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  #1  
Old 05-15-2017, 03:09 PM
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Default Ideas To Give My DC A Competitive "Edge"

I would like to start charging on the higher end for our area but I realize I will need to make my dc stand out from others. I already know I want to offer organic food and provide (yes, I provide) cloth diapers and wash/dry (I have a solid cd system in place already).

But what about some other ideas?
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:25 PM
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I am a parent. Recently there was a thread on greener/waste free daycare's that was very appealing to me.

It seems like you already have a handle on that, so I would expand that direction and list all the ways you intend to "go green" and minimize waste. I'm not very good at the search feature, but there was a website that listed how your daycare could be certified green.

Many daycare's go as far as using paper plates/utensils/cups for the daycare kids, in addition to disposable diapers, paper towels and all of the paper art projects that kids do.

I'll let others chime in on what else you could do to separate yourself from the competition, but this, in addition to lots of outdoor time/a great outdoor area are big factors I look for when choosing a daycare.

What ages are you offering care for?
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:26 PM
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Also, as a cloth diapering mom myself, what are your plans to include washing soiled diapers?

Will you be providing the diapers?
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:16 PM
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I would say think of all the things that you value important to you and then think of what parents would like to. As part of my day care program I wash and laundry all Napa Linens and provide Pack & plays high chairs and everything else so parents just have to supply diapers some changes of clothes and everything else I take care of. Offering a fully comprehensive Services probably one of the best benefits
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardeur View Post
I would like to start charging on the higher end for our area but I realize I will need to make my dc stand out from others. I already know I want to offer organic food and provide (yes, I provide) cloth diapers and wash/dry (I have a solid cd system in place already).

But what about some other ideas?
I originally tried to offer CD options by providing them, but got a lot of negative feed back on how I would keep each child's stuff separate and not mixed up; Diaper services have pretty much gone out of style so it is a concern when a child has been ill or needs special butt paste. Because of licensing regs in some states, it also is a no go unless parents send their own cloth along with a wet bag... I have to just bag it up as is & send it home as we aren't allowed to dump the poop for sanitation reasons... I am an Organic childcare & one of the few that will accept cloth diapered children.

I would check the regulations before offering the service because it might not be allowed
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:34 PM
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http://cehn.org/our-work/eco-healthy-child-care/

^ That's the link BC posted in another thread on how to get your daycare 'eco certified.' I was looking into it myself but decided to go a few other routes to help my daycare stand out while still being 'green.'

A few ideas...
- I'm offering a "Service Appreciation Night" to parents who are employed as a nurse, teacher, firefighter, police officer, military member, or fellow child care provider. They get one free night of childcare each year.
- I also offer "Bonding Visits" just for parents of infants. They can visit once per day to nurse or bottle feed their child. I rearranged my entire main floor so we would have a separate room to accommodate this. Plus my location will probably get me a lot of parents who work nearby, so it's likely to get used.
- Also due to my setup, I can offer "Mildly Ill Care" on a case by case basis.
- I'm providing a discount for families that supply cloth diapers.

ETA: I also think a really nice setup can make a daycare much more appealing, and justify higher rates. There's lots of good pics on the decor group that really helped me figure out what I want my daycare to look and feel like.

I toured a DC once that had a huge, beautiful house. Large play rooms, lots of toys... But there was no 'setup' if you know what I mean. There were tons of toys that lined all the walls but no different areas defined. It just felt a bit chaotic.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:57 PM
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As a parent I would not want my childs cloth diaper being shared amongst other children so that would not be something I would be interested in.

For me education stands out the most. I would pay more money for someone who had an education in the field rather than someone who provided random free things. Someone who understood the importance of play and nature in their every day programming.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:12 PM
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I think if you provide cloth diapers the best way to do it would be to have a specific set that stays with the child while he/she is in your program. Do a strip (or whatever the Fluff Love & CD Science group recommends when you buy used diapers) before the set gets used on another child.

I think that ^ would only be suitable with pockets and AIOs. Unless you do a separate load for each child's diaper laundry which might be the way to go to make parents ok with it
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:04 AM
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There is another aspect to consider as well with the cloth diapering.

Child comes to care in a diaper and leaves in a diaper each day. So if your daycare owns the diapers, you will also need to make sure they are coming back into your daycare and have a system for this.

I also would have a problem with the sharing of diapers between children without being properly sanitized. Yeast is a nasty thing and can be especially hard to get rid of when cloth diapering, it lives through washes and can be transferred from child to child if diapers are shared.

