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  #1  
Old 12-28-2009, 06:27 AM
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Default Discount Daycares Undercutting Prices and Driving Them Down!

I'm a regular Craigslist user, and it burns me up to see that so many people are choosing to undercut other daycares, therefore driving the prices down. I realize that these are hard times, but I just saw an ad for a home daycare in my area that is open 12 hours a day, provides all meals and snacks, and only charges $70 per week, even for infants. That's $1.16 per hour! Just last year (and yes, times were hard then too, if not worse) the going rate for infant care was $125-175 per week, and the year before, $200. It's one of the main reasons why I no longer provide full day care - I actually make more money doing before and after care only. Though, there are those out there who do both, and they are charging $30 per week for before/after care. I love what I do, but I can make more working at McDonalds part time than most of these providers make in a 12 hour day. Why do they do it? Isn't there anything that we can DO?
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:10 AM
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I understand your frustration, and do know that a lot of moms have decided to become fly by night babysitters.....yes babysitters, because these types of providers I am sure do not put the time, effort, and money into their business like the rest of us. I consider myself a professional at it after 10 years of doing it, with a contract, preschool curriculum, very minimal turnover, etc. I am guessing when the economy picks up, they will be the first to close up shop and go back into the outside workforce.

Unfortunately, the rates you are stating are typical for my area. Might be low by maybe $5. It is so strange how different rates are from area to area, state to state.
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:13 AM
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Default I have been thinking the same thing...

When I look on other provider's websites, craigslist etc for my area, the prices for care vary soooo widely! For a preschooler from $70 to $150 per week! That is crazy. I charge $125 per week and only offer full-time care. I try to look at others who charge what I do and compare. Some offer a lot less with a less attractive set-up, not as many toys etc and I have seen others who offer a lot more than I do (LOOKING AT PICTURES ONLY) which is a lot of times how people judge your place before they meet you.
Anyone in my area charging less than $100 per week is driving quality care downin my opinion. But I refuse to try to compete with the low end home daycares. I have a lot of experience, education, professional curriculum/materials, a nice clean home and I charge accordingly. Plus, I dont want families coming to me who just want the cheapest care for their kids. Times are hard right now. I have gone down in price to $100 per week for one of my families. They have been one of my best, most involved and respectful families. She just leveled with me and said quality care was her main concern and no others in my area could compare to mine but she could not fit 125 into her budget. I had been "dry" on customers when filling the spot because of a lot of lay offs so i did it. I thought I might regret it, but it has ended up being worth it.
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
When I look on other provider's websites, craigslist etc for my area, the prices for care vary soooo widely! For a preschooler from $70 to $150 per week! That is crazy. I charge $125 per week and only offer full-time care. I try to look at others who charge what I do and compare. Some offer a lot less with a less attractive set-up, not as many toys etc and I have seen others who offer a lot more than I do (LOOKING AT PICTURES ONLY) which is a lot of times how people judge your place before they meet you.
Anyone in my area charging less than $100 per week is driving quality care downin my opinion. But I refuse to try to compete with the low end home daycares. I have a lot of experience, education, professional curriculum/materials, a nice clean home and I charge accordingly. Plus, I dont want families coming to me who just want the cheapest care for their kids. Times are hard right now. I have gone down in price to $100 per week for one of my families. They have been one of my best, most involved and respectful families. She just leveled with me and said quality care was her main concern and no others in my area could compare to mine but she could not fit 125 into her budget. I had been "dry" on customers when filling the spot because of a lot of lay offs so i did it. I thought I might regret it, but it has ended up being worth it.
i agree with you!! I know the going rate around myself in Iowa is $125-$150.00 a week for in home daycares. I do know that the large centers charge up to $215.00 for an infant a week.
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:43 AM
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I have noticed this in my area as well. Last year I was charging $100 per week. I was told by my parents I was too low! I looked into it and other providers were charging $130. I raised it to $125 and then this year raised it again to $13o. Now people are charging $100. I can't go back now that I am used to the money. With the extra money I was able to really improve the quality of my program. I can't continue that with a decrease in pay. It's very hard right now.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:20 AM
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One thing I have consistently seen is that people who charge very little seem to have ads in the paper or craigs list ALOT. There is a provider in my area who charges $115...very cheap in here...BUT, she has ads in all the time. Sometimes people are cheap because their house is crappy or their program isn't what it should be. In the end, you really don't want the parents who are simply looking for the cheapest care, you want the ones who are willing to pay for quality care.

