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Old 07-03-2015, 08:19 AM
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Whitney Whitney is offline
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Red face Advertising New Child Care & Openings

I am starting a new child care that should be opening up officially on August 3rd (licensing process and training has put me at that date) and I have been advertising a lot. Facebook (business page & personal), instagram (personal account), craigslist (posting daily), and have even spoken to a few neighbors and relatives about my business. I have lots of flyers printed up with business cards attached to go in mail boxes and hang up in a few places. However with about almost 2 months worth of advertising I have had a few inquiries and no pre-enrollments. I am wanting to pre-enroll so on my first open day I start out with at least 2-3 dck in care and I am not left without any income for a period of time (I am separating my current job to open my family child care to spend more time at home with my daughter). I guess my question is did pre-enrollment work for anyone or did you all not really get enrollments until people seen you were operating? How did you advertise? All suggestions/tips and stories of your debut and enrollment success/struggle would be appreciated! I just really do not know what else to do. I need pre-enrollments! I have offered discounts for pre-enrolling
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:49 AM
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Blackcat31 Blackcat31 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
I am starting a new child care that should be opening up officially on August 3rd (licensing process and training has put me at that date) and I have been advertising a lot. Facebook (business page & personal), instagram (personal account), craigslist (posting daily), and have even spoken to a few neighbors and relatives about my business. I have lots of flyers printed up with business cards attached to go in mail boxes and hang up in a few places. However with about almost 2 months worth of advertising I have had a few inquiries and no pre-enrollments. I am wanting to pre-enroll so on my first open day I start out with at least 2-3 dck in care and I am not left without any income for a period of time (I am separating my current job to open my family child care to spend more time at home with my daughter). I guess my question is did pre-enrollment work for anyone or did you all not really get enrollments until people seen you were operating? How did you advertise? All suggestions/tips and stories of your debut and enrollment success/struggle would be appreciated! I just really do not know what else to do. I need pre-enrollments! I have offered discounts for pre-enrolling
Tons of other threads about advertising

http://daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=advertising
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  #3  
Old 07-03-2015, 08:54 AM
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Whitney Whitney is offline
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Thank you!! I am new to the site.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
Thank you!! I am new to the site.
Welcome aboard! There are tons of providers here from all sorts of backgrounds and all of them are very helpful and supportive so I think you will find this place a great source of information.

s for pre-enrollments, I can't give much advice for that as I've never been in that situation but in my opinion, most parents want immediate care or care within 2 weeks so expecting pre-enrollment for a longer amount of time might not be feasible. I suppose it depends on the family, as a family on maternity leave could easily dictate a future date for beginning care but I don't know if others can do the same...know what I mean?

Also, I don't know about the care environment in your area...

Is it difficult to find providers? Are there too many or not enough providers for the area? Is infant care or toddler care lacking?
Are established providers needing to fill spaces too or are they turning children away?

There is so much more to it.... Is your program unique to others in the area, are your rates too high, too low?

Have you tried to network or connect with other providers in the area? If there is a huge need for care in your area, perhaps one of them would be willing to send callers your way.

Opening a new business is hard and maintaining a consistent income is difficult too.....especially in child care. You will learn that there is NO guarantee for that.

Most providers here will tell you the first 6 months - year were tough and opening at full enrollment can happen but it's a rare occurrence and like I said, totally dependent on your area and the needs and demands related to child care.

Also, on a side note you mentioned hanging flyers on mailboxes... please do NOT do that! You cannot legally hang things on people's mailboxes without permission. (Vista print offers target mailing services if you are interested in mailing flyers)

HTH
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:27 AM
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childcaremom childcaremom is offline
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Getting the first family to sign can be tricky. But once you can get the first one in, it sort of snowballs from there. Parents often want to see that you have other kids enrolled, the set up, etc before they will commit.

I've opened my childcare at 3 different times. I've always advertised as being open and ready for care.

The first time I filled within a month.

Second time took forever to fill.

This last time I filled within a month.

I found, for me personally, the biggest variable is what time of year it was. I have found the summer to be a really hard time to fill spots. People are on holidays, have teenage sitters, use family, etc. September and January are crazy busy and early spring, too. I had my choice of families to pick from.

Here (in Canada) is is sometimes easier to prebook clients b/c we have a year of mat leave.... so it's easy to look down the road and say, yes I will have a space available then or no, I won't. I filled some spaces right away and have some new clients starting in September so that my summer was light. I was able to do that easily b/c moms were getting ready to go back to work.

But having said all of that, I do find that a lot of parents tend to wait until the last minute.

Good luck! Lots of great tips on the board
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:00 AM
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Controlled Chaos Controlled Chaos is offline
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Welcome! I would look into care.com, craigslist and facebook for advertizing. Do you have a website and FB page? That's a great way to have your friends share your sight for free exposure.

I offer a monthly date night ($20 4pm-8pm) and have had many parents considering my program use that as a trial run. It always seals the deal. I send them home with a cute craft, goody bag (usually extra supplies from last months theme - this last time it was a handful of plastic bugs) and I text the parents a few pics throughout the night of their kiddo having fun and feeling safe. Even if people aren't in need of regular daycare, if they come for a date night and are impressed they might spread the word.

