay information to parents throughout the day is important. Consider using a childcare management platform with parent communication features
  • Digital Contact – beyond verbal communication, parents who receive real-time updates while they’re away from their child get the feeling of being present for their child’s special moments.

6. Marketing Plan

Effectively marketing your childcare center can help skyrocket growth and boost your reputation with local families. Most business plans pay a significant amount of attention to marketing strategy. Here are the key three things to map out:

  • Marketing Methods – how will you market your business? Will you focus on digital marketing, word of mouth referrals, or traditional means through newspapers and local ads?
  • Online Reputation Management (ORM) – maintaining your reputation online and in-person can take time, but with the right marketing plan, it can position you as an authority in childcare. 
  • Advertising – paying to display ads online can help target your ideal audience. By calculating your ad spend or hiring a marketing team, you can bring in the families who are looking for a childcare center like yours.

Tools for a Successful Childcare Center Business Plan

Whether you’re thinking of opening a new daycare center or already running an established facility, knowing your business plan inside and out will help you achieve your goals and guide you as you grow your business.

You can even streamline this process with childcare-savvy digital tools that can enhance your business plan. Apps like Daily Connect give you access to all systems and strategies you need when planning and running your childcare business. 

With customizable online learning tools, parent-teacher messaging, childcare center management, and parent billing features, Daily Connect helps childcare businesses run smoother than ever. Get a free trial today, or contact the team for a step-by-step demo of how Daily Connect can improve your business for years to come. 

NEW: Parent Billing on Daily Connect

We’re excited to announce the launch of all-new Parent Billing features on the Daily Connect App. 

This has been one of our most requested features ever, and we’re proud to now offer a full suite of billing and payment solutions to the thousands of childcare centers and daycare facilities that rely on Daily Connect every day. 

The Parent Billing platform is found within your existing Daily Connect account, and it’s easy to use, with a simple online interface that helps childcare administrators ensure they get paid on-time, every time. 

Let’s explore the key features:

Customizable Invoices

When you’re running a business, it’s important that everything looks just right. That’s why with Daily Connect’s new Parent Billing features, you can add your childcare center’s name, branding, and logo to your invoices. 

But customization doesn’t stop with appearances. Customize your billing cycle to match your business, and add payments for tuition, meal plans, after-care, onboarding fees, field trips, and more. Whatever you need to charge parents for, Daily Connect has you covered. 

Online & Offline Payment Options

When you email parents an invoice, it’s up to you how you accept payments. And with Daily Connect, there’s plenty of options. You can accept credit cards, debit cards, ACH transfers, cash, or check, and record everything in the Daily Connect app. Parents can pay online in just a few clicks, direct from a link in your invoices, making it easier than ever for you to accept payments. 

All online payments are quickly routed to your bank account by our banking partners, and you can record any offline transactions with just a couple of clicks. 

With low, flat-rate payment processing fees, you can do business on your terms:

  • Credit Cards: 2.9% Fee. For example, on a $100 payment, the fee would be $2.90.
  • ACH Transfers: $1.25 per payment. 
  • Cash/Check: No fees. 

Auto Billing & Recurring Payments

Put your parent billing cycle on autopilot with auto billing and recurring payments. You can create weekly or monthly recurring invoices that send automatically to parents. Parents receive reminder emails for unpaid invoices, and it’s easy for administrators to view and follow up on any overdue invoices.

Parents can schedule payments, securely store their card on file for convenience, and access their billing records and receipts. 

Online Dashboard

Track all your payments in one place with a simple online dashboard that’s part of your existing Daily Connect account. You can view reports on revenue, fee payments, and overdue invoices, and view charts that show how your business is growing over time. 

Activate Parent Billing in your Daily Connect Account Today

The ability to invoice parents, accept online payments, and track revenue all in one simple online platform is a game changer for childcare providers. By automating all this time-consuming administrative work, you can free up more time to spend growing your business, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be sure to get paid. 

If you have an existing Daily Connect account with more than 10 children enrolled, there are no additional charges to create and send invoices, view reports, and accept payments offline, and your monthly payment will not change. You’ll only be charged payment processing fees when you allow parents to pay online. 

Interested in learning more? Visit the Parent Billing webpage, or schedule a demo with one of our Product Experts to get a tour. 

7 Tips to Run a Successful Daycare Business

Childcare is more than supervising and nurturing kids while their parents are at work. Childcare is also a business— a necessary, legitimate, and impactful one. To run a successful daycare business you need a good work ethic, a heart for children, and a smooth business model you and your staff can follow. 

When all the professional details are met, you can focus on serving the children and families at your daycare. In this article, learn the top seven tips to run your childcare center successfully.

1. Follow the Policies

Every childcare center is required to follow a set of policies. Policies include federal and state licensure, health regulations, financial agreements, and more. While there are certain policies that all daycare centers must follow, some of them vary depending on size and location.

Some daycare centers have specific policies unique to their facility. For example, you may have tuition fees, a schedule, and nutritional standards that look different than other local childcare centers. Maybe you have a curriculum that is different from others.

