Whether you ask for an increase yearly, or it's been years since you've ask for one-it can be difficult to discuss a rate change with your client.
Rather than communicating with their clients, many will forgo a rate change even when it is justified.
Some things I suggest to make it easier:
1. Provide plenty of notice to your clients. They will need to re-budget for increased expenses. Be considerate of the time of year you are asking for a rate change. December (Christmas) and April (Tax Time) may be burdensome.
2. Provide written communication, and follow up with each client to see if they have any questions.
3. Be prepared for complaints. Be ready to professionally explain why you are raising your rates-your costs have gone up, you are offering new activities, or you have remodeled your outdoor space.
4. Be prepared to lose clients, and have a back up plan. It's possible your existing clients will not be able to afford your new rates.
5. Plan ahead. In addition to meeting your current costs, do your best to anticipate cost changes in the future. You don't want to struggle with raising rates-only to do it a short time later.
6. Make future rate changes easier by setting a specific time of the year to raise them annually in your contract, this way your clients can anticipate them.
Advice from providers
"When I raised my rates I gave my parents a 3 month written notice (gave notice in May for an August 1st increase date). I raised my rate up by $2 per day, meaning $10 more a week. All my parents were great and understood the increase." -Monica V.
"If I do a rate increase it is always in the month of August as stated in my contract. A written four week notice is give with specifics." -Katie S.
"When I raise my rates it’s for new children only not for current children. I feel this is a perk that I give my parents. This way they are always able to budget and not be surprised by a rare increase. If a current family starts a new child they do have to pay the rate increase not the rate of current child."- Jennifer Q.
"I only increase rates on January 1st. I inform my parents mid October so they can plan accordingly for their spending accounts during open enrollment which is in November. That's a 2 1/2 month notice. Then in mid December I send out the next years contracts (with the new rate) and policies for them to re-read, sign, date and return to me. I have never had anyone balk or complain to me!" -Deb O
"I have a disclaimer written in my contract right under where the parent signs "Disclaimer: This contract may be reviewed at least once per year." When I do raise my rates I give 30 days notice and it goes out with one of my monthly newsletters including a change of contract form filled for the parent to sign and return by such n' such date. I always add to the information this "If this is not acceptable and you will be withdrawing your child you will need to give me 2 weeks written notice (or more) as stated in our original contract. It's a win win because if they don't turn in the signed change of contract they have to give me a 2 week notice." -Susan K.
"The following rate change ________ will go into effect on _______(date). Thank you for your cooperation and understanding." I give them a minimum of 60 days notice. -Chris R.
"I have a yearly contract renewal meeting during this meeting I release the rate increase, effective date etc." -Jerika L. at My Bilingual Child
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