Two of our co-founders, CEO Brian Swartz and COO Bridget Garsh, joined journalist Anne Mostue on Bloomberg Baystate Business to discuss increasing access to affordable child care and early education. Listen or read the transcript below.
Joe Shortsleeve The problem of supply and demand for child care in the Boston area is also a business opportunity.
One local startup is calling itself ‘the TurboTax for childcare providers to open and operate home daycare centers’ and ‘the Airbnb for parents to discover these daycares.’
Anne Mostue The website and business NeighborSchools launched a year ago to offer more home-based child care options. Meaning you take your child to a licensed provider’s home, ideally in your neighborhood.
Bridget Garsh is a co-founder and COO of NeighborSchools, which is a platform to connect families and caregivers.
Bridget Garsh One of the things that doesn’t get talked about very often is why child care is not accessible and affordable.
Anne Mostue It can be hard to find a home daycare provider because it’s often word of mouth.
Bridget Garsh One of the benefits that we see in working with licensed home daycares is that, for families, the costs tend to be 30% more affordable than center-based care while providers can double or triple their income.
Anne Mostue At a daycare center, caregiver salaries are usually low. About $30,000 in Massachusetts. Brian Swartz is a co-founder and CEO of NeighborSchools.
Brian Swartz Unfortunately, we see this cycle where the centers really can’t afford to pay the teachers more. The teachers can’t make ends meet working with children so we actually see a number of experienced educators leaving the field because they can’t afford to work with kids anymore.
Anne Mostue Operating a home daycare has a much higher earning potential. The state licensing program calls home daycare ‘family child care’ and NeighborSchools built a technology platform to connect with experienced child care providers and help them launch and operate licensed programs in their homes.
That means they are guided through the licensing applications, background and reference checks, inspections for safety, and health training.
Brian Swartz And we can actually have providers working directly with 5 or 6 families right in their communities.
The parents end up paying less because you don’t have all of the big, fixed costs of the center, and the providers can earn a meaningful amount, significantly more than they would be able to earn at a center. They go from being an employee to being a small business owner.
Anne Mostue There’s also a focus on education. Providers are referred to as educators, Garsh says.
Bridget Garsh As a company, we see learning and child development as starting from the moment a child is born.
Anne Mostue And then there’s the parent services side of NeighborSchool’s business model.
Bridget Garsh In terms of the technology that we are offering for parents finding home daycare, there is no easy way to discover these programs or to learn what they offer, to learn if they have availability, to learn how much they cost. We knew that our platform needed to also be the place where parents can put in where they live and see the programs that are within their neighborhoods.
Anne Mostue And that includes photos of the providers and their homes.
Today, NeighborSchools announced that they have secured $3.5 in new funding to scale up their efforts.
But the site will only be successful if their providers are. NeighborSchools signs a revenue-sharing agreement with each provider. Parents pay the site directly and it handles the revenue split.