5 min read
The secret of successful childcare businesses: Integration and automation
For childcare centre owners across Australia, the definition of business success is much more complex than simply turning a profit at the end of each month. As a business owner in the highly regulated childcare industry, achieving ‘success’ for your business also means complying with increasing amounts of red tape, meeting staff ratio standards, obeying national curriculum requirements, keeping your parent community happy and of course out-performing your many competitors. All of this adds up to a highly competitive operating environment in which only the most savvy business operators can thrive.
But, despite all of these pressures, many childcare centres across the country are not just surviving – they are thriving. So, what is the point of difference of these successful centres? Why are they able to keep up with increasing staffing costs, administration and time-intensive compliance work and turn an enviable profit at the same time? The answer lies in the software they’re using to manage their childcare centre’s operations – and how skillful they are at using this software to lighten their workload, decrease their operating costs and increase their profit margins.
The most successful centres are integrating and automating
How many different pieces of software do the staff in your childcare centre need to use on a daily basis to get the job done? How much time do they spend jumping between a number of different software systems to manually complete simple administrative tasks such as processing payments from parents? (This last one is a trick question – if you’re still manually processing payments from parents at all, you’re already a step behind your most successful competitors.)
If you’re using lots of different pieces of software to manage the administration workload in your childcare centre, you need to investigate whether you can get them all integrated into one easy-to-use central operating system. This will allow you to automate more administrative tasks through one system only – consequently reducing the strain that manual administration places on your quality standards and profitability.
For example, our research tells us that automated parent payments (such as direct debit and BPAY) can reduce manual payments administration by as much as 95 per cent. That’s why the most successful childcare centres are already using automated payments as their default payment method for all parent payments.
Unlock the hidden value of integration and automation in your childcare centre
Your most successful competitors probably already have their various pieces of software all nicely integrated into one central childcare centre management system – and consequently they are cutting down on their manual administration time, staying ahead of reporting demands and increasing their profit margins. Find out how the coordinator at Morningside Outside of School Hours Care reduced her payments administration time from 15 hours per week to only five minutes each morning.
Automate parent payments to cut your bad debts in half
If you’ve read our article about ‘improving the way cash flows through your childcare business’ you’re probably already up to speed on why it’s important to receive parent payments fast – preferably via an automated payments solution such as direct debit. The right payments automation system can potentially cut your bad debts in half by automatically processing parent payments on the day that they are due. Plus, the time you spend researching and implementing the right automated payment solution will be an investment for your childcare business – many of our clients realise their return on investment in the first month after switching on our automated payments software.
Know your enemy
When it comes to getting the upper hand over your competitors, knowledge is power. Get up to speed on the latest statistics and trends in the Australian childcare industry so you can outmanoeuvre your competition.