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Thumper
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Hello everyone

With National Living Wage and pensions looming I'm looking how to bring in more revenue. We are about full so it's about how to actually get more money not increase my numbers.

The obvious thing would be to put up fees but after phoning around local settings it would seem we are more expensive than they are already. I know the other settings are struggling financially as they've kept their fees so low but I'm concerned if I increase families may just go where it's cheaper.

Any thoughts?

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Are you sure you have cut back on non-essential items? I "dumped" a few standing orders, I buy enough snack, but I'm not as generous in what we supply now and it is right, I have spoken to all staff about wastage, we are using up lots of craft stuffs we have rather than buying in more etc. Whatever you do won't bring in oodles of money - it has to be a combination of things over time.

 

You could "buy" in a service and charge parents more for it than you are paying - i.e., language lesson, music etc.

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We are in the same position as Thumper and Ancaster and agree all the 'money saving' tips re snack etc have all been done and are on-going.

We are the dearest pre-school in our area and have still remained open with other cheaper ones closing.

Ancaster - we also considered the more for 2yr olds but they are the ones who are keepng us open.

We have in the past given 'vouchers' for cheaper EXTRA sessions - but after doing it twice people 'cottoned on' to it and it also penalised those that do actually take up full hours, so actuall that doesn't work!

 

My thoughts have been trying to sort the fact that most of our children won't take up full hours until they are funded - perhaps somesort of incentive to make them take up more hours

Eg 2x3hr sessions = £25 per week 3 x 3hr sessions = £23 per week 4 x 3hr sessions = you get the picture!

 

Has anyone tried this?

;

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Oh, so rather than charge more for 2 year olds you would in theory charge them less the more they do?

We are going to be hit hard in Sept. Not only the extra costs but a drop in numbers. We used to give out a 'shopping list' and ask parents to donate items eg.fruit, cheese, veg for snack, baby wipes, toilet rolls etc. It used to work quite well but then people just stopped bring things in.

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It's an interesting idea thumperrabbit need to give it some consideration as to if we could make it work for us! We do have the same issue in that children tend to do only 2 sessions (unless 2 year funded) and not up it to five until they are funded! The other thing I've been trying to get my head around is trying to charge a termly say resource fee to all children but the sentence "free at the point of delivery" is my preventer!! The problem is we have no other way of adding a fee without increasing actual fees, I simply cannot see a way around it that will not be in breach of my LA contract!

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How about some good old fundraising! A sponsored bounce or treasure hunt? A big good raffle with prizes donated by local businesses can bring in a fair bit too. It's not expensive to get professionally printed tickets and then you can share them far and wide.

Edited by Cait
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I don't think we should be fundraising to keep our businesses sustainable. As you never know how successful each fundraiser might be and funds should generally not be used in this way.( there are many charity commission rules on this).

However it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain buoyant with all the added costs to our businesses from the current funds given to us for the children in our care.

I'm not truly sure what the answer is to be honest. I can sadly see many more settings closing unless a huge investment is made into the true costs of our provisions.

We do a large amount of fundraising at our setting and have a very proactive committee, with any monies raised going towards a particular project, piece of equipment or training costs etc.

I continue to have many sleepless nights worrying about this, but unfortunately my hands are tied.:(:(:(

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How about some good old fundraising! A sponsored bounce or treasure hunt? A big good raffle with prizes donated by local businesses can bring in a fair bit too. It's not expensive to get professionally printed tickets and then you can share them far and wide.

Already part of our yearly plan along with snack donations and asking for donations of cleaning supplies and a table top sale.

We struggle to get raffle prizes these day from companies they all seem to be supporting their own chosen charity - so although we try we have to ask parents to donate raffle prizes and then ask them to buy raffle tickets - not good really :(

The people who are really suffering are the children as resources just can't be replaced / updated - staff, rent etc take up all available funds and thats using fees & fundraising.

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Oh, so rather than charge more for 2 year olds you would in theory charge them less the more they do?

