Part 3: How to find daycare clients -Advertise Wisely

You can be the best child care provider on the planet but if no one knows about your business, it will remain empty.  You need to advertise in the beginning.  Once you are established then you will have the benefit of word of mouth working for you.  It’’s amazing how social networks intertwine, and like any service or product, when you hear a personal recommendation concerning a service you need, you remember it.

It’’s difficult for many providers to advertise because, part of advertising, is selling your business.  Your business is YOU, and many people find it very difficult to sell themselves.  If you are feeling awkward about promoting yourself then this next suggestion will be very helpful in attracting clients.

Think of a time that you recommended someone (your hairdresser, your dentist, etc.) to a friend.  You probably mentioned all the talents and aspects of your hairdresser that you love, and the reasons you think she is wonderful.  It was easy to recommend her because you know she is fantastic. You are one hundred percent confident that your hairdresser’’s talents will improve anyone’’s hairstyle.  Your friend is looking for a new hairdresser and your recommendation is a helpful piece of information.  The outcome of your friend’’s decision in no way affects your haircut.  You don’’t need to convince her to go to your hairdresser.  You are just being a helpful friend by giving her another choice in her search for a new hairdresser.

THIS is the same approach, the same mind set, the same perspective that you will hold in your mind’’s eye when you advertise your home childcare business.  If you don’’t already believe that your childcare services are off the charts fantastic, then the first thing you need to do is make the necessary changes so that you believe they are.

Once you believe, one hundred percent, that your childcare services would be beneficial to any child’s life, then advertising feels more like offering a fantastic opportunity rather than selling something.  Please view your advertising strategy as informing other people of an outstanding child care option.  People just need to know your childcare exists so that they can make the best childcare decisions for their schedules and situations. You don’’t need to sell them or convince them of anything.  Simply share your knowledge, inform, give them another option.  Your daycare will sell itself because of the QUALITY you offer.  You don’’t need to do anything but share the word that your daycare is open for business.

There are a number of options available for advertising.  Choose the ones that best fit your area, budget, and audience.  Track your advertising to find out where the majority of your clients came from.  Simply ask every potential client who contacts you how they heard about your home child care.

It is a good idea to put together a few sentences to describe your childcare business for advertising purposes.  Think about why you are unique and why your daycare is a quality environment.  Create a tag line or slogan. Look at other home child care business’ advertising descriptions to give you a general idea.  Your short description and a phone number will be what you use in your print advertising.

Here are some advertising avenues to try;

  • Word of mouth.  Tell everyone you know you are opening up a home childcare business.
  • Social online media.  Use Facebook, Pinterest, Meet-ups or your favourite social networking venue and tell everyone you know about your  new business.  You never know, a friend of a friend might be looking for daycare in your area.
  • Put together a simple poster or flyer to post around your neighbourhood. Consider community centres, pediatricians, drop-in play groups, mailboxes, bulletin boards in local businesses (toy stores, children’s consignment shops, ice cream stores, pizza places, children’s local attractions (petting zoos, wading pools, etc.).
  • An advertisement in your local paper.
  • On line daycare advertising sites.  Your area will have a referral agency or a site that makes it easy for providers to advertise and parents to search for child care specific to one area.  Here is a Canadian site I have had great success with;  www.daycarebear.ca
  • Craig’s List, Kijiji and other similar online advertising sites.
  • Your own website.  At first, this might seem like a huge step but I feel it is worth the time and/or investment.  You can either pay someone else to build you your own site or you can make your own.  There are many free sites that will walk you through the necessary steps.  I know a few caregivers with no previous web building experience who built their own sites with great success.  Consider using  www.weebly.com, it is great for a beginner and free of charge.  I outsourced my own site and it has provided me with a steady stream of clients.

Comments

  1. Great info. Just what I was looking for to help attract business to my new daycare! Thanks so much!

  2. Great information! I’m in the process of opening my own daycare and I was considering creating a website for it. Do you have a website for your daycare? If so, would you mind sharing the link?

    • HowToDaycare says

      I emailed you privately.

      • Bianca Guzman says

        Hi,

        I love your website. I am thinking of starting my own daycare in two months when I move into my new house. Your information has been so helpful and a true blessing. May I have your daycare website to use as a reference please?

