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  #1  
Old 08-19-2010, 09:36 AM
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Christophina Christophina is offline
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Default New to Daycare and I Have a Few Questions

Hi Everyone,

I am working on opening my own family daycare in Florida and I am super excited. I have wanted to do this for a long time but for some reason just never did it. Well now I have the opportunity to do it, but I have a few questions......

Here's what I have done so far:
Scheduled a CPR class with the Red Cross (Aug. 30)
Taken some of the DCF training and have a plan to complete by the end of the month
Formed the business name and registered it as an LLC
Rearranged my home to accomodate for daycare (finishing up this weekend with a trip to ikea)
Wrote a contract and other misc communication papers
Placed ads on various websites and in the two local pennysavers which will come out next week.
Made a website.

I am planning on registering with DCF and then getting my license in a year or so, which is legal in my state.

My goal was to open Sept. 1. Which is now seeming hopeless....

Now here are my questions:

I am having trouble finding kids to watch! I have told everyone I know and done everything I can think of to get the word out there, am I missing something? How do I get clients?

I am expecting my 3rd child in November, the day after Thanksgiving, and I am planning on hiring a sub/assistant to cover for my while I am in labor, etc. I will also have my grandmother staying with me for a bit. But how do I go about finding a sub? I mean, I need one to cover for the unexpected stuff too. Like, if I am sick or one of my own children are sick....

Also, I know this is kind of state specific but I am confused about the background checks required for registering and my local agencies seem to be giving me the run around/won't return my calls....

My family has been affected very badly by the economy and we are a sinking financially. If I don't start making some money soon (even just a little bit), we are going to be in a world of trouble.....

Last edited by Michael; 08-20-2010 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:20 PM
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Michael Michael is online now
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Welcome to the forum Christaphina. Here are some earlier theads on advertising: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=advertise
http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=advertising

and substitutes: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=substitute
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:26 AM
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MyAngels MyAngels is online now
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It sounds like you are on a pretty good track to get up and running, so good job there. As far as getting the word out, I tend to rely on referrals now, but when I first started out I put an ad in the local paper, printed up flyers and literally papered my town with them, called other providers in the area, introduced myself and asked them to refer any parents that they couldn't help to me (got my very first kids this way), talked to the elementary school that my own kids went to and let them know I was doing before and after school care and contacted both local hospital maternity floors and gave them flyers, too. I've also always been listed with our local Child Care Resource and Referral Network, but I don't know if Florida has that? You should also check with any large companies in your area to see if they have an internal referral list and get on that, if possible. There are two large companies here that do that and I regularly get calls from people who found me there. Maybe you could give your information to local real estate agents, in case they get new families moving into the area, too.

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:59 AM
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safechner safechner is offline
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It sounds like you are doing a good job. Have you tried post your ad on your craigslist?
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:16 AM
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MommyMuffin MommyMuffin is offline
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I just posted my first ad on craigslist and all I got was spam and two responses but nothing set up. So I am feeling a little down but it is early in the game for me too, I am still waiting for my social worker visit.
It sounds like you are feeling the same as I am. Stay strong and do all the advertising you can, all the examples the ladies have given you. Keep spreading the word about what you have to offer and read some marketing books, Tom Copeland's marketing book was wonderful!
Good luck to you! Keep working on it, and know there are others (like me) in the same position as you are right now.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:36 AM
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MarinaVanessa MarinaVanessa is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophina View Post
I am having trouble finding kids to watch! I have told everyone I know and done everything I can think of to get the word out there, am I missing something? How do I get clients?
It's harder to find clients when you are first starting out than when you are already established. Word of mouth is very important becuase a lot parents are hesitant to leave their child with someone that's unfamiliare to them so recommendations play a huge part here. It looks like you're doing great so far and have ads in several places. That's great! If your ads still havn't even come out yet, be patient. People havn't had the chance yet to see your ads yet lol.

Other ideas that have worked for me are not only to tell my friends and family that I'm doing daycare but to actually give them business cards to hand out and then each time I see them I ask them about it. People tend to forget to tell others what you do but if you remind them frequently thet're more likely to remember and pass out your information. Business cards are great because not everyone memorizes your phone number to give out so all they have to do is give your card to someone.

