BLOG: Battling increased costs – top tips to help practitioners running their business
A combination of record inflation, rising costs and the lasting impacts of the pandemic are causing concern on all scales, from businesses to families and individuals. We want to reassure you that we hear your concerns and remain focussed on supporting you with resources and business advice to help you deal with the challenges. Keep an eye on our PACEY website and social media channels as we update our information, advice and guidance over the coming weeks and months.
PACEY is working hard behind the scenes lobbying Government to urgently address the impacts that the cost-of-living crisis is having on our sector. In the meantime, we want to share some smaller-scale solutions that can help you to cut back on costs and be more confident in managing your finances. We spoke to PACEY members to find out what steps practitioners like you are taking to grapple with increasing overheads both as a setting and as a household. We hope that the ideas we have outlined below will give you some inspiration and reassurance.
The importance of keeping a budget
A crucial piece of advice is to keep on top of your income and outgoings on a regular basis. A well-kept budget will help you to keep abreast of rising costs and identify any areas of non-essential spending where you may be able to make savings. It is useful to keep a budget for your household and personal spending as well as managing your setting’s finances. An accounts book, such as the one available from PACEY’s shop (linked in Further Resources) can help you with this.
PACEY members can catch up on our PACEY Live with The Money Charity and Hyperjar: How to make your money go further for plenty more tips and resources around managing your finances.
Increasing your fees in line with other factors
PACEY always encourages settings to be confident in making justifiable increases to your charges in response to factors like rising costs of resources, activities and staff costs. We know that increasing fees can be a sensitive issue to navigate but it is never more important to have a sustainable business model in order to keep providing your services.
“I have sent out a letter this week to notify of increased costs at my setting. I was very nervous about doing this as I am often a listening ear for my parents when they are struggling financially and this has been the case recently for some of them but unfortunately we do not have a choice if we want to earn a decent wage ourselves.”
It is essential to keep an open communication with parents and allow them plenty of notice to plan ahead. You can read our dedicated blog around navigating increases to your fees in MyPACEY: Know your worth: Increasing your fees and discussing with parents.
Members can also access the legal helpline and business resources area where there are free templates to help with lots of different contract and legal issues that might arise.
You can find resources to support the families who use your provision:
Members can also access the legal helpline and business resources area where there are free templates to help with lots of different contract/legal issues that might arise.
Working off premises and with other practitioners (England-only)
Another approach to minimise your energy usage at home is to make use of other spaces! Remember that as a registered childminder in England, you can work off premises for a maximum of 50% of your time.
"Since Covid, the Bay Childminding Group in Lancaster has set up two childminder drop-in groups in local churches. This has been great as us childminders get to network and support each other (and get a brew!) and our mindee children have the chance to play in a larger group with different toys and resources. These groups are going to be invaluable this coming winter, as it means that we can go to a warm place, that the children are familiar with, and we don’t need to worry about heating our houses for these mornings".
We’ve heard from PACEY members who have been collaborating with other practitioners in their area to help split the cost of consumables and resources, which are often cheaper to purchase in bulk.
What other ‘money saving hacks’ are our members implementing?
- “I am conscious of turning off lights when we are not in the room and being mindful of heating the house (by using my mobile phone I can alter the temperature from anywhere)”
- “I stick to buying fruit and vegetables that are in season or on special offer at local supermarkets.”
- “I cook food for my minded children with my own family meals to cut down on oven usage, and then refrigerate the meals when they are needed.”
- “I use a slow cooker or air fryer for meals whenever possible as this is cheaper to run than an oven”
- “I use the Government website for portion sizes for children so that there isn’t much waste at the end of the meals”
- “I re-use and recycle resources – be resourceful and use your scavenging skills and imaginations!”
- “We have switched from buying branded food products to slightly cheaper alternatives and this makes a big difference in our overall budget”
- “If you want to leave your outside doors open in the winter to allow the children to access outside freely then you are almost certainly heating your garden, and next door's garden, as well as your inside space. You can keep your heat in and save money with PVC strip curtains”
See more in tips like these in our sustainability blog.
Is there anything else you are doing in your setting that we haven’t highlighted in our blog? Use our online form to tell us how increased costs are affecting you.