Unsent invoices. Missed payments. Free field trips. With hundreds of children in your care, childcare billing has never been easy. But when you add in regular closures, new preschool scheduling options, and increased operational pressure — invoices and billing suddenly looks a whole lot more complicated.
Recent history’s fluctuations in attendance have proven just how important your childcare billing software is to your revenue. If the goal is to build financial resilience into your childcare center or enterprise, it literally pays to have an airtight billing and invoicing system.
In this article, we’ll run through some of the key factors to consider when designing a childcare billing system that keeps your centers on track with revenue.
How to improve childcare billing:
- Revise your rates
- Get organized
- Get paid
- Dynamic billing
- Review reports
First, you may want to revisit your rates
Forget bitcoin, Crayola is the new currency in childcare centers. But in all seriousness, the early childhood education (ECE) community is experiencing record-high costs associated with school supplies due to inflation and supply chain shortages.
If you have yet to balance your books this year, now is a great time to reevaluate whether or not your current rates are able to adequately cover the increased costs associated with core operating expenses such as supplies, salaries, and rent.
Whether you reconcile accounts every week or every month, make sure your childcare management software makes it simple to quickly view the numbers, so you can see at a glance whether your center revenue is on track.
Organize your childcare billing to keep it intuitive
The weird and wonderful world of early childhood education (ECE) has always been subject to ebbs and flows, but if your last audit was more challenging than the previous year’s, it may be time to revise your billing processes.
Here are just some of the ways childcare software helps you keep your billing organized.
Billing Plans vs. Billing Items
Every center has its regular invoicing charges and its one-time fees. The trick is to use a childcare billing system that makes it easy to differentiate the two.
For example, LineLeader ‘Plans’ are monthly recurring charges such as tuition, and ‘Items’ are single one-off charges like ice cream cones or clean pants (sorry, mom).
Within your billing settings, LineLeader users can organize and filter by plan and item charges to instantly see the high-level view for your entire center, or drill down to charges at the individual family or child level.
That’s important because modern parents value transparency.
Child, Parent & Family Billing Profiles
Every ECE center has that one family who’s a couple of kids away from their own TLC show (16 kids and crying?). Luckily, MomentPath has a solution that helps you organize billing and payments for families of all shapes and sizes.
Individual child profiles house the actual charges for plans and items, so you can see exactly who gets charged what each month. This is where you’re going to set up your invoice information such as:
- Invoice dates
- Payer information
- Any subsidy/ CCDF information
- Any discounts or payment amount overrides
- Enrollment forecasting preferences
Parent profiles allow one or both parents to add payment information and set up autopay billing. This can be done directly from the app.
Parent portals also house credit memos for payments that were made by cash or check. On the child’s profile, you can add in one or more parents. From here, parents will be able to set up the option to automatically split the cost of care however they requested each month.
Make sure your childcare billing software supports:
- American Express
- Cash/ Check
- Subsidy/ CCDF reimbursements
Family profiles offer a full view of all a family’s charges, invoices, and payments. These tiered profiles allow a dynamic, fully customized view of virtually any billing information related to any individual child, parent, or family.
Between individual child, parent, and family views, you’ll be able to keep all of your invoicing and payments organized within one single childcare billing software.
No more lost invoices. No more missed payments. You’ll now have a full view of your cash flow and parents can pay directly within the same app where you track invoices and collections.
Get your childcare invoices paid automatically
For any busy center or enterprise, automation is the most valuable piece of the puzzle when it comes to consistent childcare billing.
Your childcare billing system should make it easy for you to automatically schedule and/or batch billing based on your unique needs and policies.
The good news is, scheduling automatic billing for your centers is quick and easy with LineLeader.
Under the ‘Configuration’ tab for your billing page, you can edit your billing schedule.
Here, you’ll be entering how far in advance to generate invoices, as well as the day of the week or month the invoices go out. After that, you simply set when the payment is due, and any relevant grace period, and you’re good to go!
Maybe you just got a new shipment of bubbles in, and want to batch charge all the families who ordered them at the same time.
Under ‘configuration’ for ‘plans and items’ you can select the drop-down action ‘charge multiple’ under a specific item. This will allow you to automatically pull the payment amount from the selected group.
Dynamic Childcare Billing
As with all businesses, there are going to be times when you’re going to need to make some billing exceptions.
Whether you need to charge a late payment fee or offer a discount, you’ll want to make sure your billing software can make the process as fast and easy as possible — both for you and the parents.
Collecting Security Deposits
With LineLeader, you can proactively collect security deposits for children prior to their enrollment.
Under ‘configurations’ of ‘plans and billing’, you can create a new item called ‘security deposit’.
Simply enter in the amount and select ‘refundable deposit’ as you’re entering the item information. LineLeader will automatically log your security deposit item as refundable within your financial reports, and help you prep for an eventual payback.
Adding a Discount
Whether it’s a discount for paying prior to a due date, or an “I’m sorry we sent your child home in someone else’s pants” courtesy, discounts are easier than ever.
Under billing configurations and settings, you can ‘manage discounts’ under the ‘discounts and payers’ section. Here you enter the code, description, expiration date, and override information.
Chargebacks & Fees
Things happen, and occasionally payments slip through the cracks. With the right billing software, you’re able to catch payment issues and provide a systematic process for dealing with chargebacks or payments received outside of your grace period.
Chargebacks occur within LineLeader when a payment is attempted but the following is returned:
- No Account/Unable to Locate Account
- Insufficient Funds
- Payment Stopped
- Unauthorized Debit to Consumer Account Using Corporate SEC code
- No Cardholder Authorization
- Invalid Account Number
When it comes to chargebacks, you can bulk view all failed payments within your center. From there, you can either view the invoice that received a chargeback, charge the family again with their chargeback fee added to the invoice, or mark the ticket as resolved.
Late payment fees can also be added if payment has not been completed after the grace period. These users will receive an updated invoice and the late payment fee will be automatically added based on the number of days you choose.
Review your childcare billing reports
When you run your billing & invoicing through MomentPath, you have access to multiple customized reports to help you keep an eye on how your business is running. Reports related to billing can be viewed from the ‘reports’ tab within ‘billing’ (not the generic ‘reports’ tab).
Here are just some of the reports MomentPath offers to help you stay on top of your cashflow.
Like any software, the more you run through the platform, the more accurate your reports will be. You can also gain extra layers of insight within your reporting by linking external app integrations to your billing process.
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