I might be open to it if there was a great system in place (but I would probably want to know more details than you would expect and I would have a lot of questions).
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trix23 View Post
I would say think of all the things that you value important to you and then think of what parents would like to. As part of my day care program I wash and laundry all Napa Linens and provide Pack & plays high chairs and everything else so parents just have to supply diapers some changes of clothes and everything else I take care of. Offering a fully comprehensive Services probably one of the best benefits
I did not even think that it can be a benefits.
My parents provide only kids (), diapers, toothbrush and sunscreen.
Even my vegetarian and vegan families do not provide food here.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
For me education stands out the most. I would pay more money for someone who had an education in the field rather than someone who provided random free things. Someone who understood the importance of play and nature in their every day programming.
For me too.
My kid start read around 3yo, they also play chess, learn basic math (+/-, patterns, sorting, counting ....) ...
Right now I have 4 kids who are 5yo. I mean they did not go to UPK.

PS My price is much higher then in other day cares around. It allow me to have 3 teacher assistant and it is a big benefit for parents too.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:29 PM
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It's great you're evaluating how to make your program stand out! If you are looking to increase your income I highly suggest you not only look at things you can offer but also areas & ways you can reduce expenses for your program... too often providers take on expenses without realizing it.

Things I notice that make programs stand out:

Specialize in a specific age range (0-2, 2-5, SA only)
Create an environment reflective of the age range
Low adult to child ratio
Good quality staff
Clean & clutter free space
All inclusive care (can you provide everything except infant formula / BM)
Clear and consistent approach to early childhood (i.e. Don't say you're RIE based but have battery operated toys or tons of plastic. Don't say you're play-based but have a ton of worksheets. Don't say you're Waldorf inspired and have a huge TV when parents walk in)
Individual cribs for each infant
A clear curriculum for preschoolers
Communication w/ Parents in place (i.e. Brightwheel, daily notes, newsletter, etc)

As a provider I do not offer all of the above, and as a parent I would not need or be looking for all of the above – those are just observations I've seen.
Hours of operation
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGarden View Post
It's great you're evaluating how to make your program stand out! If you are looking to increase your income I highly suggest you not only look at things you can offer but also areas & ways you can reduce expenses for your program... too often providers take on expenses without realizing it.

Things I notice that make programs stand out:

Specialize in a specific age range (0-2, 2-5, SA only)
Create an environment reflective of the age range
Low adult to child ratio
Good quality staff
Clean & clutter free space
All inclusive care (can you provide everything except infant formula / BM)
Clear and consistent approach to early childhood (i.e. Don't say you're RIE based but have battery operated toys or tons of plastic. Don't say you're play-based but have a ton of worksheets. Don't say you're Waldorf inspired and have a huge TV when parents walk in)
Individual cribs for each infant
A clear curriculum for preschoolers
Communication w/ Parents in place (i.e. Brightwheel, daily notes, newsletter, etc)

As a provider I do not offer all of the above, and as a parent I would not need or be looking for all of the above those are just observations I've seen.
Hours of operation
I provide all that is listed (and applicable, I don't take infants), plus have a BA in ECE, great outdoor space, eco friendly, organic menu. It's a definite niche.

I also cut all unnecessary expenses. Eg. we make our own dye free organic playdoh (natural food dye), I make a lot of our wood toys, not using things like paper towels, paper plates, etc. everything goes on the website, facebook, app, no wasting paper/ink, no boxed curriculum ($$$!!!)

I've been on the very high end of home daycares in the area, and now charge center rates.
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2017, 11:00 AM
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Infant care is quickly becoming my niche. Apparently, I am one of the few providers that takes infants. I love them! I meet 2 of the other licensed providers in my area this past weekend and I was a little surprised by how much they are working ( almost 24 hour care) and how much they put up with. I will do early mornings (I generally have one at 6:15) but I am done at 5.
I offer a lower ratio- I will only take 5 full time but some days I will have 6 but my parents know that I have a couple of "drop ins".
I have a dedicated, screen free playroom.
I offer real food
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:22 AM
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Something that my clients really seem to love is the practice of providing daily notes. It gives them a glimpse into their child's day along with providing many opportunities to communicate with the parent. DM me if you would like some other ideas or info on the Daily Notes I use.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:03 PM
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For cloth diapers I only buy solid colors and assign each child their own color so there's no sharing. I use large wet bags for the soiled diapers and wash separately.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happymom View Post
I am a parent. Recently there was a thread on greener/waste free daycare's that was very appealing to me.
Is this the thread? http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17343
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:12 PM
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I already have a screen-free home and electronics-free toys but we do have plastic still. It wouldn't be difficult to move more in that direction. We also use things like unpaper cloth towels and such. I make lots of things from scratch and use nontoxic cleaning supplies around the home.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:13 AM
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I don't charge for holiday weeks such as a week at Christmas, two weeks at Christmas and a spring break week. It is a common practice on this thread to charge for all holidays and personal vacation days but personally I feel like that is taking advantage of people. I do charge a pretty high rate of 35-40 dollars a day and take summer off as I have teacher kids. I also don't charge registration fees. That is ridiculous. This is my edge in the competition. Childcare is a huge expensive for families.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sherrihoos View Post
I don't charge for holiday weeks such as a week at Christmas, two weeks at Christmas and a spring break week. It is a common practice on this thread to charge for all holidays and personal vacation days but personally I feel like that is taking advantage of people. I do charge a pretty high rate of 35-40 dollars a day and take summer off as I have teacher kids. I also don't charge registration fees. That is ridiculous. This is my edge in the competition. Childcare is a huge expensive for families.
I charge registration fees and don't think it's ridiculous at all. If a family backs out, I have to start the process over. If a family leaves during the trial, I don't reuse that child's supplies and have to purchase new ones.

