I am starting a new day care in my home. I am calling it Kiddie Kastle Korner, because I live on a corner lot and have a climber shaped like a castle in my front yard.
How do I get more kids? I have tried putting up notices in my local store and laundromat, advertising in the newspaper, and word of mouth. Everyone seems to want a space for next year! How do I get kids right now? I have put the words "immediate openings" on my ads. Any suggestions on how I can word my ad? I am a college trained Early Childhood Educator with about 25 years experience and the kids love me. But no-one is calling! Help. Thanks.
By Catastrofy from Winnipeg, Canada
Have you put up signs in your yard? The way you would a yard sale? People who drive by your place may not know you are even there and it may be more convenient for them than a daycare across town. I know, not a great suggestion but one none the less. Oh, you could also ask if there is a local radio station that does "call in" shows. People call in to mention stuff for sale or things they want to buy. They also call in looking for work within their spaecialty. Ask around or call the stations in your area. The show we did in Maryland was a big hit (and probably still is).
Several of my Facebook friends use that as free advertising. If you have a website and can "send to Facebook," that would probably help. Be sure to mention "immediate openings" every time. Another thought, this might or might not work in Canada. Contact your county's welfare office. If you're certified (or certifiable,) they'll probably use your services for lower-income people needing day care. Hope this helps.
Word-of-mouth is really important with childcare - it's the only way I would consider when we relocated a few times over the years with small children.
I would offer a few friends or relatives with kids a good deal, and then a "referral fee" for anyone they send your way that enrolls.
If you don't have a website already, that would really help grow your business. You can optimize it for local results, so people looking for daycares in your area will find yours easily. Adding your business to review sites like MerchantCircle and SuperPages will also help establish your reputation online. Especially if you have a few happy parents who are willing to write a nice review for you.
With your years of childhood ed. experience, you could also comment on local blogs and sign your post with a link back to your site.
Another way to get good exposure might be to get involved with local scout troops or the Boys and Girls Club as a volunteer. It will get you meeting prospective parents with younger siblings who might need good childcare.
One friend of mine volunteered at her church's Sunday School daycare, and the staff and parents were so impressed with her that they were the ones urging her to start her own childcare business.
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