Get Peace of Mind Through Flexible and Automatic Billing
New billing features like the wallet and improved components of automated billing will help day care directors stay cool, calm, and able to collect!
For daycare owner/operators, their love of children is the driving force behind the entire business. However, it is exactly that – a business. Getting paid regularly is in some ways the most critical part of the process, and the part that most people prefer to spend the least time on. Fortunately, there are childcare management software programs that can speed up and smooth out the process of getting paid. Even better, when done well, customer happiness is improved with the options tailored to their family’s needs and abilities.
Automation vs. Control
For most people, the ability to automate recurring tasks is one of the best perks of technology. Yet we also want to remain in control. Child Care Seer allows for both. The daycare owner can manually charge credit cards that parents have on file, or parents can log in at any time to their account to view invoices and pay bills, from their computer or their phone. Parents who want peace of mind can set automated billing, yet don’t have to sacrifice control. They can turn off automated billing at any time, turn it back on, change credit cards, expiration dates, or the amounts charged.
Flexibility of What is a Family
A key component that is missing from many childcare management software programs is the flexibility to deal with a variety of family circumstances.
Child Care Seer, unlike most daycare software, does not even have a “family” as an element in our system. We dynamically generate families through relationships easily defined between adults and children. A family can include any relationship between adults and children. Our software can handle any arrangement of split or communal families, because we know that today, families might include a village of caregivers, not just a static unit created by birth
Flexibility and Control with Wallets
So how can a billing system keep track of several different funding sources? The key is in the wallet, an innovative feature exclusive to Child Care Seer. The wallet makes it possible to transfer and move money between adults and children, and allows for any external funding sources to contribute as well.
Within the payment section of their accounts, parents can choose to either pay with a card, an adult “wallet” or their child’s “wallet.” A wallet functions like a prepaid account. Parents can load money into their wallet or their child’s wallet, which then generates a charge to their credit card. That money in the wallet can then be applied to future expenses.
Daycare owners and parents who participate in drop-in hourly care can quickly see the benefits of this system. By placing a sum of money in the account, parents no longer need to stop at the desk and pay for each hourly visit, and daycare owners can be relieved of the burden of dealing with constant billing.
The wallet feature also helps parents with splitting bills and budgeting. Many divorced parents may share the cost of daycare, and two parents who are together may wish to contribute from each of their accounts for budgeting purposes. Often, grandparents are helping to fund part of the cost of childcare, as are other extended family members. Some students receive funds from a caregiver's workplace or subsidies from the government. Trying to divide up expenses fairly without missing payments can be a real headache.
With Seer, each parent or authorized payer for a child can contribute a set amount to their child’s wallet, and funds can be automatically applied each week to pay for the upcoming week’s care. The parent who is paid once a month can contribute their portion to the wallet once a month, and the parent who gets paid weekly can pay weekly. In some families, a grandparent may help with childcare, and their contribution can also be placed in the child’s wallet, whether automatically or occasionally. Child Care Seer allows for a multitude of options to work with the many different circumstances of people’s lives. The more that options and flexibility are increased for parents, the easier it is for the daycare owner to be paid.
The adult wallet may be the best option for a parent who has more than one child in a daycare. She or he can place an amount in their adult wallet which can then be applied to each child’s different expenses, as needed.
The wallet feature also allows parents to choose the day of the week that funds are replenished if they are opting to load the wallet automatically. Parents may want to pay for daycare on Friday when they are paid in order to best keep track of their budget, while Child Care Seer will charge the wallet on Sunday for the upcoming week. This again allows for both automation and control. Allowing parents to choose the day funds are charged will also alleviate some declined credit card notifications, saving the parent embarrassment and the daycare owner, hassle. The fact that parents can do so much on their own means less time spent on the phone dealing with billing concerns.
Communication and Tracking
A daycare owner also needs a childcare software program that helps them track unpaid balances and brings them to their attention. A child with an outstanding balance will have a red flag displaying the amount owed that follows them throughout the system, so the owner can see when looking at the Seer dashboard in the morning that she needs to ask the parent about it when the child comes in. The program will also not allow a child to be checked in by a parent if there is an outstanding balance unless approved by authorized daycare staff members.
Seer also sends an email to parents letting them know when there has been a problem with their scheduled payment, so that parents can clear that up before bringing their child in again. Parents also have a notifications tab that keeps track of every action they take in their account.
Reporting allows end of year tax reporting, as well as on demand, to be a simple and reliable for both parents and staff. Even with all these flexible options, the flow of money is easily tracked, viewed, and reported on within the center.
Running a business is never easy, but reducing recurring problems can make it a whole lot easier. Both parents and daycare owners will appreciate the flexibility and smoothness of transactions in Child Care Seer.
About Tom Callahan
Tom Callahan is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with a track record of starting, growing and leading companies of all sizes. He is the owner of Callahan Learning Center, a Virginia-based child care management company that operates centers providing high-quality and highly flexible child care. He is the founder of Child Care Seer, an all-in-one platform that can make child care a more manageable and profitable business. He came to the child care industry after more than two decades in the software and technology industries, where he invented multi-million-dollar product lines and guided multiple startups from cradle to exit, including