I made fun simple flyers on Word first then later more creative ones on Photoshop which I printed onto different colored bold paper (yellow, blue, green, orange etc). I'm not talking pastel colors either. I wanted something that people would notice. I left room near the bottom right corner to add pockets (which I got from a teacher supply store) which were also in bold colors. These are the library book style pockets that they used to put in library books way back when, before they all went digital. Each flyer color was different than the pocket and I put 10 business cards in each flyer and posted them in places where moms frequented like grocery stores, schools, parks, laundry mats, gas stations etc. If your own kids do sports, dance etc. talk to their coaches, instructors etc. about posting some at games, in their windows etc.

Also make sure your ads stand out. List benefits of your daycare and offer things that are special and appealing to parents. Licenced/registered care, meals included, food program, healthy meals and snacks, regular field trips/walks and outings, small/large group size, simple basic language instruction (Spanish, Sign-language), education toys, engaging activities, curriculum, minimal TV viewing, after-school care, infants, sibling discounts, homework help, accept subsidized payment, drop-ins, parent's night out, skill development etc. The list is endless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophina View Post
I am expecting my 3rd child in November, the day after Thanksgiving, and I am planning on hiring a sub/assistant to cover for my while I am in labor, etc. I will also have my grandmother staying with me for a bit. But how do I go about finding a sub? I mean, I need one to cover for the unexpected stuff too. Like, if I am sick or one of my own children are sick....
First off congratulations!! I'm expecting my second in November also and my due date is Nov. 27!

As for the sub situation, since you are just starting out this may be a concern to some parents. Finding a sub for the time that you deliver and for the time that recoup is great (I've done that too) but finding a sub when you or your children are sick isn't necessary and most (not all) providers give themselves paid sick/personal days (usually 5) and include these in the contract.

From my Paren't Handbook:

Sick/Personal Days
The provider reserves five paid sick days a year. These sick days can only be used for the provider’s own illness or that of a loved one for whom must be cared for. In the situation that the provider becomes ill and cannot care for the children the daycare will be closed and immediate notice will be given. It is the client’s responsibility to find and fund alternative care during this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christophina View Post
My family has been affected very badly by the economy and we are a sinking financially. If I don't start making some money soon (even just a little bit), we are going to be in a world of trouble.....
I think we've all in one form or another have felt this crunch. Times are tough right now and many people are losing their jobs or at least having their hours cut lower their need and ability to need and afford childcare. Hang in there and hopefully everything will work itself out for you! Good luck!

PS: Just another few things to think about if you havn't already done so:
*Have a contract and/or handbook with all of the rules, legal obligations and policies that you want the families to follow. Believe me, if you don't you'll eventually wish you did.
*Require a two-weeks written notice from families if they decide to terminate and ask for this up front before they start care as a sort of deposit. This way if they just bail out on you you at least have this deposit to cover the next two weeks.
*Charge weekly and by enrollement not attendance. This way if you have families that seem to come by (other than drop-ins) whenever they want they are still responsible for paying the whole week.
*Charge for the week in advance and if they forget don't take the child. This prevents families from getting behind in their payments and you from getting jipped.

Again, Good Luck!!
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:40 AM
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Nice Reply Marina. If Cristophina PM's me her facility info I will list her in the Daycare.com registry
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:12 PM
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Christophina Christophina is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone!!! I had my first (legitimate) response to my craigslist ad. So we will see if that turns out. I put an ad in a couple more local papers today too. I am waiting on my business cards to come in the mail, so once they come I will bombard my friends and family with them, lol! I definitely am learning alot from you all.

MarinaVanessa - Congrats to you also! I am a little concerned that my pregnancy will scare some parents away. I am confident that I can handle it though. My grandmother will be staying with me for the first couple of weeks. And with my son I went back to work after 3 weeks, with my son in tow!

I didn't really think about the whole sick days thing. I actually had it written in my contract already. I guess I am letting my stress get in the way of my brain cells again, lol.

Again, thanks everyone! I will keep you posted.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:38 PM
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Abigail Abigail is offline
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I would also hang up something at your local church or see if you can in the nursery area. You may have to call ahead of time to ask, but it sure doesn't hurt to ask! I would make sure you have references available also. I'm going to be starting a daycare once we find a house we like and currently am working on papers and curriculums and well....everything. I'm even thinking about how I will set up a room and what I will purchase, LOL. I've kept in contact with those families I have babysat for over the last few years and have asked them permission to use them as a reference. I have even asked familiy members and former high school and college teachers as references. Then, they all know if they get a call what it is about.
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