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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How To Lure In FT... Or Go PT?
MyKzooFamily 12:50 PM 11-14-2012
I have a few people interested in part time care right now. While I don't have a problem with that, I really wanted to have full time kids because it is a consistent, steady schedule, along with consistent, steady pay.

99% of home daycares in my area charge a flat $100/week full time. Unlicensed home daycares are $90-$100.

I'm trying to think of ways to bring in full time kids between the ages of 2 and 5 (as my playroom is geared for toddlers and preschoolers). I am thinking of advertising for $80/week full time. This would give parents an incentive to change their current daycare provider (as they would save money). Since we are so close to the beginning of another year, I could have a pay increase 6 months later, and up my rates to $90 or $100/week. I'm hoping parents would stay with me because I would offer everything they are looking for in good care and educational support.

Or.... I can stick with what I'm finding with part time. The problem with part time is the income. It's unreliable, and so are the parents (since they don't need me that bad, and could always find care with a babysitter, family member, or a non-licensed SAHM).

What would you do? Advertise lower to get spots filled, and then do a rate increase 6-12 months later and see who stays?
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nanglgrl 01:17 PM 11-14-2012
Could you make your part time more restrictive? I have what most would consider a part time child that comes every day 8-12 but she pays for a full time slot. My rule is anything over 20 hours is full time, if they have a varied schedule (no matter how many hours they use) it's considered full time, if they come daily (no matter the hours) it's considered full time. They are taking up a slot in your daycare. As far as the pay being unreliable I'm not sure what you mean because you didn't indicate if you only had parents pay for hours they used. I have a minimum of $75 for my part time if they use anything from 1-20 hours they pay $75.00.
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Blackcat31 01:23 PM 11-14-2012
Like nanglgrl said, make part time more restrictive.

I offer part time spots in various ways. One is a M,W,F or T/R option only.

The other option is 3 varying days per week.

The costs also coincide with the options they choose.

T-R is $75 per week.
M,W,F is $100 per week
3 varying days is $120 per week.
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MyKzooFamily 01:29 PM 11-14-2012
Yeah, the only parents I have found so far want part time, only the hours used. So this week, she may need me W, Th, F from 8am to 5pm. But then next week she only works Friday from 7:30 to 12 noon. So even though she is taking up one spot, there would be weeks I get next to nothing for it.

The only reason they are interested in care, is because they want to be able to pay hourly, since other daycares have the flat rate with more restrictions. Sooo... I think I need to just fill full time spots. Jobs are really hard to find here, and most of them pay minimum wage or not much more. So I know part time care is hard to find.

But I am doing daycare to make money, so I need to just have 4 full time spots and just find a way to fill them. I'd rather make $320 full time to have some toddlers that can feed themselves, go potty, and play by themselves a lot, rather than have a mix of part time with lots of different ages, requiring me to keep quite a bit of baby equipment and keep preschooler and toddler stuff up when infants are crawling around.

I know that for me, toddlers and preschoolers are easier, so I'm thinking I will be okay with the lower pay for a while, before I have a price increase. My ideal weekly income is $300/mo. to start, so I could start at $80/week for 4 children, and then I could wait until next year sometime to increase.

This part time is just pretty chaotic. And if I didn't need the income, and didn't mind the stress, I think I would do it.
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seebachers 01:32 PM 11-14-2012
as a parent enrolling, I would be pretty upset with signing up for $80 for full time and then you pull a rate increase at the beginning of the year.
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MyKzooFamily 01:41 PM 11-14-2012
Instead of doing rate increases at the beginning of the year like I use to, I suppose I could do them in the middle of the year.

Does anyone do them in the middle of the year, or not in Dec/January?
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nanglgrl 03:05 PM 11-14-2012
Originally Posted by seebachers:
as a parent enrolling, I would be pretty upset with signing up for $80 for full time and then you pull a rate increase at the beginning of the year.
I was going to say the same thing.

Another thing to think about if you lower your rates is that the likely result is you will get families but you will most likely get the undesirables. I guess for me I would never lower my rates with the intent to raise them later on. I would advertise, hand out business cards and show everyone all that my program offers. A few years ago when I had a hard time getting clients I called around and found out I was charging less than most, when I raised my rates I got clients. I think people were calling and getting my pricing and thinking because I was so cheap I must be horrible. How long have you been in business? A lot of people start out thinking they will fill up right away but it usually takes 6 months-1 year to be full and have stable clientele. In my area it seems that people usually look for a new provider in this order: End of Summer (lots of people looking), Start of Summer (lots of people looking but less than at the end of Summer), Christmas Break/New Year (about half the amount of people as the end of summer), the rest of the year you will just get a call here and there. From what I've seen on these boards it looks like a countrywide phenomenon. I imagine it's because these are times parents have more days off and are also times they may get annoyed with their current provider because of days she/he is closed, tax statements and providers raising rates.
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allsmiles 03:19 PM 11-14-2012
im in the same boat as you.. I am just starting out and dropped my prices $10 to get clients.. In one month I was at capacity.. I am going to increase my rates but probably not in january since i just got all of my clients.. im scared LOL.. i hate to wait till august but that seems reasonable..
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Blackcat31 03:42 PM 11-14-2012
Originally Posted by MyKzooFamily:
Instead of doing rate increases at the beginning of the year like I use to, I suppose I could do them in the middle of the year.

Does anyone do them in the middle of the year, or not in Dec/January?
Originally Posted by ladyquana:
im in the same boat as you.. I am just starting out and dropped my prices $10 to get clients.. In one month I was at capacity.. I am going to increase my rates but probably not in january since i just got all of my clients.. im scared LOL.. i hate to wait till august but that seems reasonable..
Why not actually advertise that if parents sign on with you that they will get something? Kind of like cable companies and such...they advertise that the first 3 months are at XX rate, then the rate goes to the normal one aftr Jan 1st, 2012

In order for parents to not just sign on to get the reduced rate though, you could offer it to them after a certain amount of time such as "Families enrolling now will recieve a discounted rate of 15% for the 4th month of care" or something like that. kwim? Or offer them some sort of bonus like "Families enrolling between now and the first of the year will be locked into your curret rates for however long they are with you"

Something to lure them in but not giving it all away for free or super cheap just to get clients.
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SunnyDay 04:28 PM 11-14-2012
Are you really in Grand Rapids? Those rates sound low to me.
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MyKzooFamily 05:21 PM 11-14-2012
Originally Posted by SunnyDay:
Are you really in Grand Rapids? Those rates sound low to me.
Nope, I'm not sure why that says Grand Rapids. I'm in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area.
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melissa ann 07:59 PM 11-14-2012
I always had my contracts renewed Aug 1. Any rate increases were made at that time. I didn't like doing it Jan 1, what with the holidays and stuff. I didn't want to add stress to me (whether they would take it well or not) or to the parents having to pay more for childcare after spending way too much for gifts.
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