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  #1  
Old 07-05-2012, 02:55 PM
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It's been 5 weeks since my last FT DCK left. I had 2 inquiries so far, 1 interview 4 weeks ago and the other one just cancelled this morning.

During this time, I put up flyers in my subdivision, neighboring subdivisions and shopping centers, made announcements about my referral program and promotional specials (temporary discount on fees) on my facebook pages, and updated my website and craigslist.

I am just really bummed that I don't have any children enrolled yet. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Furthermore, my DH is starting to really get on me about enrollment...he's convinced it's price. My price is in-line with other providers in the area. I'm not the most expensive but not the least expensive either. Anyway, he wants me to significantly drop the price. I don't want to because I want to save some money because I'm pregnant as well. I'm trying not to stress about this....thanks for listening. Anyone have any suggestions or pointers, helpful insight?
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moshimoshi View Post
It's been 5 weeks since my last FT DCK left. I had 2 inquiries so far, 1 interview 4 weeks ago and the other one just cancelled this morning.

During this time, I put up flyers in my subdivision, neighboring subdivisions and shopping centers, made announcements about my referral program and promotional specials (temporary discount on fees) on my facebook pages, and updated my website and craigslist.

I am just really bummed that I don't have any children enrolled yet. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Furthermore, my DH is starting to really get on me about enrollment...he's convinced it's price. My price is in-line with other providers in the area. I'm not the most expensive but not the least expensive either. Anyway, he wants me to significantly drop the price. I don't want to because I want to save some money because I'm pregnant as well. I'm trying not to stress about this....thanks for listening. Anyone have any suggestions or pointers, helpful insight?
what does your program offer?
when I moved from up state, I decided to find something that no one else is doing and jumped on that. I have had a few rough patches, but for the most part I am always full.

How well known are you in your community? This was also one of the things that made it hard for me to start over again when I moved. No one knew who I was. I started to volunteer in my community and have made a name for myself.

You said that you are pregnant, how far along are you? Do you think that if people do know who you are that this may be an issue for some of them? Maybe they are thinking about all the time off that you will need???? Just a thought on this ....

Don't give up on your advertising, keep going and talk to everyone you know about your services....
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:21 PM
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MANY providers in my area have lowered their prices. I have lowered mine by $10 a week, I know of several that have lowered by $20 or $30 per week. The economy is tough and competition is tough. I personally would lower at least a little because at this point, you are not making anything and I can understand why your DH is frustrated. Another thing to consider is more advertising....signs, ads, etc.

What about reconsidering hours or days you are open? what about ages? what about offering after school care, drop ins, overnight or weekend? something to expand your clientele.

Do you know any other local providers? How is their enrollement? I know 3 other providers quite well and none are full right now....everyone is having problems getting kids in unfortunately but at least that is a small comfort that I am not doing something totally wrong here as my spot remains open.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by daycare View Post
what does your program offer?
I open and close later than the other providers in my area. I also offer dropin, weekend and overnight care, but so far, I have only had only one inquiry for those hours. None of the other providers in my area offer weekend or overnight. There are a few providers around here that still have openings, but I think they all have at least one dck.

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Originally Posted by daycare View Post
How well known are you in your community?
I am not well known in my community at all. I guess I'll be checking out the next community association meeting.

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Originally Posted by daycare View Post
You said that you are pregnant, how far along are you? Do you think that if people do know who you are that this may be an issue for some of them?
I am 4 months right now, not really showing. I think it may be an issue for people when they find out, I am planning to work until I go into labor and then take two weeks off, unpaid of course. I have two weeks unpaid leave in my contract...I'll just be using it when I deliver.

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Don't give up on your advertising, keep going and talk to everyone you know about your services....
Thank you, I will.
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  #5  
Old 07-05-2012, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post
What about reconsidering hours or days you are open? what about ages? what about offering after school care, drop ins, overnight or weekend? something to expand your clientele.
I have been thinking about changing my license to include school ages. I had an inquiry during spring break for two, but could not take them because I was not licensed for that age.

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Do you know any other local providers? How is their enrollement?
I don't know any of the providers in my area personally, but judging by their craigslist ads, they appear to have openings.
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  #6  
Old 07-05-2012, 05:48 PM
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I'm so afraid this will happen to me when I open. I've been scoping out other provider's adds to see what they do. I've seen some really awful adds too, like will take any child any age any hour! And then they don't provide much other information. To me that comes off as desperate and doesn't provide me enough information. I always look at an add like would I want to send my child there? The best ads I've seen on CL and other places had pictures of the child care area and included things like cpr certified, license number, weekly rate, ages accepted and what they offer. Maybe take an objective look at your ad? It could be an awsome ad, idk, but it never hurts to take a fresh look. Maybe??? Just a suggestion from a newbie. idk anything
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2012, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickel View Post
I'm so afraid this will happen to me when I open. I've been scoping out other provider's adds to see what they do. I've seen some really awful adds too, like will take any child any age any hour! And then they don't provide much other information. To me that comes off as desperate and doesn't provide me enough information. I always look at an add like would I want to send my child there? The best ads I've seen on CL and other places had pictures of the child care area and included things like cpr certified, license number, weekly rate, ages accepted and what they offer. Maybe take an objective look at your ad? It could be an awsome ad, idk, but it never hurts to take a fresh look. Maybe??? Just a suggestion from a newbie. idk anything
Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to go back and look at my ad and check out other ads and see what improvements I can make. Good luck in your business venture!

Last edited by moshimoshi; 07-05-2012 at 07:22 PM. Reason: add
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2012, 08:59 PM
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Keep you head up.
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:22 PM
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Thank you Ryan D
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:33 PM
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Have you tried Care.Com? Most of the parents there are looking for nannies, or young people they can pay nickles to, but I've found a few gems there.

If that is still a no go, I agree with other posters, get known well, and if you must, lower your prices a tad to see if you can get someone in. I am fairly new in my area too, but have made it a point to go to as many neighborhood events that I can, and to get to know as many of my neighbors with kids so they can pass the word down the grapevine.
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2012, 07:38 AM
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well, today dcm came in and told me that dcg will be attending a preschool program for 2 days a week in the fall. That and I lose 3 part time kids in the fall due to school. No one is calling. I mean for months no one has called. I live in the county, my back up lady lives in the city and she is running into the same problem. Were are all the kids. I'm making a new sign to hang infront of my house and I'm changing around my daycare room. but I have no idea what is going on.
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2012, 08:46 AM
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In most cases, it really has nothing to do with you or your hours, program or stuff you offer in my personal opinion.

I simply think in general people are learing to downsize costs and will find family members or friends to swap serivces with in order to provide care for their children.

In this economy people are finding hundreds of ways to save money and I think it is great but it does have a severe impact on child care providers.

I also think that the trends in ECE are moving towards free or governement subsidized preschool at earlier and earlier ages so many children are enrolled in those types of programs and aren't needing daycare services.

I honestly believe that the "home child care provider" we all see now will no longer exist (or atleast not as many as we see now) in the next 2 decades.

I have been in this business for 20 years (plus 5 years in Head Start prior to running a child care) and this business has changed tremendously in those 2 decades that I fully believe it will undergo just as many dramatic changes in the next 2 decades.

Many states are adopting (or have already) the star rating systems and this to me means that states are requiring (or atleast rewarding) providers who are educated and highly trained in the field. I think this is a good concept but has a huge impact on stay at home moms who are running a service out of their homes and not looking to become a licensed or degreed teacher.

I think that state standards are changing every day. Our state is now pushing for more training hours and smaller caregiver to child ratios. Some states have super high fees for licensing and insurance rates and requirements.

Anyways, sorry to get off topic but my point was/is that sometimes not having any response to your advertising or any families looking to enroll doesnt mean it is you the provider but more that families are learning to become more self sufficient from within their own family/friend units and aren't searching out child care.

Just keep advertising and keep the faith. I know there are families and kids out there who still need services, you just have to be patient. Hang in there.
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2012, 09:23 AM
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Are you open to infants? Are you not even getting calls for newborns? In my area it's harder to fill the over 2year old spots, but demand for newborns and little babies is OVERWHELMING! Maybe make your ads directly specify that you have openings for newborns?
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2012, 11:08 AM
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I would say if you arent getting calls, it must be advertising firstly. I am having the same problem, just not getting calls. they know nothing about my program except what I offer, so it cant be my prices or my "facility".
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2012, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chellenj View Post
I would say if you arent getting calls, it must be advertising firstly. I am having the same problem, just not getting calls. they know nothing about my program except what I offer, so it cant be my prices or my "facility".
Why would you think that because you aren't getting calls that it must be the advertising? Maybe there are just not many families in your area needing care.

OP said that other providers in her area are advertising too so apparently there are a lot more providers than there are kids needing care.

I don't think that it is how you are advertising..... unless everyone but you is getting calls and new kids.
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2012, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by moshimoshi View Post

During this time, I put up flyers in my subdivision, neighboring subdivisions and shopping centers, made announcements about my referral program and promotional specials (temporary discount on fees) on my facebook pages, and updated my website and craigslist.

I am just really bummed that I don't have any children enrolled yet. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
I haven't seen your ad so I could be way off base, but maybe have someone objective read it over for you. There are a lot of ads on my local Craigslist so, as a parent, I have become pretty discerning regarding which ones I contact. Discounts and referral programs and accepting all ages, all times and multiple postings from the same provider can start to feel desperate if you're not careful.

It can also be hard to get the first child because I think parents view one of the benefits of daycare is the socialization their child will receive. It's hard to picture my child playing and having fun if they're going to be the only kid there, kwim? So maybe emphasize all the fun activities you'll do now that would be easier with just one child as well as the structure for the day when you enroll more.

Also, congratulations on pregnancy, that's wonderful for you, but frankly it could be making parents nervous about signing on with you. When I was looking I found an ad that really impressed me but when I contacted the lady she said she was due in a couple months and was scheduled for a C-section but she hoped to just be out 2-3 weeks. I was concerned my daughter would just get acclimated and accustomed to the routine, only to have it disrupted with a big break and have to start over. I was concerned about making alternate arrangements for up to 3 weeks (possibly longer if something didn't go well). I was afraid she wouldn't want to continue carrying for other children once she had two of her own. I was concerned she would underestimate the difficulties of caring for 2 toddlers and a newborn (she was more SAHM than super-experience provider). I think the more you can reassure parents that you can handle it all and have thoroughly thought out the impact your pregnancy/newborn will have on the program, the more like they'll be to sign on.
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2012, 01:58 PM
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What does your ad say? Do you use pictures? Where are you posting?
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:29 PM
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Also list with google. It is free and gets me 3-4 calls a day. i also have it linked to public pictures of my layout.
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:24 PM
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There are a lot of good replies here. It can be tough right now just getting clients in the door.

When I first started out I talked to absolutely everyone I knew and asked them all to spread the word and help me find my first kids. The very first sets of kids I enrolled were classmates of my own children. Then when we moved and I started all over, the very first child was the daughter of one of my husband's employees.

Even now, if I have upcoming vacancies, I'll start talking to everyone I know about it. Word-of-mouth can be the very best advertising there is.

Once you get a couple of families in the door it becomes easier to fill the remaining vacancies.

Also, if you haven't already, check the tags at the bottom of the thread for a bunch of advertising ideas from previous threads.

Good luck!
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:42 PM
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Thank you everyone for your encouragement, feedback, and wonderful insights. I hope for more enrollments for all you providers who are experience slow periods as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiki View Post
Have you tried Care.Com? Most of the parents there are looking for nannies, or young people they can pay nickles to, but I've found a few gems there.
Yes, I've been on care.com for almost a year and no messages came through that site. I just registered for accounts with daycare match, sittercity, and daycare bear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glenechogirl View Post
Are you open to infants? Are you not even getting calls for newborns? In my area it's harder to fill the over 2year old spots, but demand for newborns and little babies is OVERWHELMING! Maybe make your ads directly specify that you have openings for newborns?
I have one opening for an infant. I had an interview scheduled for a family with a baby that would be 3-1/2 months old when starting, but she cancelled an hour before our appointment. She said she found someone already.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommy2One View Post
I haven't seen your ad so I could be way off base, but maybe have someone objective read it over for you. There are a lot of ads on my local Craigslist so, as a parent, I have become pretty discerning regarding which ones I contact. Discounts and referral programs and accepting all ages, all times and multiple postings from the same provider can start to feel desperate if you're not careful.

It can also be hard to get the first child because I think parents view one of the benefits of daycare is the socialization their child will receive. It's hard to picture my child playing and having fun if they're going to be the only kid there, kwim? So maybe emphasize all the fun activities you'll do now that would be easier with just one child as well as the structure for the day when you enroll more.

Also, congratulations on pregnancy, that's wonderful for you, but frankly it could be making parents nervous about signing on with you. When I was looking I found an ad that really impressed me but when I contacted the lady she said she was due in a couple months and was scheduled for a C-section but she hoped to just be out 2-3 weeks. I was concerned my daughter would just get acclimated and accustomed to the routine, only to have it disrupted with a big break and have to start over. I was concerned about making alternate arrangements for up to 3 weeks (possibly longer if something didn't go well). I was afraid she wouldn't want to continue carrying for other children once she had two of her own. I was concerned she would underestimate the difficulties of caring for 2 toddlers and a newborn (she was more SAHM than super-experience provider). I think the more you can reassure parents that you can handle it all and have thoroughly thought out the impact your pregnancy/newborn will have on the program, the more like they'll be to sign on.
Here's my ad:
Aloha! Parents, do you need a trustworthy person to provide a safe, nurturing environment for your keiki while you go to work, school, run errands, or have some "me" time?

I can help! I am a mom of three (ages 9, 7, and 14 months) providing child care in HPP. I love children. I am licensed by the state of Hawaii and have experience working with children of all ages. I am certified in infant and child CPR and first aid and a participant in the Quality Care Program and the USDA Child Care Food Program. As a child care provider, I am here to help foster cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development, and help children acquire the skills needed for school. A child's work is play. . .your child will be able to learn about the world and self and through play and other educational activities in our dedicated child care room and fenced yard. Nutritious meals and snacks are provided for FREE!

Full-time and part-time openings are now available. Hours are 6:30am to 5:30pm, but we can discuss your special scheduling needs (nights, weekends). Please contact me if you have any questions or are interested in an interview. Check out the website for exciting, new promotions!

New Customer Promotion! $100 off the regular child care fees for first three months!


I anticipate potential families being concerned with the fact that I am pregnant and how it will impact their family. Historically, my pregnancies and births have been without complications, thankfully, but realize this is no indication of how things will turn out this time around. I feel like the only thing I can do is just be prepared all scenarios and hope for the best and that the families will not feel too inconvenienced by my leave.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GotKids View Post
Do you use pictures? Where are you posting?
I have a logo on my ad. I am going to upload some updated photos of my child care area. I post my ad in craigslist. I also generated a flyer that has my contact information and benefits of my child care in bullet point format. These flyers were posted on the mailboxes and bulletin boards in my subdivision and neighboring subdivisions and shopping centers.

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Also list with google. It is free and gets me 3-4 calls a day. i also have it linked to public pictures of my layout.
I'm interested...how do I do that?
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  #21  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:47 PM
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follow this link https://accounts.google.com/ServiceL...bc&service=lbc it walks you through it. Now when people search childcare on google maps I show up there too.
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  #22  
Old 07-06-2012, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moshimoshi View Post
Here's my ad:
Aloha! Parents, do you need a trustworthy person to provide a safe, nurturing environment for your keiki while you go to work, school, run errands, or have some "me" time?

I can help! I am a mom of three (ages 9, 7, and 14 months) providing child care in HPP. I love children. I am licensed by the state of Hawaii and have experience working with children of all ages. I am certified in infant and child CPR and first aid and a participant in the Quality Care Program and the USDA Child Care Food Program. As a child care provider, I am here to help foster cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development, and help children acquire the skills needed for school. A child's work is play. . .your child will be able to learn about the world and self and through play and other educational activities in our dedicated child care room and fenced yard. Nutritious meals and snacks are provided for FREE!

Full-time and part-time openings are now available. Hours are 6:30am to 5:30pm, but we can discuss your special scheduling needs (nights, weekends). Please contact me if you have any questions or are interested in an interview. Check out the website for exciting, new promotions!

New Customer Promotion! $100 off the regular child care fees for first three months!
I have some suggestions from a mom's point of view, not a providers. So i could be waaaayyy off base but.....

It's a good add but honestly, I would remove the discount program and the nights, weekends in parenthesis. I would also just say nutritious meals and snacks are provided. remove the free portion. I would move the as a child care provider to the beginning after I can help and move the i am a mom of three, licensed etc to a second seperate paragraph listing that you are cpr certified, state licensed (exclude in hawaii as people who are searching from you most likely realize that you are licensed in the same state they are in). I would also remove the please contact me line. Add the check my website in place of it and remove promotions info.

