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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Stop Working For So Cheap!!
Southern Mama 02:48 PM 11-09-2012
Arg! I'm starting to figure out why I'm not getting any children. Around here parents have the option to choose a daycare for $220-275 a week or they have the option to choose one of the many, many, MANY home providers for $60-75 a week! How do they do it for so cheap!? First of all, if I worked for that cheap I wouldn't be able to pay my bills anyway, but secondly, I think my time and care that I provide is WORTH more than that! I'm asking $125 a week for full time. I do know of several other home providers that get $150-175, but most of their kids have been there forever or they get referrals. I have a 2 yr old that is starting Monday, so maybe after I get the first one the others will come along?

Oof! Do any of you all have this issue? How do you set yourselves apart. I offer contracted hours any time between 6am and 6 pm, I offer organic snacks and beverages, a nice clean and bright playroom and a full curriculum. I've had tons of interest from my CL ad, but once they learn my rates I don't hear from them again. Waaaahhhh! I'll just be over here feeling sorry for myself...
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sunlight 03:16 PM 11-09-2012
I have been a provider for almost 12 years and every now and then go through a dry spell. In My area for full time care with curriculum for age two and up is between $500-$600 per month. For full time infant care the rate is between $600-$700 per month. These rates are for in home child care. I use CL primarily to advertise openings and sometimes I get bombarded with interest, and other times I get not one inquiry and that can last several weeks! I remember when I very first started daycare I had two sisters and a little boy to watch. As I was going through the classes to become State Registered by the time the day of my first inspection came I had not one child in my care. I felt a little akward with my inspector, she even tried to give me some ideas of where to find prospective families.

My adivice is to hang in there. You will see once you do pick up a couple of families things will get better. You might even find your self turning people away. Then you may hit a dry spell again, and latter that will change again. I never thought advertising around holidays was a good time. End of the school year and beginning of the new school year was a good time, and for me spring time is always a good time. I always seem to get the calls for infants. I was even recently told that I am the only provider in my local area who responded back to an inquiry for daycare for an infant. The new mom couldn't even get any responses when she was looking for care!

Things will surely pick up for you!
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frugalmama4 03:51 PM 11-09-2012
Yep like sunlight stayed it will get better.

I have the same issues tons of feedback on my CL ad's but no sign ups. In my area their are a lot of SAHM'S doing care for pennies on a $$$, and in today's world you find that "1 out of every 5 families actually care about the QUALITY of care rather then the $$$".

If you're having issues due to your rates maybe offer a lower rate and then within 3-6 mos increase your rates...remember it's your business you can do what you want. In most cases "with good-quality families that can afford care" will stay with you...rather then go on the hunt all over again. Also by the 3rd month of care you will figure out which families are really in need of financial help with childcare.

Good Luck to ya!

Please wish me luck too...I have a interview tonight...
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AmyLeigh 04:11 PM 11-09-2012
Yup. I saw a CL ad yesterday offering fulltime cc for $50 a week! I'm scared of what kind of corners have to be cut in order to do this. Our local average is about 125-130 a week.
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Southern Mama 05:20 PM 11-09-2012
Originally Posted by sunlight:
I have been a provider for almost 12 years and every now and then go through a dry spell. In My area for full time care with curriculum for age two and up is between $500-$600 per month. For full time infant care the rate is between $600-$700 per month. These rates are for in home child care. I use CL primarily to advertise openings and sometimes I get bombarded with interest, and other times I get not one inquiry and that can last several weeks! I remember when I very first started daycare I had two sisters and a little boy to watch. As I was going through the classes to become State Registered by the time the day of my first inspection came I had not one child in my care. I felt a little akward with my inspector, she even tried to give me some ideas of where to find prospective families.

My adivice is to hang in there. You will see once you do pick up a couple of families things will get better. You might even find your self turning people away. Then you may hit a dry spell again, and latter that will change again. I never thought advertising around holidays was a good time. End of the school year and beginning of the new school year was a good time, and for me spring time is always a good time. I always seem to get the calls for infants. I was even recently told that I am the only provider in my local area who responded back to an inquiry for daycare for an infant. The new mom couldn't even get any responses when she was looking for care!

Things will surely pick up for you!
Originally Posted by frugalmama4:
Yep like sunlight stayed it will get better.

I have the same issues tons of feedback on my CL ad's but no sign ups. In my area their are a lot of SAHM'S doing care for pennies on a $$$, and in today's world you find that "1 out of every 5 families actually care about the QUALITY of care rather then the $$$".

