Making your business as efficient as possible is important in any industry, but particularly if you work in childcare. The NDNA recently reported that nurseries in England are suffering a loss of £958 per child per year for current 15 hour a week places, and the Government’s 30 hour ‘free’ policy is threatening the viability of many settings.
With financial and time pressure continuing to mount for those working in the childcare sector, what can you do to make the most of the resources you have?
Cross-train your staff
It can be particularly helpful to train your staff to fulfil more than one role in your setting. This can be as simple as making sure that all practitioners know how to answer the phone and book a showround with a parent. Having additional responsibility and ownership of tasks will motivate your staff and help their personal development, too.
Stop chasing parents who owe money
Time is precious when you’re a childcare provider and there never seems to be enough hours in the day! Putting automated fee collection in place means that parents pay their fees to you by Direct Debit. Using this service, you can keep conversations about finances completely separate from the everyday care of children and, importantly, preserve the relationship you’ve worked hard to build with parents.
Avoid unnecessary printing
Parents have become increasingly mobile – checking their emails whilst on-the-go and accessing the internet everyday through their phones. So, why not take advantage of this? Make your invoices electronic, send your newsletter by email, and use your website and social media pages to keep them updated on upcoming events. Not only is this convenient for parents, it will also help to keep your printing and paper costs as low as possible.
Use technology to speed up workflow
If you’re spending hours each week trying to figure out what parents owe or using your evenings to put together staff rotas, then technology can help you get back the time you’ve lost. Great nursery management software can, in fact, cut down on your planning and preparation work by as much as 50%, as explained by Carly Garratt of Banana Moon Nurseries. Similarly, using online learning journals such as Footsteps will reduce the amount of time your staff spend outside of the room, cutting and sticking photos and writing time-consuming notes into scrapbooks or ring binders.