 

Yes that's what I was trying to get at, just to try and get them to have more sessions not wait until they are funded - not sure if it will work though, just need to hear some 'pitfalls' really!

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Well I agree Fredbear, we should'nt be fundraising to basically support a government funded business!! Or asking Parents to bring in sundries from a shopping list - we'll be setting up the equivalent of food banks next - and that'll be for the staff!

 

No joking matter - its incredulous that we are continuing to struggle to support our settings on 15 hrs of funding and all the restraints that go with it - yet we are supposed to be providing 'Quality Provision' It's a joke! How the government can boast the offer of 30 hrs when they wont even adequately fund 15 is beyond me! They have basically reduced pvi settings to 'Make do and Mend childcare'. All the talk about raising standards, higher qualified staff etc etc and here we are discussing how to raise extra pounds to keep afloat.

 

Our voices were'nt heard on the 30hr so-called consultation, in fact I felt we were sneered at - for not using funding appropriately!

I'm afraid there will be no answer, like many other government funded services we are having to provide a brilliant service on a shoe string. The increased costs will see many settings close, it will take, just one more thing.....and Daves 'Free Childcare' will come tumbling down! Bet He sleeps at night!

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Well after attending a meeting with my local EY Business liaison officer (who only adviced all the things I couldn't do?) we have decided an increase in fees is the only way forward.

We will be about £1.00 an hour more than other local settings which is worrying.

 

Just drafting the letter ?

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Thumper, it's do that or flounder:( We are also dearer than our closest pre-schools, but to be honest we still have a very healthy waiting list.

From a staffing point of view, I refuse to work to the minimum in ratio for the children. We have a huge facility and I am unwilling to compromise on this.

So money is extremely tight.

Hope you find a resolution that works for you.:) fx

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I'm the same a Fredbear I know why we need more money it's because we never run to ratio (or very rarely) and I'm not willing to compromise on that - not only for the safety of the children but also for our own sanity as staff.

I prefer to go down being the best setting we can, rather than offering less than the best.

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Well after attending a meeting with my local EY Business liaison officer (who only adviced all the things I couldn't do) we have decided an increase in fees is the only way forward.

We will be about £1.00 an hour more than other local settings which is worrying.

 

Just drafting the letter

I think we need to remember that nothing is ever set in stone....give it a go if it has a negative effect then change it. This is the advantage of being a small business you can think on your feet and bend to the wind...the big chains can't do that! Promote yourself heavily.....and I don't mean adverts really ...just every opportunity to get yourself mentioned in your community. Funnily enough the general public often perceives paying more gives you better quality so you may find it actually helps! We have had a few families recently who have not chosen us because we were too cheap and the Montessori down the road who charges a fortune has taken them

How much are your fees at the moment and what are you going to charge? Don't be apologetic in your letter...promote it as a way to ensure that you continue to give the best quality service and education ...shout out your benefits!

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Thanks Finleysmaid it's hard also being committee run for these things as those who pay additional top up hours are thinking about themselves and want fees to remain as they are however they aren't looking at the bigger picture.

 

We currently charge 5.00 per hour but are making a loss on our 2 yr olds at this price (funding rate for 2 yr olds 5.33)

 

We thinking of charging 5.50 but some local settings are only charging 4.00 an hour.

Edited by Thumper
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it's hard also being committee run for these things as those who pay additional top up hours are thinking about themselves and want fees to remain as they are however they aren't looking at the bigger picture.

 

 

I completely understand where you are coming from Thumper - I have mentioned conflict of interest (in a nice way) and also printed off children on role in different ways to show how we could perhaps increase our sessions!! We are considering only offering funded hours in the morning - we do open for two afternoons and currently parents can use 2 sessions in one day to cover the whole day which is obviously what most of them do! I have suggested paying for afternoon sessions in the past and it didn't go down very well at all, but we have a different committee now who are more forward thinking so am trying again!! I'm trying to "future proof" the setting as a big issue with committees is they change so regularly and whilst this can bring fabulous new ideas etc, the conflict of interest is a real issue!