Make sure you program has some great amentities and then make sure the parents know about them. You can do some things for cheap that parents really appreciate. For example, I take photos of the kids while they are at play or doing a project and email them out every couple of weeks. Parents love it, doesn't cost me a dime.

The occassional PNO, free of charge. I do a holiday one every year so that people can get some holiday shopping done...

Don't sweat the cheapies, they're just the babysitter!
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:42 AM
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One thing I have consistently seen is that people who charge very little seem to have ads in the paper or craigs list ALOT.
I have noticed that here too. You would think that parents would see this too, but then I think of how my 1 family always makes a comment about the cost of child care.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:10 AM
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I am actually nervous about that. I have a post on cl a lot but it's only because I lost 2 families due to unemployment and I can't fill the spots. Not because of me, or my prices, but because no one responds. There are 22 registered providers in my town. The town is so small you can drive all through it within 10minutes. That is a lot of providers. I am worried people will assume something bad about me because I always have an ad. I thought about taking a break and re posting but then they will think I lost another family. We can't win in this economy!
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:01 PM
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Most people in my area charge 75 min for three days, 95.00 for four days, and 115.00 for 5 days with anything over 40 hours being 125.00/week.

I have tried to charge only 85.00 for three days and had no takers (since they can get it cheaper AND a quality program, they do). I finally had to let it go. It really got me down for awhile. I have decided to take only three Pt slots and the rest are going to be filled with FT. I'll just work my way in to FT slots only eventually. It is very difficult to give a quality program on such a low pay/budget. I have such big dreams for my program. I do a great job and it's a lot of fun. I've had tons of compliments, but even that doesn't give me higher pay where I live. An hour away, the rates START at $130.00/wk. Go figure.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:46 PM
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I am actually nervous about that. I have a post on cl a lot but it's only because I lost 2 families due to unemployment and I can't fill the spots. Not because of me, or my prices, but because no one responds. There are 22 registered providers in my town. The town is so small you can drive all through it within 10minutes. That is a lot of providers. I am worried people will assume something bad about me because I always have an ad. I thought about taking a break and re posting but then they will think I lost another family. We can't win in this economy!
Have you advertised anywhere else? The local paper, community bulletin board, community center, church bulletin board...

Any new housing developments in your area? If so, it is great if you can establish a relationship with the realtor in the model home. They make great referrals and if you can get them to put your card in the new home packet, all the better!
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2009, 05:20 AM
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those are all very good deals and yes I have put up posters and business cards in every establishment that would let me. We have no new developments here, many homes in this town are being forclosed on actually. That is part of the problem, the economy. Mom's are quiting their jobs to stay home to cut down on gas and daycare costs. They decided to then do daycare. In NY you can provide care for up to 2 children at a time without being registered. Many of these moms are caring for more than the 2 children so they don't have registration fees and class fees and they can charge less.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:59 AM
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GBCC- What you could try is offering your existing families a a discount (your choice to how much) for referring new customers. I offer that with the understanding that the new family must be in care for a month before the discount is applied. I think the last time I gave this discount equaled out to be 2 free days (I think) I have also left cards in restrooms, Restaurant tables, children stores (did get calls from that one) I also found that my friends are my biggest supporters when in need of families (& even when I dont need more) When they hear of someone needing care they give my name out right away.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:35 AM
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I offer a $25 referral bonus. I have had many referrals from my parents but the problem is the unregistered providers that charge $40 less per week. I don't want those type of families that care more about the money then the benefits to their child so I am not too upset. My son's teacher even placed a poster for me but the problem with that is that I wont hold a spot for the summer and that deters many people. I am not that bad off. Out of 12 spots, I am only down 2. I just have been trying to fill those 2 spots for months now.

I have not tried clothing stores though. I have magnets on my van and I have gotten several of calls regarding that, but unfortunately they are from the city. I live in a small town about 20 minutes away from the city.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:39 AM
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Default I will be advertising soon...

I have an opening and will start advertising soon. I will put an add in Craigs list, a sign in the yard. And possibly some in the area. (I got a lot of calls from signs in the past, but I think the city comes and takes all signs down on a regular basis.

