Being an established childminder, you may have gotten to the stage now where you want to try using childminding software to help reduce your paperwork hours and give you back more time in the day. However, with so many software providers in the marketplace, which one should you choose?
Test drive new software
Firstly, consider that a responsible software provider will allow you a free trial to demonstrate their product and make sure that you can get on with it. If they don’t give you the opportunity to “try before you buy”, it is fair to say that you are gambling with your money.
The second consideration is price: you are running a business after all! Whilst some software can be downloaded for free, these packages will have very limited capabilities and will often not be worth your valuable time. Childminding software which is well thought out, easy to use and does exactly what you need it to, takes years to develop and perfect. Therefore it will not usually be without a small cost.
Be clear about what you need
You need to think about what exactly you want your childminding software to do. In general terms, most childminders will agree that they would like to save themselves time and money.
Going into more detail, you may wish to think about the list of necessities that you definitely cannot do without when choosing one software product over another. Here’s a list of questions to get you thinking:
- Is the system secure and will it prevent unauthorised access to personal records?
- Is the system easy to access from home?
- Does it work reliably?
- Can the system help calculate free entitlement?
- Can the system produce electronic invoices that will send to parents automatically?
- Can I produce attendance registers at the click of a button?
- Do all areas of the system integrate seamlessly?
- Is the data backed up regularly so it can never be lost?
- Will the system help me comply with the Data Protection Act?
- What support options are available?
For the next stage of your research, you may wish to grab a pen and paper to make a summary of the advantages, disadvantages and cost of each product whilst bearing in mind the questions above. Whittle your list down to just 2 software products.
Take your time
Before you make your final decision, you may also find it helpful to talk to other childminders or consult forums to see if other people have can give you advice on the products you are considering. You may find someone who is already using one of the products themselves!
Our final piece of advice is do not rush your decision. The only way you can be sure that a product is a good fit for your childminding business over the long term is by doing thorough research and taking your time to make a carefully considered choice.
See our nursery management software in action!