Unexpected circumstances can lead to financial strain on your childcare center. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many centers have experienced low enrollment or having to close altogether. Now, center owners are looking to rebuild and set themselves up for financial success. Having a financial plan in place will not only give you peace of mind but also give you the freedom to grow your business. The key to a strong financial plan is building a budget. These resources will help you assess all financial aspects of your business to build the budget right for you and your center.
Understanding Your Budget
A budget is simply a way to keep track of the money your center makes, less the money it spends. Seeing this clearly allows you to understand the various costs affecting your center and make educated decisions on where to allocate funds.
Your income is any money your center brings in, most likely from enrollment and administrative fees.
Your income will depend on the rates your center charges for:
- Special programs (camps, events, etc.)
- Late fees
- Registration fees
Find your weekly, monthly, or annual income by outlining these charges per student and identifying the frequency at which they’re charged.
Financial Assistance and Resources
COVID-19 has presented unexpected challenges to many childcare centers. Many are struggling financially and are looking for ways to continue to fund their business.
There are a number of grants and emergency funds available to childcare centers due to the pandemic. Now is a great time to research and apply for any your center might qualify for. ChildCare Aware has pulled together a list of resources for centers that may be struggling financially. The list below covers different grants and financial resources for childcare centers:
- Office of Child Care: Resources for Providers
- Think Small: Grants and Financial Opportunities
- USA Grant Applications: Grants and Financial Opportunities
There are a number of costs associated with running a childcare center. These are most commonly operating expenses including:
- Cleaning supplies/cleaning services
- Licensing Fees
- Maintenance & repairs
- Telephone and internet
Outline these expenses in a spreadsheet (a template is included below) along with your income and any debt to get a full view of your center’s financial status.
- Early Education Business Consultants has created a variety of tools to help your childcare center when it comes to financial planning. This cash flow projection worksheet outlines any expenses your center incurs and gives you a clear overview of your cashflow. Understanding the cashflow of your business gives you better insight into how you’re spending your money along with where you can cut back on expenses or increase spending if you need to.
- Kangarootime’s Scenario Modeling Tool helps you to assess the financial impact COVID-19 will have on your business. By giving you visibility into different levers you can pull, it will help you understand how to offset losses and enable you to successfully navigate the economic down period. Download the tool here.
- Kangarootime created a PPP Burndown Tool for centers who accepted PPP loan funds to help budget for the loan forgiveness process. This tool will help you calculate how quickly you will “burn” through your loan based on your payroll, mortgage, and utility expenditures. It will also help you understand loan forgiveness reductions and how to account for them. For an informational video on how to use the tool, click here. Download the tool here.
Using these resources, you’ll be able to build a budget that caters to all of your center’s needs. Having a visual overview of your money, where it’s going, and where it’s coming from is key when making important decisions for your center. By understanding the financial viability of your business, you’ll be able to plan ahead and make sure your center is financially stable for years to come.