View Full Version : Just starting out...having a hard time finding clients

country girl
05-08-2012, 11:38 AM
Hi there,
I recently made the decision to open my own home daycare. I started advertising (in my local community, on kijiji & this site) about 2 months ago with the intent on starting up at the end of the school year (my oldest is currently in daycare & will be done school then). This was a financial decision as well as a personal one - the hustle & bustle of commuting to work & only seeing my girls for a few hours just wasn't working anymore. I am having a really difficult time finding clients even though I know there is a need in my area. I am actually thinking of putting flyers in mail boxes around my area (a big job I know but hopefully worth it in the end :)

Can I get some opinions on my posting - maybe i'm missing something? From reading other posts in the forum, I did remove the word "new" from my ad which I had never thought of before. Any help would be appreciated! I'm getting desperate as both kids will be full time in the summer & I don't think my wallet can handle it!

Thank you in advance! :D

(This is the posting as it's worded on this site & others)


I am a proud mother of 2 girls ages 5 and 19 months who has 3 openings available for home daycare. I offer a safe, secure and caring environment for your child including:

- healthy snacks and lunches
- plenty of outdoor/indoor play
- crafts
- structured activities and free play
- 3 full time positions available
- before and after school care also available
- North Gower & Kars bus routes
- all age groups accepted
- reasonable rates

apples and bananas
05-08-2012, 12:27 PM
I don't know if this helps, but I've never advertised more then one spot available at a time. I know as a mom looking for daycare I always acted quicker if I found someone in my area who only had one spot, but if they advertised several spots I wondered why first of all and second I didn't feel the need to rush. So, even if I need 3 spots filled I only advertise one.

Play and Learn
05-08-2012, 12:52 PM
Hey Country Girl - I'm just in Kemptville! I have found since September there has been a lull of no calls. I think since September I've maybe had a total of 5 calls of interest for childcare.

Send me a PM - and we can chat!

Inspired by Reggio
05-08-2012, 12:57 PM
Being new and getting that first client to sign on is always nerve racking :( however be strong and confident it will happen - most people looking for care tend to be 'last minute' people for some reason.

The one challenge with childcare ads is that we could ALL post that ad so for clients seeking care they all start to 'look the same' ... you need to find a way to make your ad POP from the 30 others that go up everyday ... so trying to focus on the specifics of your program that might be different than others in your neighborhood.

IMO things that make one provider stand out over another both on here and Kijiji are lots of photos of the kids engaged in learning and also show off your set up and strengths without them just be sterile photos of the 'playroom, lunch table, backyard' so to speak as well as having a business website that shows the provider has invested time and energy in their start up verses a pop up provider 'trying it out' to see if they like it who can easily walk away again if it does not suit them ... it is unfortunate but that is the 'con' of this business that the reputation of those who do just that proceed us so to speak :(

The other benefit of a website is it offers that chance to show your personality, your values around your program and so forth in more 'detail' .... to 'sell them' on why they should contact you!

Filler up vibes hon!

country girl
05-08-2012, 01:09 PM
Thanks for all the great tips! I've updated my ad Apples & Bananas & removed the # of openings - sometimes it just takes someone else looking at it to see what might turn people off.

Crayola kiddies
05-08-2012, 01:16 PM
Hi country girl .....I used to live in north gower and my two oldest went to school there I have since moved but only 5 kms north and now I'm just outside of barrhaven. I'm not sure what your hours are but you will most likely have to open early as most people are commuting into the city. That's how I got most of my families I open earlier then all daycare here. I have 4 of 5 families drop off at 6:45. And then one just after 7. But as p and l said the phone just isn't ringing right now :( Good luck!

05-08-2012, 01:18 PM
Hi Country Girl!
Maybe try providing a few more details to make your ad stand out from others. For example, "have a large shaded backyard for outdoor play". Also will you make homemade paints and playdough? Serve organic? Do you have any previous childcare experience, such as ECE, being a nanny, etc. Do you have a police check, up-to-date First Aid and CPR? Try posting a few pictures too. Check out daycare descriptions from other cities or provinces to help get the creative juices flowing too.

Good luck and our fingers are crossed that you'll be full in no time. :thumbsup:

apples and bananas
05-08-2012, 01:50 PM
I second the idea about the website. It's so quick and easy to do. It's the first thing i did. It makes you look like you're an old pro at this! I used WIX.com and it was pretty easy. It took me a few hours to get the structure where I liked it and up and running... now I jnust add to it when I'm feeling it.

The first year can be rough. You have to be able to take what you can get for a bit then weed them out later.