 

I am not dissing the committee or committees generally in any way I do want to make that absolutely clear!! They are willing to volunteer their valuable time and it is often only the minority that are willing to do so!

 

Looking at hourly prices on here we really do need to address ours - we are still charging a flat rate per session - the issue I have is that I am unable to vote my ideas being politely declined each time in the past I have suggested a change for example charging more for two year olds. As the committee buy in my managerial services through my own company, I can offer possible solutions but not force them to take them and each time they stick with what they have always done, undercharge per session and go along the fund raising route to prop up income!! It's a little bit like being in Ground Hog Day - but I don't think it can carry on for much longer without some really tough decisions!! I am actually in the camp who believes that fund raising should be used for fabulous new resources, trips out etc and not to keep the setting afloat, but then I do appreciate that sometimes needs must!!!

 

Well that is my weekend rant over!! Hope you all have a great one.

Edited by Ancaster
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In light of the living wage and pensions we have increased out hourly rate form £4 an hour to £4.40 an hour from April 16. So far no parents have said anything. It won't make much of a difference to us but every penny counts.

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Thanks Finleysmaid it's hard also being committee run for these things as those who pay additional top up hours are thinking about themselves and want fees to remain as they are however they aren't looking at the bigger picture.

 

We currently charge 5.00 per hour but are making a loss on our 2 yr olds at this price (funding rate for 2 yr olds 5.33)

 

We thinking of charging 5.50 but some local settings are only charging 4.00 an hour.

have you tried getting them to come up with the solutions? throw it back to them...tell them how tricky it is and then say so do any of you have any ideas as to how we can move forward on this? once they start thinking about the fact they run the business you may be surprised. There will always be some that are negative but you may find it works. I have complete sympathy as we were committee run for many years ...even as a company we are still run by trustees who tend to be parents so it still has an effect.

 

I did some calculations this morning and to make as much money on the 2's as the 3's we need to charge them £8.26 per hour!!!!!!

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Thanks Finleysmaid it's hard also being committee run for these things as those who pay additional top up hours are thinking about themselves and want fees to remain as they are however they aren't looking at the bigger picture.

 

 

This is the fundamental flaw of voluntary management committees that are user led, they don't always understand that their position as a trustee is about doing what is best for the organisation and they're often unable to separate this from what is best for them as a parent. I have had parents on our committee who have wanted to discuss issues in trustee meetings that are often more appropriate for a PTA group - for example children losing clothes at nursery. For this reason, we have always tried to get some other representation on the committee such as professionals from other agencies and some representatives of other organisations and local businesses. This is increasingly hard though. Last time I wanted to increase fees, I prepared a budgeted forecast showing what the result would be at the year end if we did put the fees up and a comparison showing the result if we didn't - it was a bit of a no brainer - if they wanted us to stay open and the staff to keep their jobs, they had to accept that it was a necessity. I realise this may seem a bit generalised and am in no way criticising the contribution that parents make or minimising our gratitude to them for their time.

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This is an industry wide problem. Because the are are some practitioners and settings willing to sell childcare at below cost, the rest of the industry finds itself undercutting each other in a financial race to the bottom. It's time the whole of the industry worked together to encourage all to charge rates that honestly reflect the true and sustainable cost of provision. Anti-competitive? Collusion? Not before time sisters and brothers.

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have you tried getting them to come up with the solutions? throw it back to them...tell them how tricky it is and then say so do any of you have any ideas as to how we can move forward on this? once they start thinking about the fact they run the business you may be surprised. There will always be some that are negative but you may find it works. I have complete sympathy as we were committee run for many years ...even as a company we are still run by trustees who tend to be parents so it still has an effect.

 

I did some calculations this morning and to make as much money on the 2's as the 3's we need to charge them £8.26 per hour!!!!!!

Ive asked for a sub committee to be made to deal with it....hoping if they physically work out the costings they will see the difficult situation financially we will be in without an increase somewhere

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