Set up your policies to be followed clearly. Make sure your daycare center strictly follows all of its policies! This will prevent lawsuits, avoid confusion, and allow your center to maintain a good reputation in the community.

2. Build Healthy Relationships

Parents send their children to daycare to enrich their development and encourage them to form bonds. An excellent daycare center is led by the understanding of what it takes to create healthy relationships.

Communication with the kids in your care is a vital part of childcare. Additionally, parents expect clear, professional, and friendly communication on a regular basis. Talking about their child’s behavior, discussing money, and resolving conflict are all natural parts of this industry. 

These days, some tools can help daycare workers build better relationships. While in-person communication is still ideal, digital communication can benefit the ongoing contact between parents and staff. 

3. Make Life Easier for Your Team

Another key to a successful daycare business is making sure your team is supported. It isn’t always easy working with children all day— emotions run high, accidents happen, and chaos can ensue. By giving your employees the help and expectations they need, you can all be successful together, even on difficult days.

To make life easier for your staff, you can:

  • Provide ongoing training and employee education 
  • Set up easier communication tools between classrooms
  • Hold monthly meetings where your staff can discuss and voice their feedback
  • Maintain a leader gratitude board
  • Upgrade routine administration tasks to electronic software
  • Remain open to the questions, concerns, and suggestions of your staff

4. Grow Your Daycare Enrollment

The more enrollment opportunities you have, the easier it is to run a successful daycare business. One of the biggest challenges daycare centers face is growing their enrollment. 

Encouraging new enrollment takes time and effort. By becoming more involved in your community, you can promote your business, help parents find your daycare online, and truly stand out from the other childcare centers in your area.

With the internet today, it’s easier than ever to promote your business online. Having a useful website people can visit builds trust from potential enrollees. Providing a virtual tour of your facility can make parents fall in love with your daycare at first sight. Partnering with local advertising agencies can help put you in front of the right audience.

To learn more about specific ways to grow leads for your daycare business, read this Free Guide to Increasing Enrollment.

5. Improve Childcare Billing and Payment

There is always room for improvement when it comes to receiving payments in your business. If you’re still running on checks, cash, or inconsistent credit card payments at your daycare, it’s time for an upgrade that will make your life a lot easier.

You can update your billing systems by going digital. If you’ve already gone digital but still struggle to keep up with the financial aspect of your business, there are payment processing tools designed specifically for you.

Switching to a childcare payment app helps daycare providers stay on top of their billing and tuition. That way, more time and energy can be spent on what really matters: caring for the kids.

6. Market Your Daycare Business

Marketing is relevant for all businesses today, even childcare. Because 90% of adults use the internet to find information relevant to them, a majority of parents are turning to search engines to find childcare services. 

If you can improve your website with local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can show up as one of the first results in your area whenever people search for daycare. Being active on social media can boost your credibility. Advertising on childcare resource sites can also connect you with parents who need care for their children. 

7. Hire the Right Staff Members

Who you hire to work for you can contribute to your daycare business’ success. You don’t want to hire someone with no experience, but you also don’t want to turn every imperfect candidate away. 

Seek qualities in employees that you see potential in. Even if someone doesn’t have the exact schooling units you’d prefer, maybe they have an awesome personality and real-world experience working in care situations that would benefit your business. 

Since several other ways to ensure success involve supporting and communicating with your staff members, hiring the right people will overflow into the other areas where trainability and attitude simply cannot be taught. 

Helping Your Daycare Business Succeed with Daily Connect

If you’re still wondering how you can run a successful daycare business, get organized with a childcare center app. At Daily Connect, we help daycare providers just like you get the services and administrative support they need to boost their business to the next level. 

With Daily Connect, you receive: 

  • Childcare Center Management Tools
  • Sign In and Attendance Options
  • Parent Communication Tools
  • Assessment Records and Digital Portfolios
  • COVID-19 and Health Safety Reports
  • And more

With digital tools and smart practices like these, you can improve the everyday demands of your childcare center. Get the help you need to finally grow your daycare business. Reach out and get a free demo of Daily Connect today. 

5 Essential Childcare Business Tools You Need

Every childcare business has its own set of operational needs. To run your childcare center effectively, there are systems and procedures that must be followed with careful attention. Sometimes, these systems require changes to adapt to significant growth or necessary shifts in the childcare industry. To be successful, you need to embrace childcare business tools.

To maintain the best possible procedures and routines within your childcare business, here are five tools you don’t want to operate without.

1. An Established Online Presence

These days, everyone uses the web when making decisions. Whether it be shopping for a new product, comparing the best services in the area, or scoping out new schools in the community, parents are especially internet-savvy when it comes to selecting what’s best for their child.

Where families send their children for childcare is not something they take lightly. They want to know what your program is about, who works there, and which curriculum standards your school is abiding by. Having an up-to-date, accessible online presence as a childcare provider is key to winning that positive first impression.

If your childcare center has a website, make sure it’s user-friendly and displays an accurate representation of your facility. In addition, posting regularly on social media can boost the validity of your brand because it shows that there are real humans who value communication with their community beyond the nine to five work hours. 

