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  #1  
Old 09-09-2013, 07:05 AM
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LeslieG LeslieG is offline
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Default How Long Did It Take You To Fill Your Daycare?

My husband and I moved to the area we're in now a year ago and since then I have been trying to fill my daycare. Over the year I have gotten licensed and done many things to advertise my business. It's been really tough... The most kids I've had a time is 4 and now I'm going to be down to 1 in a couple weeks. I'm not sure if it's the area we live in or what!!

Just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to fill your daycare? And, if you ever get vacancies, how long does it take you to fill a spot? What sort or area do you live in (population, etc.)?

Thanks so much!
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:19 AM
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I live in a small rural town in SW Wisconsin (pop. 6,000). It would have taken me about three months to fill, but I wasn't licensed til the end of July. It took us 4 mo. to ready for licensing, but then the state made a mistake and told me we didn't need fingerprinting and then realized we did because we had lived out df state within the last three years. That had to go nationwide through the FBI and took a long time!

It took about 7 mo. to get licensed! I had to turn LOTS of kids away. I now have one open spot. I can take 7 kids with the ages I have enrolled.

It may have been a bit easier for me because I came from a family agency that I had worked at for 14 yrs. I have worked with children in this community for close to 25 yrs., so lots of people know me.

I still think it took a lot longer to fiil than I had anticipated. We have two larger centers in town licensed for 50-60 kids and about 8 licensed homes.

One of the large centers is across the street from me. Not sure if that is helpful or a hindrance!

I have a sign on my porch, a car magnet, I have put up flyers, advertised in the local paper (have actually gotten lots of calls with newspaper ads-not everyone does), and been referred by other providers who know me and are full. OH, and a Facebook page!

I think it's harder to get kids than years ago. One problem is we have full day 4k for free and they are piloting a 3k program for free this year....

I say advertise, advertise, advertise...carve out a nitch. Mine is I we have purchased a separate house for child care, I have a BA in early childhood/elementary Ed & offer lots of organic and homemade food (not all my parents care about the quality food!).

Good Luck to U!
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2013, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LK5kids View Post
I live in a small rural town in SW Wisconsin (pop. 6,000). It would have taken me about three months to fill, but I wasn't licensed til the end of July. It took us 4 mo. to ready for licensing, but then the state made a mistake and told me we didn't need fingerprinting and then realized we did because we had lived out df state within the last three years. That had to go nationwide through the FBI and took a long time!

It took about 7 mo. to get licensed! I had to turn LOTS of kids away. I now have one open spot. I can take 7 kids with the ages I have enrolled.

It may have been a bit easier for me because I came from a family agency that I had worked at for 14 yrs. I have worked with children in this community for close to 25 yrs., so lots of people know me.

I still think it took a lot longer to fiil than I had anticipated. We have two larger centers in town licensed for 50-60 kids and about 8 licensed homes.

One of the large centers is across the street from me. Not sure if that is helpful or a hindrance!

I have a sign on my porch, a car magnet, I have put up flyers, advertised in the local paper (have actually gotten lots of calls with newspaper ads-not everyone does), and been referred by other providers who know me and are full.

I think it's harder to get kids than years ago. One problem is we have full day 4k for free and they are piloting a 3k program for free this year....
That sounds a lot like where I live... I live in SW Wisconsin too! Thanks
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:50 AM
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I added kids one family at a time. I would have a spot filled within 2 weeks when I advertised it (some in a day or two).

How are you trying to bring families in? Are you advertising? Relying on referrals or word of mouth? Relying on state listings?
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2013, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
I added kids one family at a time. I would have a spot filled within 2 weeks when I advertised it (some in a day or two).

How are you trying to bring families in? Are you advertising? Relying on referrals or word of mouth? Relying on state listings?
Word of mouth, flyers, craigslist, yellow pages, and direct mailing.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:20 AM
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I live in the 12th biggest city in the US. (Indy..pop about 2 mil.) Anyways, I started w/ CL, & found my 1st client. Kept her for 9 mos..had probs the whole time. Started advertising on some local fb groups I'm involved in (breastfeeding support groups, babywearing, attachment parenting, veganism, etc.) & because I share the same worldview on parenting more or less, moms would seek me out for my niche, which is nice. I was able to get 3 new clients & term the problem family I'd been holding onto for so long just b/c I needed the $. I am at the max I want to be at. (4, legally can take more though.) All thanks to facebook groups. I've been open for a year this month, but have only been full for 3 months. I should've advertised on fb earlier. I also created a fb page for my daycare & had a lot of word of mouth from some of the vegetarian & vegans I know who were looking for veg*n friendly caregivers. My advice would be find your niche & your passions outside of daycare & seek out fb groups that line up both to occasionally promote your business through. Especially b/c it's free!
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2013, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
Word of mouth, flyers, craigslist, yellow pages, and direct mailing.

