Tax preparation for daycare providers About Family Child Care Taxes Payroll Service for child care providers Tax Tips Blog Make Payments Tax Tips en espaŮol Contact Us

How to Promote Your Business During a Recession
Tom Copeland tips still timely

Written by Tom Copeland for Resources for Child Caring, November 2008

All signs point to a coming recession in the US. This is bad news for everyone, including family child care providers.

When our economy slows down, parents are laid off work and often stay home to care for their children, thus reducing the demand for child care services. At the same time, some of these parents will start offering child care in their own homes to earn more income for their families. The supply of child care increases while the demand for care decreases, making it difficult for providers to fill their spaces.

I've been hearing from providers across the country who are losing parents from their programs. Economists expect that unemployment will continue to rise in 2009. If so, providers may continue to experience difficulties in maintaining their enrollment.


How Providers Can Succeed in These Tough Times

Providers need to know how to answer two questions:

1. Why should I enroll my child in your program?
2. What does your program offer that other programs don't?

Your answer will largely determine how successful you'll be. You may believe that you run a wonderful program, but unless parents agree, you won't succeed. It's important to learn how to communicate the benefits of your program to parents.

Quality vs. Cost

When parents are shopping for child care, they are looking for programs of the highest quality for the money they can afford to spend. If they are looking at two programs and can't see a difference in the quality of those programs, they will choose the one that is cheaper. As our economy weakens, there will be an increasing number of providers who will lower their price to attract such parents.

I believe this is a mistake.

Instead, providers should put their energy into improving their communication skills and showing the benefits of their program to parents. Competing on the basis of price alone is a losing strategy. Competing on the basis of quality has a much greater chance of succeeding.

Features and Benefits

Parents want to know how your child care program will benefit their child. All providers can offer a basic description of their program to parents: "I serve preschoolers Monday through Friday and participate on the Food Program." What's often missing is a follow-up statement about how your program will help children learn: "I offer planned learning activities with weekly themes tailored to your child's needs."

All parents value education for their children, so use learning-related words to help them understand what your program offers: "I teach your children;" "This is what your children learned yesterday, are learning today, and will learn tomorrow;" "I charge a tuition;" "Your children will graduate from my program."

"Preschool Programs"

More and more parents understand the importance of early childhood education. Child care programs that promote themselves as "preschools" usually offer a structured time for planned learning activities. Even the word "preschool" itself evokes a learning environment.

However, all family child care providers who care for children of preschool age are offering, by definition, a "preschool program." Consider describing your program as a "preschool program" and point out to parents what activities you offer (whether highly structured or informal) and how these activities help children learn. Do not let a parent think that they must take their child to a "preschool program" in order to ensure that their child is learning.

Accreditation, Credentials, School Readiness, and Quality Rating Programs

Because parents are looking more and more for objective standards of quality, providers should seriously consider becoming accredited through the National Association for Family Child Care; obtain a Child Development Associate degree; or participate in a school readiness or quality rating program that may exist in their area.

Such programs set higher quality standards for providers than existing state regulations. Providers who participate in these programs can make a stronger case to parents that their children will learn more and be more successful in school.

If you want to learn more about these programs, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

Specific Marketing Strategies

Competing Against Child Care Centers

You may not offer everything that a child care center does, but you always have some benefits that a center does not. Visit local centers near your program and collect their fliers and marketing materials. Compare your benefits with their stated benefits.

In particular, family child care providers have the advantage in these areas:

* A home environment for children with lower child/staff ratios, which will help them learn more quickly
* Individually prepared, nutritious meals
* A consistent caregiver as the child grows older
* A safe, comfortable, familiar environment for infants with individualized care to help them thrive
* Mixed age groups that allow siblings to be together

Work with your local family child care association to promote family child care in your area. This process could involve running group advertising about the benefits of family child care with a slogan like, "Family Child Care: Where Your Child Is Always At Home." You could also attract media attention to special events or services offering by local providers.

