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Abigail 10:16 PM 12-09-2011
I've been "open for business" for full time and part time care during the day for OVER a month now. I've had two interviews from referral and one more family who knew me and was going to enroll two infants.

So I never heard back from the first interview for an "last" infant spot since I was suppose to get two infants from someone I knew from before I opened my daycare. Then two weeks go by and I interview for a family of two older boys full time/half time for the pre-schooler and felt the interview went wonderful and we connected. I was looking forward to hearing that I'd gotten my first official enrollment, but checked my email tonight and they decided to stay in their own school district. Lastly I was suppose to start a family of two who knew me from before but something came up last minute and it's been put on hold.

Overall, I've been out of work for a month, no paycheck. Today was going to be my first paycheck since kids were going to start Monday. My daycare plan of getting kids right away failed. Why is it that I can interview for babysitting and start babysitting the next day but when someone looks for daycare they seem to play a game?

I know it's only two interviews (from people I didn't know prior) and the situation with the kids who were suppose to start is unlikely, but for a new provider it is hard to want to continue trying. I feel like I've lost my spark, but I know nothing is wrong with me or my home or my rates so I'm trying my best to keep my chin up and wait for the holidays to pass. I'm thinking people don't want to switch or look for daycare until the new year.

In the mean time I'm cleaning the house and trying to decorate for Christmas. I don't have an extra dime to spend and I've never been so financially stressed before. Even the food program called me today to ask if I meant to submit a claim for one child only one day of the month. LOL That actually did make me laugh, but I only have one drop in. I guess they don't send out $2 checks often!

I think this weekend I will drive around and hand out more business cards if I can get a smile on my face. It should be a nice day weather wise at least. Do you think I should try to offer discounts? I require a deposit for two-weeks and also charge average rates for ages 2+, but higher rates for infants. Mostly because I don't want many little ones I want to be able to go out without needed a quad stroller, lol.
melskids 05:05 AM 12-10-2011
Hang in there....

When I first started, It took me a year to fill up, and even now, the phone calls just aren't coming in. I've been lucky to stay full with current mommas having more babies.

The best advertising, IMO, is by word of mouth. Get out there and hand out business cards, fliers, brochures, whatever you have.

And talk talk talk!!!!

I tell everyone who stands within a 2 foot radius of me about my daycare. The person at the register, the guy pumping my gas, the little old lady sitting next to me at the

If your rates are comparable to others in your area, I wouldn't discount them. You'll end up regretting it. But you could offer a free day of care, or something like that....I live quite a ways out from town, (where everyone else lives) so Ive offered Gas cards to get them here.

Good luck and hang tight! It is a tough time of year, so things should pick up for you after the holidays!
kendallina 05:27 AM 12-10-2011
This is a really difficult time of year to open, I bet after the holidays things will pick up. Keep getting out there and talking with people and putting your business cards and fliers everywhere. I've also heard from many people that once they had their first child, enrollment picked up. That some parents just don't want to be your 'first'. Keep at it---it'll happen!!
KEG123 06:36 AM 12-10-2011
I began advertising in mid-Jan and didn't start my daycare kids until the first week in May. (In April is when one family said they'd be starting in may- 3 weeks notice because that's what their previous provider required, and the other family had to wait for paperwork from the state) Luckily they've both been here since and I still get calls once in a while. How do you advertise? CL? Do you have a website? I get a pretty decent amount of e-mails from my website, at least 2 a month or so.
Meeko 06:36 AM 12-10-2011
I remember thinking I would never fill up when I first started out. Hang in'll happen
Nellie 03:29 PM 12-11-2011
If your under 2 rate is a lot higher than the average going rate for under 2 perhaps lower it a little to be in the same ball park if you are really wanting to try to get one or two littler ones. I charge a little higher than the going rate for infants because I find them to be a lot of work. I have to spend much more time preparing in the evening when I have an infant to hold most of the day. I charge a little less once they are one because they start to not need me as much. I still charge more for a one year old than a two because they in WI they account for 2 spots of the 2+ group.
I think a 2 week deposit is great. So many get burnt when families leave. Unfortunately it is unheard of in my neck of the area. Perhaps you could do a one week deposit and offer a payment plan of X amount extra per so many weeks until the second week is paid up if they can't afford to put down so much at one time.
I also think it is important to be comfortable with what you are charging. If you don't feel comfortable working with out a two week deposit-- don't change your policy. Don't lower your rates just to get kids in the door to later feel taken.
I am hoping that right now is just a slow time. I found out a month ago that I would have one of my kids leaving in January and I have only gotten one email since I have been advertising. It does help once you have kids in the door and you have word of mouth. It sucks when you are just starting out, because parents want there child to have playmates. Don't give up. Have you tried calling the school district you live in. One of my DCK's grandmother told me to give the secretary at the school my name and number. She was a teacher in the district. She said that families that are new to the area call the school all the time wondering if they know of any daycares in the area. I never did it, but her daughter in law did daycare for a time period and that is how she got most of her clients.
greenhouse 03:53 PM 12-11-2011
Had 5 go nowhere interviews before signing a family f/t. I was getting 1-2 calls a week for infants only up until the fall. Have gotten zero calls since October. I never get calls for over 2, and my infant space doesn't open until january anyway...meh. I'm not worried. It's just the time of year. Do you have sign out front ? I always get calls from that more than anything.
Abigail 09:17 PM 12-11-2011
Our neighborhood is off the beaten path so unless you are lost or you live in the area you wouldn't have a reason to drive by and see a sign. I'm also not a big fan of signs because I don't want to draw negative attention either for wierd people or those who are just looking for a reason to complain or bother you about something. LOL.

