Money Matters

Finding the Cash to Help Your Business

Whether it's for renovations, expansion plans, or just to start a much needed home child care, daycare owners are constantly looking for ways to obtain grant money to help offset the costs of these ventures. Where to find these grants is one of the most popular questions we get asked at child care online.

The truth is there is no easy solution to this dilemma. Finding a funder takes a lot of research. You need to weed through a list of potential donors (check out the list in our Grants section), make calls to inquire about what may be available and how you can apply. Then you need to make a proposal, write a catchy cover letter and follow up on your submission. Never mind all the work you've already put into costing out your new project or in the new design plans you've seated over.

It's the part about making calls that can get the best of your good intentions to provide a higher quality of care for your kids. After all, no one likes rejection. And hearing the word "sorry" over and over can really wear down what's left of your self-confidence. You can't lose heart. Somewhere out there may be the resource that will make each callus-producing peck on the phone keypad all worthwhile.

If it's rejection you hate or you're time-strapped and need to get the funding ball rolling now, start by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce who may know of companies having difficulty with absenteeism because their employees can't find suitable child care. Or, you might consider contacting the United Way for ideas or checking in with your local childcare resource and referral agency or licensing office for suggestions. Even your Small Business Association may have and idea or two they can share, as may the early childhood education instructors at the college or university.

Obviously the size of your project will determine the contacts you place on your list. Bigger ventures, particularly ones that deal with opening up more space to accommodate lower income or at-risk families, or those that clearly prove that without upgrades a key daycare will have to close it's doors, will garner the attention of the larger funders. Smaller ventures, like assisting the startup of a licensed home daycare, will, if there is proof of a need for the service, most likely find an angel in the smaller community-based funding agencies or within the business community. And while it is a sad truth, finding funding assistance for unlicensed child care will be an extremely daunting task, registered as a legitimate business or not. Not impossible mind you, but a lot more difficult.

There are a lot of resources available on the Internet to get you started with your search for funding. We've gathered them together in our Grants section. From the basics of where to start looking for help to information on putting a proposal together, it's all there. Now, how deep you dig your heals in and how determined you are to see your project through is up to you.

If you've been successful in your quest for grant money, why not share your success story and tips on how you secured your funding with other child care online visitors in our Discussion Forums? Everyone could use a mentor.

Boosting The Bottom Line By Adding Services For Busy Families

atering to busy families by offering such services as dry cleaning deliveries, take-home dinners and on-site extracurricular activities such as dance classes and karate, has become a way for an ever-growing number of daycare centres to boost their bottom line.

Little Leprechaun Academy in Mason and West Chester, Cincinnati has hired a professional chef to cook up dinner delicacies that families can order and have ready to take home with them when they pick up their child. Kids R Kids Quality Learning Centers, located in 13 states and Puerto Rico, offers late-night hours, dance and foreign language classes, and professional photography sessions.

Some centres have even incorporated daycare video viewing systems, like the ones provided by, so that parents can watch their child's music lessons and dance recitals while they work. Still others are bringing in hairstylist on a monthly basis, offering an automatic payment services through companies like ReliaFund parents don't have to write cheques, or offering to drive kids to their outside activities so parents don't have to.

If you are looking for ways to add-on profit to your business this year, talk to your parents. Find out what services they would be interested having you provide, like a dry-cleaning drop-off, extended hours, an early morning Starbucks or Timmy's coffee service, etc. Check with instructors of various children's activities and see what they'd charge to bring their program to your centre. Know a hairstylist who could use some extra cash? Set up a haircutting day for parents and the kids. Walk around your business to see what other business are are out there and think of how you can combine forces to make life easier on parents and to enhance both your profits. Better still, it may enhance your enrollment figures or add new names to your waiting list. You can't beat that.

Year End Tax Statements for Child Care

Parents, like child care providers, want to utilize every tax deduction available to them. That means claiming their child care expenses. Caregivers are therefore required by law to provide a parent with Year End Tax Statements of fees paid for care if a parent requests one.

Your tax statement need not be anything elaborate, but must contain the following information:

* The complete the name of the parent
* The number of children you cared for
* The total child care amount paid during the tax year
* Your name or your business name
* Your social insurance/security number
* Your Business Identification Number if you have one
* The date
* Your signature

Hopefully, throughout the year you kept some sort of Attendance Payment Record where you recorded each child's attendance for each month, along with the amount of payment the parent made and the date payment was made. This will make tabulating your year end statements relatively simple. All you'll need to do is take the payment for each month and tabulate them for the year.