Competing Against Informal Providers

During a recession, it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of providers who operate outside of your state child care regulation system. This includes providers operating legally and illegally. In either case, these providers are likely to be charging less than you do.

As you interview parents, promote your program using these techniques:

* Emphasize the health and safety aspects of your program: "I am licensed, which means that my home has been inspected for safety, and my family has been screened for criminal background or contagious illnesses. If you are considering enrolling with an unregulated provider, you should consider the fact that I have met higher health and safety standards."
* Tell parents that their child will get nutritious food on a daily basis because you are enrolled in the Food Program.
* Don't compete based on price. There will always be someone who charges less than you do. Instead, stress the value of your program: "I offer a variety of planned learning and play activities that will help prepare your child to succeed academically and socially in school."
* Emphasize the benefits that unregulated caregivers are unlikely to offer: "I have specialized training in child development, so I can respond quickly to your child's needs."
* Work with your local family child care association to initiate a public campaign about the benefits of regulated child care. Direct this campaign at both parents and informal caregivers. To parents, stress issues of safety, training, and professional care. To encourage informal caregivers to become regulated, emphasize the benefits of the Food Program, access to support, and the ability to earn more money.

You can't hope to appeal to everyone, and some parents will always pick the cheapest care. Let those parents go. People usually get what they pay for. If parents can see the value in your program, most will pay more for higher-quality care.

Competing in a High-and-Low-Income Neighborhoods

Your neighborhood may be located in a high- or low-income neighborhood, or it may contain a mix of families with varying incomes. Since not all parents will respond in the same way to how you describe the benefits of your program, you may want to listen closely to what parents want from their caregiver, then emphasize different aspects of your program.

Here are some strategies for marketing your program to parents:

* Prepare a brochure describing the benefits of your program. Include testimonials from current and past parents in your program.
* Some parents are looking for a formal education environment for their child. For these parents, consider adopting a business name that highlights the educational aspects of your program: The Little Academy, The Little People's School, Preparatory Schoolhouse.
* Other parents may want a program that emphasizes a more homey, loving, and caring environment. For such parents you may want to give your program a more friendly name: Country Critters Child Care, Just Like Home Day Care, Little Cherubs, Lue's Tiny Tots.
* In describing your program to parents, highlight any special services you offer (piano lessons, second-language training, numerous field trips, computer training, swimming lessons, etc.) and explain how these will enrich their child's education.
* Offer parents daily notes about their child's progress.
* Distribute a parent newsletter filled with tips and articles about the latest in child development.
* When talking to parents, stress the family nature of your services. Hold gatherings at your home (holiday parties, summer picnics, etc.) and invite all the family members of your clients.
* Talk about how important it is to you to build a strong relationship with the children and their parents. Show how you can help the parents by answering their parenting questions.
* Help parents identify community resources and services such as local clinics, low-cost stores, garage sales, etc.
* Get involved in community activities and connect with your neighbors so you will receive word-of-mouth referrals.

For more information, see the Tom Copeland's Family Child Care Marketing Guide.

Last updated 18 June 2013

Bookmark and Share

Posted on 2010-01-02 23:36:01

Most Employees are Subject to Overtime Rules

Do you have an employee claiming complete exemption from income tax withholding?

California Paid Sick Leave

FCC Payroll Late Reporting

IRS Relaxes Rules Regarding Depreciable Property

California is Still a FUTA Credit Reduction State

Child Care Business Liability Insurance is a Must

Minimum Wage Laws in California

Are Holiday and/or Vacation Pay Required?

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

ObamaCare: Health Coverage Info for Employees

Here Comes Healthcare Reform

The Redleaf Complete Forms Kit on CD

Saving for Retirement with a SIMPLE IRA

Hiring and sometimes, unfortunately.....Firing

A helpful Hiring Guide for California child care providers

Tax rates were scheduled to rise for all taxpayers on January 1, 2013 . . .

Franchise Tax Board backtracks on property tax initiative

An easy way to pay California use tax?

Is a tax id number is needed to claim the Dependent Care Credit?

