According to ChildCare Aware of America, with more dual-income families and the rise in single parent families, there are now close to 11 million children under the age of five in some type of child care for at least 35 hours a week.

“Perhaps the most critical decision parents make in balancing their work and home life is choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work,” said report author Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer in the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. “Child care arrangements and the financial burden they impose on families are important issues for policymakers and anyone concerned about the welfare of children.” This quote illustrates the ongoing need for quality child care to assist parents with their need to make a living while having the reassurance that their children are in good hands while at work.

Starting a Family Child Care Home Business

While most parents put their children are in daycare businesses that operate outside of a home, there are a growing number of businesses that are run from homes referred to as family child care homes. ChildCare Aware of America lists this number at 6% of the total number of child care businesses.

With rates, running anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 a year per child, more stay-at-home moms are getting their licenses to turn part of their home into a child care facility. The average income for a family child care home business is $21,320, which provides a stay-at-home mom with an income while staying at home with young children.

Helping bring a level of standards to family child care home businesses is the National Association of Family Child Care, which offers accreditation, workshops, conferences, and a network of support to launch a family child care home business. This is a good place to start if you are considering launching your own family child care home business.

The Building Blocks of Cash Flow

Besides looking at all the operational needs involved in a family child care home business, including obtaining a license, bank account, space, and supplies and clients, you need to focus on how to ensure the cash flow you need to get an income and reinvest in toys, learning materials, snacks, and other supplies.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau information, many families struggle to pay for child care. For example, the percent of families who reported they made a cash payment for child care for at least one of their children declined from 42 percent to 32 percent between 1997 and 2011. Now, these families are typically making a payment with a debit or even credit card, so it is important that you set up your family child care to accept all types of payments in order to attract the most clients possible.

Online Invoicing Tools for Child Care Providers Businesses

If you are running a family child care business, it is important to make it as easy as possible for your clients, who are most likely already overwhelmed trying to balance work and family life. You can offer them easy ways to make payments, which often helps you get paid on time. When you are paid in a timely fashion, it tends to reduce any conflict or awkwardness that goes into reminding clients to pay while increasing your cash flow.

Here are some tips on the available online invoicing tools:

  • Select an online invoicing tool that calculates everything for you to ensure the amount is always correct and has the most current date and invoice number. If a client sees something is incorrect on the invoice, they typically will wait to receive a correct invoice from you. This takes even more time, so having an automated invoice system means a correct invoice and a faster payment.
  • Use online invoicing templates to create a professional-looking invoice, which represents your brand to establish a clear image for your business. You want your clients to know that, even though you are using your home, you are a professional and licensed operation that represents a high standard. Even carrying this through to your invoice sends this message.
  • Send invoices to your clients’ email addresses, which should include a link to a payment portal so they can pay straight from their PayPal account, bank, or credit card. Having the invoice emailed to them saves time and puts it right in front of them so they can pay immediately from their phone, tablet, or computer immediately. A paper invoice tends to end up in a pile of bills and paperwork that falls into the category of “out of sight, out of mind”.
  • Establish a recurring payment option so that clients can just have automatic payments made on the same day each month for the same amount.
  • Put the invoice reminder alert to work for you if a client hasn’t paid. When this rarely happens, it does help to have an online invoicing tool that automatically issues a payment reminder. At the same time, when you do get paid, this online invoicing tool can also send an acknowledgment email with a thank you, which goes a long way to establishing a good rapport with your clients.
  • Consider also having a payment app available that your clients can use on-site that allows you to swipe their credit card and sends them an email receipt.

Once you establish this consistent process for payment, you can focus on all the other important aspects of a family child care home business, including creating a fun, safe, and healthy environment for all the kids who become extended members of your family.

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Best known as an Entrepreneur and Connector. John was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine as well as a blogging expert by Forbes. He is the Founder and CEO of Due.

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