When it comes to payments for divorced or separated parents who share custody of a child, you'll most likely have to prepare one form for each parent showing only the amount that each individual parent paid. If only one parent pays for the care, you might consider giving each parent a copy of the statement just to be on the safe side.

The good news is that by preparing your Year End Tax Statements for your parents, you are calculating your earnings for the year which you'll need when you prepare your taxes. Now if you were passionate about keeping track of your expenses on a monthly basis using a Monthly Expense Statement, you're tax preparation will be a snap.


Income Tax & Record Keeping for Child Care Providers

Forms available for download:

Year End Tax Statements
Attendance Payment Record
Monthly Expense Statement
Startup Equipment Checklist

Starting a daycare, teaching young children, and maintaining a positive learning curriculum requires the right supplies and equipment. That's why we've redeveloped our Child Care Business Central. We didn't want to just give you links to Web sites. We wanted to give the product manufacturers, resellers and service providers an opportunity to actually tell you, in their own words, about their products and services.

And, we wanted to give you a completely FREE, Startup Equipment Checklist to get you busy contacting these suppliers, ordering catalogs, visiting them online, and contact them about costs, delivery times, etc.

Of course, you'll find a lot more information on starting and running a daycare in our Caregiver Korner. We update the page weekly, so please visit us often. And, because new businesses are adding their wares to the Child Care Business Central directory on a daily basis, you'll definitely want to bookmark the page and stop back for a visit on an ongoing basis. After all, your children deserve the very best. And so do you.


Child Care Business Central
Caregiver Korner
Daycare Startup Checklist
Child Care Business Taxes

It's that time of year again when home child care providers start thinking about the fast-approaching tax filing season. Parents will be requesting year-to-date child care receipts. Accountants will be asking for receipts and hoping to receive them in some comprehensible fashion. Do-it-yourselfer will be looking for the fastest way to streamline the whole affair while not missing a single deduction that may cut down on their taxes or even offer them a refund. Ah, the joys of tax time!

The smart home daycare operator already has her record keeping system fine-tuned. She uses an Attendance Payment Sheet to keep track of who owes what, a Monthly Expense Statement to tally up her receipts on a monthly basis instead of waiting until she absolutely "has to" sit down and sort through the mountainous pile of receipts, many unmarked and it's anyone's guess what they were for. The business-wise operator has also tucked a little money away each month in a tax account so she doesn't have to squirm when, despite claiming each deduction to the last penny, she owes the government a few dollars in tax. She is able to give each parent a Year End Tax Statement before she is even asked to do so. Finally, she even knows which income tax forms to use and will download them when she's ready to file her yearly return.

In all reality, learning to take care of the financial end of a home daycare business is not all that difficult, especially when using the forms and suggestions outlined in Income Tax & Record Keeping for Child Care Providers. This handy workbook outlines deducible expenses in an easy-to-follow fashion, and offers guidelines for managing receipts, filing systems, and how it all relates to your income tax return for easier filing.

Here is a quick recap of some of direct business expenses discussed in detail in Income Tax & Record Keeping for Child Care Providers:

* Advertising
* Bank charges on your business account
* Dues, fees, subscriptions, and training materials (professional development)
* First aid supplies
* Food (including infant formula)
* Insurance
* Laundry and cleaning supplies including, brooms, mops, buckets, disinfectants, vacuum cleaner bags
* Legal and bookkeeping assistance
* Office supplies (pens, paper clips, notebooks, and folders)

· Personnel (owner and substitute salaries and benefits)

* Safety equipment, including childproof locks, safety gates, and outlet covers
* Toys, games, and arts and crafts supplies, learning materials, videos, music, etc.
* Transportation (mileage) for field trips, conferences, meetings, shopping for supplies
* Training, CPR, first aid, for extra child care such as special needs children.

The book also covers indirect business expenses such as determining the percentage you can deduct for such things as:

* Cable TV
* Garbage/recycling fees
* House insurance
* Household supplies and toys
* Maintenance and repairs to the home or to appliances
* Mortgage or rent (as well as interest)
* Phone bill, second phone line for the Internet, cell phone
* Property taxes
* Utility payments (electricity, heating)
* Water/sewer charges

and outlines the difference between regular use of these items and exclusive use, which will net you a higher deduction.

