As a parent, I am often bargain hunting for most things – diapers, clothes, even food.  But the one thing I don’t bargain hunt for is child care.  I am the most interested in making sure that not only the facility and caregivers are quality, but that I am not paying a discounted price for the well being of my children.

The national average for in-home care is $30-$40 per day, although that can vary widely depending on where you live in the country.  Here in Western Pennsylvania, we are closer to the national average, whereas in San Francisco, CA, the rates can go as high as $90-$100 per day.  It’s important to not only assess where your competition lies to set your rates, but also think about the following criteria:

  1. Will I be offering food for the children I watch?
  2. Will I be offering any/all supplies for the children I watch? (i.e. diapers, wipes, etc)
  3. Am I factoring in all overhead charges? (i.e. Insurance, Licensing, Utilities, etc)
  4. Do I offer amenities that go above and beyond what my competitors offer? (i.e. field trips, structured curriculum, outdoor and indoor play area, etc)
  5. Do I offer extended hours, or last minute options for the children I watch that would be of great value to their parents?

If you can sit down and answer the questions above, it will greatly help you set your rates.  Above all, remember not to undersell yourself – the services you provide to families near you are extremely valuable, and you should charge a just amount.

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