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Thread: business plans for next year

  1. #1
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    business plans for next year

    While looking for a job I also am planning ahead for a more successful next year, starting now. Apparently we do not have any policies or procedures that make sure our extra enrichment programs don't lose money. One example is if a provider has a class and we have 12 people sign up, 2 kids don't pay or drop last minute, who adjusts? And how long before the class starts can the family cancel without being charged (after all the provider in some cases has already planned program and materials). It is hard to keep changing how many students attend so that we are charging correctly to parents and paying provider while running programs. So I want to pull on my business side and put a suggested set of questions and possible answers. I already learned that apparently I was supposed to be adding a 10-15% for administration to all my classes. I may have questions here about all the things to think about from business people.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Ah, costing, something I know about.

    How do you now figure costs of a program? I mean, what elements are you supposed to tally when you determine that a program doesnt “lose money.”

    My guess is that you have never been responsible for figuring costs of the physical plant in totals.Is it just
    1) personnel
    2) materials

    that you track? When figuring personnel costs, do you consider benefits? If the staff are shared between programs, how do you account for this?

    My guess, anotherone, is that personnel or lsbor costs represent your largest cost category, so the more specifically you can capture those costs, the closer you will be to accuracy.

    These are just issues that leap to the forefront of my mind.

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    Thank you, I am mostly thinking about outside providers and the scope of work I do. It is a small part of the process, however I have struggled this year to get an answer on some things. One was if we add a percentage to the actual cost, yes 10-15%. I got that answer too late to put in place this year but am planning on it next year. I am thinking about when a cancellation is allowed and when they are still obligated to pay. Also when the provider gets the roster that they charge based on. I was thinking that 3 days before the start of class for roster and cancellation. And the payment is due before the first class, I will need to figure out how the department will process refunds. This year I was told no refunds, but I know that other people have mentioned refunds. If they pay in advance then they need to have possibility of refunds.

    Some of my programs are a teacher or paraprofessional who teaches the class and then I figure the cost of staff, 1.5 hours paid for every hour of class to cover their planning and prep. It is all overtime so I calculate it that way. Then there is a percentage that I don't recall right now that we add for our contribution for benefits which is nice that is figured for us. Then each 6 week class gets $50 in supplies maximum. I don't need to pay for space.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Just curious about the role of the organization in setting up cost parameters across all programs offered under its umbrella.

    If I was in your position, I would have assumed that there was a form set up by the organization that I simply filled in the numbers each year based on the current year's expenses. The overhead for each program offered, the staffing costs, material costs, etc., should be established from year to year with a simple percentage increase to cover the cost of inflation, should it not? Of course there would be a spot to add variables like an increase in highly dependent participants requiring extra manpower and resources in general. There sure seems to be a lot of management responsibilities involved that you are dealing with. Meanwhile, back to the OP.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Just curious about the role of the organization in setting up cost parameters across all programs offered under its umbrella.

    If I was in your position, I would have assumed that there was a form set up by the organization that I simply filled in the numbers each year based on the current year's expenses. The overhead for each program offered, the staffing costs, material costs, etc., should be established from year to year with a simple percentage increase to cover the cost of inflation, should it not? Of course there would be a spot to add variables like an increase in highly dependent participants requiring extra manpower and resources in general. There sure seems to be a lot of management responsibilities involved that you are dealing with. Meanwhile, back to the OP.
    I agree, I find it weird there is seemingly only a general system approach to capturing costs and addressing payments for parents who withdraw their children. As a parent, if
    I go to Zoe’s school to register there is one refund policy, but there is another refund policy at another school in the same system.

    I hope Zoe runs all of these plans by her supervisor while they are still in draft form, before any registrations begin.

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    Oh yes! I am going to put together a draft, give it to my supervisor, and then based on what I have learned so far in therapy let go of the outcome. Whew, that was a (painful) insight that I need to let go of what happens to my great ideas. It is crazy that there are no policies on these things, however it is likely there are some best practices that my supervisor has simply not told me about. The proposal will be a chance for him to find out what is already in place as well.

    If nothing else it is a chance to build some business skills to move onto other work. After the massive teacher walk outs last week I am thinking many of us are ready to change. I think there will be change and I am not sure I can wait it out.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    So, to the topic: ”who adjusts” if 2 kids drop out. I dont see how you can suddently raise the costs of an advertised class on the remaining participants, that makes no sense. You have to build into your pricing structure a typical drop out rate.

    And when/ if to issue refunds— Really, this should be guided by your organization, since that centralized business office will have to issue the refunds. You say you all have been discouraged from issung refunds. Well, no kidding! It costs to do those transactions.

    I would be careful about blowing this analysis as a “business skill” in your mind, this isnt that.

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    Okay, not much of a business skill but more than a lot of education.

    I was not going to raise the rate on other students if one drops out, but if I give the provider a roster of 12, 2 drop out, then I would assume they can only invoice me for the 10. It is simply not spelled out. Often they will take the roster and use that for their invoice so it may be that I need to communicate more with them.

    And discouraged from refunds, yes. Not allowed or have any process for refunds, no.

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    Beware. What you are dealing with is complex and could have involvement of state law, school district written rules, contract law, etc. For example, the agreements you have with providers should be based on a written contract that lays out what they provide, what they charge, and how it will be structured(refunded, reduced, increased, etc.). What does the contract state they will provide? If there are no written contracts with providers, I would not touch the issues at all. The suggestion from me would be to formalize agreements.

    As an accountant, anything dealing with dollars, in any form, is a mine field. It only takes one problem that an accountant type cannot "fit" into the system they have set up and the s**t will flow downhill. I totally understand no cash or, if it has to be allowed as a payment type, only touched at a central receipt location. It is possible that they were not able to reconcile cash records and are making changes.

    Dollars should have rules and specific forms of tracking. Cash is almost the worst thing to deal with because it can go missing accidentally or deliberately causing all kinds of issues.

    Not to keep you from making suggestions, but dont go to fast because I do not think you have enough information to make sweeping suggestions at the present time. Good to point out blocks to efficient work, bottlenecks, crisis situations, etc.

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    okay thank you, I am just at the point it is hard to get my job done. I really don't want to get into too much, I write a scope of work for my providers and that is all. In that I can spell out some things such as when they should arrive and what the basic expectations are.

    Maybe I should just chill and keep looking for another job more,

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