Keeping your childcare business active online is a great practice. It benefits your business in several ways, including: 

  • Captures the attention of local families interested in finding childcare
  • Shows that you value online communication with parents 
  • Proves your business is modern, relevant, and reliable 
  • Showcases the key features of your location, including pictures and amenities 
  • Shares updates, announcements, and special events people need to know about
  • Helps people find you online, with proper SEO and quality content on your site

The first step to attracting success within your childcare business is to get online. When a school or daycare doesn’t have a website set up, parents will be less likely to inquire about enrolling their child. 

2. Classroom Management Tools

Classroom management tools ensure your teachers can run their classroom smoothly, spending less time on paperwork and more quality time with the children. The most important features of any classroom management tools include attendance tracking, curriculum management, and incident reporting. 

These tools are usually software platforms that teachers and administrators can access from their computers, tablets, and even smartphones. They make it easy for teachers and administrators to quickly record observations, take attendance, and keep records. Before these tools became popular, teachers would have to record everything manually on paper, wasting time and money.

Some of the ways childcare centers can use classroom management tools include:

  • Taking attendance
  • Keeping track of teacher:child ratios in every classroom
  • Recording observations against learning frameworks
  • Planning lessons from pre-selected curriculums
  • Maintaining records required by local regulators
  • Recording minor accidents and incidents

3. Seamless Parent-Teacher Communication

When parents enroll their kids in your program, they expect clear, consistent communication. They want to know what their child is doing at your center, how their child is behaving, and what happens throughout the day and week. 

Gone are the days when parents would be in the dark about how their kids’ day is going. Now that smartphones are in nearly every parent’s pocket, direct messages and emails can swiftly deliver updates and important alerts.

There are apps that fulfill ongoing communication needs between childcare staff and parents. Send out instant notifications to guardians and let them know what is happening throughout the day in real-time. Deliver injury and incident reports as they happen. Ease the stress of a mom with a child with sleep regression by notifying her there was a quality nap today. 

Parent communication apps for childcare help both providers and guardians. These tools increase communication by:

  • Allowing instant, automatic updates throughout the day 
  • Tracking and recording important information
  • Notifying parents of special moments and achievements, not just concerns or issues
  • Confirming guest pickups (for example, if a grandparent is picking up a child)

4. Simple Payment Processing and Accounting

One of the challenges technology solves in childcare centers is the process of receiving and tracking payments. Without digital tools, it can be extremely difficult to keep up with accounting and bookkeeping. 

There are a large number of children and families to account for. Tracking enrollment, late fees, event payments, and more is simply not feasible without the right processing software. This is especially true if you’re operating a larger, more well-established childcare facility. If that’s the case, making sure you have everything you need in one place makes the world of a difference. 

Online accounting software helps your childcare business in many ways, including:

  • Organizing monthly or annual enrollment status for each child
  • Easy access to financial information and receipts for parents and staff
  • Tracking the overall funds of your childcare center
  • Legitimizing your bookkeeping for legal and tax purposes
  • Saving time and money all year long 

Get your childcare business on the right track with online accounting. It’ll save everyone the headache of missing payments, losing receipts, and forgetting which family paid for enrollment. 

5. Multi-Functional Childcare Center Management Software

Get the best of the best childcare business tools with childcare management software throughout your business. There are tools that deliver all of the above functions and more in a program-specific way, created specifically for childcare providers. 

Management software for childcare centers makes it easier to run your business. It helps your staff get on the same page and complete tasks, encourages parent-teacher communication, tracks important documents and compliances, and allows multimedia resources for everyone involved in your facility. 

Extra features of childcare management software include: 

  • Fully-functional mobile app for parents and staff
  • Contactless check-in and check-out for guardians 
  • Photo and video sharing of child activities throughout the day 
  • Individual learning and assessment records 
  • Staff checklists and safety protocols for important changes, such as COVID-19 regulations 
  • Parental surveys to continually update and improve your childcare programs 
  • Automatic payment options for consistent enrollment 
  • Incident reporting with detailed diagrams and written descriptions

How to Set Up Better Childcare Business Tools

Childcare centers all around the world are implementing all the beneficial features of digital management for a reason. It makes the jobs of childcare workers easier, ensures parents have access to the features they need, and allows leaders to focus on what really matters — being present and caring for students. 

See for yourself how digital tools can encourage the growth, maintenance, and positive reputation of your childcare business. To learn more about setting up a platform that helps you build a better childcare business, schedule a free trial of Daily Connect

New Features on Daily Connect

At Daily Connect, we’re passionate about listening to our users and adding features that make life easier for childcare professionals across the world. That’s why today, we’re announcing four new features to improve the Daily Connect platform for all our users. Here are the new features:

Video Sharing: As of today, childcare professionals can now send parents videos of their children directly through the Daily Connect app. 

Surveys: We’ve also added enhancements to the survey feature within the app, with powerful new customization features that help you run your childcare center more efficiently. 

Incident Reports: We’re adding the ability to attach a body map image to incident reports, helping satisfy regulatory requirements and providing more information to parents. 

Parent/Teacher Messaging Tools: We’re making it easier for administrators to access messages between teachers and parents.

