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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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How would you handle this situation? A parent enrolled two children into a Minnesota family child care provider's program and paid a two-week deposit for each child. A week before the children were to start care, the parent called and said she was staying at her current daycare and wanted... Continue reading
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A new child care center just opened in your neighborhood. It offers care for a hundred children (toddlers through school-age) and has a well-equipped playground, a van to transport children, and sparkling classrooms with bright furniture and plenty of toys. You start to feel desperate, wondering if you’ll ever be... Continue reading
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To be successful as a family child care provider, you will need to establish a professional, businesslike relationship with the parents of the children in your care. This means you will need to take yourself and your work seriously and treat the parents as business clients, even if they are... Continue reading
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No child should be cared for by a person who is operating a child care program in violation of local child care laws. This is a simple goal that I think all family child care providers, parents, and organizations in the child care field should support. State laws vary greatly,... Continue reading
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Let's say you have had two openings in your family child care business for quite some time. You've tried a variety of things to fill these openings, but without success. You conclude that perhaps the reason you aren't having success is because your rates are too high, and so you... Continue reading
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A family child care providers' worst fear is being audited by the IRS. Let's say you were audited and now it's over. Is there anything more you can do about it? The answer is Yes in two situations: Amend Your Return If you were audited for 2013, 2012, or 2011,... Continue reading
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It's not easy trying to attract new parents to enroll in your family child care program. You are competing against other family child care providers, child care centers, school-age programs, Head Start, and unregulated caregivers. When competing against unregulated caregivers, you have some special challenges. I am defining unregulated caregivers... Continue reading
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Communicating with parents using a newsletter can be an effective way to promote your child care program. Your newsletter can contain lots of different kinds of information: weekly menus, children’s art work, learning activities, parenting tips, new policies, introduction of new children and farewells to those moving on, upcoming birthdays... Continue reading
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"Why should I bring my child to your family child care program?" "What does your program offer that others don't?" These are the two key questions parents think about in their search for a child care provider. Your ability to answer these questions will have a lot to do with... Continue reading
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Here's some situations when using social media got family child care providers into trouble with their licensor: * A licensor walked around the back of a family child care provider's home and saw the provider texting on her phone while children were playing. The provider kept her head down texting... Continue reading
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Join the hundreds other family child care providers who are reaping the benefits of The Child Care Business Partnership. December 31, 2014 is the deadline to join or renew your membership in the Partnership and be entered into a drawing to win either book of your choice. If you are... Continue reading
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Do any of these situations bother you? * One day a parent tells you she gets off work at noon that day, but doesn't pick up her child until 6pm. * A parent enrolls in your program and brings her child during your regular hours of 7am-6pm. Later you find... Continue reading
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Here's the story of a family child care provider who didn't back down and won. Most child care providers prefer to avoid confrontations. This is the case whether the conflict is with parents, your Food Program sponsor, your licensing worker, or the IRS! It's understandable. No one wants to argue,... Continue reading
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“Instant gratification is not soon enough.” - Meryl Streep We live in a culture that craves instant gratification. Buy now, pay later. Our 24/7 world highly values immediate access to news, music, information – everything! As a result, saving money (rather than spending money) can be a hard sell, particularly... Continue reading
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Not all Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) were created equal. There are a number of different types of IRAs: Traditional, SEP, SIMPLE, Self-Directed, and Roth. While there are some differences in their eligibility rules and contribution limits, all but one offer the same tax benefits. That is, contributions to an IRA... Continue reading
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Now is the time of the year to find out the answer to this question. Some parents in your family child care program will be able to give you more money without it costing them anything. How is this possible? Many employers offer a payroll option that allows their employees... Continue reading
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Office expenses appear as a business expense category on the IRS Form Schedule C, line 18. What expenses might you have that you can deduct on this line? Adding machine, tape Bank charges (checks, monthly account fees, bounced check fee) Books (childrens' books, parenting books, family child care books, my... Continue reading
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It’s the one day of the year that potential clients are knocking on your door! Halloween is a wonderful opportunity for you to promote your program. Parents with young children are walking down your street! Although the child knocking on your door may not need child care, parents of young... Continue reading
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Giving parents a receipt for their payment is a sign of professionalism and can be a helpful record if you are ever audited. Most family child care providers give parents a receipt at the end of the year showing how much they have paid for the year. Parents use this... Continue reading
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Do you know what to look for when buying a family child care business liability insurance policy? Do you know the difference between "per occurrence" and "aggregate" coverage in your policy? What's the difference between an "individual policy" and a "master policy"? Not all business liability insurance policies are the... Continue reading
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An increasing number of family child care associations are reimbursing their board members and officers for the costs of attending association meetings. What are the tax consequences of such payments? Expenses of association officers or board members, paid by the association to reimburse the costs of attending association meetings are... Continue reading
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Your Time-Space Percentage is used to determine how much of the cost of items used for both business and personal purposes can be deducted as a business expense. You won’t know what your percentage will be until the end of the year because it’s based on the hours you work... Continue reading
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"What's the maximum amount you can contribute to your Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or SIMPLE IRA?" "Are contributions to my Roth IRA tax deductible?" "What is probably the most important factor that determines how much your mutual fund will earn over the long run?" I'll be answering these questions and... Continue reading
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Are you ever surprised when parents give notice that they are leaving your family child care program? Do you know if parents in your program are happy with the care you are providing? Are there things you could do to improve your program that would keep or attract parents? One... Continue reading
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Have you ever had a parent leave your program owing you money? Do you wonder if the next parent you enroll in your program has a history of not paying their previous caregiver? Unfortunately, these are common concerns of family child care providers across the country. In my travels across... Continue reading