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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Potential Client Asking For References?
Baby Beluga 10:28 PM 06-22-2017
I keep a binder with thank you cards and letters of recommendation from past clients, co-teachers and my past director for interviewees to browse through. I also have copies of anonymous parent surveys that were sent out while working at preschool. Yet I had a client today ask if I was okay giving out references. How would you have handled this? I always thought the binder combined with my FB page was more than enough.
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flying_babyb 12:59 AM 06-23-2017
I would have thought the same!
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bklsmum 04:13 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
I keep a binder with thank you cards and letters of recommendation from past clients, co-teachers and my past director for interviewees to browse through. I also have copies of anonymous parent surveys that were sent out while working at preschool. Yet I had a client today ask if I was okay giving out references. How would you have handled this? I always thought the binder combined with my FB page was more than enough.
Some people just like to actually speak to someone for a reference. If I wanted to enroll them I would give them references to call.
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Jupadia 04:58 AM 06-23-2017
I've had parents ask. I simply tell them I have to check with the parents (either current or past daycare familys) before handing.out email or numbers. Then I ask parent I'd I may hand out number to new family or if they would like to call the new fsmily.

I've only had to do this a couple times and my fsmilys have been happy to do this for me. Also I am legally unlicensed so I don't have a rating or anything t like that so I can't blame new family's for wanting a reference. I also never hand out references unless I know the family will work for me and I think their serious about signing.
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DaveA 05:33 AM 06-23-2017
I've only had a couple potential DCPs ask. I have a few current/ former families who will provide references. I just contact them to make sure they're still Ok doing a reference before giving their info out.
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Blackcat31 06:58 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
I keep a binder with thank you cards and letters of recommendation from past clients, co-teachers and my past director for interviewees to browse through. I also have copies of anonymous parent surveys that were sent out while working at preschool. Yet I had a client today ask if I was okay giving out references. How would you have handled this? I always thought the binder combined with my FB page was more than enough.
Did this potential client already see the binder and/or the FB page?

If so, I would say something along the lines of "References are available in the form of FB reviews and the binder that was available for viewing during the interview/tour"

Then maybe ask if she/he wants to see them again.

I understand but don't understand references....kwim?

They just seem kind of pointless as everyone's experience is different due to the fact that we are dealing with humans on a very intimate level so the experience one family or even one child has/had is vastly different than someone else's.
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Baby Beluga 07:20 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Did this potential client already see the binder and/or the FB page?

If so, I would say something along the lines of "References are available in the form of FB reviews and the binder that was available for viewing during the interview/tour"

Then maybe ask if she/he wants to see them again.

I understand but don't understand references....kwim?

They just seem kind of pointless as everyone's experience is different due to the fact that we are dealing with humans on a very intimate level so the experience one family or even one child has/had is vastly different than someone else's.
Yes. Mom and Dad both looked through my FB page (which was started in 2014 and kept current) and wanted to enroll prior to actually interviewing. Also, I am already acquaintances with this family as our daughters were in dance class together for over a year. Dad was not present at the interview (stuck in traffic) but mom was. I showed her the binder and told her I keep it available for families to look through when they would like. I also keep my CPR and first aid certifications and fingerprint clearance card on display. Mom didn't glance at the binder at all. Then sent me a text later saying dad wanted to know if I had references I would give out.

I have never been asked that before and I feel a little strange asking current clients to talk to potential clients. They are not my employer. But I do understand wanting to know something about a potential provider before enrolling which is why I created the binder. I just told mom I have the binder if Dad would like to look through it. She said she forgot about that and thanked me.
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Blackcat31 07:51 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
Yes. Mom and Dad both looked through my FB page (which was started in 2014 and kept current) and wanted to enroll prior to actually interviewing. Also, I am already acquaintances with this family as our daughters were in dance class together for over a year. Dad was not present at the interview (stuck in traffic) but mom was. I showed her the binder and told her I keep it available for families to look through when they would like. I also keep my CPR and first aid certifications and fingerprint clearance card on display. Mom didn't glance at the binder at all. Then sent me a text later saying dad wanted to know if I had references I would give out.

I have never been asked that before and I feel a little strange asking current clients to talk to potential clients. They are not my employer. But I do understand wanting to know something about a potential provider before enrolling which is why I created the binder. I just told mom I have the binder if Dad would like to look through it. She said she forgot about that and thanked me.
See but I think this is a touchy area in this profession....

If you give out past parents contact info to me that feels like a breach of confidentiality. Even if the family gives permission, it feels like its telling them to talk about things that were private (the relationship between you and each child/family is private and unique).

On the other hand if you give out contact info of current clients, aside from confidentiality issues, I wouldn't think a current family would say anything negative since they currently attend.

