Collecting childcare payments can be tricky. You need to make sure that your fees are being paid on time to maintain your regular income and keep your centre afloat. However, you also have to maintain the all-important parent/carer relationship, even when payments are late.
Whilst you may feel powerless to change your current situation, there are many small changes you can make to improve your chances of getting paid on time, all without affecting your parent relationships.
Set up payment reminders
We all need small reminders now and then to help us keep track of important events, whether that be upcoming meetings, appointments or even payments. Payment reminders are always useful, and one way to do this is to send out a friendly email or text message when a parent’s childcare payment is coming up. However, this can quickly become complicated if you are trying to manage multiple reminders for all parents.
There are many tools out there that will allow you to easily manage and even automate your reminders. Whilst you could opt in for a standalone communication tool, it’s best to use a CRM or payment solution that automatically sends out reminders before attempting to collect payments. With this in place, you will be able to automatically send out reminders without having to manually keep track of payments.
Let parents know when they miss a payment and give them options to resolve it
A missed payment isn’t always intentional and shouldn’t be treated as a debt straight away. Instead, try to understand why the payment was missed and work with the parent to resolve it. In some cases, it could be as simple as them forgetting about the payment deadline.
It’s also important that you notify parents when a payment deadline has been missed. This will remind the parent of their obligations and give them a chance to resolve the outstanding payment in their own time. When sending out these notifications, be sure to include instructions on how to rectify the payment or change their payment details, to give the parent every chance possible to make the payment.
Some payment solutions will include these notifications as a standard part of their offering and will even give parents the option to pay from the comfort of their own home. Automating these notifications will not only improve your payment collection rate but will also free up your own time to focus on service delivery.
Make it easy for parents to pay
The last thing parents need is to jump through hoops just to pay their childcare fees. Don’t just rely on cash payments or on-the-spot card payments which require parents to pay in person, give them the option to pay in their own time with their payment method of choice.
There are plenty of flexible payment solutions, from using an online payment gateway, to introducing an automated recurring billing solution. Whilst payment gateways can be great in the short term, the greatest benefits will be seen from automation. Imagine being able to collect your payments from parents and only having to ask for their details once – that’s the power of payment automation. Not only does this save you time (and a lot of stress) but it also makes it easier for parents to continue using your services without disruption.
You may have noticed a common theme here – good communication and payment flexibility. These are the key ingredients to maintaining a positive relationship with parents and improving your payment collection rate. Payment reminders help parents stay on top of their obligations, whilst failed or missed payment notifications give them every chance possible to resolve payment issues. Giving parents multiple payment methods to choose from and allowing them to pay in their own time makes it much easier for them to manage their payments and for your business to collect its fees.
Ezypay is an industry leading payment provider specialising in the collection of recurring and subscription payments. Our solution has been tailored to maximise your payment collection rates and make it easy for you to manage your incoming payments, while also providing a highly secure and flexible payment experience for parents. With five integrated childcare management software providers, we can help you decide which one is the best fit for you. Learn more about the benefits of Ezypay for childcare centers and explore our integrated partners here.