All features have now been activated for Premium+ and Professional+ subscribers. 

If you’d like to upgrade your subscription to include these features, please contact us at support@dailyconnect.com

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each of the features, including screenshots and instructions for how you can start using them. 

With the new school year just around the corner for many childcare centers, we’re confident these features, in addition to our existing features, will give you all the tools you need to provide a memorable childcare experience.

Video Sharing

Since we launched our photo sharing feature, childcare centers across the world have shared more than 60 Million photos with parents. 

Users can now record videos of children and share them directly with parents. 

Parents view the videos of their children straight from the Daily Connect app on their phones, and will also receive any videos you share via the daily summary email. 

Videos can be up to one minute long, and are accessible in the system for one year. After that, they’ll be deleted, but an email will be sent in advance of this to give parents the opportunity to download the video to keep forever. 

The process for sharing a video is exactly the same as the process for sharing a photo. 

This feature is available on the mobile application to all Premium+ and Professional+ subscribers. 

Surveys

Previously, surveys were only available for the sign-in process. We’ve now added a number of improvements to the survey process, meaning you can use surveys in powerful new ways.

Surveys can now be sent to staff members, parents, and prospective families. Some ways you can use surveys include:

  • Sharing a staff checklist to ensure all required tasks are performed
  • Asking parents for their opinions on events, like field trips or celebrations
  • Sending a questionnaire to prospective families to learn more about them 

Everyone you send the survey to will receive an email notification, as well as an alert in the Daily Connect app. 

You can customize the survey to ask whatever questions you like, including questions with free text answers or questions with different choices. 

Users can pull customized reports with survey results, and use filters to view responses. This is helpful for applications like staff checklists, where the administrator only wants to see items marked ‘Not Done’. 

The survey feature can be accessed in the Settings > Surveys page. 

Improvements to Incident Reports: Body Maps

When an incident occurs, it’s important to record it quickly and accurately. We’ve now added body maps to incident reports so that users can better report any injuries. This helps parents to better understand what happened, and is also recommended (or even required) by your local regulator.

Parents receive incident reports via email and through the Daily Connect app, where they can sign the incident report. Administrators can then print and save the report for their records. 

Improvements to Parent/Teacher Messaging Tools: Administrator Access

We’ve made it easier for administrators to view messages sent between staff and parents. Instead of browsing through each classroom to see messages, administrators can now view all messages at once through the ‘All rooms’ menu item on the Daily Connect Web App. 

Administrators can also enable push notifications on their device to receive a notification every time a message is sent. 

We’re confident that these features will improve the Daily Connect experience for administrators, teachers, and parents alike.


If you have any questions about any of the features, or would like to upgrade to a Premium+ or Professional+ subscription so that you can access them, please contact our Support Team at support@dailyconnect.com

6 Ways to Run Your Childcare Center More Smoothly

If you work in childcare, you know it’s not always easy or predictable. Figuring out how to run your childcare center successfully is a huge responsibility, involving planning, communication, and adhering to policies. It’s a lot of work! And if you don’t know how to operate smoothly, all this work can pose extra challenges that could have been prevented all along.

When all of the mandatory logistical factors are being taken care of, childhood educators have more time and energy to give to the kids. This translates to better behavior, more efficient learning, and happier parents. So how can you start to run your childcare center more smoothly?

1. Clarify Your Policies

You’ll save yourself the headache of a misunderstanding if you have a clear outline and regularly updated document of all your policies. This benefits you, your staff, and the parents of the children at your facility.  

Most childcare centers have a parent handbook that includes common concerns and resources for parents to access. These handbooks typically also include state licensing requirements, financial terms, and payment agreements. Other types of policy include:

  • Curriculum expectations
  • Health and safety protocols 
  • Nutrition and eating guidelines
  • Calendars and schedules 
  • Immunization standards
  • What happens during emergencies
  • Sign-in and sign-out; pick-up details
  • Tuition and payment options
  • Signed agreements and compliances
  • Parent-Staff communication methods

Keeping these policies transparent and available help you avoid legal trouble. It also lets the families at your childcare center maintain trust and satisfaction in your childcare. 

These days, many childcare centers are switching to digital software programs to store and update policy documents. This makes it easier to find and access important documents at all times.

2. Streamline the Classroom Schedule

Keeping track of all the children, classrooms, and schedules can be a real struggle if you’re not organized. Are all the teachers on the same page? Is the class enjoying the activity schedule? Is there a clear and structured plan?

If your staff needs to take hours out of their week to plan class activities and lessons by hand with no guidance, they’re using hours of their precious time that could be better spent elsewhere. By utilizing digital templates, setting reminders to plan the monthly schedule, and setting up recurring calendar activities, you can help everyone at your site find more time in their day.

Childcare software platforms let you add links to videos you need to play, or upload files of example photos of a project in no time, so you don’t have to scour your email or desktop during the lesson. Having everything available in one place will improve the flow of schedule and productivity in the classroom, helping you to run your childcare center more easily.

3. Improve the Billing Process

Parents are busy. It can be frustrating constantly trying to chase monthly payments, late fees, or quarterly tuition costs. Verbal reminders can be ignored or forgotten. A major stressor in childcare is the financial relationship between parents and leaders. 