        • HowToDaycare says

          Hello Bianca, thank you for the lovely comment! I’m sorry but I keep my personal daycare website to just my local clients to respect the privacy of my own children and my current daycare clients. I would suggest browsing around the web and finding other daycare websites that catch your eye to help you get some ideas for what you might want to use in your own website. Good luck! Jana

  3. Thanks for the info! My question is how soon should you start advertising before opening? I plan on opening about 6-8 weeks after my baby is born. Thanks!

    • HowToDaycare says

      It depends on what time of year you are due. Many parents look for a new homedaycare in late spring to early summer who want to start in September. Another wave of parents look in November who want to start in January. The rest of parents look to secure childcare a few months before they will be returning to work after their maternity leave (this group looks year round). Therefore, I would suggest you start advertising several months before you are due. You can get your daycare set up, all the paperwork ready and book interviews. It will be MUCH easier to conduct tours and interviews before your baby arrives. Ideally, people could sign up for your start date and give you a deposit to hold their spot. Then you can relax and enjoy your new baby for two months! If this is your first baby, I would suggest you push your start date as long as you can financially arrange it. Sleep deprivation and the first few months of motherhood AND a new business is a lot to ask of yourself. Start slow, be gentle on yourself, it will be much easier once your baby turns 6 months old. 🙂 Congratulations on your baby and your new business!

  4. Great article and very timely. I’m in a similar situation as Alicia-I’m due with my 2nd in September and plan to open my daycare in January. I’m excited to start advertising but am nervous folks at my work, who don’t know I will not be coming back after maternity leave, will see the adverts (although a lot of them could be potential clients). Ever heard of anyone in this situation?

    • HowToDaycare says

      Hi Lindsay, Yes, many mothers are in the same situation as you. Some want to advertise early to see if there is enough interest in their area, if not, they will return to work. You can always advertise quietly through word of mouth until you are ready to take the plunge and make it official. I would suggest you start slowly with a few clients anyway when you open since you will also have your own two children. That’s a few big changes for your oldest (new baby, mommy home, new kids in the house). Once your new business is up and running you can put out a strong advertising push for the summer months or for the fall. Good luck!

  5. This is a fantastic article. I have to weigh in about your last point about creating a website. I am a parent of a 19 month old daughter, so I was someone who was consuming marketing materials of daycares in my area. They vary so much. We ended up choosing a daycare that was NOT right for us at all, because we didn’t have enough information about it. It inspired me to create a website that hopefully will help parents find the right daycare, but it also will help anyone starting a new daycare. Its a site where you can add your business, add classrooms, add teachers, add all sorts of information. Then you can use it as your main website.

    I just launched it and I’m trying to figure out how to get it out there. Its totally free. We finally find a good daycare and I showed the site to them in a beta period, and they created an awesome page for themselves. You can see it here: http://thedaycarelist.com/daycare/281

  6. Getting those first few customers is always a challenge because many parents want babysitters and child care teachers who know what they are doing and have a positive history to prove it. Hence marketing can even the odds and make it easier.

  7. Great article. Many parents look for daycare providers online closer to their home or workplace. While many websites charge for daycare profile listing, children specialty website http://www.KidoServ.com allow daycare provider to list their service profile by zip code for free, get reviews and communicate with parents for free. No cost involved.

    Once daycare providers create a profile, they can share that profile url in social media like facebook, twitter, google+ that will bring more exposure of their service, but one place to refer back your daycare detail.

  8. Need advise from other providers. I work with my mom, she has had a childcare for 20+ years. I’ve worked for her for 6 years now. We recently moved to a new state, and left out extremely successful business behind. We have been here for over a year now, and are having such a hard time. We are on the verge of closing down due to having no business. We use Craigslist and Facebook to advertise constantly. We love what we do, any advise?!

    • HowToDaycare says

      Olivia, I would suggest making sure you stand out from the competition with a unique/signature daycare program. Ensure your rates/hours/policies are similar to others in the neighbourhood. Consider some creative advertising techniques. Use social media (twitter, instagram, pinterest) and advertise on your local daycare search engines. Don’t forgot all the Mommy facebook groups and playgroups in your area too. Do you have a local childcare network association? Make some contacts and offer some fun camps for the next school holiday. Email me directly if you would like more ideas. Jana

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