Hardship prevents some parents from paying their bill

How long should you save tax records?

Giving Gifts to Employees

Keep Track of Your Use Tax Purchases

The Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction is a Wonderful Thing!

A New Barrage of Fake IRS Emails with Dangerous Links

Her Employee Just Got Married

Catching Up on Missed Home Depreciation

DayCare Providers: Should you set your business up as an LLC?

The Importance of Good Record Keeping

Are my education costs deductible? Can I count the class and homework time?

How much of this provider's cable/internet/phone service is deductible?

Provider's teenage children work in her business

Are his fiancee's property taxes an allowable business expense?

What is the cost of two part-time employees?

Summertime = Fix Up Time

Pesticides Are Poison

California Requirement: High income businesses must pay "use tax" online

Daycare worker wants to be an independent contractor

Child Care Provider's Own Children

Child care provider shocked at what she owes

Make Estimated Tax Payments Your First Priority

Protect Yourself from Calamity

Think it won't matter that much if you treat your worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee?

Treating your assistants as proper employees

Is the care provider's tax id needed for dependent care benefit plan participation?

CA Providers: Pay your workers more than once per month

Must daycare providers pay back their First-Time Homebuyer Credit?

Bonus Depreciation Rule extended for 2010

Tax Services

Foreclosures and Cancellation of Debt

FCC Payroll Account Set Up

Mother wants to claim the dependent care credit

Provider's income seems too low

How Much Will an Employee Cost You?

Employee transitioning to day care

Swapping free rent for child care help?

The Food Program Gives You Extra Income

Running a daycare business out of two homes?

What is my total out-of-pocket expense for wages of $500 per week?

2010 Federal HIRE Act

Low profit leads to trouble getting a bank loan

Should you do anything with personal grocery receipts?

Is Your Tax Preparer Familiar with Child Care Tax Rules?

Always Deduct Home Depreciation

Depreciation Schedules

The Time/Space Percentage May Not Be Right for Every Home Deduction

Why Don't You Ask for Outside Space Measurements?

Gifts for Volunteer Helpers?

Meal Rates Also Apply to Restaurant Meals

Here's how to request a child care provider's tax id number

What to do if a parent gives you a 1099

The Business % on Form 8829 Affects Many Day Care Business Expenses

An Exclusive-Use Room Will Increase Your Business Percentage

Energy Credit Limitation Will Affect Child Care Providers

A child care provider is concerned for a colleague with family helpers

Child Care Business Education Resources

Alison hears from a child care helper being treated as an independent contractor

How to Promote Your Business During a Recession

Should this parent give her child care provider a 1099 or a W-2?

IRS Reminds Car Shoppers about 2009 Tax Break

Advice for Out-of-State Daycare Provider

Can I write off a large vehicle as a business expense?

Question about categorizing shopping receipts

Ever Wonder if Your Microwave Oven Leaks Radiation?

Ignore Phony Social Security Administration E-Mails

FCC Payroll Service: Full Service at a Low Cost

Protect Children from the Dangers of Cell Phones

Want a Website Someday?

Hosting a Holiday Party for Business Purposes?

1099 Child Care Helpers Are Rare

Quarterly Estimated Tax Payment Due Dates

Make Estimated Tax Payments

Providers who are not licensed may miss out on the home expense deduction

Meal rates set in July are used to calculate food deductions for the following year

Visa holder wants to start a family child care

First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Cash for Clunkers signed into law on June 24, 2009

Making Work Pay Credit

Unemployment Benefits May Be Tax-Free in 2009

American Opportunity Tax Credit

Deduction for Sales Tax on New Motor Vehicles

Certain Family Employees = Lower Payroll Taxes

Required Minimum Distributions Waived for 2009

Energy Credit for Home Improvements

Energy Credit for Solar Property

What's the best software for our daycare business?

How should providers go about getting health insurance coverage?

Can providers write off payments to child helpers?