I don't know where you live, but here, for $125 a month, I can buy 15-second radio ads that run in a rotation around weather updates. You can literally get hundreds of ads this way (guaranteed 60). Radio works great! I can buy a front page business card ad in my local shopper paper for $150 (35,000 circulation). Front page for shoppers is the ONLY place I would advertise-even people who throw them straight in the trash often glance at the front. You can also drop business cards all over the area-ask a c-store if you can leave them, ask childrens' stores (we have a high-end childrens' consignment shop here that most area moms end up in sooner or later!).

Clinics won't usually "allow" you to leave advertising, but don't let it stop you from leaving a few cards in the kids' waiting area. Ask a pediatric dentist if you may leave some cards. Hang flyers and cards on your church bulletin board. Don't let your husband leave the house without cards...you may pull some business from his coworkers (people are grateful when they can find daycare with people they "know", even if it is second-hand knowledge).

Ask your facebook friends to spread the word. Ask ALL of your friends to spread the word. I have a friend who works a few blocks away from me, she hands out my cards to coworkers. I have a friend who sells children's books-she stuffs one of cards inside the books before delivery.

Get creative, and realize that there is no such thing as too much advertising or exposure-wouldn't it feel great to have 40 people on a waiting list?

If your yellow pages ad isn't expensive, then keep it, but realize that people don't often use phone books anymore. They use search engines-online marketing may make more sense. Also, search out cross promotion opportunities-a pizza place or other kid friendly restaurant may offer your customers discount coupons in exchange for handing out your cards (or you could glue 1000 business flyers to their pizza boxes). Find kid-friendly businesses and offer to advertise for them or hand out samples or cards in exchange for what they do for you.
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2013, 10:58 AM
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I'm just at my 1 year too! Its been a rough road. I'm still not "full" but I have a good size group (5 kids everyday) about to go down to 4 and need to start advertising again for that over spot. I'm hoping by winter I will be able to start making a profit because right now I am not
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LK5kids View Post
I live in a small rural town in SW Wisconsin (pop. 6,000). It would have taken me about three months to fill, but I wasn't licensed til the end of July. It took us 4 mo. to ready for licensing, but then the state made a mistake and told me we didn't need fingerprinting and then realized we did because we had lived out df state within the last three years. That had to go nationwide through the FBI and took a long time!

It took about 7 mo. to get licensed! I had to turn LOTS of kids away. I now have one open spot. I can take 7 kids with the ages I have enrolled.

It may have been a bit easier for me because I came from a family agency that I had worked at for 14 yrs. I have worked with children in this community for close to 25 yrs., so lots of people know me.

I still think it took a lot longer to fiil than I had anticipated. We have two larger centers in town licensed for 50-60 kids and about 8 licensed homes.

One of the large centers is across the street from me. Not sure if that is helpful or a hindrance!

I have a sign on my porch, a car magnet, I have put up flyers, advertised in the local paper (have actually gotten lots of calls with newspaper ads-not everyone does), and been referred by other providers who know me and are full.

I think it's harder to get kids than years ago. One problem is we have full day 4k for free and they are piloting a 3k program for free this year....

I say advertise, advertise, advertise...carve out a nitch. Mine is I we have purchased a separate house for child care, I have a BA in early childhood/elementary Ed & offer lots of organic and homemade food (not all my parents care about the quality food!).

Good Luck to U!
That happened to me too with the finger printing. I had to go twice too because the first one they said wasn't clear enough!!

To answer the question - I got full within 6 months my first year (2010) and then lost some to school (I only take 2-5y) and then enrolled to fill those spots with a few months. (2011/2012) but now this year it's been tough. I'm down to four from 9 (two overlapped part timers). I had so many leave for school this year with all day 4k. I only enrolled one new child and have been advertising since April. I did two interviews but they went else where - they were teachers and I wouldn't give them off during the year for holidays, only for summer.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:17 PM
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I live in a rural town (pop. 8000) in Texas. I started looking for kids in October 2010 and got my first one in Feb. 2011 from daycare.com. I still have her and have added a baby brother since then.

