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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How Do You Handle A Waiting List?
daycare 04:08 PM 02-28-2012
In another thread about me eating my words someone asked about how I juggle a waiting list. Or should I say manage it.

I am no expert, but wanted others to also tel us all what they do too..

Thanks for posting
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daycare 04:14 PM 02-28-2012
So to answer you, here is what I do.

I do my normal process.
Phone interview
Face to face meeting, tour and interview

If I am full or not, I still do it. Things in this biz change at the drop of a hat.

I also do a preschool program that runs exactly like the district schedule. SO I have a lot of request for fall enrollment.

I make tons of notes during the meet. I also rate them 1-5. 1 being the best fit, 5-means NO way and I have to tell them so.

I then add them to my wait list in MMK. The 1's always get called first when I have an opening. If they have moved on, then I call next on the list and so on.

I always advertise and always conduct interviews..

#1 thing I tell them is that I don't guarantee a spot and they are welcome to come and hold a spot with money at any time if they really want it that bad.
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Heidi 04:17 PM 02-28-2012
So, when they call and ask "do you have an opening?" how do you gently get around answering that?

My problem is I live 6 miles out of town, so part of the reason I'm asking is because I know I'm MUCH better than most of the places in town, but I need to get the word out. I have one opening later in March, and I need to get people in the door. THen I have 2 more openings for over 2 in August.
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Cat Herder 04:29 PM 02-28-2012
My waiting list is super casual. For some years now all my prospective clients have been word of mouth referrals.

If I don't have an opening or they are still in the TTC phase (as most of my clients are), I offer to place them on my waiting list AND give them the number to CCR&R.

When I have an opening I start calling, one per day, from the top of the list until someone jumps. (typically I already know who it will be, but the formality persists )

I then schedule the interview/tour. First signed, first served. Then we wait for baby to be born. I don't like to enroll kids past 4 months, unless they have high medical need. The actual enrollment process is carefully orchestrated chaos but it has always worked out when I let it.

I have to admit that occasionally the parents's who harass me daily after I tell them "36 months at minimum" and "I'll call you if that changes" have a way of erasing themselves from that list. It is a phenomenon.

I am all for being an aggressive go-getter, but this is one instance it just does not work.
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daycare 04:35 PM 02-28-2012
Originally Posted by bbo:
So, when they call and ask "do you have an opening?" how do you gently get around answering that?

My problem is I live 6 miles out of town, so part of the reason I'm asking is because I know I'm MUCH better than most of the places in town, but I need to get the word out. I have one opening later in March, and I need to get people in the door. THen I have 2 more openings for over 2 in August.
I will tell them the truth. I currently do not have any opening until XYZ date. If they still want to come for an interview, I will let them come. Let them know how I use my waiting list and will call them back as soon as I have a spot open up for them. Again stress that I cannot guarantee anything.
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SD DaycareMOM 04:36 PM 02-28-2012
Right now, if someone calls I will just tell them that I don't have any openings at this time. If I have a second to talk, I will ask them if they would be interested in being added to my waiting list, or sometimes people have asked if I have a waiting list. I just take down their name and number, kids ages, and the date they called. Then, if I have an opening, I go through the list to set up interviews with any still interested and go from there.

I am also a few miles out of our small town, and word has recently started getting around and I have had more requests to be added to my list. I now have actually had people who are making due until I have a spot open for them. I think my website has really helped a lot with that, plus getting a few of the local "big" families enrolled.... they spread the word quickly! So, I would say just keep advertising and putting yourself out there and word will get around that you are worth waiting for! When I first started out, I got a lot of good tips from Tom Copeland's marketing book.
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littlemissmuffet 06:26 AM 03-01-2012
If I don't have an opening, potential DCP is added to our waiting list AFTER I have asked some pertinent questions such as the hours of care they need, etc to make sure the basics match our need.

When an opening becomes available, I start contacting people from my waiting list and setting up interviews. First one to sign paperwork and pay their first month's fee (plus any other fees) gets the space!
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Tags:waiting list, waiting list interviews
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