Compare Famly and Brightwheel

Which childcare management software will make the biggest difference to your center?

Wondering what the difference is between Famly and Brightwheel?

These two childcare management systems are for childcare businesses looking to optimize and streamline their operations. They are both cloud-based and offer a modern user experience to their customers, but there are some key differences which are important to understand before signing up to either provider.

To help you choose the best solution for your childcare center, we compare Brightwheel and Famly in detail below. The key differences primarily relate to automation and forecasting tools, child development frameworks and revenue optimization.

Brightwheel for smaller centers, Famly for automatic forecasting & planning.

Product and navigation

  • Brightwheel is a cloud-based software with a different version available for computers and mobile devices.
  • Famly is also cloud based with both a desktop, and mobile app version, focusing on providing users with an intuitive experience. There are no limitations to the mobile version, with all the same features available as on desktop.

Reporting and forecasting

  • Brightwheel offers manual attendance forecasting but lacks an occupancy planner, parent bookings, or parent website signup.
  • Famly features a broader selection of forecasting tools to help centers make better business decisions and prepare for the future, there is also a focus on automating things that help centers to save time.

Pricing

  • Brightwheel offer a limited free version, and their premium version which costs $2.50 per student/month.
  • Famly is completely free to set up and pricing varies between $89 and $199 per month depending on which package is chosen

Support

  • Both Famly and Brightwheel offer free training and support.

Key features

Famly

Brightwheel

Product

All in one, cloud-based solution, with different packages dependent on the desired number of features.

Cloud based solution with a free, or premium version available. Different platform for mobile and desktop users.

Reports

Customizable and adjustable to your needs.

Not customizable, with limited functionalities.

Occupancy planner

Yes

No

Online registration

Yes

No

Parent bookings

Yes

No

Public funding

No

Yes

Staff rosters

Yes

Yes

Child development

Head Start Framework
State Standard Alignment (New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and Texas

Montessori
State Standard Alignment
Lesson Plan Management

Supported operating systems

Android, iOS, and Amazon apps for mobile and tablet. All operating systems on computers are supported via any internet browser.

Android, iOS, and Amazon apps for mobile and tablet. All operating systems on computers are supported via any internet browser.

Pricing (/month)

Starter: $89
Essentials: $149
Premium: $199
Setup: Free

Limited free version, or Premium for $2.50 per student/month.

Key features

Product

Famly

All in one solution, with different packages dependent on the desired number of features.

Brightwheel

Cloud based solution with a free, or premium version available. Different platform for mobile and desktop users.

Reports

Famly

Customizable and adjustable to your needs.

Brightwheel

Not customizable, with limited functionalities.

Occupancy planner

Famly

Yes

Brightwheel

No

Online registration

Famly

Yes

Brightwheel

No

Parent bookings

Famly

Yes

Brightwheel

No

Public funding

Famly

No

Brightwheel

Yes

Staff rosters

Famly

Yes

Brightwheel

Yes

Child development

Famly

Head Start Framework
State Standard Alignment (New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and Texas

Brightwheel

Montessori
State Standard Alignment
Lesson Plan Management

Supported operating systems

Famly

Android, iOS, and Amazon apps for mobile and tablet. All operating systems on computers are supported via any internet browser.

Brightwheel

Android, iOS and web browser (does not work on Amazon devices).

Pricing (/month)

Famly

Starter: $89
Essentials: $149
Premium: $199
Setup: Free

Brightwheel

Limited free version, or Premium for $2.50 per student/month.

Everyday use

Brightwheel is a modern, user friendly system which has a good range of different child development frameworks which make recording learning easy for centers. In addition, they are experienced at offering a quality payroll system for their customers.
However, they have a different version of the software for mobile and desktop users which may cause some confusion for people who need to use both types of device. The mobile app is limited to rooms & activities, learning, messages, reminders, real time ratios and check-in. On the desktop version users can access reports and billing but not daily logs.

Famly is newer to the US market and is continuing to develop new features. It is useful that in both the mobile and desktop versions users are able to access all features for a consistent experience.

Reporting

Brightwheel reporting is limited to room, student, billing and staff reports. These are not customizable in real time, often per child and it’s hard to plan and find out what you want to know to improve your business. Custom reports can be requested by contacting Brightwheel’s support team in some cases. Public funding is another very useful feature within Brightwheel to help settings ensure invoices and funding are processed correctly.

On the other hand, Famly, reports are all customizable and users are able to create their own lists based on the data they need. However, there is currently no public funding support available for US customers as Famly is still relatively new to the US, but this feature will be available in future.

Forecasting and planning

Brightwheel’s manual attendance forecasting is useful for predicting the number of children coming into the center. This requires users to input billing/tuition information and each child’s attendance plan so it can take a little bit of time to get up and running. However the system lacks an occupancy planner – tracking your occupancy helps you to know when you can get new students in and how many spots you have available, as well as enabling part time children to be booked in for extra days if there is availability. This ensures you can be at full capacity and maximise revenue.

In comparison, Famly is much better suited to child care centers and multi-site groups that need to plan, report and forecast on a more complex level. More specifically, the forecasting options available in Famly help child care businesses to make better decisions so that they can better prepare for the future, managing staff rosters and ensuring they’re in ratio while not being overstaffed.

Famly also helps to automate more management features such as attendance forecasting, and digitalisation, not only for the sake of it, but to help enable staff to make better decisions.

Pricing and support

Brightwheel offers a free version of their software which is limited to only one staff user and up to twenty children. Their paid, premium version costs $2.50 per student/month. Some discounts are available for groups, or centers with over 75 children.

Famly costs between $89 and $199 per month depending on the package you choose. There are no set up fees or training costs involved and discounts are offered for paying years and for larger groups. Famly has a New York city office with members of their team regularly visiting centers in the region and customers across the United States and Europe.

Free onboarding and unlimited free customer support is provided via phone, email, chat and their recently launched Famly Community.

Final thoughts

To sum up, Brightwheel is a great tool for smaller settings who don’t mind implementing some manual processes, even though In addition, the system offers multiple child development frameworks and public funding support.

However, Famly is likely the better choice for more business-minded childcare centers and larger groups who require a more comprehensive system that offers planning, reporting and forecasting capabilities.

If you’d like to learn more about how Famly could work in your center, or have any questions, please click below:

Disclaimer:
The article was last edited on May 22, 2020.
We have tried to make this article where we compare Famly and Brightwheel as objective and accurate as possible, but features and prices may have changed since the most recent article update. All images used are sourced from the Brightwheel website. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments.

If you’d like to see Famly for yourself, please click below to get your free personalised demo.

Disclaimer:
The article was last edited on May 22, 2020.
We have tried to make this article where we compare Famly and Brightwheel as objective and accurate as possible, but features and prices may have changed since the most recent article update. All images used are sourced from the Brightwheel website. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments.