Guest Post - Candace Martinez, School Director, Mustard Seed Preschool
I have been in early childhood education for more than 10 years – and until very recently when our preschool began using Curacubby, we were stuck in the Dark Ages. Like most preschools and other early childhood education centers, our school relied heavily on paper for conducting every-day business management functions. We handled enrollment by paper, kept track of attendance by paper, sent paper invoices to parents and accepted paper checks for payment – which were only deposited at the bank once a month. Not only did our reliance on outdated, paper-based processes create major inconveniences for our parents, our administrative team (meaning me!) spent countless hours keeping track of everything, generating documents and updating accounts. I had to remember to stay on top of who paid their bills and who did not, and If parents slipped behind on payments I manually sent email reminders, which was not fun.
At Mustard Seed Preschool in Berkeley, CA, we have a student enrollment of 85 – some of whom are part-time, so every student’s billing is different. Manually generating invoices and processing payments takes hours and hours of time. I started at Mustard Seed as a teacher, so many of these tasks didn’t directly impact me. But when I took over as the school director in 2015, I quickly realized how cumbersome the operational side of our business was and made it my mission to digitize everything.
Initially, I began using Google Docs for online forms and admission processes while our accounts manager continued to rely on paper and check information through Quickbooks while making monthly bank deposits – mainly because we couldn’t find a better, more cost-effective tool. I wanted to find an online solution that would allow us to accept credit and debit card payments, but the initial options we looked into came at a significant cost. I then looked at a 3rd party solution recommended by our bank, but the reviews were terrible and it didn’t seem like it would offer the integration we ultimately needed.
During that time Curacubby proactively contacted me to schedule a demo – and BOOM! When I saw their solution in action, I knew this was the answer to my problems. The onboarding was extremely simple and the Curacubby team pretty much handled everything for me. We started using Curacubby’s payments processing feature first and then added the ‘reach out’ functionality which allows me to send text messages to parents, online waitlist management so parents can upload all required information and check their status online, as well as electronic sign-in/sign-out, which makes attendance tracking super easy. Our next step will be to add online registration.
From a cost perspective, Curacubby is a no-brainer. It offers everything we need and also allows us to pay for only what we use, so we keep our costs low. The customer service team is amazing to work with and always highly responsive. If we have any questions or issues, they’re resolved in a matter of hours. And on top of all this, the platform is extremely easy to use, which is great for people like me who aren’t particularly savvy when it comes to using technology.
Curacubby saves me several hours every day and every week – and it also saves a ton of paper, which is important to our school’s mission of minimizing waste. I also love that I can look to Curacubby to send out late payment reminders and automatically charge late fees so I don’t have to play the bad cop when parents forget. The best part is that now that Curacubby is in place, parents are less likely to pay the bill late because making payments digitally is so much easier. Overall, our parents love the ease and convenience of paying bills and signing in their children each day electronically.
What more can I say? I love Curacubby!
To request a demo or for more information, contact us here.