If you're having issues due to your rates maybe offer a lower rate and then within 3-6 mos increase your rates...remember it's your business you can do what you want. In most cases "with good-quality families that can afford care" will stay with you...rather then go on the hunt all over again. Also by the 3rd month of care you will figure out which families are really in need of financial help with childcare.

Good Luck to ya!

Please wish me luck too...I have a interview tonight...
Originally Posted by AmyLeigh:
Yup. I saw a CL ad yesterday offering fulltime cc for $50 a week! I'm scared of what kind of corners have to be cut in order to do this. Our local average is about 125-130 a week.
I wish they all would realize they are doing themselves a disservice! If we could all charge an average rate for our areas, people would choose based on QUALITY of care...or maybe that's why they are so cheap?
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AfterSchoolMom 07:17 AM 11-10-2012
Once, I emailed one of these CL ads. I asked the provider, very nicely and politely, how they managed to keep things going for so little money. The response that I got was in all caps, with multiple spelling errors and many curse words, telling me that they could charge whatever they wanted and to mind my own f'ing business.

I think that's your answer right there. Parents get what they pay for! Hang in there.
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Blackcat31 07:36 AM 11-10-2012
This is where I think some of the licensing laws are helpful where I live.

MN requires you to have a license if you care for more than ONE families children. The family can have 20 children or only 1 but they have to be from the same family. Any more than one family, you have to have a license and once you are licensed, most providers charge similar rates to others in our community.

You will occassionally find a SAHM who will watch your child for a few dollar a week but usually it is just that SAHM and their child only and most people want a larger play group or at least one where they are guaranteed their child won't always be second to the only other child there....kwim?

Hang in there. It does get better but it is hard to wait....
Sending good wishes your way!
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cheerfuldom 11:57 AM 11-10-2012
Most of us could offer cheaper rates if we did the following:

*took to many kids, above regulations or above what we could actually handle or above what our home could accommodate
*if we did not provide curriculum, activities, arts and crafts, field trips
*if we did not provide food or provided inferior food. A box of mac and cheese could feed a small group for $1 a meal but its not quality and its not a wholesome balanced meal
*if we disregarded safety measures by not keeping our environment well maintained, age appropriate, safe
*if we did not provide adequate space and supervision for kids, if our toys and activities were randomly thrown together without regard for age appropriate and engaging items for our age group

It takes money to run a quality program and that means the rate will reflect that. You have to remember that the vast majority of providers that work for dirt cheap rates are providers that are very new and inexperienced and they dont know the real cost of running a home program OR they have been running an inferior program for years and find parents that are not bothered by the lack of quality.

dont take it personally OP. I know it is frustrating and sometimes we need to re-evaluate our program and rates and make sure we are competitive with the local market. But I also wouldnt worry about the type of provider that is offering a 1/3 of the price, crazy hours, over the top offers. they are not even competition because you and them are not offering the same services, so I wouldnt worry about the parents that are going the other direction. Do you really want to work with parents that are okay with anything as long as it is cheap? wait it out for the parents that are looking for quality and willing to pay for it. These are the parents that you will have no issues with paying your rate and following your other policies.
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dave4him 12:13 PM 11-10-2012
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom:
Most of us could offer cheaper rates if we did the following:

*took to many kids, above regulations or above what we could actually handle or above what our home could accommodate
*if we did not provide curriculum, activities, arts and crafts, field trips
*if we did not provide food or provided inferior food. A box of mac and cheese could feed a small group for $1 a meal but its not quality and its not a wholesome balanced meal
*if we disregarded safety measures by not keeping our environment well maintained, age appropriate, safe
*if we did not provide adequate space and supervision for kids, if our toys and activities were randomly thrown together without regard for age appropriate and engaging items for our age group

It takes money to run a quality program and that means the rate will reflect that. You have to remember that the vast majority of providers that work for dirt cheap rates are providers that are very new and inexperienced and they dont know the real cost of running a home program OR they have been running an inferior program for years and find parents that are not bothered by the lack of quality.

dont take it personally OP. I know it is frustrating and sometimes we need to re-evaluate our program and rates and make sure we are competitive with the local market. But I also wouldnt worry about the type of provider that is offering a 1/3 of the price, crazy hours, over the top offers. they are not even competition because you and them are not offering the same services, so I wouldnt worry about the parents that are going the other direction. Do you really want to work with parents that are okay with anything as long as it is cheap? wait it out for the parents that are looking for quality and willing to pay for it. These are the parents that you will have no issues with paying your rate and following your other policies.
I knew i must have been doing something wrong
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Unregistered 03:06 PM 11-11-2012
Originally Posted by frugalmama4:
In my area their are a lot of SAHM'S doing care for pennies on a $$$, and in today's world you find that "1 out of every 5 families actually care about the QUALITY of care rather then the $$$".
This is why I think the education standards for family child care should be set a little higher, not too much just at least a HSD/GED with some post-secondary. Maybe a certificate (or even just units) in either: Early Childhood Education/ Child Development/ Family Child Care/ Infant & Toddler Care/Preschool Curriculum/ School Age Care; (20-24 units from a community college or online course) and/or possibly an AA for a large Family Child Care or in-home preschool programs.

