Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hiding tuition information

We're in the market for a new preschool for our younger son, and daycare for our daughter.  We like the current place, but it isn't an option for our older son next year as they do not do pick ups from his new elementary school.  Our recent house buying adventure moved us to the other side of the town where we live, so we're checking out the centers closer to our home.

Not a single one lists tuition information on their websites.  It drives me crazy.  I know the rough amount it should be from our search for daycare and preschool last year, but I'd really like to be able to narrow down our search a little bit.  It frustrates me to have to go on a tour of the place to find out how much it will cost.  I know they're hoping I'll fall in love with them, and then decide that even if the tuition is a bit higher than expected, I'll stretch my budget.  This seems like a potential huge waste of time though.  Last year we inquired at 4 places, and went on tours at 3.  One of the places we toured was just not going to work for us, even though it had the lowest tuition.  We just didn't like the feel of the place, and no amount of cost reduction was going to make us comfortable.  The other two places we toured were around the same price, and we liked them about the same.  In that case, the decision did come down to cost, but only because cost was a tie breaker.  The place we didn't tour at all did provide tuition information upon request.  It was a good $100 more a week between all three kids, and as we were very comfortable with the less expensive options, we weren't going to stretch our budget to afford this place.  If we'd had to wait to find out the tuition until after a staff member took an hour out of their time and ours to show us around, we'd have made the same decision, and we'd all have wasted an hour.  Hardly seems worth it.  I'd prefer to know the tuition amount ahead of time, so that if it was in the budget, and I fell in love on the tour, I'd be able to make a decision right away.

I can't think of many other goods or services that are not custom priced, but also difficult to discover.  I totally understand why a house painter or roofer can't say how much a job will cost until they see the house.  But daycare charges everyone the same amount per week or month, depending on the age of the child.  Why hide the information?

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