Wife earned $1,325 caring for children in 2008

Alison answers Michael Finney's childcare tax questions on "The View from the Bay"

How does this babysitter file her taxes without a W-2 or 1099?

Can I deduct the cost of items purchased before I got my license?

How do child care partners split the home deductions?

More than one car and other business auto concerns

Do I have to give out my tax id number and/or a total to parents?

Obtaining workers' compensation coverage

Give your Tax ID Number to Parents using Form W-10

Should I file separately from my spouse?

1099-MISC Forms are a Snap to Prepare

Aren't 1099-MISC forms due by January 31?

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Beware of Your Rights Before the IRS

Standard Mileage Rates for 2006 through 2018

Respond Quickly to IRS Notices

Child Care Providers Should Take a Home Inventory

Gifts From Parents May Be Taxable Income

Child Care Business Licenses

Child Care Workers are Almost Always Employees

Retirement Plan and IRA Contribution Limits

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Track Child Care Work Hours in the Home

Standard Meal Rates for Family Child Care Providers

Standard Meal Rates for Residents of Alaska

Standard Meal Rates for Residents of Hawaii

Summer 2008 Quick Tax Tips

Do You Have Debt Forgiveness?

Federal Housing Bill Passes on June 30, 2008

New Rule Will Result in More Taxable Home Sales

Take Advantage of Tax Savings in a Down Market

Converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth?

Health Savings Account Contribution Limits

My Letter to New Family Child Care Providers

IRS Rebate Payment Schedule Available

What About Giving 1099s for Household Services?

How to Find a Tax Preparer

Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Government Loses Billions as Sole Proprietors Underreport Their Income

Daycare Providers: Should You Incorporate?

Lessons in Back-to-School Tax Breaks

Child Care Tax Return Checklist

Child Care Providers and other Sole Proprietors: Get an EIN

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Here's a Tip: All Tips Are Taxable

Plan Now, Avoid High Taxes Later

E-mails From the IRS? Be Skeptical

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Payroll Tax Guide for Daycare Providers and Other Small Business Owners

When an Employer Pays 100% of Payroll Taxes

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Tax Realities of Renting Your Vacation Home

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Protect Your Charitable Deductions

Special Needs = Special Tax Awareness

Educator Expense Deduction Still Available for 2013

Family Child Care Provider Fights Back in IRS Audit

A Tom Copeland Daycare Tax Tip

Careful Recordkeeping = Big Tax Deductions

California State Disability Insurance Rates

Receipts Now Required for All Charitable Contributions

Family Child Care Taxes - Frequently Asked Questions

Tom Copeland Bio and Contact info
Tom Copeland is the nation's leading trainer, author, and advocate of business practices for family child care providers.
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
NAFCC 2011 Annual Conference
July 21-23, 2011
Las Vegas, NV
California Association for Family Child Care (CAFCC)

CAFCC 2011 Annual Conference
April 29-May 1, 2011
at the Embassy Suites
Milpitas, Silicon Valley

Community Child Care Coordinating (4C's) of Alameda County
Salvation Army Charitable Goods Valuation Guide
Franchise Tax Board Forms & Publications
IRS Forms and Publications
NAEA Tax Links
All State Tax Links
NATP Tax Links
Resources for Child Caring (formerly the Redleaf National Institute)
Internal Revenue Service
California Franchise Tax Board
Bay Area Cajun Zydeco Dance Calendar


© 2010, All Rights Reserved Alison T. Jacks / Family Child Care Taxes

Alison T. Jacks is an Enrolled Agent specializing in tax preparation and payroll services for California family child care providers. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she is dedicated to effective client communication and attention to detail. Alison has a diverse clientele, but since 2007, she has been accepting child care provider clients only. The FCC Payroll Service was launched in 2010 to meet the needs of preschool and day care employers.

Alison is located in San Francisco East Bay City of Fremont, but she works with clients living throughout Central, Southern, and Northern California. She is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals.

Our Privacy Policy

Website by Cooksey-Talbott Studio.

Special thanks to Cooksey-Talbott for his photographs of the Fremont Hills.