Ring… Ring… “Thank you for calling Brainy Kids Place, this is Chelsea. How may I help you?”

“Yea, I need a daycare for my two year old, how much is it?”

This is where I need to stop the conversation and ask when you walk up to a car salesman, do you ask, “Hey I want a Tahoe, how much?” No. The reason? Simply you want a car that meets your needs and your families’ needs. Price is discussed once you have talked with the salesman, test drove the car, and you have allowed him (or her) to help you find the RIGHT FIT for you, your family, and your needs.

So why price shop childcare? Choosing a preschool for your child is not like going to HEB and Wal-Mart and comparing the cost of diapers. I can honestly say it is the equivalency to purchasing a car. Yes, price matters, but more importably what matters is what you feel comfortable driving. I equate this to where do you feel comfortable dropping your child off at day in and day out.

I’ll be honest, you can pay whatever amount you want for childcare. Within a fifteen mile radius you could pay anywhere from $100- $255 a week for infant care. What’s the difference? Do you think you get the same care, benefits, and classroom ratios for $100 as you do $255? Nope. You sure don’t. You get what you pay for.

That’s the big secret. Just like buying a car, you get what you pay for. You could spend $1,200 on a used 1999 Honda Civic or you could spend $60,000 on a new Tahoe. If you were truly just concerned with price, you would purchase the $1,200 Civic regardless of needs, but my guess is that if you need to haul something, want leather seats, need to seat 6, and want built in back up cameras and TV’s, you are going to shop for the Tahoe.

The same with childcare. If you are solely concerned with price, start your conversation there and you will eventually find the cheapest you can find. But, if you are concerned with safety, security, classroom ratios, curriculum, or any other aspect of your child’s care, ask those questions first. Find a good fit for your family, then price won’t be as big of a concern. You can’t put a price on piece of mind when it comes to your child.