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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Hate Sitting On The Stress Ledge! Do I Lower My Rates?
Kimberli 09:05 AM 11-05-2012
So, due to very two sets of very different circumstances having nothing to do with my daycare or myself, I have lost two children 2 and up from 2 different families in the past 3 weeks.

Yes ... when it rains, it pours.

I have been advertising as best I can, but with very disappointing results ... then yesterday, I spent a while checking out other local providers (which I hadn't done in a while) and their websites. When I did, I found out two things:

1) There are suddenly about twice as many small and large daycares in my area as there were say, 6 months ago. And ...

2) Since several Preschool Centers have opened in my area and made their rates competitive with what in-home providers (including myself) have been charging for the past two years, it seems that many in-home providers have lowered their rates by $30 a week or more.

This could explain why I am having issues getting interviews and enrollments all of a sudden.

So ... I just took my prices back off of my website and I am trying to decide what to do. With only a small license, I have struggled to make ends meet even at my old rates when fully enrolled - if I cut my rates, I will really have to get creative. BUT - if I keep my rates the same as they have been, who knows how long it will take to get new children into those spots that are now paying me ZERO.

Have any of you ever had to deal with this? Yeah, yeah ... I keep hearing about how our economy is recovering, but Southern California doesn't seem to be getting the memo fast enough. Should I raise my rates? And does anyone have any great marketing ideas other than Craigslist, Pennysaver, etc.? It seems businesses here will not let you post flyers because of liability issues. There is a City Ordinance against posting signs on poles, etc. though I see others do it. (I would be the one to get a ticket though! )

I've got to get some new little people back into my program - it's the holidays and I have so much I want to do with my kiddos. I know that dryspells always pass, but I need it done NOW!
cheerfuldom 09:39 AM 11-05-2012
I would and have lowered rates in the past due to the same situation. About 2 years ago, the market in my area was suddenly bursting from the seams with SAHMs taking a kid or two to make ends meet or people starting small in home daycares like mine. The rates where about 125 to 150 a week and dipped lower and lower till I was regularly seeing less than 100 week! I did end up lowering my rate to get kids started, I also took part timers and an infant to make ends meet. My priority is to get my bills paid and if I have to adjust to the market to do that, so be it. Its better than hanging on to something that probably wasnt going to happen (a full time older child at my old rate). Now the market is finally turning. I see more and more people looking for spots, have more interest in my openings, see people getting out of daycare that couldnt hack it (selling off items on CL and that sort of thing). So I do think things will turn around eventually. you could always raise rates in the future. I am raising my rates at the new year and most likely letting my part timers go....things are finally changing for me and I am back to my old rate with full timers only and no more infants (which is what I wanted!)

as for advertising, have you done flyers in your neighborhood, door to door? I would just hire a teen to put them in the doors (not mailboxes)
sharlan 09:40 AM 11-05-2012
The economy recovery has not hit SoCal. And you're right, there's a family daycare on every corner. Churches and schools have joined the daycare business as a way to make money, too. Our local schools charge $35 a WEEK for afterschool care. There just isn't enough kids needing care.

I've been trying to fill my final space for 3 mos with no luck. All of my calls have been for infants and I already have 2. I can't take another infant until next Sept.
allsmiles 01:55 PM 11-07-2012
hate to say 2 of my 4 clients were a product of me lowering my rates, now understand my rates were ALREADY rock bottom..SMH.. my very first client even TOLD ME.. ive searched and searched but i just cant find anyone.. her husband gave her a budget and i knew she wasnt gonna find anybody that would keep a 3 year old for that price BUT ME but wow i'd rather not hear that LOL ughhh.. but he was my first so i was happy plus he is very well behaved and obedient..
now ive went back up because i feel i am stable but ive just had a whole bunch of no shows..
Tags:rate change notification, rate decrease
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