Many childcare providers now offer digital payment options to ensure there are automatic transactions in place for continued enrollment in a program. When a bill is due, the parent’s bank or credit card is automatically charged on the designated date. Just like a recurring subscription bill, it’s much easier for both customer and childcare business alike.

4. Bridge Parent-to-Teacher Communication Gaps

There is only so much you can do to make sure parents are receiving the type of communication they feel necessary when it comes to their child under your care. 

Parents want to know how their child is doing, what they’re learning, and how they interact with other kids. With so many little humans to be responsible for, it’s common to forget the details or important events that happened throughout the day. 

When you interact with a parent, the chances are you tell them about how their kid did that day! But there are often communication gaps. It isn’t easy for most parents to leave their kids at daycare, and it’s all too easy for them to feel like they’re missing out on their child’s development milestones while at work. 

By communicating more effectively, you can help ensure parents still feel heavily involved. Childcare apps like Daily Connect allow you to send regular messages to parents throughout the course of the day. You can communicate what the child ate, when they took a nap, and add photos of activities so that parents can feel included in their child’s activities at your childcare center. 

5. Create a Curriculum You Can Plan and Track Simultaneously

Just as scheduling needs to be streamlined and efficient, your curriculum might need a change of plan. While all childcare leaders want to make sure their teaching schedule is being followed correctly, if you don’t leave room for kids to have fun, explore, and express themselves, the curriculum might not cut it when it comes to development.

Seek out inspiration for new ideas that make learning fun. You might want to audit your teaching plans and upgrade it to include more fun, innovative activities. Many digital planning systems can help you search for, implement, and keep track of new and improved curriculum plans for your childcare center.

Digital tracking of curriculum and progress immensely helps childcare centers. This can improve administrative obligations, staff communication, scheduling needs, and more.

6. Implement Technology in Learning

It’s the digital age. Now, we can use technology to help kids learn and make discoveries. Consider allowing kids to use technology as a means to improve their learning. 

The World Economic Forum claims integrating technology into the curriculum process can advance youth development in society. Using tech in your curriculum can:

  • Help encourage experience-based learning
  • Save time, money, and confusion
  • Develop a “can-do” mindset in kids
  • Open up opportunities for the development of future skills
  • Add excitement to learning
  • Easily track and transfer necessary data to higher learning centers

As children can be familiarized with technology, so can the teachers and staff. Clear and instant progress updates, incident reports, and behavioral notes can be saved and shared among staff and parents. Implementing new tools in the learning process can make assessments and grading smoother and more thorough.

Does Your Childcare Center Need Help?

If you want to improve specific areas of your childcare program in order to run your childcare center better, there are plenty of solutions available. It’s easier than ever to set up new systems that work for you in your business. 

Whether you need help planning, managing communication, or revamping the reporting process, technology can make the world of a difference. Consider trying out Daily Connect, an app custom-built for childcare centers. It’s used by over 90,000 childcare professionals around the world, and improves parent communication, center management, and learning experiences.  

Schedule a free demo to learn more about how Daily Connect can help your business, or sign up for a free 14-day trial (no credit card required!) to see the effect of Daily Connect on your childcare business.

6 Challenges Faced by Childcare Centers and How to Overcome Them

Childcare center owners, and their teachers, give their time, energy, and skills to ensure that children in their communities receive the education and care they deserve. 

But sometimes working at a childcare center poses a unique set of challenges. Whether it’s administrators being buried in a mountain of paperwork, or teachers struggling to track a child’s learning progress against developmental milestones, there’s no shortage of challenges for childcare professionals to overcome. 

Thankfully, the development of technology in the childcare field is making it easier for childcare professionals to address these challenges. By embracing technology, childcare center owners and teachers free themselves to spend more time delivering high quality childcare and education to children, strengthening their business. 

At Daily Connect, we’ve been in the childcare technology business for 12 years now, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about the challenges faced by childcare providers of all sizes, all over the world. Here’s some of the most common challenges, alongside our tips to help you overcome them:

#1 Keeping up with licensing requirements and state standards

It’s important to always stay compliant with federal and state regulations for childcare. Licensure means a center is legally meeting the basic requirements mandated to safely and effectively run a childcare business. This is the foundation of any successful childcare business.

Maintaining all the necessary paperwork, safety routines, emergency protocols, and detailed records can get confusing without the proper levels of organization. 

Getting organized and setting up a system that ensures you’re meeting all standards will keep your childcare center running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. You’ll also have peace of mind, knowing that if inspectors ever do pay you a visit, you’ll have everything you need right there. 

Make sure you have proper tracking in place. Always keep up with license proof, renewal dates, and future requirements. Consistent checks are commonplace, and help to prevent issues with record-keeping down the road. Consider embracing a technological solution to help – particularly to store files and track legal documents you don’t use often.

#2 Too much paperwork distracts from spending time with children

Because of the need to track and record so many various factors, running a childcare center requires a lot of paperwork. Not an hour goes by without teachers and staff recording daily activity that requires some type of form.