My first interview was for a 12 month old and just never heard back. My second interview was for a 2.5 f/t and 4.5 p/t--preschool in the mornings and they decided to stay in the same school district to use the bus. Tonight was my third (last minute) interview for a 4 month old f/t and they called an hour ago and said they were not ready to make a decision yet. I actually found the last interview person online who was looking for child care so they didn't actually find me.

I can't believe I'm almost out of business cards. I'm going to print more and I do carry about 10 in my purse and give out two cards at each interview for the parents. I have not had anyone specifically say anything about my rates. I feel what I have to offer--especially if they're starting before I reach my 7 child limit they are getting a great deal.

Our home is beautiful and fairly large, but the rooms in the daycare area just don't feel "lived in" mostly because well I've only been down there to decorate and having a drop in only one day doesn't count as utilizing the space very well. I think I am going to paint part of the sleeping room a sky blue color tomorrow with hopes of improving the atmosphere look that someone who tours next will really love it. I also don't have a ceiling up in the daycare kitchen/4th bedroom and it's a concrete floor so I want to get the ceiling put up in that room first so at least the main rooms I use will be done. We just can't afford to pay our contractor his high bills and I was expecting that finishing the house was only going to cost $4,000 and we've already spent that plus we have another big bill from him soon.

My plan right now is to clean the rest of the house which has been neglected because I've spent so much time in the daycare area and just get all my papers organized and be ready for the next interview.
beachgrl 06:42 AM 12-12-2011
I have been open since August and have interviewed several sets of parents ant talked to many on the phone. I have had several who seemed sure or whom I felt pretty confident in and theynnever followed through. I have had more than a handful call and want to visit/do interviews only to be no shows and not even call and say they werent coming and never called to reschedule. It's frustrating and I have gotten down and out about it but then other people call and I get hopeful again. I have two fullmtimers thankfully but I can't makemit financially off just those two so idk what we will do if I don't end up with more kids soon.

I love doing day are and especially love doing it in my home but I am so hoping I can get a couple more kids in January. I did have one or more parent call about starting in Jan but haventnheard back so I need to follow up and see if that is still their plan.

I need to get some more cards done, put more flyers out I'd love to get a couple more small ad signs to put out in the area but I am so broke right now I just can't do that.

Hope you get some more to sign up but from what Ive heard on here not too many people change or sign up during holidays, most people are super busy then already
Blackcat31 07:51 AM 12-12-2011
Hang in there hun! I got my license and still think it was several months before I filled up. It did take a while and I unfortunately wasn't too picky about who I took in and did pay for it later but I would just keep a positive attitude and keep spreading the word.

Daycare inquiries seem to go in spurts and when it's good it is good but when it is slow, it is slow for everyone in the area so dont lose hope....just keep moving onward! I am sure you will be full in no time... you seem to have put a great deal of time and effort into having a quality program and once word spreads about that, you will have tons of callers....
Unregistered 08:27 AM 12-12-2011
I opened my daycare in June 2005,first client was pt girl. Enrolled another two children in September(full time) but went almost a year before I filled up.
I did everything to advertise,you name it I did it.I spent over $1000 the first year just in advertising. I think it takes awhile because the best advertisement is word of mouth.Which is kind of hard to do when you first start up.Don't worry,it will happen
Lilbutterflie 08:36 AM 12-12-2011
I know you've been handing out business cards and such (which is great advertisement), but how else are you advertising? I have found a majority of my inquiries have come from CL, (thanks!), and I have a link to my website on each ad; and all my inquiries come from my website itself. I also have done an ad on that didn't cost anything; and I've gotten a couple inquiries from that in the past.

But it sounds like things are probably just slow in your neighborhood right now. Like everyone else has said; stay positive! Sometimes it does take a while to fill spots. If you are finding that most of your inquiries are for infants, you might want to consider offering an "Infant Special" for the time being to fill the few infants spots you need. That way, once you've filled the infant spots that you need; you can go back to charging your normal (higher than average) rate for infants. KWIM?

Good luck Abigail!
Abigail 09:40 PM 12-13-2011
I've done business cards and have signed up on yellowpages for free. I have a local CCRR who I took one call from, but it's only been about 2 weeks since I've been on the referral list. I'm going to see how this week goes, but I seriously need an income....even just ONE child would help wonders.

My DH and I agreed to call it quits after this week on the finishing of our basement because we can't afford to pay for all the extras without a second income and after 5 weeks I was expecting to have 3 kids or so. Without any kids we really don't have a reason to have the separate daycare entrance finished. I really wish I could have friends come over and help me decorate and make it more "homey" in the daycare area. I always wonder why parents don't want to sign up.

All the reasons were legit. I've also contacted people on but everyone looking for a babysitter or nanny wants them in their home. Thanks for all the support. I hope after this week things turn around. The next few days my DH have off so I'm going to try to be stress free.
Tags:advertising, enrollment, food program, starting daycare
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