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Tom Copeland
St. Paul, Minnesota
Writer, trainer, advocate on the business of family child care
Interests: reading, Mark Twain
Recent Activity
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What's wrong with the following three scenarios? One: At a child care training workshop or conference you ask an attendee, "What do you charge?" Two: You call up another child care provider who knows you and ask, "Will you be raising your rates this fall?" Three: You walk into a... Continue reading
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There are many reasons why parents may leave their child at home, rather than bringing them to your family child care home: * The child is sick * The parent is taking a vacation * The parent wants the child to be with her grandparents * Other reasons Sometimes these... Continue reading
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Do you love to create a budget? Probably not. In a national survey of over 500 family child care providers, only 23% had prepared an annual budget for their business for the previous year.* But, creating an annual budget is an important tool that can help you meet your financial... Continue reading
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You might be entitled to a tax refund on your 2013 taxes! Today I'm announcing a drawing to win a chance to have me review your 2013 tax return. I will help three lucky winners uncover potential unclaimed tax deductions that would entitle them to a tax refund! You are... Continue reading
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The difference between gross income and net income is not always clear to some family child care providers. But there are times when it can be an important distinction. Gross income is the amount of money you earn from your family child care business, before any expenses. This includes parent... Continue reading
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Your family child care contract says you open at 7:00 am. One parent consistently shows up at 6:30am. What do you do? There are probably two main reasons why parents may drop off their children early. They must be at work on time. Or, they want the flexibility of dropping... Continue reading
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Parents looking for a child care program today want answers to these two questions: "Why should I bring my child to your program?" "What does your program offer that other programs do not?" Your ability to answer these questions will make a big difference in whether a parent chooses to... Continue reading
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Two-year-old Maria wakes up from her afternoon nap sweating. You take her temperature and discover that she has a fever. You call Maria's mother to tell her to come pick up her child right away, but she doesn't answer her phone. What should a family child care provider do in... Continue reading
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In my previous article, I talked about the impact of divorce on your taxes and on selling your home. In this article I'll discuss: * The impact of divorce on your Social Security and retirement benefits * Whether your business should be considered an asset in your divorce settlement The... Continue reading
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Although it may be uncomfortable to contemplate the possibility of a divorce, you should understand how a divorce might affect your business and financial future. All divorces involve a distribution of assets - and typically, the result of this distribution will likely be a significant decline in your economic status.... Continue reading
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Monday, June 16th is the Early Bird deadline to register for the annual conference of the National Association for Family Child Care. The conference is from July 10 - July 12, 2014. Here's the registration details. I'll be presenting two workshops for trainers and family child care providers as part... Continue reading
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Marketing your family child care business doesn't have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Here are two easy and inexpensive methods for marketing your program to potential clients: Welcome Mat Think of all the people who come to your home: friends, neighbors, postal carriers,... Continue reading
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True or False? 1) If you pay someone less than $600 in a year to help you care for children, this person can be treated as an independent contractor. 2) If you hire your spouse to help you care for children you don't have to withhold Social Security/Medicare taxes. 3)... Continue reading
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our child care assistant is playing with several of the day care children when one of the children falls down and suffers a cut on her forehead. You take the child to the emergency room where the doctor recommends that the child have two stitches to reduce the chances there... Continue reading
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Last week a provider called me in tears because she had lost her license. Her dog bit a child in her program (with no serious injury) when her back was turned for ten seconds. The police investigator concluded that it was an accident. But her licensor suspended her license anyway... Continue reading
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June 16th is the deadline for family child care providers to file your federal estimated tax payment for the second quarter of 2014. The second quarter includes the months of April and May. (Yes, the tax quarters for estimated taxes are not equal!) The third quarter includes the months of... Continue reading
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Can a family child care provider be charged more for garbage collection and water useage in her home? Can she be forced to pay more for a warranty covering her appliances? Unfortunately, in some situations, the answer is yes. Local water utilities and garbage companies set their rates based on... Continue reading
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Let me add my voice to many others in wishing all family child care providers happy Provider Appreciation Day! Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year the Friday before Mother's Day. The founding organizers saw the need to... Continue reading
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How should you handle the following three situations? First - A mother calls you up and says, "My husband and I are starting divorce proceedings and I don't want him to pick up our child anymore." Second - At the time of enrollment the mother tells you that she is... Continue reading
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True or False? 1) The first step in managing your money is increasing your income rather than getting your spending under control. 2) A good way to show love to the children in your care is to buy them a small item each week. 3) Setting financial goals for your... Continue reading
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If you had the chance to put $350 into a savings account and have it immediately turn into $1,000, would you do it? You have this chance if you are a low-income family child care provider and make a contribution to any Individual Retirement Account (IRA) in 2014. This federal... Continue reading
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“Will they still like me if I charge more?” That’s the fear of some family child care providers who are reluctant to raise their rates. These providers keep their rates unchanged so they will never have to deal with the stress involved in talking about money with parents. Others intentionally... Continue reading
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I'll be presenting two workshops for trainers and family child care providers as part of the annual conference of the National Association for Family Child Care, Thursday, July 10, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The first preconference session is "Managing Business Risks in Family Child Care Programs." I will explain how... Continue reading