Good luck! It takes time to fill. Hang in there
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:29 AM
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MarinaVanessa MarinaVanessa is offline
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I just wanted to touch on something you said about advertising daily on social media and craigslist. I would keep your social media postings limited to once a day and ask close friends and family members that live in your city/area to like and share your posts. Anything more can give off a "spammy" feel. The more likes and shares you get the more people will see that post.

Also on craigslist I'd refrain from reposting an ad every day. I'd make one post and then "repost" the same ad every other day (I think that's the soonest that craigslist allows you to do it). Adding a new post every day can look "spammy" too and people tend to start ignoring posts like that. It can also look "desperate".

I'd also think about doing some activities or something with your own child and take pictures (you can crop faces out of the shot) and take photos of your play space etc. to add to your posts and ads.

If you have some sort of word processing program or editing program (Word, Publisher, Photoshop etc) I recommend making a cute and creative flyer that goes with your business theme and adding some quick info about what you provide. Make it special and save it both as an image and as a PDF file and attach it to all of your social media posts and craigslist ads.

If you haven't done it already I'd think about making at least a website with some general information about your daycare. Add a link to all of your posts and ads. Making a 5 page website is free (it will have ads and banners on it) and the site editing programs are pretty easy to use.

I'm sure a lot of us here can give you ideas and help.
Also feel free to post screenshots of your posts and a link to your craiglist ads so we can take a look and offer suggestions ... we'll be nice and give you good creative criticism, I promise .

Here's an example of my Flyer that I post to my ads. It gives general information and embed it in my craigslist ad ... the ad itself gives the information about what openings I have but I don't put it on my flyers so I don't have to keep changing the flyer.


Here's a link to my website. Mine started as 5 pages and after a couple of years I decided to pay for no ads and I can add as many pages as I want. It has grown a lot in the last several years.
http://myhelpinghandschildcare.webs.com/
__________________
Daycare Ninja, CA
Helping Hands Childcare
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:40 AM
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Whitney Whitney is offline
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Location: Oklahoma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Welcome aboard! There are tons of providers here from all sorts of backgrounds and all of them are very helpful and supportive so I think you will find this place a great source of information.

s for pre-enrollments, I can't give much advice for that as I've never been in that situation but in my opinion, most parents want immediate care or care within 2 weeks so expecting pre-enrollment for a longer amount of time might not be feasible. I suppose it depends on the family, as a family on maternity leave could easily dictate a future date for beginning care but I don't know if others can do the same...know what I mean?

Also, I don't know about the care environment in your area...

Is it difficult to find providers? Are there too many or not enough providers for the area? Is infant care or toddler care lacking?
Are established providers needing to fill spaces too or are they turning children away?

There is so much more to it.... Is your program unique to others in the area, are your rates too high, too low?

Have you tried to network or connect with other providers in the area? If there is a huge need for care in your area, perhaps one of them would be willing to send callers your way.

Opening a new business is hard and maintaining a consistent income is difficult too.....especially in child care. You will learn that there is NO guarantee for that.

Most providers here will tell you the first 6 months - year were tough and opening at full enrollment can happen but it's a rare occurrence and like I said, totally dependent on your area and the needs and demands related to child care.

Also, on a side note you mentioned hanging flyers on mailboxes... please do NOT do that! You cannot legally hang things on people's mailboxes without permission. (Vista print offers target mailing services if you are interested in mailing flyers)

HTH
Thank you. I had those flyers ready to the mailboxes but I was skeptical so me and my husband just left them on the kitchen table until we could decide whether or not to. I have priced vistaprint mailing services about a week or so ago and I think I am going to do that. As for child care center in my area, there is only one actual center, and a few home day cares. There is not really a big child care scene where I live so I do believe there is a need and the market is not completely saturated. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions!
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  #9  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:43 AM
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Whitney Whitney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by childcaremom View Post
Getting the first family to sign can be tricky. But once you can get the first one in, it sort of snowballs from there. Parents often want to see that you have other kids enrolled, the set up, etc before they will commit.

I've opened my childcare at 3 different times. I've always advertised as being open and ready for care.

The first time I filled within a month.

Second time took forever to fill.

This last time I filled within a month.

I found, for me personally, the biggest variable is what time of year it was. I have found the summer to be a really hard time to fill spots. People are on holidays, have teenage sitters, use family, etc. September and January are crazy busy and early spring, too. I had my choice of families to pick from.

Here (in Canada) is is sometimes easier to prebook clients b/c we have a year of mat leave.... so it's easy to look down the road and say, yes I will have a space available then or no, I won't. I filled some spaces right away and have some new clients starting in September so that my summer was light. I was able to do that easily b/c moms were getting ready to go back to work.

But having said all of that, I do find that a lot of parents tend to wait until the last minute.

Good luck! Lots of great tips on the board
ChildCareMom thank you! and oh sweet Canada, I wish we had that in the states!
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:44 AM
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Whitney Whitney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Controlled Chaos View Post
Welcome! I would look into care.com, craigslist and facebook for advertizing. Do you have a website and FB page? That's a great way to have your friends share your sight for free exposure.