I have never had 3 full timers. I can only have 3 kids, and I've had as many as 4 on my roster, but all of them were part time. I signed up a baby on Saturday who will start the 18th. I'm not banking on it though-I liked the mom and dad but I'm a bit uneasy of their finances. If it works out, for the first time I will have 3 full time kids.

The problem is that we have free full day pre-k and the school system runs an infant-school age center for employees. Since that is probably the biggest employer in town, it hurts.
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2013, 02:11 AM
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I started with 1 only 2 days a week that I'd had for awhile, then 1 baby 3 days a week last Aug and then she left to stay home after 4wks. Then a new baby started a month later, same age. I was watching another boy after school starting in Oct during the school yr. I added another toddler 3 days in Feb. I had some drop-ins and then added a FT baby in July but she just put in her 2wks on Monday but is finishing the month out. Ugh. I just had an interview for another baby 2 days a week but really need to fill a close to FT spot. I have a baby myself who won't be 2 until Dec and then another turning 10 in Feb so my ratios can dramatically change then. Right now I'm technically full but once Oct comes I won't be. I can take a FT infant under 2 or 2 kids over 2yrs. In Feb I could add 2 infants and a toddler because everyone will be over 2. Whew! Too much for me!! I'm happy with a group of 6! I like infants
Eta- So it took me 7 months to "fill up" but since I have 3 of my own kids in the mix I can only add 3-4 more.
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Old 09-12-2013, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
My husband and I moved to the area we're in now a year ago and since then I have been trying to fill my daycare. Over the year I have gotten licensed and done many things to advertise my business. It's been really tough... The most kids I've had a time is 4 and now I'm going to be down to 1 in a couple weeks. I'm not sure if it's the area we live in or what!!

Just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to fill your daycare? And, if you ever get vacancies, how long does it take you to fill a spot? What sort or area do you live in (population, etc.)?

Thanks so much!
Do you take CCDF vouchers? Do you have hours that go along with the local businesses? I'm open 1/2 before they do & have a waiting list.
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2013, 07:30 AM
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I live in a village of about 400. None of my clients live in the village I do live on a highway that the other small towns are on heading toward town.
I was licensed for 12 yrs took a year off then re-licensed a little over 3 years ago. I licensed in May and it took me until the end of June to get first client (I still have her) I got two others the end of July, they were county and mom really didn't want to work. I slowly filled spaces after that. It took me a year to be "full". I now have a waiting list and the only openings I see coming are as kids go to Kindergarten. I have told my mom's that one can get pregnant now for me to take next fall and then one can get pregnant the next year and then 3!
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:01 PM
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I live in my state's capital. It took me just shy of 2 months to get my first family and then I was full within 2-3 months. But I had 3 full time and 2 part time children plus my son and that's what I am financially comfortable with. I only advertised on CL.
All my families are still here. I now have 1 full time spot open due to a child going to preschool (his brother is still here) and have had an ad up for a month. I have gotten lots of calls and had one interview, but so far have not filled the spot.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melilley View Post
I only advertised on CL.
All my families are still here. I now have 1 full time spot open due to a child going to preschool (his brother is still here) and have had an ad up for a month. I have gotten lots of calls and had one interview, but so far have not filled the spot.
How often do you post your ad on CL? Do you put the same ad up each day or each week or ???
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherNature View Post
Started advertising on some local fb groups I'm involved in (breastfeeding support groups, babywearing, attachment parenting, veganism, etc.) & because I share the same worldview on parenting more or less, moms would seek me out for my niche, which is nice...My advice would be find your niche & your passions outside of daycare & seek out fb groups that line up both to occasionally promote your business through. Especially b/c it's free!
This sounds perfect for me. I'm suddenly in the unaccustomed position of having to advertise, at a terrible time of year (2-kid family pulled out last second before the new year). I am really clueless about facebook, though. I've created a business page, but I don't know how to go about finding groups. I tried to google it, but found things saying to use a search box in facebook--but when I go to facebook, no search box. Any tips for a newbie? Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
Word of mouth, flyers, craigslist, yellow pages, and direct mailing.
do you have a web page? I get most of my family through google, yahoo etc.
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