So you could say something like: You can find additional information about my child care services at this website. Please feel free to contact me at x (the email address above, through my website, this phone number, or however you want them to contact you.

I was an internet content writer for awhile and sadly it's always best to use short simple senses and short easy to read paragraphs. Many people just skim the ads for pertininent information. So putting like information in one easy to read short paragraph is easier to read on screen.

Also, you MAY want to include your rates. I'm sure other providers can give better advice, but me personally, I'd rather know in advance if I can afford the service before I wast my time or yours. It's not always that parents don't want to pay for good care, but I know my child care budget and the max I can afford. I feel more comfortable contacting someone if I already know I can pay for the services. It's hard to say wow, I really want you to watch my child but I can't afford it, sorry for wasting your time kwim??? But I could be way wrong on that aspect as I've never advertised as a provider before...

And I hope you don't take this as me bashing your ad, I really am just trying to be helpful
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  #23  
Old 07-06-2012, 09:23 PM
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I think Nickel gave you great advice. I agree, you have a terrific ad but I didn't read every word of it, never do. People just skim and maybe you could cut your ad down some.

I also agree, just my opinion, but I don't like when people say that food is free, no it's not free because they're paying you. I think it's better to say it's included rather than free.

I also agree, again, just my opinion and you can totally disagree, but I as a parent would not contact someone who was running a special or discount promotion, it seems like a clear way to say I can't get anyone so I'm giving it away.

I also only look at Craigslist ads that include some pics or a link to a website that has pics of the house. It makes me feel alot more comfortable having some idea of what the place will be like and shows that you made the effort. I find it super super annoying when I click on an ad that says it has a pic and then the pic is just a logo or business card. Again, that's just me, not trying to offend.

If you aren't putting your rates on your ad then it should be on your website, in my opinion. Knowing your rate tells me instantly if I can afford you, and also I think it can show what kind of place you are. If your rate is way too cheap for the area then I would think it's sketchy, if your price is fair or slightly high then I would think you're probably a quality place. Maybe a biased opinion though since I'm a mom and a provider too.

Finally, mabye people are turned off because you have 3 kids and 2 that are older. I would worry if we were strangers and there was an older boy in the house, again, just me. Maybe they think there's too many of your own kids and so their kid is just going to be an afterthought. Maybe you shouldn't say in your ad that you have 3 kids and their ages, just say you're a mom and they can find out detail after they meet you and love you!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenechogirl View Post
I also only look at Craigslist ads that include some pics or a link to a website that has pics of the house. It makes me feel alot more comfortable having some idea of what the place will be like and shows that you made the effort. I find it super super annoying when I click on an ad that says it has a pic and then the pic is just a logo or business card. Again, that's just me, not trying to offend.
yes i feel the same way. I want to see what it actually looks like and how clean it is!!!
If you aren't putting your rates on your ad then it should be on your website, in my opinion. Knowing your rate tells me instantly if I can afford you, and also I think it can show what kind of place you are. If your rate is way too cheap for the area then I would think it's sketchy, if your price is fair or slightly high then I would think you're probably a quality place. Maybe a biased opinion though since I'm a mom and a provider too.

good way of explaining it. But I also agree. If you are too cheap then it feels like I'm not getting quality, but showing me an add that has tons of awesome features and no prices makes me think it's too expensive

Finally, mabye people are turned off because you have 3 kids and 2 that are older. I would worry if we were strangers and there was an older boy in the house, again, just me. Maybe they think there's too many of your own kids and so their kid is just going to be an afterthought. Maybe you shouldn't say in your ad that you have 3 kids and their ages, just say you're a mom and they can find out detail after they meet you and love you!

I was thinking something along those lines too but wasn't sure how to word it. But yes, I would feel the same way.
Great advice. I will definitely have to remember all of this info when it's time to do my ad. And having a fresh pair of eyes is so helpful. There's times when I write something and just reading it to my husband I'll realize that something doesn't sound right or is a little awkward. Hopefully tweaking your ad a little bit will lead to filling some of your spots. I'd love to hear if it helped or not. And of course, always just suggestions. In the end it's your ad, so put in it what you feel comfortable with

Last edited by Nickel; 07-07-2012 at 12:30 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:41 AM
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moshimoshi moshimoshi is offline
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Thank you ladies for taking the time out to provide some feedback. It's given me some things to consider when making changes to my ad and website. If I can get more help in being more effective, I'll take it.
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