Sifting through all the different forms and communication logs can take a lot of time. If a situation comes up where a child is in danger, the last thing a professional wants to focus on is finding the right form inside the filing cabinet. But it’s often required to have the proper documentation on file and to fill it out promptly to prevent liability issues.

Paperwork is time-consuming, boring (let’s face it), and distracts you from spending time with children creating meaningful bonds. That’s not to mention the cost. Many childcare centers spend thousands of dollars every year on paper and printing!

Whether it be a child check-in, taking supplies inventory, noting an accident, or filling out a behavioral slip, keeping all paperwork available and ready is a no-brainer. Consider switching from paper to digital forms that are handy to each staff member. This can save hours spent per week printing and looking for physical copies inside a folder, and it’ll also make life easier for parents.

#3 Incident reporting and the professional liability of staff

One major aspect of paperwork is incident reporting. If a child falls off the slide and sprains their wrist, providing an incident report to the parent is a must.

Incident reports include the time and date of the incident, what happened, symptoms the child showed after the incident, and how the incident was treated on-site (or off-site, like in a hospital, for emergencies).

Even minor incidents are required to be recorded, such as bathroom accidents, aggressive play with other children, or abnormal behavior. Staff must report these events to legal guardians not only to avoid potential liability but to maintain open communication that ensures safety and trust. 

What if there was a way to digitally record all incidents? Having all the documents filed and searchable within a software makes it reliable not only for staff members but parents as well. It also gives easy access to incident history for any mandated report cases.

#4 Trust and communication with parents & guardians

One of the biggest concerns parents have when finding the best childcare provider for their children is trust. How can parents trust the center to give their children the supervision, care, attention, and learning opportunities they need? 

The worst thing a childcare provider can do is fail to communicate fully with a legal guardian. Parents want to know how their child’s day was, what they did, and both good and bad moments they might’ve experienced. Radio silence causes parents to stress about their child, whereas quick updates can put their mind at ease. 

For staff working with multiple children all day long, it’s easy to forget the smaller moments that stood out for each child when pick-up time comes around. Most parents receive highlights and main occurrences of each day, but rarely do they get to hear about the child’s most memorable achievements. 

Now with technology, there are ways to update parents in real-time about what their child is doing throughout the day. Apps like Daily Connect allow parents to see photo and text updates – covering everything from what their child ate for lunch to photos of their work in art class. This brightens parents days, strengthens their relationship with you, and helps build high levels of trust with your staff.

#5 Ensuring the health and safety of every child

The safety, health, and well-being of children is the top priority. Childcare centers are a safe environment, but like everywhere else over the past year, dealing with the threat of COVID-19 has proved a major challenge to many childcare centers. 

When it comes to safely reopening your childcare center, the health of every child, parent, and staff member is on everyone’s mind. If one child is sick, they put everyone else at risk, including the families of other children attending. 

During COVID-19, childcare centers want to meet CDC guidelines to maintain a safe and sanitary environment for every child. This means regular cleaning, monitoring each child’s temperature, and watching out for any potential symptoms of illness.

Pandemic or no pandemic, the health of your child is crucial. Recording individual health signs is easier than ever. Some apps have features that allow teachers and parents to observe the status of their child, to put them at ease while knowing the site is being responsible and safe.

#6 Tracking behavior, learning, and developmental progress

With so many kids to guide each day, how can childcare professionals make sure every child is progressing? Childcare staff do not just supervise and play with children, they also play a critical role in observing and shaping their developmental progress.

Every licensed child care center conducts learning evaluations for the children they care for. The school and the child’s parents must know how he or she is meeting developmental standards. Giving each child the attention and evaluation they need can take time, become interrupted, or be unrealistic if the person doing the evaluation is not with the child every single day.

Using progress monitoring systems that include lists of long-term information collected over time is a radical improvement. Automatic reports can track ongoing progress, and keep everyone updated on the child’s progress towards key developmental milestones.
It’s important to note that different states and countries each have their own learning frameworks and standards. Daily Connect has a huge variety of learning frameworks from around the world built in, and makes it easy for teachers to track children’s progress against the relevant learning frameworks in their local area.

How technology and software can improve childcare centers for good

Automating parts of the administration and communication process within childcare centers is a smart move for any facility. Because everything is moving online, it’s growing easier to implement technology solutions in any industry – including childcare!

At Daily Connect we understand the importance of remaining compliant with safety standards and upholding top-notch communication between staff and parents. Using the power of technology to overcome challenges often seen within childcare centers, more children can receive better attention and care.

This essential childcare app is a win-win for kids, families, and childcare professionals. Daily Connect works for you so you don’t have to work as hard on the tasks that distract from childcare. 

See it for yourself. Try Daily Connect free for 14 days, or if you’re not sure yet, schedule a free demo to learn more.

Childcare Center Relationships: 7 Best Ways to Build Family Relationships

Building close childcare center relationships with the families of children who attend your childcare center is one of the biggest investments you can make in improving your childcare business. 

Closer childcare center relationships create better experiences for children – helping improve their overall experience, as well as their progress towards developmental milestones, building of social skills, and overall happiness. 

