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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Building New Program Enrollment: Tips & When to Panic
allieannarbor 01:38 PM 08-22-2012
Hi, I have been lurking here a fair bit this summer as we read a bit more about tax information and other areas, this my first post.

We are a new program offering fullday hours in Portland, OR. We accept children ages 2 up until they go off to Kindergarten ~5. We have been advertising and building enrollment for our Sept. 4th start date since mid-May. My question is at what point do you panic about low numbers?

We are a Certified program and in Oregon you can get licensed for 16 children (if you meet square footage and education/experience requirements). We have (based on 3, 4 or 5 day schedules) about 6 or 7 children enrolled for each day and only 5 on Fridays. When do I freak out about this? Money will be a big issue in a couple months but not presently... how long did it take people to grow? (I know that it varies by community and cost and other elements)

Other question, I hired a morning assistant and afternoon assistant. We can afford to have them start with the program (good time to acquire training and experience). But better business practices might suggest I not have them start until later when I need them for ratios. I would have a horribly hard time feeling ok telling them I no longer need them, guilt because I took time from them that they could be interviewing...

How did you grow your program? I advertise in so many ways other than paid ads in local parent magazines/newspaper. We not accept DHS

Thanks for your thoughts
Country Kids 02:11 PM 08-22-2012
Here's what I would do.

Get in touch with CR&R, make a webpage and a public facebook page. Put pictures of your set up all over those.

Join your local PRO group-if you need a number PM me and I can find out the number for you.

Offer discounts to enrolled families if they refer someone and that family signs up.

Not sure where you located in Portland but maybe try hanging things up at the zoo, Omsi, and places like that.

Maybe put some type of magnetic thing on your car. Make tshirts for the kids to wear when you go on outings and have you name logo put on a messenger back when you go on your outings to carry all the kids paperwork.

Make sure people know you are out there looking!
itlw8 03:00 PM 08-22-2012
People who are looking for childcare usually want it NOW not several months from now so hopefully things will pick up once you are open.

The best clients come from word of mouth. Once people can see what kind of program you will be it may pick up

After you have been opened a month do a grand opening open house. Make it a celebration for the current clients like a bbq and have them invite people also along with advertizing the event.
allieannarbor 08:32 PM 08-22-2012
Thank you for your replies! I love the bbq idea and I will PM for PRO info.

I did reach out to two infant toddler programs in my area of town (we offer preschool age) and proposed a referral exchange which has resulted in some tours.

I am so grateful for your positive words, we took a big risk doing this and I try to keep the big picture in mind but some days it is a bit stressful looking at the numbers...
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