View Full Version : How Long Did it Take You to Get First Clients?

02-20-2012, 09:03 PM
I am newly licensed (only about a week), and have been advertising pretty aggressively on Craigslist. I have also passed around fliers to about 3 different shopping centers in town (with plans to hit a few more shopping centers this week and maybe some doctors offices). I also have a Facebook page and have asked friends to share my info.

I know this answer can vary from person to person, but how long did it take to get your first clients? I have two very part time drop-in girls that I watch for about 3 hours each per week, but I am ready to get this going and get some kids in here!

Yes, I know it has only been a week since I was licensed, but I guess I am wondering how long it took others to get their first clients? I want it now and am kind of nervous it will take months.

Does anyone have any other ideas of what I can do to advertise?... things that have worked for you?


02-20-2012, 11:50 PM
Well, not to discourage you, but I've been licensed now for about four months and I have only managed to get one full time client. Granted if I was taking more than one infant I'd be full of them. I've got probably 15 calls for infants in the last three weeks. But I'm looking for older children now and at least around here, they are few and far between. I've been talking to a friend in the business and she said she grew her business slowly, by taking a few infants, then having the infants siblings as they grew, then referrals. I'm hoping it won't take either one of us long to get more clients. Good luck!

02-21-2012, 04:22 AM
I had my first clients before I opened, but they were both part-time. One moved unexpectedly shortly thereafter. I obtained another part-time client after about a month and that client came full time a month and a half after that. I now have two full time and one part-time. I've been open for five months. It is very slow going, especially if you live in the country. All I can tell you is to hang in there.

Btw - all of my clients were obtained through flyers put out locally and word of mouth. ;)

02-21-2012, 05:19 AM
When I decided to get licensed I already had a couple of kids. It took a few months at least to get more. Late summer and early new year is when I get a lot of calls. Craigslist is my most successful ads, but also care.com with a basic free listing.

02-21-2012, 06:36 AM
it took me about 3 months to get my first client. I got my client through the subsidy program. i'm in the database, so when clients need a daycare, i pop up for the specific area code.

02-21-2012, 06:56 AM
The average is about a year.It really depends on your area and the need for child care.
I opened my doors in June,first part time child in July. Two full time kids start in February and was full by my one year anniversary.I knew this going into daycare so I had enough in savings to be able to make it. Some people get lucky and are full right away. Most of the time it takes awhile though. Word of mouth is very important in my area.
I did everything I could to advertise-
Networking with daycare providers in my area.
Daycare sign in front yard.
Full color ads in the newspaper.
Open house(also advertised in newspaper)
Flyers sent dooor to door.
Left business cards at all the downtown business.
Advertised in a parade(banner made)
Networked with a lot of local churches,schools and kid oriented activities.
You name it,I did it! I spent more in advertising the first year than I care to admit.
In the end people told me they heard about me,everyone knew who I was but word of mouth and reputation is what gets you clients. I've been full ever since,with a long waiting list.Good luck to you,don't get discouraged.

melissa ann
02-21-2012, 07:56 AM
It took me 6 months and I've been pretty much full ever since. When I did have a dcb leave, I only had a 2 week period before a replacement started.

02-21-2012, 10:01 AM
It took me FOREVER to become full. I'd say about a year. Now I am full with a wait list. Most of my new clients come from word of mouth or Craigslist. Cherish your quiet time because at some point you will be full and you WILL miss the quietness. :)

02-21-2012, 01:07 PM
Thank you! I love hearing the different experiences and I appreciate the encouragement. I need 2 full timers to get by and the rest is icing on the cake. :)

I have been advertising EVERYWHERE, so hopefully soon, I will get a bite.

Thank you for your input!

02-21-2012, 03:54 PM
I was licensed in mid Jan 2011, got my first client late March or so, but they couldn't sign up til early May. My second family signed up early April, started early May. So 3.5 months until they actually started attending.

02-21-2012, 04:35 PM
I was pretty lucky I was full with in two weeks, and have a waiting list. But most of my clients are from word of mouth from friends. But daycare is really needed around here which from what Ive been hearing is not the normal! Have you tried some newspaper ads? I say the best advertising is word of mouth!

02-23-2012, 09:51 PM
It took me at least 3 weeks to have my first two full timers. I didn't want to start until I had at least two kids. You've only been licensed for a week. Give it a little more time.
Do you also take infants? Like Jenniferdawn says, there's a high demand for infants. When I started a few months ago, I only wanted to take care of preschoolers and now that I accept children under 2 years old, my spots were filled quickly.

02-24-2012, 07:22 AM
I was licensed in October and had 1 part timer, by the last week of February he was still all I had. I had been without a paycheck since March the year before. I spoke with God and told him if he didn't give me a sign that this was going to work soon I would pack it in and go get another job. In 8 days I was full.

02-24-2012, 07:28 AM
probably just a few weeks. I know my first 2 kids (twins) started in November, we had just moved into the house in August and did a lot of painting/projects first so I am guessing I didn't even start advertising till October or so. Unfortunately I didn't know much about waiting for the right fit back then, but at least it got me started and "looked" like I ran a real program since I had my DD and the 2 others. I got my next little one in January and then was probably full by that Spring or so.

02-24-2012, 07:55 AM
With this buisness you never know. When i started it took me about a week, and even then they were friends kids( you do not want to take friends kids). Since then im only at about half capacity, and it can go up or down at any time. I found that infants were the easiest spot to fill, and i would only take full time because people with babies are always looking for childcare. Good luck to ya!! Remember its all part of the buiz never a sure thing...

02-24-2012, 07:56 AM
Also forgot to add i worked weekends cleaning hotel rooms for awhile til i was making sufficient enough funds. It helped but you get wore out fast..

02-24-2012, 08:59 AM
I actually walked around to my neighbors to introduce myself (new subdivision), and let them know I'd be doing home daycare (I nabbed 2 full-timers & good friends that way). (Felt like a preggo chaser starting out! ha!) I also have a website, and attached it to search engines (Google, yahoo) and other free care searches so that anyone who typed in my city & daycare -- would have my daycare listed near the top of the search engines. I did fliers, but found they did not work as well, few inquiries with no results. I gave my name to a preschool that was not also a daycare (lots of churches have preschool, but no daycare) and they will refer you to people who call them looking for daycare. My library had a daycare/preschool fair where providers could come and give out information & people looking for car could grab the info. It was so popular they do it twice a year now.

It took me about 5 months before I was at my capacity, but as someone else mentioned... lots of people are looking for infant care. This year I was more choosy and my youngest is 2 happyface

Good luck!

02-24-2012, 12:15 PM
Got licensced in aug, got first drop ins shortly thereafter. Lost one of those and the other went to ft care...nothing for several months, then got a referral from a friend for another ft and also got another pt that started in jan so all i need is two more ft and maybe another pt to be full and making the money i need to go long term. Although i have stressesd about the money, ive just passed my six mo open mark and we have been able to make it work so far :)

Ive done flyers, car signs, yard signs, fair booths, put business cards out anywhere i could think of, network w other providers, facebook, craigslist, and more!

02-24-2012, 02:06 PM
Have some business cards made or print your self. Leave them every where, Always have them to pass out. If you go to church ask them if you can leave some business cards or a flier. (some churches have community bulletin boards as do some icecream places/frozen yogurt places. Some grocery stores do to. Make sure you get on any resource and referral lists you can. List your daycare on line. Most sites are free. Metrodaycare, daycarematch.com, daycarebear.com, just to name a few. Be patient and it will happen. Keep plugging away at it.
You could even hit up local elem schools, middle schools, or highschools. Teachers make great clients! Good luck.
Debbie :)