But healthy relationships with families are also a huge positive for your business. Happy parents can’t wait to tell everyone about your amazing childcare center, and will recommend you to their colleagues, friends, and families, bringing you new customers. 

On the face of it, building healthy relationships with families might seem easy. But there’s some steps you can take to go to the next level and stand apart from other childcare centers in your area. Here’s the seven best ways for childcare centers to stand apart: 

#1 High-Quality Customer Service

Your teachers and care providers are the face of your business, and it’s important they demonstrate high-quality customer service skills in order to build lasting relationships with families. Even before technological advances started providing smoother solutions, teachers knew they needed to:

  • Be engaging
  • Communicate clearly
  • Always share the good
  • Gently share the challenges
  • Check in consistently with parents

These days, providing high-quality customer service is more important than ever. Parents expect a seamless, professional experience. Using technological solutions helps build closer relationships with parents by giving them more visibility of their child’s day. Using technology to communicate also frees your staff to spend more time with the children, so everyone’s a winner.

#2 Share Children’s Accomplishments

When parents get more information on a regular basis, their ability to support their child increases. Let’s take an example of something children do all the time at childcare: art projects! 

Teachers can share artwork with parents by sending it home, but often, the child’s art gets displayed on the walls, is a temporary creation, or is the work of a team of several child geniuses! Instead of sending children home with their masterpiece, consider having teachers take a picture of the artwork and share it with parents. If you like, go one step further, and create a digital portfolio that collates everything in an online gallery

Once the child heads home for the day, families are able to have exciting, stimulating conversations with their child about their masterpiece – even if they don’t have the artwork in front of them. This creates a stronger, healthier bond, and also makes families feel more involved in their child’s experiences at your childcare center. 

#3 Reduce Parent Anxiety

Parents love getting consistent updates from their child’s teacher about what their child is up too. Children are the center of every parent’s universe, and many parents have anxiety about leaving their child at a daycare center. Whether it’s getting used to being apart from their first-born child for the first time, or worrying about behavioural issues, that anxiety is only natural.

Short, simple updates go a long way to reducing this anxiety. 

Whether it’s sharing the child’s work, photos of them playing, or an update on what they had for lunch, quick, frequent updates can dramatically increase a parent’s level of trust in you as a childcare provider. Parents will wonder less about what’s going on with their child when they know what they’re up to at key times during the day.  

#4 Create a Secure Environment

Every childcare provider has to pay attention when it comes to child pickup and drop off. This has always been an important issue, but it’s become more so in the past year as childcare providers do everything they can to ensure a COVID-safe environment.

Families are trusting you with the most important thing in their world––their child––so it’s vital you do everything you can to create a safe, clean environment that minimizes risks. 

One way of doing this is by introducing a touchless sign-in that lets parents check their child in using a QR code or a unique PIN. This ensures that only approved people are able to collect the child from your center. 

You might also consider taking extra measures including a COVID-19 screening survey that parents must take before checking their child in to your center.

#5 Bridge the Gap Between Home and School

Previously, parent-teacher communication occurred mostly around events like parent-teacher conferences, field trips, or even just a quick chat while picking up lost and found items.

But by making an effort to build closer relationships, parents, teachers, and even children can have a much better experience. 

Children can see positive support happening on a daily basis between the two most important areas of their life: home and childcare. And together, parents and teachers can find ways to help the child grow and blossom by identifying development areas. 

Frequent communication is the best way to bridge this gap and create positive childcare center relationships. Communication between parents and teachers on a regular basis goes a long way to building lasting, long-term relationships. There are a variety of online communication platforms custom-built for childcare centers. Our advice: look for services with a secure messaging system and customizable shared activity log that teachers can use to easily share quick updates on daily activities.

#6 Made Paperwork a Breeze

Nobody likes doing paperwork. Whether it’s filling out daily sheets, tracking attendance, or sending out newsletters, we know you’d rather be spending quality time with the children instead of being stuck in the office. 

You’re not alone. Parents aren’t big fans of paperwork either – often, it’ll just end up at the bottom of a pile of mail, or land in the trash. 

Simplify the process for everyone and start sharing important documents and information with parents digitally. 

You’ll make life easier for parents, ensure your important updates get read, and dramatically reduce your spending on paper and ink, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

#7 Use Daily Connect

The most successful childcare businesses use technology to support child development and parent-teacher relationships, which in turn bolsters their reputation as a quality childcare business.

You want technology that’s easy to use, inexpensive, and takes care of the hard work for you, so you can spend more time with children and parents and focus on growing your business. Daily Connect is a simple yet powerful software platform that enables childcare centers to effectively communicate with parents. 

There are a range of features to support closer relationships with families, and an easy-to-use app that can be used by parents and teachers alike. Daily Connect is customizable to the needs of your childcare center, and prices start from just $4.99/mo. 

If you want to learn more about using technology to build better relationships with the families at your childcare center, schedule your free demo of Daily Connect today

Childcare 2021 Trends: What to Look Out For

These days there’s a lot to consider when running a childcare facility. Many of the trends in the childcare industry have changed dramatically in the past year; some have accelerated, and other completely novel patterns have emerged.  As you look for childcare 2021 trends, there’s a lot to think about.