Obviously there is a lot more to consider when it comes to squeezing every penny you can out of your tax deductions, such as time-use formulas for the rooms used for providing care, the capital gains expense claims for larger purchases for things generally over $200 like equipment, swing set,s etc. New caregivers are often wise to consult a qualified tax accountant for their first year of reporting their business expenses.

Income Tax & Record Keeping for Child Care Providers offers a lot of insight that will help reduce the costs of hiring an accountant. The more you know, the more you can handle the little things like getting all your receipts in order before you go to the accountant, will save you a lot of money in the long run. Keep in mind however, that whatever you pay your accountant can be claimed on next year's taxes. Besides, this handy workbook will help take take some of the guesswork out of your filing when you do it yourself.

Rebate Allowance Program

In an industry where every dollar counts, keeping spending costs as low as possible without sacrificing the quality of a child care program is every Director or child care facility owner's primary concern. This is especially true when it comes to food and equipment costs.

The Rebate Allowance Program can help. "All that is required by a centre is to submit their monthly invoices from their food distributor. All the food companies are concerned about is usage. Operators don't need to concern themselves with prices," says Child Care Specialist Barbara Zimmerman, who operates the program.

The Rebate Allowance Program works with companies like Campbell's Soup, General Mills, etc. to give back a portion of the product purchase price to the daycare. "Large centres and daycare chains can save anywhere from $100 a month up," Zimmerman says.

While not all centres and dayhomes meet the delivery allowance requirements of food distributors to be able to use the RAP, they can work with their child care support group or agencies to pool resources and take advantage of the savings. It may require a bit of coordination to store and distribute the bulk orders to centres and family dayhomes within an organization, but the savings may well offset the initial setup. Zimmerman is certainly willing to assist anyone interested in utilizing the Rebate Program. All it takes is a quick phone call to Barbara at 913-663-3801. Or, send her an email:

Online Fundraising

Another option for smaller centers and family dayhomes is to get their parents, staff, and local community to utilize programs such as, or Safeway's eSscript program.

By signing up your centre with the program, anyone can shop online at the over 250 brand-name stores on the SchoolCash Website and up to 30% of their purchase will go back to the school or group of your choice--at no extra cost! Sign-up is a snap too. They'll even provide handouts and logos to help remind staff and parents to use the service. Visit them at for
complete details.

Safeway's eScrip is proven to be a fantastic resource for fundraising where participating business partners contribute a percentage of your grocery loyalty cards, credit card, and debit/ ATM card purchases to the school, group or organization of your choice. You can print off a complete list of participants in the program to hand out to parents, staff, family and community members to take advantage of the savings. To learn more, visit their Website -

Fundraising and Cost Saving Secrets

Do you have a cost saving or fundraising program that helps your daycare save money? Share your information in other visitors in our Discussion Forms, a popular Member Services feature.

Tip...for programs that only support school-based programs, try registering as a preschool.
A Family Who Eats Together, Raises Money Together

No need to go door-to-door selling wrapping paper, wreaths or magazines. Now, just sitting down to dinner with your family can raise cash for your school with General Mills Box Tops for Education.

Green Giant, Progresso and Old El Paso, part of the General Mills Meals division, are the newest participating brands in the Box Tops for Education program. With the help of these products used in recipes such as Chicken Florentine Panini, Bow-Thai Chicken and Broccoli Primavera Bake, families can enjoy a great-tasting and convenient meal while raising up to $20,000 for their participating school.

As schools grow and budgets continue to be trimmed, fundraising is even more important to education, according to a national parenting organization. However, safety concerns and students' lack of time are leading school officials to favor alternative fundraising programs over traditional door-to-door efforts.

Additionally, alternative school fundraising eliminates time-consuming student sales - thus increasing valuable family time around the dinner hour. Washington University in Missouri recently conducted a study of 80 families eating together on a regular basis. The research indicated that frequent family dinner discussions exposed preschoolers to new words and concepts, resulting in a larger vocabulary and better school performance for these children.

"Sitting down together for dinner has endless benefits," says Andrea Epstein, manager of meals promotions. "Kids get a great-tasting, home-cooked meal with their family, while effortlessly raising cash for their school."