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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>In Such A Rut
DaycareMomma 09:48 AM 11-09-2011
I have been doing daycare for 4 years. Back in August I had to up my rates due to being dropped to the lowest tier of the food program. As a result, I had a family of 2 leave me. They said that in fact, they were going to talk to me about lower their rates from the already low price they paid. I told them that I wasn't willing to go lower than what they were already paying because it was already $66 a week cheaper for them.

Now two weeks ago another family gave me notice stating they want their son to have more outdoor time and a preschool program. Well I know the outside time thing is a lie because here, unless the weather is terrible, we go outside every day. Plus the daycare they are going to is run by my best friend and I know for a fact, she doesn't provide a preschool program. I am assuming it is because I enforced my late fees on them and they are not happy. (Sorry, you can't not pay me on the last day of the week and then wait all the way until Monday evening to pay me and NOT get late fees).

So fast forward to last week, I had an interview with a family that has a 6 year old, 1 year old and is pregnant and due in May. Their current daycare has no openings for the infant and is already running on a variance so thats not an option. I told them I had an opening for all 3 of them, I just requested that they move the kids now because I will not hold those spots until August for them.

Their current provider called me and informed me that they were a bit leary of my age, I'm 25, and were unsure what to do. Well the mom called me yesterday and said they didn't want to move the kids right now.

Then yesterday afternoon I had a call from a lady asking for drop in care for her 5 year old and 10 month old one day a week. She asked how many kids I had and I told her and she goes "Thats it". So I said yes, thats it. Well she was supposed to come today at 11 to interview and guess what, its now 11:46 and she's still not here! So I was stood up!

I'm so wore out, I cannot afford to only be open with 1 full time, 1 school ager and 1 drop in.... I don't know what to do. I've advertised on facebook, in the local paper, word of mouth... Everything I can think of!

I just wish I could get some families in and start being happy again... I have heard rumors that the first family that left me has been spreading some pretty nasty rumors about me, so I'm sure that is effecting my enrollments big time. We live in a very small community.

Thanks for letting me vent, if anyone actually read this, thanks! Any advice?
wdmmom 09:57 AM 11-09-2011
Advertise on Craigslist.

Offer a discounted rate to newcomers for the first month or NO ENROLLMENT FEE!

Keep a structured plan and show proof of activities. (I take lots of pictures and show prospective parents.)

See if you can get a letter of recommendation from a previous family.

Also...NEVER disclose how many other children you watch. State that it varies and that you can have a maximum of __. The enrollment of other children should NOT be a basis for enrolling their child. For example...if you watch John, Bobby and Jane and Bobby moves away, that shouldn't be a contributing factor whether John and Jane stay. They will receive the same care (or more) regardless of the amount of other children are here. They should not be considered playmates.

Also, to avoid getting "stood up", tell prospective families that you will call them an hour before your interview and give them the address. This gives you the opportunity to confirm the appointment before disclosing your address.

I'm sure things will turn around. Sometimes you just have to entise prospective clients. Offer FREE stuff that is normally an Enrollment fee! Or offer 10% off the first 2 weeks when you enroll full time.
DaycareMomma 10:04 AM 11-09-2011
Thank you so much for reading this and responding... I'm just down in a funk

I wish I could do the not telling my address thing, but we live in such a small town that everyone knows everyone!

I might have to advertise with deals, so we'll see how that goes. Thanks for that advice.
meganlavonnesmommy 10:21 AM 11-09-2011
I think you need to market yourself better. Put a positive spin on everything.

If someone asks the ages of the kids you have in care, answer with " my enrollment just recently changed, I am confident I will have more children enroll soon which will create a larger group. Sometimes having a smaller group can be great, especially for a new child starting in my care. It allows me to give them lots of extra attention to help them adjust to a new situation. They get more one on one attention in a smaller group."

If they seem concerned about your age, tell them all the positive things about you, and get their focus off your age. Tell them how much you love caring for kids, about how much experience you have, about all the great things you do with the kids, crafts, outside time, etc.

I have an "interview" folder that I create for all interviewing families. In it I have letters of reference from past families that I have cared for, and phone numbers of families currently in my care to check for references (if the family agrees to this). I also have a brief summary of my experience, sample menus and activity plans. I talk myself up as much as possible. I give this to each family to bring home and read when they have the time, and are making their decisions.

Maybe create a bulletin board of pictures in your front entry or main play area. Somewhere where potential new families will see it when they come to visit. Put pictures of all the fun things you do in care. I have pictures from our holiday parties, trips to the park, craft activities, etc. Parents love to see pictures of kids having fun.

Hope things get better, it can be frustrating sometimes.
DaycareMomma 10:24 AM 11-09-2011
Thank you so much for those ideas! I think I will make a picture collage of the kids and the activities!
Ariana 10:32 AM 11-09-2011
Don't worry things will pick up just have faith that it'll all work out. Start thinking positively. The people that stood you up and refused care aren't good enough to be in your daycare!!

I was like you a few weeks ago and had trouble filling spots but it all worked out in the end and I'm super happy with the family that did choose me!!

Best of luck
Tags:bad economy, food program, loss of income, overwhelmed, stressed, variance
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