I don't know...I just dont see how contacting other parents (past or present) as being authentic references.

Thank you letters and testimonials DO seem to answer the reference request so I think that is all I'd be willing to share.

As for the family wanting to know about YOU and your background, that is what licensing is for...you passed a back ground check, have a current license etc so therefore are operating according to the law. Can show proof of compliance for CPR and first aid etc.

That's all a parent can truly ask for in my opinion.

Anything else is just fluff that is no guarantee of how your program will or won't be a good fit. Again, I don't know but the whole thing (already giving them the opportunity to see your references and passing) but then asking for them makes me feel like they weren't listening and that's disrespectful in the very least and maybe kind of a red flag... I don't know.... I'm just thinking out loud at this point.
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Annalee 07:58 AM 06-23-2017
I have a large notebook that I keep all my training certificates and cards/letters I have received the past 25 years. I leave it by the sign-in/out log. Parents can then view if they wish. I consider this along with my educational plaques on the wall above the notebook to be enough references for incoming clients. I figure if that don't give them enough info then it probably would not be a good fit.
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Cat Herder 08:15 AM 06-23-2017
I have a feeling they read an outdated parents guide on selecting a provider.

Provided personal references are quickly becoming a thing of the past even for employers. Most go to social media and background check sites.

I would have referred her to my facebook page and State website, same as you. That way clients are free to answer or ignore messages and not have dinner interrupted by strangers calling.
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Cat Herder 08:22 AM 06-23-2017
Wanted to add: I have had prospective clients message current ones for info only to have the current client contact me to request I not accept them on for whatever reasons.

It works both ways.
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Baby Beluga 08:27 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Wanted to add: I have had prospective clients message current ones for info only to have the current client contact me to request I not accept them on for whatever reasons.

It works both ways.
Oh....I didn't even think of that! That could be a good or bad thing. Interesting.

FWIW, I am license exempt in my state so I can't refer to licensing, ratings, etc. Not sure if that changes anything or not.
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Cat Herder 08:46 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
Oh....I didn't even think of that! That could be a good or bad thing. Interesting.

FWIW, I am license exempt in my state so I can't refer to licensing, ratings, etc. Not sure if that changes anything or not.
So far, the reasons for the no go requests were valid. I cannot imagine that will always be the case, though. I don't have a policy on it because I don't want to write or enforce it. I will just blow up that bridge when I encounter it.

I don't think being license exempt changes anything.
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kendallina 11:45 AM 06-23-2017
I would just all a couple of long-standing, good clients for permission and give their numbers out. Obviously, your choice in how you handle it but I wouldn't overthink it. Just my opinion.
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Mike 01:33 PM 06-23-2017
I'm currently still doing home renovations, painting mostly, and have a potential job where the guy wants 3 references. I can understand a person wanting references, to ask another person about your work quality or ethics, but sheesh. If you think about it, what good are references? I'm going to give him the name and number of 3 people who were happy with my work. If I had problems with a previous client, I wouldn't be giving that one as a reference.

See my point? References don't mean anything because good ones are the only ones anyone would give.

In all my years of reno work, I've only been asked for references maybe twice in the past.
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AmyKidsCo 01:49 PM 06-23-2017
I always give out the names/numbers of 2-3 parents that I know will say good things. I've got lots of testimonials on my website but I think parents like to talk to "real people" too, especially if they have questions they want a parent's perspective on.
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bklsmum 02:01 PM 06-23-2017
References have always baffled me too because I am only going to give you people who adore me so...
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kendallina 02:41 PM 06-23-2017
Of course we give references of clients that love us, but if they have particular questions or concerns I can understand. About 95% of my clients are word of mouth and I can tell they already know they're going to enroll before they come to the tour. It helps so much to talk to someone who had experience with you. I recently a family refer client who specifically asked her whether aclose a lot of days. Of course, she could ask me at the tour too, but getting reassurance from someone who's been with me helps.
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hwichlaz 02:42 PM 06-23-2017
I absolutely give references. They are going to trust me with their most precious child. <3

The consumer awareness info that licensing gives out suggests that they ask for references and check our license status and past inspection notes.
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ColorfulSunburst 07:53 PM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
...I feel a little strange asking current clients to talk to potential clients. ..
Why?
I offer it to potential clients by myself.
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Pestle 11:07 PM 06-23-2017
I'm very pro-references and I think being prepared for the question shows that you know what you're doing. Getting thrown for a loop when asked for references is a bad sign in a care provider. If your references are non-traditional, that's fine; just make sure your potential client has access to them.

I got into this business after a bad experience with a family day care provider, and I wish I'd called her references. I don't know if it would have turned me off, but I still should have done it.

