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BrynleeJean 07:33 AM 09-19-2018
How long do you wait when starting up and after advertising to lower rates
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Blackcat31 07:41 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by BrynleeJean:
How long do you wait when starting up and after advertising to lower rates
I wouldn't lower rates if they are the rates you set for your business. Rates should meet your financial needs.

I understand not having clients but if you lower your rate to get them, you'll risk losing them every time you do anything they might not like. kwim?

If your rates are competitive and on par with other child care's in the area, don't change them. Instead maybe rethink how you are advertising....

What have you done/not done thus far to get families interested and kids enrolled?
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BrynleeJean 07:56 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I wouldn't lower rates if they are the rates you set for your business. Rates should meet your financial needs.

I understand not having clients but if you lower your rate to get them, you'll risk losing them every time you do anything they might not like. kwim?

If your rates are competitive and on par with other child care's in the area, don't change them. Instead maybe rethink how you are advertising....

What have you done/not done thus far to get families interested and kids enrolled?
Posted on my Nextdoor app for my neighborhood and surrounding areas and Facebook. It’s only been a few weeks but those inquiry seem to stray at mention of my pricing
I’ll only be open 4 days and plan to take infants and an assistant. The only two other daycares in town don’t take infants and have a wait list for 1 year olds up to two years. I was hoping for a little niche here

The four day thing is only because I have two young children of my own and hope to not burn out and wanted to see if it could work. If I started off with Fridays I couldn’t go backwards, and heard Fridays off was a game changer.
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Cat Herder 08:10 AM 09-19-2018
Even after 24 years in my community, with word of mouth references, I could not stay full only offering 4 days per week.

That requires parents who don't work 5 days a week. Those typically have more fad demands and are unreliable income longterm since they often change providers on a whim. They don't generally need childcare and will remind you of that often for loopholes. They also enjoy writing bad references online.

High risk.
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Blackcat31 08:30 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Even after 24 years in my community, with word of mouth references, I could not stay full only offering 4 days per week.

That requires parents who don't work 5 days a week. Those typically have more fad demands and are unreliable income longterm since they often change providers on a whim. They don't generally need childcare and will remind you of that often for loopholes. They also enjoy writing bad references online.

High risk.
This is true. 4 days a week immediately limits people and if you aren't already "known" in the child care community, that often just comes across as an obstacle parents would rather avoid.

I know many providers that do work limited work weeks but those providers have been in business for decades and some actually run a very limited program taking only 3 or 4 kids (we can have up to 14 here) so I agree with Cat Herder about that probably being your biggest obstacle.

As for not wanting to burn out, I'd think about just closing one Friday a month and having family time/day. Or limit your daily hours so you arent working 14 hour days...
Build your clientele and then start tweaking your program hours.
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Cat Herder 08:46 AM 09-19-2018
Even just giving yourself paid federal holidays gives you plenty of three day weekends. The majority are Mondays.

I also add in two weeks "paid" vacation by basing my tuition on 50 weeks, instead of 52.
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BrynleeJean 08:54 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Even just giving yourself paid federal holidays gives you plenty of three day weekends. The majority are Mondays.

I also add in two weeks "paid" vacation by basing my tuition on 50 weeks, instead of 52.
Oh I do definely Iím more so thinking about spending my saturdays catching up on cleaning or paperwork not spending time with my littles or shopping for the daycare or peeping for week to come. And dr appointments for my littles canít be done on holidays

One Friday a month may help though.
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Cat Herder 09:20 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by BrynleeJean:
Oh I do definely I’m more so thinking about spending my saturdays catching up on cleaning or paperwork not spending time with my littles or shopping for the daycare or peeping for week to come. And dr appointments for my littles can’t be done on holidays

One Friday a month may help though.
Fully understood. My DH generally took the kids to their appointments since he never had to take days off for school closures, summer or sick days. Paperwork, cooking and cleaning I do before opening and during nap. Getting up early saved my nights and weekends with the fam and allowed breakfast with them before DCK's arrival.

It is a delicate balance of being available to your clients and your family. It is worth it at the end of the day, though. Mine are grown now and I am grateful I did not miss anything.

I wish you good luck on your new adventure.
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Pestle 09:58 AM 09-19-2018
People who are looking to sign up ASAP are usually people with low income and an unstable job/family situation. If you told them it cost three dollars a day, they'd gasp and say "That's so expensive! Will you do it for two?"

It took me a year to get up to 4 kids daily (max for legally unlicensed in my state). That's also what DHS said at the orientation meeting: Budget for having only one or two kids for the first year. It's going to take time, but you'll find people willing to pay what you're charging, as long as they like your program. I have three kids who don't use Fridays but they're all 1-3 days a week and have the most erratic schedules and the most frequent cancellations, so I couldn't depend on those families for my income (I do have part-time families, but I found families whose schedules neatly nested together AFTER I took full-time kids). My bread and butter comes from people who pay for five days a week.

I'm 2 1/2 years in so I can't speak to burnout, but I have an active social life going on nights and weekends through a Meetup group I organize and through my church. That's what keeps me chipper and grounded. Keeping my own kid in the daycare turned out to be a horror show, so my mother's paying for private school.
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BrynleeJean 10:19 AM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by Pestle:
People who are looking to sign up ASAP are usually people with low income and an unstable job/family situation. If you told them it cost three dollars a day, they'd gasp and say "That's so expensive! Will you do it for two?"

It took me a year to get up to 4 kids daily (max for legally unlicensed in my state). That's also what DHS said at the orientation meeting: Budget for having only one or two kids for the first year. It's going to take time, but you'll find people willing to pay what you're charging, as long as they like your program. I have three kids who don't use Fridays but they're all 1-3 days a week and have the most erratic schedules and the most frequent cancellations, so I couldn't depend on those families for my income (I do have part-time families, but I found families whose schedules neatly nested together AFTER I took full-time kids). My bread and butter comes from people who pay for five days a week.

