The sector is currently under huge financial pressure, having to face issues such as annual increases in the National Minimum Wage, rises in business rates and the introduction of statutory pensions. Added to this, settings must decide whether they will offer the Government’s 30-hours ‘free’ childcare to parents in September. Here, we provide 3 tips to help you maximise your setting’s financial resources.

1. Juggle staff rotas around

Salaries are the biggest outgoing in a setting’s budget, representing typically over 70% of expenditure. So, when looking at trimming back costs, this is a good place to start! Could your staff rotas be juggled around so you don’t need to rely on bank staff so much? Are you overstaffed on some days and understaffed others? Looking at this in depth will help reveal areas where you can make cost savings. Your staff may appreciate an unpaid half day occasionally, or you could offer time in lieu on your quieter days instead of paid overtime.

2. Consider parent involvement

Grasshoppers nursery in Hackney demonstrate how qualified staff and parents can work together to offer families more involvement in their child’s care. The setting uses a ‘parent co-operative’ style method, allowing parents to offer their time for a discount on their fees.

Whilst parents rarely count towards staff: child ratios, parents bring a lot of expertise and skills. You may have musicians to offer free music classes, accountants to help with bookkeeping, or a handyman to keep the costs of repairs down. Remember, if parents are going to be in ratio, they must have a DBS check and your Ofsted qualification ratio must be maintained at all times. Ask your provider about the costs for a volunteer’s DBS check, they’re usually far cheaper than for a staff member.

3. Use software to help you budget

Careful budgeting is the key to successfully managing your setting’s outgoings. This can be much easier with nursery management software, which provides ‘on demand’ access to reports including financial forecasts, profit and occupancy. Being able to clearly see how your business is performing in this way will allow you to plan for circumstances which may affect your setting’s long-term sustainability.

We’d love to hear how you’ve helped save money at your setting. Share your ideas below!


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