Before we signed on with that provider, I interviewed a string of weirdos. I had a phone interview with a woman who casually mentioned—not even in response to a question—that her own son acts up and she hit him once “because he made me so mad. But I felt real bad right away and I’d never hit your kid.” Um, no need for any further discussion. But then I interviewed another potential provider who was startled when I asked for references, then said she couldn’t think of any, then said there was one but she couldn’t remember his name or the organization he worked for.

Danger, Will Robinson!
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Josiegirl 04:26 AM 06-24-2017
I don't have a business FB page, website or binder. I've only had a couple potential families ask about references, and I always make sure I ask my dcfs beforehand.
Only 1 dcm, that I know of, actually called someone and when she called me back, she told me I don't do a very good job of selling myself. Lol Sometimes, a dcf can answer questions better than I can or more comfortably. Lots of times, a potential family has already gotten lots of info because most of my current dcfs always give my name out to people they know.
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bklsmum 04:48 AM 06-24-2017
I actually had one DCF who was referred to me by another DCM who is one of her best friends and they STILL wanted other references as well.
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sahm1225 06:09 AM 06-24-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
I keep a binder with thank you cards and letters of recommendation from past clients, co-teachers and my past director for interviewees to browse through. I also have copies of anonymous parent surveys that were sent out while working at preschool. Yet I had a client today ask if I was okay giving out references. How would you have handled this? I always thought the binder combined with my FB page was more than enough.
If you google questions to ask daycares, it usually tells them to ask for past families as references. Then to ask why they left. It's silly actually, because we would obviously give a reference of someone who left on a happy note

I give out references, but that's the norm here. A few families have called but most just like to know that I offer Them. I have one previous family that will go on and on about wow, she has an opening? You need to go take a deposit to her while you're even thinking about it, she never has openings, or wow, you should be so honored she's offering you a spot
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Snowmom 07:31 AM 06-24-2017
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I have a feeling they read an outdated parents guide on selecting a provider.

Provided personal references are quickly becoming a thing of the past even for employers. Most go to social media and background check sites.

I would have referred her to my facebook page and State website, same as you. That way clients are free to answer or ignore messages and not have dinner interrupted by strangers calling.
That's my thoughts too. Someone told them that's what they're suppose to do.

I never got the reasoning for references.
Why would you ask a perfect stranger about another perfect stranger, whose name was given to you by the stranger.
Makes no sense to me.
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mommyneedsadayoff 11:19 AM 06-24-2017
Yea, I don't get the point of references either. I don't want them to take a stranger's word for it. I want them to talk to me, be active in our childcare relationship, and to judge their opinion and level of trust with me on ME. Not on what a perfect stranger says. My relationship with each family is individual and private to a certain extent and I don't want to make them in charge of getting me new clients or even having anything to do with potential new clients, so I would not give out numbers of current clients. When it comes to my business and my money, that ball is in my court and no one else should have a role in it. I do have reference letters form my days as a nanny and I have two families that specifically said they want to be called if needed, but a lot of the "fear factor" gets ruled out when they meet me and we talk. After that, the references don't seem to be a big deal anymore. Honestly, if you meet someone, see their space, consider their enrollment and the length of their career and all those other variables, a reference is not going to make up your mind for you. It is that good old "illusion of safety" factor, but you need to trust your instincts and stay involved in the daycare process long after the interview is over.
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EntropyControlSpecialist 11:54 AM 06-24-2017
I have only had a couple ask. I tell them to go onto the business Facebook page and send a message to one of the families that wrote a review OR to one of the parents commenting or tagged in a photo.
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Baby Beluga 12:12 AM 06-25-2017
There is something not right with this situation and I can't pinpoint it. Maybe I'm overreacting?

Dad was stuck in traffic and wasn't able to attend the interview. He asked mom about the references (didn't contact me himself). Then today I get a text from mom saying Dad wanted to know if he could meet with me for a second interview. The second interview didn't bother me (I would also like to see dad prior to enrollment, although remember I already know them from dance class so I am not a stranger). The odd part is Dad never contacts me and asks me these things himself. The mom always sends me a text message and says "Dad wants to know xyz..."

So I got the text about the second interview. I don't like playing telephone so I made a group text between mom, dad and myself and said I would be happy to schedule a second interview but I wanted both mom and dad present and gave my available dates/times. Dad STILL didn't respond. Just mom.

What gives?
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bklsmum 05:33 AM 06-25-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
There is something not right with this situation and I can't pinpoint it. Maybe I'm overreacting?