05-08-2012, 03:40 PM
I'm in the same boat as you :( I've been advertising since January and I have two clients. I was hoping to have four by mid-June - doesn't look like that's going to be happening. I have heard from a few people that it seems to be slow lately. I don't know if that makes a difference. I know how hard it is, I'm trying not to panic, but it's hard haha

I think this business is more word of mouth than advertising. I heard that there are workshops you can go to for parents and daycare providers and you can do networking.

Also, I wouldn't advertise that you're new or that you have numerous positions open. Like some others said, make a website. Mine's at weebly.com. Totally free and they have nice templates.

Other than that, it's a lot of being patient and having faith. You will fill up soon enough...and I hope I will to :)

Good luck to you!

05-08-2012, 08:48 PM
Do you have a website because that is a tremendous seller. Pictures of the children having fun are the best, showing them playing and creating and learning. Even if you just post pictures of your own children now it gets you started. Definitely, I agree about not letting anybody know that you are new until after they meet you and get to know that you are dedicated to making your daycare a wonderful place for children.

Do you have current First Aid & CPR? That's really a must and parents want to see that. We all started without clients and worked our way slowly into thriving businesses. The first few years can be so difficult because we learn so much.

Do you have a contract? That is also a must and a great support group like this is a great step because there is so much to know about the business. I started out really stupid, just with my Mom/Grandma experience and learned from the more experienced home daycare providers. I owe my success to good advice from wonderful peers.

05-09-2012, 10:02 AM
As far as advertising more than one space the down side to only posting one opening at a time is that you lose out on people with siblings which goes a long way to filling you up quicker.

I am going to be in the situation of having three spaces to fill over the summer as children leave for school or move out of town. What I am planning to do is list the spaces individually putting the start date with each.

It is nice to start each child gradually so what you could do on daycarebear is list each space but for the start date make one May, one June, one July. Then it looks like you could have three children leaving care. That might get a few more calls but truthfully it is supply and demand and sometimes for no apparant reason there is little demand. If people are truly looking they will look at all ads.

One thing I have noticed is the tense used in some ads. Those that say I do this vice I will do this, I will provide this is a true giveaway that the person is new and making what could turn out to be empty promises once they get into the reality of daycare.

Inspired by Reggio
05-09-2012, 11:43 AM
I am the same way Playfelt ... I have almost my entire program heading off to school in September and am advertising two September start dates staggered ideally but can be same for siblings and the wil spread the others out over few months - have 3- 4 newbies on same day or week not my cup of tea ... prefer 3 weeks to transition one before adding another.

05-09-2012, 01:48 PM
I have been in a real panic for the last couple months because of things up in the air. My military family is moving for sure but had they not been the older one would have gone to school just as mom would finish mat leave and the baby would have taken his place - problem solved. Now of course they will be done early July.

My other one heading to school has a sibling here too and many around here won't take a jk kid unless they come with a sibling to help fill spaces and money which I think is weird but then I don't take jk so it is never an issue for me. Mom has always said no matter what the baby was staying with me but we all know in the end if the price,location or convenience factor is there we are likely to be on the losing end of it all. Child was #50 on the wait list for the school program - only half day school here. So mom found him a place at a local place that takes jk then takes them to school. Care for the sibling would have been $1200 a month. Needless to say she was saying no. Now turns out after all that she got a call this week child is into the school program. So not sure what happened to suddenly move her up that many places but she is taking it for sure so little one is with me for two more years till she starts school and then as a sibling gets first crack at spaces. At one point the past couple months I was afraid I was going to be down 4 kids by Sept. Other space is a shared part time space and both halves will open over the summer one end of June (teacher's child) and other over the summer date to be confirmed.

Spreading them out makes a huge difference when they start at 12 months beause even having the first of the three be 14 months seems to help. If nothing else you are both familiar with routine and expectations.

05-11-2012, 05:01 PM
I moved a little over 2 weeks ago and set up a new daycare. The only difference- old place to new- was that i changed from an apartment to a house. I could never get children in the apartment.

After I posted pictures (in the house), I suddenly had 6 interviews in one week (Kanata). 2 spots filled and maybe more. I had an ad posted without pics and did not get any response. Same text.

Are your pictures of various areas good- e.g. crafts, dramatic play etc.?

05-11-2012, 11:41 PM
I think what pictures do is prove to the parents some sort of reality check that you really are a caregiver prepared to accept their child. If they can picture their child playing in the space or note that you have the same favourite stacking toy that starts to make the connection already for them. This is alwo where a website comes in since pictures and additional information can be posted there.

A new website is the next thing on my list of things to do too. We are headed down to Fredericton next week for son's graduation and then I can start to focus on replacing kids that will leave this summer. I have lost the how to get into the website I made years ago so while it is still there and all but the ages of my own kids etc. the info still works.