Child Care Billing: How to Handle Late Payments
Collecting late payments is one of the most unpleasant and toughest parts of child care billing. While it may not be possible to eliminate late payments altogether, these tips can help alleviate some of the billing struggles child care providers face.
set Expectations with a Child Care Billing Policy
Minimize late payments by setting expectations and preparing for late payments before they even happen. In the enrollment packet given to your parents, include a child care billing policy form. Use this form to give parents a clear look at what is expected and what consequences may occur if the billing policies are not followed.
Keep track of late pickups and payments
When you are already dealing with late payments, the last thing you want to do is waste time calculating late pickups, and remembering past due charges. While you may not be able to completely eliminate the pains of calculating late payments, you can make the process much easier.
Child care billing software can help centers easily calculate how many late pickup hours have accrued, as well as easily track when child care payments are made.
Keep parents informed
It is a good practice for you to give parents reminders when tuition is due, and notices when they are late. This will first help parents be more likely to pay on time. Parents may have the best intentions, but we can all use a reminder.
Late notices also keep parents informed of late fees they may have. Even if you outlined your child care billing policies at the beginning of the year, many parents may not realize what amount of late fees they have accrued. Keeping parents informed helps eliminate unpleasant surprises for parents come billing time, as well as help encourage parents to pay in a timely manner in the future.
Make it easy for parents to pay
I forgot my checkbook.
How much do I owe again?
Do these phrases sound a little too familiar? Provide your parents with a variety of billing methods such as credit card and ACH. While this will not guarantee families will pay on time, offering online billing will make it easy to collect payments.
Many child care online billing services also give parents the option to quickly view how much they owe at any given time. This helps eliminate any confusion and late payment excuses.
Understand the challenges your families face
Create an open line of communication, and do your part to understand your family’s challenges and needs. You may find that a simple change of how often you bill your families, or changing the payment deadline date may make a huge difference on payments being received on time.
Stand your Ground
As much as we hate it when families are late on paying the bill, we also care about our families we serve. We empathize when our families are going through financial difficulties and hardships.
However, it’s important to stand your ground, and stick to any late policies you have set up. If you let a late payment slide, it is much more likely to happen again. Following the late policies you have created helps keep parents accountable, and ensures you are able to continue running a quality child care service.
Know when to take further action
While we all hope it never gets to this point, sometimes we need to take more serious actions when it comes to late or missed payments. What if a parent is constantly late on his or her payments? What if a family stops paying you all together, but promises they will pay soon? Sometimes it gets to the point when you need to let a family go.
This does not mean you are an uncompassionate person. Running a quality child care center requires a large amount of time and effort. Be kind and understanding with your parents, but also firm. In the end, good parents will appreciate and respect the fact that you are running a business.
Want to learn more about how you can save time and take the pain out of child care billing? Sign up a free 14-day trial today.