Child care these days can form a big part of any parent’s daily living costs. So as a smart parent you would want to get as much information as you can about child care rates before making a decision. Child care prices often vary from area to area and according to the type and level of care offered by the centre.
Child care fees can range from upfront fees to be put on a waiting list, to enrolment booking fees and extra charges such as nappies, food and a bond. A bond is an amount you pay to secure a placement in a centre, which you will later get back once you cancel your child’s enrolment. But there are centres that do not refund the bond if the child does not go to care on the agreed starting date. That’s why it’s important to ask about the bond payment and policy upon registration.
Most centres collect the bond payment two weeks before the child goes to class or care. But the bond fee, terms, and deadline may vary from centre to centre. Some centres ask parents to pay a bond based on the number of days your child will attend while some will ask you to pay a flat fee. That’s why you need to ask the childcare service provider what the exact costs are as well as how and when they must be paid.
Child Care Cost Calculator
In addition to the bond, you have daily charges. The centre should publish these daily charges. If they are not readily available, you should contact them and ask what their exact daily charges are. You will then need to find out about their payment options and schedule.
If you don’t want the child care costs to put a great strain on your family’s finances – plan well. Knowing the exact payment details and key deadlines will help a lot. Also, consider asking the centre where you want to enrol your child the following questions:
- When do you expect to receive the fees: is it on weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis?
- How can I pay you?Can I pay through bank transfer, EFTPOS facilities or direct debit?
- What are your policies about paying fees on public holidays?
- Do I pay any fees when my child is absent from the centre due to sickness or a family holiday?
These questions will help you clarify the total child care costs you need to prepare for. But remember too that each centre has different policies. We will have a separate discussion about child care fee subsidies in our next blog post. In particular, we will explain how child care benefit and rebate can reduce the total amount you need to pay for.