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Childcare Pricing: How to Evaluate the Value of Childcare

November 3, 2020

When choosing the best childcare option for your family, there's a lot to consider, including how to evaluate the value of childcare. To choose the best fit, you’ll want to include several elements in your decision. However, the price of childcare may be one of the biggest factors.

Types of Childcare Relative to Pricing

According to a recent Care.com survey, 55% of families pay at least $10,000 a year in childcare costs. These costs depend on the type of childcare the family chooses:

  • Families opting for a nanny will pay an average of $565.00 each week, approximately $29,000 a year. A nanny share, where 2 or more families share a nanny, may lower the cost.
  • Families can expect to pay a weekly average of $201.00 ($10,000 a year) for family daycare and $215.00 ($11,000 a year) for regular daycare. Geography matters a lot- prices in New York will be much higher than in Utah. 

Childcare Value Relative to Price

To determine the value of childcare, consider what’s included in the price. If your choice of childcare is higher-priced, does it include the services you want? Can you keep the cost within budget by giving up extras? Decide which services are essential and which you can live without. 

When speaking to a daycare, ask the following questions:

  • Are meals included? 
  • Will packing my child’s meals lower the price?
  • Are diapers included? May I provide my own diapers?
  • Are field trips and special events included? May I opt my child out?
  • Are there hidden fees such as late pick-up fees?

If daycare charges extra for meal plans and diapers, will paying for a nanny end up being comparable? For some families, the value of individualized care may be worth the higher cost of a nanny.

When speaking to a nanny, ask:

  • How flexible is your schedule? 
  • Do you charge extra to arrive early or stay late?
  • Are light house chores and cooking included in your rate?
  • Is pet care, like dog-walking, included?

Other Price Savings Options 

Daycares and family daycares may offer a sibling discount, sliding fee scale, and discounts for monthly or yearly payments. You may also be eligible for the following childcare price-saving options:

  • Employer Flex Spending Account- Does your benefits package include an FSA where you set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualifying dependent care? 
  • Child Care Tax Credit- Check your eligibility to receive the child care tax credit when filing your yearly income taxes. 
  • Government Assistance Programs- Your family may qualify for state or federal assistance through subsidy programs and programs that benefit military families. 

With childcare prices rising annually, it’s important to determine the value you receive for the price you pay. Different childcare choices have different cost implications, but you can efficiently research your options through sites like Upfront for daycares and Care.com or Apiari for nannies.