Ready to send your child back to daycare?

The best tips to find options within your budget

by Shefali Shah | May 5, 2021


What has emerged as one of the biggest challenges out of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020? Childcare. According to a report by McKinsey “Three out of four mothers with children under age 10 say child care is one of their top three challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.” And the lack of childcare has had a profound impact on working women where more than two million women have left the labor force. However, as more people are getting vaccinated, daycare facilities are starting to increase their capacity, and parents feel more comfortable sending their children back to daycare. In addition, there has a been a surge in attention given to the state of childcare in the US including, most recently, President Biden’s announcement of his plan to invest $225B into high-quality childcare. This plan has the potential to save families almost $15K/year on childcare costs.

Finding affordable quality childcare is not a unique problem to the pandemic. In many states, childcare costs are higher than in-state college tuition. In Boston, for example, the average cost of daycare is $2363/month and can go as high as $3660/month, according to our research. And new parents can be woefully unaware of high these costs are. Many daycare centers regularly hide their prices from consumers despite costing thousands of dollars per month. Expecting and new parents have to spend multiple hours of research, phone calls, and in-person meetings just to confirm if an option is even in their budget. At our company, Upfront, we surveyed parents and found that 62% of parents end up touring daycares they can’t afford. My co-founder, Dana, and I wanted to change that. That’s why we are bringing pricing transparency to the parenting industries that need it most, starting with daycares.

For most families, the two biggest factors when it comes to choosing a daycare are price and location. And many moms ask friends or post in local mom’s groups on Facebook to ask for suggestions. But while they may get many recommendations, they often don’t come with a price making it difficult for a mom to determine whether or not a daycare would actually work. Upfront is the first resource for accurate, specific pricing for daycares. Beyond pricing, you can also view information like location, hours, and contact information. We wanted to allow parents to search and be able to see all the options available that best fit their budget and desired neighborhood, taking a process that can often take over fifteen hours to just a few minutes.

How to Evaluate daycare pricing  

  • Schedule.
    Look at the daycare hours and find out the number of hours that are included in the base tuition. If you have different schedule requirements you may end up paying more overall due to fees from beforecare and aftercare.

  • Additional Fees
    Identify any additional fees that might come up. For example, some daycares, bring in outside businesses to provide special classes for the kids such as music or a language but it’s only available if you pay for it. In addition many centers charge a late fee. If you are someone with an unpredictable schedule this can have a huge impact on your overall bill at the end of the month. .

  • Meals
    For an infant meals may not seem that important because, typically, you are providing bottles for your child. But as they move on to solids you will want to find out if a center includes meals and snacks. Not only can it be cheaper for you to not have to pack all of that food on a daily basis it can also be a huge time saver.

  • Classroom Differences
    Infant care is often much more expensive because the required caregiver:child ratio is much lower. If you are starting with infant care but plan to be with a center for a long time find out when your child will be eligible to move up to the next room and if the fees are reduced. If the difference is large you may be able to survive the infant years until your child moves up.

    Childcare is one of the largest expenses parents face and it, unfortunately, occurs early on a child’s life. Finding affordable childcare is an issue that impacts so many families and while new legislation has the potential to drastically change that, it will take time for that to happen. In the meantime parents shouldn’t have to waste their time looking at options that won’t work. We hope that, with Upfront, you can find the best options for your family quickly and seamlessly.

    Shefali Shah is the Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder of Upfront, the first site dedicated to bringing pricing transparency to parents, starting with daycares. Upfront helps parents make the largest financial decisions quickly and seamlessly. She previously worked for Google, advising clients in the healthcare, real estate, and travel industries on their digital marketing and sales strategy. .


    Looking for more childcare options? Visit Upfront to research daycares in your budget.

    Looking for a new job opportunity? Contact MomUp today and find a job you love.