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How to Fill Daycare Openings

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Looking for ways to increase enrollment is crucial for the growth of your home daycare. There are numerous things you can do to fill daycare openings. If you need other help running a home daycare, check this out.

kids cooking together in home daycare

The first thing you need to do to fill daycare openings in your home daycare is to know what you have to offer and how to sell it to families. Take out a piece of paper and start working on your strategy. What is special about you and what you offer?

If you can’t think of anything that will help fill daycare openings in your facility, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What are the core services you offer?
  • What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
  • What do you want your home daycare to be known for?
  • How do your families describe your home daycare to their friends?
  • Why would a parent choose you

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, ask your parents and see how they respond. We all know location is a big factor for parents as well as price, but what do you do that would make people want to go out of their way to get to you?

I live on the very edge of town in a neighborhood that is outside of the city. It’s been annexed into the city limits so we can get flood insurance, but it’s not by any workplaces or businesses that someone might be going to. It’s about 6 miles from the closest store or place to eat. But I’m always full and have never spent more than a week or two looking for kids in the past 26 years. Why?

In Oklahoma, we have a stars rating program. It’s changing, but it used to be 1, 2, or 3 stars. I was 3 stars for 12 years. Did that get me clients? No. No one cared about it. I quit the program because it’s based on paperwork and I was stressed out with the mounting nonsense that the DHS required, so I stepped out of it.

When they first rolled out the stars program, they said it would be supported by DHS but after I sank tons of time and money into it, it was never supported by them at all. I felt like they took us out to the wilderness and dropped us off. Since I quit, I’ve been a lot happier.

kids happily playing outside in home daycare

How to attract parents to your daycare

In a survey conducted by HiMama, parents were asked what services they would switch childcare providers to get. You can consider adding some of these, but if you already have them, promote them.

  • 53% of parents said they would switch for contactless payments
  • 60% of parents said they would switch for contactless check ins
  • 63% of parents said they would switch for a parent communication app
  • 51% of parents said they would switch for at home activities
  • 63% of parents said they would switch for digital documentation
  • 62% of parents said they would switch for assessments
  • 80% of parents said they would switch for videos and pictures regularly

I can tell you 100% that I offer the pictures and a few videos and my parents LOVE IT! I use my facebook page, friend all of my parents, and post almost daily about what the kids are doing.

I hate it. It feels uncomfortable to me, but the parents love having their kids all over it. They beg for it. So I offer it. They all sign permission forms for it. And they are happy.

I like that it makes the parents comfortable. And I also like that it constantly promotes my business for me. When parents talk to me about their friends, they show them my Facebook page. I was full all the time before I started doing this, but it has my waiting list really long.

The most important thing you can do is make parents happy and they will keep you full by word of mouth. They talk to their friends about daycare and you want that to be good. So remember your home daycare is a professional business and you need to stay professional to have a good reputation.

While it might be satisfying to yell at that annoying mom and throw her off the porch after she said your bathroom rug was ugly or your child was, but it won’t be good for your future.

Now you can tell her it’s not working out and politely lead her to the door with a notice of termination, but do your best to be professional. (And also remember there will always be someone you can’t make happy, so don’t kill yourself to please everyone, find balance)

Your story is important for people to know. Tell why you got started and what you love about what you do. You can also collect testimonials from clients that you serve.

Marketing child care

It’s a great idea to have a website, but if you don’t have the tech support for that, make sure you at least have a Facebook page. Facebook is a great advertising tool we’ll talk about later.

You have to remember that to get clients, you have to sell yourself. It’s hard sometimes and can seem awkward, but filling daycare openings will be impossible if people don’t know what you have to offer. Think about when you recommend another business like a teacher, dentist, or nail technician, what do you say about them?

You talk about their gifts and talents and why they are better than other people that do what they do. You have to do that for yourself too.

You have to start by believing you are awesome at what you do. You work hard, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. If you don’t feel confident about the services you provide, what can you do to change that? Do you need more training? Do you need business policies and contracts so you feel more businesslike?

Write a few sentences that tell about your schedule and what you provide during that day. Then add what you do that’s unique and you have a pretty great start. If your area requires licensing, are you licensed? How much experience do you have?

Next comes the interview. People may think parents are interviewing the provider, but the provider is interviewing the parents too. It has to be a good fit for both sides and the existing clients you are already serving. Share your knowledge. Ask questions about the child. And know that you provide a valuable service.

Before you schedule the interview make sure it could be a good fit. Find out what they are looking for. Share your hours, rates, days off, sick policy, and so on. Find out how old their child is and what hours they need. Ask about allergies and other special needs the child may have.

And make sure they have alternate care if something should come up. Since home daycare is run by only one person, parents need a backup plan on days when you have emergencies.

If all of that checks out, you can plan an interview. Here’s how to rock a home daycare client interview.

puzzles on a table

Child care advertising ideas

Now for ideas of different ways to advertise. We have talked about a website and touched on Facebook, but there are a lot of other ways you can get the word out. First, if you have any daycare clients, tell them to share with their friends and coworkers about your opening.

You can call your local resource and referral agency and let them know you have openings. Call DHS and share with them. Call your food program and let them know as well. These people all talk to a lot of potential clients that could fill daycare openings in your facility. It can’t hurt to put a bug in their ear.

If you have a local childcare organization, they may have a resource line. Ours does. She knows who has openings, where they are located, and what their star level is. She also knows who takes what kind of subsidy payments. We always give her number when someone calls looking for care.

You can give out Halloween candy with your business card on it. You can make flyers and put them up in doctor’s offices, dentists, the library, and grocery stores. Think of the places families with children go.

Here are more ways to advertise your home daycare.

How to advertise daycare on Facebook

Now, let’s talk about how to fill daycare openings using Facebook. Facebook is a great tool to connect with other people. Are you in mom groups on Facebook? Do you have a community built there? Do you have a Facebook page for your daycare or a group for it? You can link these things to your website if you have one.

Click here to access Facebook’s guide to building your business page. 

If you’re not in any parent groups, go on Facebook and search “your area parents” and click on groups. Like Tulsa area parent groups. This will give you access to groups for parents in your area. Make sure you ask if it’s okay to advertise your home daycare before you do it.

If you have a business page, you can buy targeted ads for a few dollars that can show your openings to just who you want to see them. You have to select “audience” to make them targeted like that.

Your ad needs to have your core message, and a call to action. Videos work great and so do photos. Everyone loves pictures of kids enjoying their day so take a lot and use them. (with parent permission of course) You can use a funny tone or a serious one, depending on your personality.

Memes work great and so do gifs. Make sure you are showing your personality and telling why your home daycare is awesome. And remember they aren’t set and forget. You need to update them regularly.

I know you are going to have no problem being able to fill daycare openings in your home daycare business. I can’t wait to hear all about it. I believe in you and I’m proud of the effort you put in. So go out there and show it off!

For more home daycare ideas:

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