We dont have any new homes in the area. But there is a major realtor that focuses much of his time on our area so I could see if he gives out a welcome packet. I am also listed with the Childcare Resource and Referrral Agency but I have only gotten about 3 calls in 2 years from that (even though one happens to be a current and long-term family). Plus that is free so that is good.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:47 AM
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My registration agency does free referrals as well but in 3 years I have only gotten 1 call. They are still a client but I would expect more. What do you think are important things to touch on in ad ad? My cl adds are much longer, but the penny saver is $10 for 20 words and an extra 10 cents per word after that so it can get pricey. Maybe I am not selling myself enough. I typically state

Registered Provider now has openings for your little ones. All meals and crafts included in wkly competative fee. Over 12 years experience, CPR and First Aid Certified. Please call ***x for more info.

Am I leaving something out? What does everyone include?
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:16 AM
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My registration agency does free referrals as well but in 3 years I have only gotten 1 call. They are still a client but I would expect more. What do you think are important things to touch on in ad ad? My cl adds are much longer, but the penny saver is $10 for 20 words and an extra 10 cents per word after that so it can get pricey. Maybe I am not selling myself enough. I typically state

Registered Provider now has openings for your little ones. All meals and crafts included in wkly competative fee. Over 12 years experience, CPR and First Aid Certified. Please call ***x for more info.

Am I leaving something out? What does everyone include?
I think it is short and to the point. I understand the cost involved too, as it can get quite pricey. Where I live advertising in the local paper and word of mouth are what gets you clients.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:14 PM
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Default I think it sounds good.

Your ad is to the point and sounds professional. I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to make a free website and list it in your ad. Most everyone has internet access now and what a great way to sell your program! Potential clients can see your curriculum, pics of your daycare, more about you etc... and it is FREE for you to do it. You just have to take a little time to create it, copy and paste from your own documents (like a parent handbook if you have one) and upload your photos.

I had been putting it off for some time. It took me several hours to put it together and then I spent a week or so tweeking it here and there to get it just right. If I were a parent looking on CL, I would call the ones with pics or websites before any other ones. Ya know?

I am curious how my new website will go over when I start advertising soon. I hope it will bring a lot of calls. My site is www.greengatepreschool.webs.com
Others had really good sites too...check the Blogs and websites thread from awhile back.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:40 PM
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I do have a website. I list it in my cl ad. That is a good point to list it in the paper as well. My site is www.greatbeginningscc.webs.com.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:48 PM
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Default Cool.

Ya I would list it everywhere you can.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:39 PM
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You can also list on Daycare.com for $5 a month.
https://daycare.com/php/start_new_signup.php
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  #21  
Old 12-29-2009, 04:21 PM
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Default What really hurts...

It really hurts to see providers charge $2.00 per hour when I charge $3.00. Most parents don't seem to care about the perks. I have a huge dedicated playroom, a computer for the older children, cots with clean linens, toys galore, a wall size chalkboard, great curriculum, and two assistants. IMO, I deserve $5.00 per hour for the service we provide, but then I would be out of business.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:20 PM
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Thumbs down $$$$$$

I know what you mean. I moved to a University town about 5 years ago and prior to that I lived in the Seattle area. When I moved here I thought I would make the same amount of money but I was so surprised. I am still in the same state but DSHS pays us $22. lower than the Seattle area. This town has so many government programs that many of the home daycare's have had to close down. The centers here charge a sliding scale and even if they make to much with the state for help they can get help from the centers. In some cases their portion is 0. I have been operating a in-home child care for 19 years and I have had to get a evening job to make it. We have 8 unlicensed homes here and our licensor says she is just to busy to go and check them out.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Man that would suck!

Our city is pretty balanced.(Population 450,000) Centers outweigh homes of course and charge more...but they dont offer sliding scales or anything. I dont know how a home provider could compete with that. I think it all comes down to parent preference in my area. Some really like homes better than centers (especially in the early years) Others go with centers. Low teacher turnover, low ratios, family oriented, etc...are the benefits of home daycare. Since I dont take kids under two I have to really appeal to the "preschool" classroom type feel for parents to want to send them here instead of a "real preschool". I wish there was a provider who lived near me who took infants and toddlers so we could refer people to one another.
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:06 AM
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We only have one center in my town. It is a Christian based center so they are not really a competition. The next town over has 2 centers though and some will bring their children there until they are 5 and then try to find school age care. The problem in my town is that there are 16 registered providers and at least another 20 that do it illegally. As you can imagine that is a lot of providers for a town you can travel through in 10 minutes!

I mind my own and leave everyone alone but many of the registered providers are turning each other in to eliminate competition. They don't realize the competition is in those hidden non registered providers that charge $40 less per wk. I have become friends with 2 other registered providers and if we are full or can't handle a client we refer to each other. it's also great to bounce situations off each other as well.
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