Taking advantage of a family k5 school

Hi, my family runs a successful k5 school with approximately three hundred students. I’m building a School Management System for them with the following functionality: fee tracking and collection, news blog, calendar, students management and some more.

I was thinking that I could build something for the parents/students and charge them for it. I thought about building a “parents section” in the SMS providing them the following features: events tracking/alerts by sms/e-mail, students report section, attendance, but I don’t know if it’d be nice to charge the parents for it. Maybe I could build something more useful for them, but I can’t come with other ideas.

So I ask you what do you think about all of this?, maybe someone has similar experiences or is in the other side(a parent) and has unmet needs.


I would ask parents what kind of service would they like and pay for?

(K5 seems to be an American term. Even here in Canada I never heard it before.)

I used to be a parent in a private school though. I would be opposed to an idea to pay for some extra services of minor value. How I see it – I have already paid more than enough for the schooling itself.

I suggest you do not look at it as a way of “taking advantage” of the existing parents/customers, but as a way to save on certain expenses.

For instance, I was always given a bunch of printed papers as homework for my kids. Those are expenses for the school (paper, printers, time). Instead, the very same paper could be delivered via email - and printed at home, if needed.

The process of signing up for the classes was time-consuming too, for both parents and teachers. I’d prefer an online schedule and online payments.

Just my $0.02

I can’t see any parent paying for basic information like attendance records or reports. In fact, it sounds a bit like blackmail if you say you aren’t going to give them basic information unless they pay extra. If anyone pays, it should be the school IMHO.

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++ Andy

I think the real play here is in selling to the schools.

  • They have budgets for this sort of thing
  • You/your family have real domain knowledge in this space
  • Even if it doesn’t end up becoming a successful SaaS venture, your family business can benefit from the effort

There may be some up-sell potential on specific features to parents in the future, but I wouldn’t start there.

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Thank you all for your responses. I also think that charging parents for this funcionality won’t be a good idea, that’s why I was asking about unmet needs or possible ideas to implement.

I think I’ll start trying to sell the app to school and improve with the feedback provided.

This is a tough and competitive market to enter if you’re going on the self-funded model. I’m not trying to dissuade you but, I have been in the edtech world for almost 10 years and have seen pretty much all the SMS systems out there. These are big boys with lots of funding and huge sales teams you would be competing against. I’ve seen them dramatically undercut the competition just to get an account.

There are a few open source SMS projects going on, maybe check out OpenSIS or Fendena and see if that will fit your needs. Maybe build a plugin or module to that and see if people would be will to pay for it.

It’s extremely difficult to get schools to change over their SMS systems. You can bank on a long sales cycle and it being a very high touch model.