CHILDREN are a huge expense for families, childcare is the tip of the iceberg.
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:07 AM
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I charge 52 weeks a year which covers all personal, vacation, professional, emergency days. While this may be a negative to some clients, it is NOT the defining point of my program. I also close earlier than any child care in my area at 4:30. A clean, well-balanced activity, communicable, nurturing, safe, dependable environment goes a long way. Sure, there are clients that do not want/need my services and as long as there are 12 clients that want my services I am good. Even if there wasn't 12, I would rather have openings than to have clients I had to negotiate what was important to me with. I do NOT negotiate the 52 weeks pay or ANYTHING else. If a client wants your services they will do what it takes to meet your expectations/guidelines. It is all about finding the right fit.
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Annalee View Post
I charge 52 weeks a year which covers all personal, vacation, professional, emergency days. While this may be a negative to some clients, it is NOT the defining point of my program. I also close earlier than any child care in my area at 4:30. A clean, well-balanced activity, communicable, nurturing, safe, dependable environment goes a long way. Sure, there are clients that do not want/need my services and as long as there are 12 clients that want my services I am good. Even if there wasn't 12, I would rather have openings than to have clients I had to negotiate what was important to me with. I do NOT negotiate the 52 weeks pay or ANYTHING else. If a client wants your services they will do what it takes to meet your expectations/guidelines. It is all about finding the right fit.
Exactly.

I do permit ONE free week for their own vacation usage (to be taken outside of our holiday closures). However, they must give written notice at least 2 weeks in advance. I usually have only about 3-4 people do this per year. So, not many.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:01 PM
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I think cloth diapers sound like a lot of work to me considering its for a group setting. Other than that it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it. I agree with others, a good set up speaks volumes.
Deb
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:10 AM
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Will you be offering care to all ages? Each client will have different needs and things they're looking for in a daycare. It'll be hard to please everyone without running yourself into the ground or compromising your own values and beliefs.

I think if I were still at the age of looking for quality childcare, these are the things that would matter to me:
Beyond the basics of caring for children which is showing love and kindness, offering stability, security and safety I would look for........
1)seeing a real connection between provider and dcks/dcfs, such as getting parents involved in the dc and community
2)lots of different hands-on experiences with play, sensory, music and dance, open-ended art, plenty of opportunities to use tools such as scissors, science related exploration such as gardening and insects, mud play
3)lots of cuddling and stories
4)conversation with the kiddos, done with lots of respect and not just telling them how it is
5)excellent communication opportunities such as willing to shoot me emails if pick up and drop off times are chaotic, newsletters, daily notes conferences offered
6)Willing to work with me on issues, patience and understanding

I wouldn't have cared about cloth diapers and organic food. But I would want lots of fruits and veggies in my child's diet, no juice, not a lot of crap such as boxed mac and cheese or fish sticks.
If you're trying to think outside the box, what about having professionals come in and speak with the children? Veterinarians, nurses, dental hygienists, teachers, firefighters and policemen, etc. Teach the dcks yoga. Or a little sign language or Spanish? Have a kick-a$$ play room or backyard set-up. Or Waldorf inspired?

Just some thoughts off the top of my head. I guess what I'm trying to say is all your potential dcfs will be looking for different things and you need to decide what will work within your finances, energy level and time frame.
Good luck!!!
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
If you're trying to think outside the box, what about having professionals come in and speak with the children? Veterinarians, nurses, dental hygienists, teachers, firefighters and policemen, etc. Teach the dcks yoga. Or a little sign language or Spanish? Have a kick-a$$ play room or backyard set-up. Or Waldorf inspired?
I love the idea of having professionals come in!! That would be so cool, and probably pretty easy if you have a parent in one of those occupations

If you didn't personally know someone in one of those occupations, how would you go about getting someone to come in?
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