I offer a monthly date night ($20 4pm-8pm) and have had many parents considering my program use that as a trial run. It always seals the deal. I send them home with a cute craft, goody bag (usually extra supplies from last months theme - this last time it was a handful of plastic bugs) and I text the parents a few pics throughout the night of their kiddo having fun and feeling safe. Even if people aren't in need of regular daycare, if they come for a date night and are impressed they might spread the word.

Good luck! It takes time to fill. Hang in there
ControlledChaos that is very wise! Is care.com a legitimate site? I read too many mixed reviews. Has it personally worked for you?

Last edited by Whitney; 07-03-2015 at 11:45 AM. Reason: typo
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  #11  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:48 AM
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MarinaVanessa let me just say that I love your website.. it is so thorough and offers me many ideas. I am almost done with my website!
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  #12  
Old 07-03-2015, 12:03 PM
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MommyMuffin MommyMuffin is offline
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I was in the same position as you when I first started. I was quitting a job and wanted to have another paycheck right away. I started advertising 2 months prior. I got my first enrollment 1 month before because they were moving to my area: also rookie mistake I charged $25/wk below average. Looking back I can't believe I did that!

A week after I started I had 1 fulltime. Then a friends child part time. And so on.

It can work. I had some start up money to get me through the first month. That helped!
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:35 PM
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Controlled Chaos Controlled Chaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
ControlledChaos that is very wise! Is care.com a legitimate site? I read too many mixed reviews. Has it personally worked for you?
I have had one interview from care.com, but I get referral emails daily. I am full, so I email them my wait list info. It does cost, I probably won't renew it as I get plenty of hits from free advertising and word of mouth, but I initially signed up when I had 2 sits of siblings move and needed to fill 4 spots right away.

www.littlefriendsdaycareslc.com - I use webs.com like the pp
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:40 PM
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nothingwithoutjoy nothingwithoutjoy is offline
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When I was starting out, I held an open house about a month before I opened. I didn't have a huge turnout, but all but one family who showed up that day enrolled. One dad even told me that he felt he had to hurry up and sign up because he saw all those other people interested in the spots (i.e. better do it quick or I might lose the chance!)
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:20 PM
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Thriftylady Thriftylady is offline
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I had in home daycare in the past, and took any family that wanted to use me. I had high turnover.

I now have in home daycare, and in a year have had low enrollment. I have one re-enrollment and one new boy who will be temporary start in a couple of days. The difference? I have policies and will not change them. I had no policies the first time and got walked all over. I am now hanging in there this time, as I know word of mouth will be my friend. I just need the right families to sign up. Give it time, I have given it a year and am just now feeling like maybe I am getting somewhere. It has been a long road, but I won't change my program for a few bucks.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
I just wanted to touch on something you said about advertising daily on social media and craigslist. I would keep your social media postings limited to once a day and ask close friends and family members that live in your city/area to like and share your posts. Anything more can give off a "spammy" feel. The more likes and shares you get the more people will see that post.

Also on craigslist I'd refrain from reposting an ad every day. I'd make one post and then "repost" the same ad every other day (I think that's the soonest that craigslist allows you to do it). Adding a new post every day can look "spammy" too and people tend to start ignoring posts like that. It can also look "desperate".

I'd also think about doing some activities or something with your own child and take pictures (you can crop faces out of the shot) and take photos of your play space etc. to add to your posts and ads.

If you have some sort of word processing program or editing program (Word, Publisher, Photoshop etc) I recommend making a cute and creative flyer that goes with your business theme and adding some quick info about what you provide. Make it special and save it both as an image and as a PDF file and attach it to all of your social media posts and craigslist ads.

If you haven't done it already I'd think about making at least a website with some general information about your daycare. Add a link to all of your posts and ads. Making a 5 page website is free (it will have ads and banners on it) and the site editing programs are pretty easy to use.

I'm sure a lot of us here can give you ideas and help.
Also feel free to post screenshots of your posts and a link to your craiglist ads so we can take a look and offer suggestions ... we'll be nice and give you good creative criticism, I promise .

Here's an example of my Flyer that I post to my ads. It gives general information and embed it in my craigslist ad ... the ad itself gives the information about what openings I have but I don't put it on my flyers so I don't have to keep changing the flyer.


Here's a link to my website. Mine started as 5 pages and after a couple of years I decided to pay for no ads and I can add as many pages as I want. It has grown a lot in the last several years.
http://myhelpinghandschildcare.webs.com/
Love the flyer.

I use weebly for free website. They don't limit pages plus I have two a active sites. (one for dc and one for other things)

Op - If you use care.com or sittercity, you just to know there are scammers on there and if it sound to good it most likely a fake ad.
Some people find great families on there, I haven't. Some find sittercity to have more for their area, others say care does.

Most of my calls come from our state website or referrals from other dc in the area. I purposely have meet other providers to get the word out. I carry biz cards with me where ever I go, just incase I meet someone or run in to a friend, or a at a biz that having a biz card drawing (some places do this and give away a free lunch or gift certificate to promote their biz but it also promotes you when you win)
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