Or even just more privilages for providers with ECE/CD education such as (all of this being space/fire safety approved of course): getting an extra preschool aged (3-5 year old) or school age child (6+ years) for a small family child care, or 2 extra school aged children for a large family (with or with/out an extra assistant), or even being able to have a total of 16-20 kids (with 2 assistants) if at least 4 or 5 kids are school aged.

This seems to be the only thing that will help cut down on people who just open in-home daycares with no real interest in quality care/ECE/CD and just do it to make a little extra money while possibly forcing people who are serious about this field out of business. And maybe if more education was required, family child care providers would be more respected should be seen more as "teachers" and "business owners" instead of being seen as "glorified babysitters" or "stay at home moms"
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Cat Herder 07:10 AM 11-12-2012
Some of us simply have been doing it so long we have fewer bills/ less debt and can afford to offer lower rates as we choose.

It is not always black and white.

IMHO, Keep doing a fantastic job and you will set yourself apart, no matter your fees.
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EntropyControlSpecialist 08:53 AM 11-12-2012
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
This is why I think the education standards for family child care should be set a little higher, not too much just at least a HSD/GED with some post-secondary. Maybe a certificate (or even just units) in either: Early Childhood Education/ Child Development/ Family Child Care/ Infant & Toddler Care/Preschool Curriculum/ School Age Care; (20-24 units from a community college or online course) and/or possibly an AA for a large Family Child Care or in-home preschool programs.

Or even just more privilages for providers with ECE/CD education such as (all of this being space/fire safety approved of course): getting an extra preschool aged (3-5 year old) or school age child (6+ years) for a small family child care, or 2 extra school aged children for a large family (with or with/out an extra assistant), or even being able to have a total of 16-20 kids (with 2 assistants) if at least 4 or 5 kids are school aged.

This seems to be the only thing that will help cut down on people who just open in-home daycares with no real interest in quality care/ECE/CD and just do it to make a little extra money while possibly forcing people who are serious about this field out of business. And maybe if more education was required, family child care providers would be more respected should be seen more as "teachers" and "business owners" instead of being seen as "glorified babysitters" or "stay at home moms"
That would be great! I have a teaching degree and run a Preschool but still get called a babysitter.
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Cat Herder 09:07 AM 11-12-2012
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
This is why I think the education standards for family child care should be set a little higher, not too much just at least a HSD/GED with some post-secondary. Maybe a certificate (or even just units) in either: Early Childhood Education/ Child Development/ Family Child Care/ Infant & Toddler Care/Preschool Curriculum/ School Age Care; (20-24 units from a community college or online course) and/or possibly an AA for a large Family Child Care or in-home preschool programs.

Or even just more privilages for providers with ECE/CD education such as (all of this being space/fire safety approved of course): getting an extra preschool aged (3-5 year old) or school age child (6+ years) for a small family child care, or 2 extra school aged children for a large family (with or with/out an extra assistant), or even being able to have a total of 16-20 kids (with 2 assistants) if at least 4 or 5 kids are school aged.

This seems to be the only thing that will help cut down on people who just open in-home daycares with no real interest in quality care/ECE/CD and just do it to make a little extra money while possibly forcing people who are serious about this field out of business. And maybe if more education was required, family child care providers would be more respected should be seen more as "teachers" and "business owners" instead of being seen as "glorified babysitters" or "stay at home moms"
This is already the case in my State and changed very little in terms of respect. Typically you get the respect that you demand.

It seems they are even considering back pedaling a bit, now, because the need for affordable childcare has outweighed the supply.

If people are not willing to pay for the bells and whistles, all you have done is put long established providers out of business (few of these non-transferable "degrees" were available just 5 years ago) and left those who think they have earned the right to charge more with no experience.