I'm 2 1/2 years in so I can't speak to burnout, but I have an active social life going on nights and weekends through a Meetup group I organize and through my church. That's what keeps me chipper and grounded. Keeping my own kid in the daycare turned out to be a horror show, so my mother's paying for private school.
Good point

Thanks for that
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boy_mom 10:27 AM 09-19-2018
If you can hold out, and maybe jazz up your advertising, I highly recommend a 4 day schedule! I agree, try not to lower your rates, if they are in the right range for your area.

I offered part time, infant/toddler care because there were few places near me that took infants, and offered flexible scheduling. It can work! I had a lot of families with grandparent who picked up the 5th day, or SAHM who just wanted 2 days of care for a break at home.

It was a great schedule, since my boys were young at the time. I really hope you can make it work!
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daycarediva 12:23 PM 09-19-2018
If you're already going to have an assistant, I would stay open for the 5 days and try to run errands/work less on those days that have fewer children naturally. Eg. My day is Mondays, and I can often leave early. It wasn't enough for me (haha) and assistant and I do one Friday off a month but we have someone cover so it doesn't affect families.

If your rates are competitive, don't lower. Lower rates attracts the wrong kind of clientele, imho. When I RAISED rates, and found my niche, I was full with a waiting list in a MONTH.
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BrynleeJean 03:08 PM 09-19-2018
I actually feel the days drags more when I have less kids. I’d prefer long days with lots of kids with occasional off but no the assistant would be counted in my ratio daily, not really a sub.

But I guess my question is how long should I wait. Being that I only started advertising a few weeks ago, before I give in and do the 5th day (ugh that 10.5 hour more a week is taunting)
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storybookending 04:47 PM 09-19-2018
I guess the question is are you receiving calls for FT care? Does your as flat out say Monday-Thursday care?

As for how long youíre willing to wait thatís up to you. Are you comfortable not making money right now? Also in turn will you grow to resent the kids you take on if you bend and offer a FT space?

I personally feel 4 days a week can work. The woman who watched me only worked 4 days a week and the odd thing was her off day was always on Thursdays. She still operates this way. Many kids have grandparents willing to watch the children for a day that just canít handle a week. Many professions donít work 4 days a week. Every hair dresser I know doesnít work Mondays for example. Itís just a matter on if youíre willing and able to wait for the right clients.
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Jupadia 05:11 PM 09-19-2018
I waited 6 months and dropped my frees but made sure not to advertise the prices online. Once I enrolled 2 kids then I was no longer a daycare without kids (which I think k was a draw back for some parents because though I have a background in childcare I was not established as
A daycare yet ) then raised them back up for any one else that started.
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Jiminycrickets 05:12 PM 09-19-2018
I had one client (2 kids) for the first 4 months I was open and that was only because we knew them and they were literally waiting for me to start my own day care. After my second family started, it took 3 more months to fill my other two spots (though I wasn't in a huge hurry to fill those spots, so was not advertising heavily.)
It can take some time to get started. I had lots of people call and ask for care and try to get me to take $80 a week for 50 hours of care and such things. I stuck to my guns and now I have to put people who call on a waiting list.
I would definitely give it more than a few weeks before lowering rates or changing what times you are offering.
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e.j. 05:35 PM 09-19-2018
Originally Posted by BrynleeJean:
If I started off with Fridays I couldnít go backwards, and heard Fridays off was a game changer.
That's not necessarily true. When I first started out, I worked 5 days a week but within a year or two, some of the kids aged out of my program and I was left with several part timers. I decided to stick with a 4 day work week and filled the rest of my slots with families who didn't need Fridays. I never had a problem staying full working M-Th.

About 5 years ago, I agreed to open on Fridays again. Long story short, the kids I agreed to watch on Fridays have gone on to school and I have my Fridays back again. So....yes, you can start out full time M-F and then go to a M-Th schedule. I've done it twice! I think establishing a good reputation first can make it easier, though. Most of my new families come to me word of mouth. They knew up front that I didn't work Fridays. Most either changed their work hours or had relatives or friends to cover for them.

Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Those typically have more fad demands and are unreliable income longterm since they often change providers on a whim. They don't generally need childcare and will remind you of that often for loopholes. They also enjoy writing bad references online.
I've never experienced this but maybe I've just been lucky? I wonder if location also has something to do with it? I did have one mom who used to let me know how far she traveled from her house to mine every day and she would mention how expensive day care was. After telling her twice that I would understand if she left and enrolled her child closer to home, she stopped. I ended up with her second child as well and both kids stayed with me until they left for kindergarten. Other than the comments, she was one of my best clients and she referred several other families to me.

Originally Posted by boy_mom:
If you can hold out, and maybe jazz up your advertising, I highly recommend a 4 day schedule! I agree, try not to lower your rates, if they are in the right range for your area.

I offered part time, infant/toddler care because there were few places near me that took infants, and offered flexible scheduling. It can work! I had a lot of families with grandparent who picked up the 5th day, or SAHM who just wanted 2 days of care for a break at home.

It was a great schedule, since my boys were young at the time. I really hope you can make it work!
I agree.

As far as how long you should wait, I'd say that really depends on what you can afford to do financially. Hold on for a while longer if you can but if/when money gets tight, maybe give some thought to working M-Fri long enough to establish a reputation. Once you're more in demand, try taking on more part timers and either let the full timers age out or give families notice that you will no longer be working on Fridays as of a date of your choosing. Good luck.
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Tags:business management, first client, references, risk management, start up
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