Overall though, it’s good news – the forecast for the future of the childcare industry is bright. Here’s the latest trends, and what they mean to those who serve and care for our future generations.

#1 Early childhood degrees are on the rise

More and more childcare centers are requiring their lead teachers to have bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE). The research shows this number has been on the rise for years, and shows no signs of slowing. 

While many centers accept teachers with an Associate’s Degree, or basic ECE units, the best childcare centers are increasingly looking for staff with a four year ECE degree. Existing teachers are adapting, with the rise of online education programs for ECE degrees making it possible for teachers to continue their education while they’re already in the classroom.

More educated teachers provide better quality teaching and assessment, aided by a clearer understanding of best practices. As parents assess childcare centers, they’re increasingly looking for innovative, forward-thinking providers, with an emphasis on education quality. Make sure you stand out from the competition with a robust focus on learning and parent communication

#2 Increasing awareness of the importance of quality Early Childhood Education

Childcare, as much fun as it is, is a business at the end of the day. As more universities launch ECE programs, the government continues to increase funding, and Head Start programs are multiplying throughout the country. 

Recent stimulus packages have included billions of dollars in funds for early childcare programs. The most recent–the American Rescue Plan– includes a significant increase in childcare tax credits, making it easier than ever for parents to afford childcare. 

Additional funds are being directed to childcare centers who need COVID assistance. Many states have early childcare initiatives with extra funding for centers who can demonstrate their successes through quality assessment.

All this points to an increased need for childcare centers to have their business set up for success. Many parents might be in the market for childcare services for the first time, and it’s important childcare centers understand how to differentiate themselves from their competition. Primary ways to stand out include a higher quality of care, better parent communication, and offering a safe environment.

#3 Best practices in ECE assessment

As awareness of the importance of ECE continues, so does the attention focused on assessment tools that measure the development of individual children as well as the productivity of the center itself. Most states have developed standards for ECE centers, and the NAEYC also have their own set of developmental milestones. 

When teachers keep abreast of the latest trends in assessment, they’re able to provide parents with a better understanding of how their child is progressing. This is much easier for teachers when they have digital tools to record observations and assessments, and can prepare lessons and activities to help their students hit developmental milestones.

Related: Daily Connect Learning Frameworks & State Standards

#4 Resurgence of Play

Classic early childhood theorists have expounded the benefits of play for years, and now, ECE professionals are finally catching up. In 2021, more and more childcare centers are focusing on getting children outside and playing, driven by both COVID-19 and recent childhood obesity trends

Children are spending more time outside while in childcare, and there’s an increased focus on organized physical activities like yoga, running, and even sports that involve throwing and kicking balls. 

While many parents focus primarily on education, it’s important to remind them of the importance of play. Physical activity makes for healthier children, and aids development of large motor skills. Make sure to track physical activities and share important developmental milestones with parents to build that all important human connection with families.

#5 Increasing use of technology

Many early childhood facilities are introducing technology in their lesson plans. Allowing children to utilize a tablet or a computer stimulates different parts of the brain, and allows for the development of necessary skills to function in today’s society.

Likewise, new technologies are emerging that can boost the productivity of centers and improve the teacher – family connection that is so crucial to the success of each young child. 

Positive relationships with parents and families can sometimes be the hardest component to running a center – probably never more than the past year. One of the biggest trends for 2021 is the increasing use of technologies that enable better interactions between childcare centers and parents. 

As both parents and teachers become more technologically-savvy, it’s becoming almost expected that childcare centers make use of technology to foster better relationships with their parents.  

How to make the most of these trends for your childcare business

If you want your childcare business to continue to prosper in 2021 and beyond, it’s important to take note of these trends and consider how your childcare business is positioned in relation to them. 

Business has changed a lot in the past year, and while some things will go back to the way they were, others have changed forever. 

Software like Daily Connect that can help you move with the trends of 2021. Embracing technological solutions can improve your productivity, and offer a better way to communicate and engage with families throughout the day.  

It’s not just families – teachers will benefit too. They can update information real time for doting parents: eating habits, bathroom trips, socialization, and more can all be shared from teacher to parent in seconds. There’ll be no more writing out notes for every child at the end of the day.

Easily accessible assessment tools are incredibly important for parents to see how their child is developing in relation to developmental milestones. Through technology, parents can view a portfolio of their child’s work, photos of their activities, and track their development against benchmarks – giving them the peace of mind they desire.  

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Embracing the trends of 2021 will help your childcare center stand out from the competition. Not only that; you’ll provide a better experience for parents, children, and teachers alike, building a strong childcare business well-positioned for future success. 

We recommend you consider Daily Connect as a low-cost digital platform that will help you create unforgettable childcare experiences for children and parents alike.  

Thousands of childcare centers across the world use Daily Connect every day to communicate with parents, track compliance, and provide a higher quality of childcare. It’s easy to use, completely customizable to your practice, and is loved by parents, with thousands of 5 star reviews. 

Start your free trial today, or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.