When it comes to looking for child care, it can be tricky to figure out what a fair rate actually is. This can work for new daycare providers as well when they are trying to determine what to charge for tuition.
Rates vary depending on a variety of factors. The area you live in has a huge impact in what you are going to pay for child care. Many neighborhoods house families with similar income ranges and these typically determine what a parent can, and will, pay for child care. If you live in a higher income area, you can expect to pay more for daycare. Those in Highlands Ranch are going to pay more than families in Denver. One way to save on child care, without sacrificing quality, is to enroll your child in a center that is closer to your place of business - if it is in a lower income area than where you reside.
Child Care Centers
Centers are similar to private schools and will charge more, on average, than family child care homes. A good starting point of reference is to call up the centers in the area you are looking at and jot down what they would charge for your child. This will let you know whether you can afford a larger center in the Denver area - like Goddard, Primrose, La Petite Academy or Kindercare - and will give you the higher range or cap of what you can expect to pay.
It can get more tricky when it comes to locating how much a family child care home will cost you. Daycare providers typically are not web savvy and websites for daycares may be slim at best. Even if you find some, not all providers will list their rates on their websites. This is because there are different costs for various age ranges and situations. You can do a web search and start calling daycares, but you may be missing out on quality providers who are not listed on the web. Local referral agencies are a great resource, not only because of their database of home providers, but also because they can narrow down searches depending on what your needs are. Qualistar.org is a great start for Denver are providers. Local child care agencies such as the Colorado Association of Family Child Care, the Arapahoe County Family Child Care Association, the Jefferson County Child Care Association, Adams County Association of Family Child Care, and the Broomfield Child Care Association are all great local resources.
One of the best way to compare the rates of local providers is to browse the child care lists at Craigslist. Many providers cannot afford to market and advertise like other local companies, so Craigslist is a great, free alternative for listing their services. More often than not, they will also list their website and rates. Even if you are uncomfortable using Craigslist to select your daycare provider - browsing the family child care listings in your area will give you a good idea of what providers are charging. You will just see a range but it will be simpler to locate both the lowest and highest prices being charged.
Some things to keep in mind when looking at rates are that more experienced and educated providers can, and do, charge more. Licensed providers can afford to charge more than unlicensed. If you want a preschool curriculum, expect to pay more for that daycare than for one that specializes in just watching and playing with the children all day. For extras like regular field trips and other educational opportunities, this may be additional tuition as well. Basically, the more you want to get out of the family child care home - the more you can expect to pay.