Dad was stuck in traffic and wasn't able to attend the interview. He asked mom about the references (didn't contact me himself). Then today I get a text from mom saying Dad wanted to know if he could meet with me for a second interview. The second interview didn't bother me (I would also like to see dad prior to enrollment, although remember I already know them from dance class so I am not a stranger). The odd part is Dad never contacts me and asks me these things himself. The mom always sends me a text message and says "Dad wants to know xyz..."

So I got the text about the second interview. I don't like playing telephone so I made a group text between mom, dad and myself and said I would be happy to schedule a second interview but I wanted both mom and dad present and gave my available dates/times. Dad STILL didn't respond. Just mom.

What gives?
Almost every family I have only one parent takes point and does all communicating, either Mom or Dad, usually Mom. I don't find this weird because it just depends on the family dynamic.
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sahm1225 05:42 AM 06-25-2017
Originally Posted by bklsmum:
Almost every family I have only one parent takes point and does all communicating, either Mom or Dad, usually Mom. I don't find this weird because it just depends on the family dynamic.
This. But if you're feeling that's a red flag just keep your eyes open. My DH doesn't like to text or call anyone, it's not personal. BUT that being said, he souldbtbgo out of his way to make someone work more because he's lazy, in this case asking for a second interview. He would just go with what I decided.
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finsup 06:14 PM 06-25-2017
Originally Posted by bklsmum:
Almost every family I have only one parent takes point and does all communicating, either Mom or Dad, usually Mom. I don't find this weird because it just depends on the family dynamic.
This is typical for me too. But like another said, if you're feeling something is off/red flag, definitely trust that. I provide references as part of my resume that all parents get, 90% of them never contact them. Even if they've asked. It's no big deal to me, but I don't provide anything else (no fb reviews etc). To me, the binder would be more then enough (and easier since I don't have to call anyone because I hate the phone lol).
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Baby Beluga 09:29 PM 07-05-2017
Had the second interview with DCD today. Dad basically threw mom under the bus. Here is what he said:

*I will be the child's 5th provider in 2 years. The reasons for switching were:
1) driving distance was too far out of their way
2) child was getting hurt
3) no reason given
4) desiring a more structured learning environment.
Dad spoke highly of their previous providers.

*Dad said he was comfortable with mom's decision, but mom wanted him to come. Mind you mom was sending me text messages saying "Dad has questions for you. Dad wants to know if you have references." I asked Dad if he had questions and he said no.

*Dad said mom is emotional when making decisions. He said she will get very excited about something then change her mind a few weeks later. Dad said he was logical and didn't want to "fix something that wasn't broken or reinvent the wheel."

Dad was polite, personable and very nonchalant when here. Almost like a "why am I here?" vibe but not in a rude way. Based on moms text messages I was expecting to get grilled by dad.

I am now so very confused about this family
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Cat Herder 07:06 AM 07-06-2017
**Sniff**

I get the faint smell of a triangulating, chaos manufacturing, attention seeking mom.

**Sniff**

... and a Dad walking on eggshells to keep the explosions at bay.

My gut reaction is to pass.
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Blackcat31 08:56 AM 07-06-2017
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
**Sniff**

I get the faint smell of a triangulating, chaos manufacturing, attention seeking mom.

**Sniff**

... and a Dad walking on eggshells to keep the explosions at bay.

My gut reaction is to pass.
I agree with this ^^^


The reasons for leaving other care programs is odd as well.....

1) driving distance was too far out of their way
Why would anyone enroll if the drive was too far? That one is on the parent.
2) child was getting hurt
Depending on how and why child was getting hurt, that could be an odd reason as well...
3) no reason given
That is a red flag for me... If they are going to bring it up at all, they need to elaborate.
4) desiring a more structured learning environment.
Again, why enroll somewhere if the program doesn't meet your needs?

I'd pass as well.
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Baby Beluga 09:45 AM 07-06-2017
What would I do without you guys to bounce this stuff off of
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Cat Herder 10:34 AM 07-06-2017
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
What would I do without you guys to bounce this stuff off of
Learn it the hard way like we did.

That is the blessing of a forum, if used correctly it dramatically shortens the learning curve.
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happymom 01:12 PM 07-06-2017
Reading through this and knowing what I know NOW...I realize there is no point in contacting references.

As a first time mom looking for daycare....I absolutely asked for references AND called and talked to past clients of my daycare provider.

It was on "the list" of things to do when looking for a daycare for your kid. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right and picking a good place. I really truly thought I was. (turns out, it probably wasn't the smartest decision I made if you ever read my other posts).

I don't think that asking for references is a red flag (5 daycares in 2 years is though). It's more of a formality than anything else. I'd be happy to give a reference if I was asked =)
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Tags:attention seeking, attention seeking behavior, drama - parent, references, triangulation
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