IMHO, Each providers own reputation will decide his or her own fate regardless of how many stars they have on their bellies..
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TheMonkeyFam 09:28 AM 11-12-2012
I live in a very poor town. In order to get any children at all I had to lower my rate by $50 a week. Thankfully, I provide childcare because I love the kids and the money is just a bonus. There is NO way I could live solely off of what I make. It's sad to me that parents would rather send their child to someone who doesn't care about the kids at all just to save $. Sadly it's a lack of knowing what good care is for most parents here. Something's I hear about other providers makes me shake my head. I've called the police on quite a few because of the obvious abuse that parents are just overlooking!
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Mommy2One 11:50 AM 11-12-2012
Originally Posted by frugalmama4:
Y

If you're having issues due to your rates maybe offer a lower rate and then within 3-6 mos increase your rates...remember it's your business you can do what you want. In most cases "with good-quality families that can afford care" will stay with you...rather then go on the hunt all over again. Also by the 3rd month of care you will figure out which families are really in need of financial help with childcare.
As a parent, I would be pretty upset about this tactic - not so much about the money but because I would consider it a dishonest practice. It's one thing to raise rates after a year (increased costs/inflation/etc.) or if you start offering additional services (preschool program or switch to organic foods) but to offer an unsustainably low introductory rate knowing (but not stating) that it will increase in just 3 months feels wrong to me.

I also worry about the repercussions for a family who really does not have a lot of extra money in their monthly budget. What if your original rate was truly near the maximum of what a family could afford? Your rate increase could force them to move to a new provider. Changing providers is very stressful for parents and even more so for the children. If the family had a couple of interviews set up, they could miss an opening at another at another quality childcare for a temporary spot in yours.

To the OP, don't give up. There are parents out there who value quality over cost....and they're probably just as frustrated trying to find you as you are them! On our most recent round of interviews we met with two ladies - one who wanted $50/3-day-week and one who wanted $100/3-day week. We selected the higher cost (higher quality, based on interviews alone) care and now happily pay her $120/3-day-week. Keep advertising - make sure everything you put out is super professional and emphasize what you offer that the lower cost providers don't (lower ratios, better environment/toys, healthier foods).
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melilley 08:46 AM 11-29-2012
In my state, you need a license to care for any unrelated children. There are many SAHM's and the like who do care for either less money or the same and also will provide care for more than the ratio if they were licensed. Some even advertise that they aren't licensed or advertise like they are and run a program. I wish there was a way to report these people! I have spent a lot of time and money in preparation to get licensed to open my in home daycare and those people should have to do the same! I agree to some extent on the need to have some post secondary eduction to have an in home daycare. I don't think you should have to have a degree (which I do have), but there are certificates, at least in my state, that you can obtain that demonstrate your competence in caring for children. And in order to be a lead in a center here, you have to have a minimum of a CDA and to be an infant or toddler lead you have to take a certain infant toddler class so why wouldn't you have to have at least something for in home providers? Or at least some kind of documented experience in working with children. One thing that my state does do is require in home providers to complete 10 hours of approved childcare courses a year in order to stay licensed, which I totally agree with! Sorry, I may be getting off track here in my post, I just had some things to say...
Anyways, back to the tuition fee, I agree, wait and they will come. The right families will see that what you offer is worth the money! And for the sake of argument (I've seen arguments on here from things people have misunderstood and I don't want that to happen here!) I'm not saying that if you charge less you are less of a provider, just some of us can't afford to charge less.
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melilley 08:47 AM 11-29-2012
Originally Posted by melilley:
In my state, you need a license to care for any unrelated children. There are many SAHM's and the like who do care for either less money or the same and also will provide care for more than the ratio if they were licensed. Some even advertise that they aren't licensed or advertise like they are and run a program. I wish there was a way to report these people! I have spent a lot of time and money in preparation to get licensed to open my in home daycare and those people should have to do the same! I agree to some extent on the need to have some post secondary eduction to have an in home daycare. I don't think you should have to have a degree (which I do have), but there are certificates, at least in my state, that you can obtain that demonstrate your competence in caring for children. And in order to be a lead in a center here, you have to have a minimum of a CDA and to be an infant or toddler lead you have to take a certain infant toddler class so why wouldn't you have to have at least something for in home providers? Or at least some kind of documented experience in working with children. One thing that my state does do is require in home providers to complete 10 hours of approved childcare courses a year in order to stay licensed, which I totally agree with! Sorry, I may be getting off track here in my post, I just had some things to say...
Anyways, back to the tuition fee, I agree, wait and they will come. The right families will see that what you offer is worth the money! And for the sake of argument (I've seen arguments on here from things people have misunderstood and I don't want that to happen here!) I'm not saying that if you charge less you are less of a provider, just some of us can't afford to charge less.
I hope this post makes sense, I kept thinking of things to say and kept typing away...lol
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