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  1. #1
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    DESPERATELY Seeking Clients!

    Just need some reassurance here! I am opening my daycare in January 2013 and like my title says, I am desperately seeking clients.
    I am starting to get really nervous that I will be without an income and will have to pick up a job on the evenings and weekends when my hubby isn't working. I posted my ad on kijiji last week and have received a few emails, but they didn't amount to anything.
    I know that opening my daycare is the best decision for me and my family, but the financial uncertainty is stressful!
    How long did it take you to find clients? Have any tips for a newbie?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I've opened in January of this year and up until Sept. I only had one part-time child. It was hard financialy. Now I have 2 more since Sept and 2 more children only starts to attend in Dec. and January. So I say, give yourself a full year and I think that's what most people will tell you. Good luck !

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  4. #3
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your new endeavor!

    Yes ~ being new in this business can be a challenge ~ people do not like taking a risk on a 'newbie'.

    My tips are

    A) very important for any new business to have at least three months worth of revenue in 'savings' to get them through the start up period .... if you are sending off 'desperate' vibes you are going to attract clients who WILL take advantage of that by wanting long wonky hours for cheap or treating you like a door mat knowing you wont terminate them cause you 'need' their income

    B) if you need to be FULL to make your business plan work and keep food on your families table ~ reconsider doing this or plan on working TWO jobs in some manner to pay your bills either taking on another 'home based business' like selling something or working on the computer because while being full can and does happen in a drop of the hat you can find yourself with 1 client again through no fault of your own ~ people move, get laid off, get sick, get their hours cut back and the first thing that GOES is childcare in those circumstances

    For example ... I made the transiton to home based program in 2007 and filled up within 3 months of my open date and was full for the past first five years in business and always had a waiting list and never went longer than 2 weeks between a clients leaving and a new one starting and this year I sent three kids off to full day school and am still trying to fill two of my spaces cause there is nothing out there right now in my neck of the woods and about 50 new providers have started up this Fall because the economy is bad and well everyone thinks 'childcare' is an easy fall back thing to do ... if I did not have a savings built up from times when I was full to get me through this slow period or if I needed to be full to make this work I would have had to close by now or get a second job because having only 2 kids in care barely covers 'costs' of doing this let alone leaving me an income

    C) when advertizing do NOT state anywhere in your ads you are 'new' this this ~ focus on the highlights of your program, your experience with children in general and so forth this will help you to get more people to contact you and you can book interviews and 'sell them' on the program so that the 'new' is than irrelevant as they can SEE your investment in your business by that point to decide if they want to risk a 'newbie'.
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

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  6. #4
    Euphoric !
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    It took me a full year to fill up as well .... For the first year I ran with one full time, one just after school till June, and one part time ( 1-4 days a week and super long hours) and in dec I had lots of interviews and filled all my spots, I am currently looking for one full time for nov.

  7. #5
    Starting to feel at home...
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    I have technically been "open" For almost two months......but NO clients. I started advertising three months before opening. Had a few interviews but I didn't feel that they were right for my daycare. Any other calls I received have been for subsidy spots which I don't have or before and after school which I don't want to take on because I don't want to drag my baby or any other young one's I end up signing on in -40 weather. Looking on this site there are over 50 daycares within 5km. Those are daycares with openings and who knows how many more are in the area tha don't advertise on this site.

    So yes, my advise would be like the others. This is a slow year, it seems like everyone and their mother has decided to open a home daycare so be prepared for a slow start.

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  9. #6
    Expansive... Play and Learn's Avatar
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    A very slow year this year. It took me just over a year to be 'full' (I only take 4 clients for my sanity instead of 5). Now I'm on Mat leave for 6 months, and have started advertising again (only have 1 client coming back to me).

    This is a job where you will NEVER know if you're going to be financially secure as you never know when/if clients are going to leave or stay with you. It's an uncertain job. One day you could be 'full', and then the next day have 3 clients. It sucks ass, and not everyone can handle that uncertainty.

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  11. #7
    Starting to feel at home... Big Hearts's Avatar
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    It took me two weeks after my open date to find three kids but i let go of two. and now i have two little ones. It has been tuff this year i find. Halloween is comming up try printing cards on vistaprint or some place like that and make up goody bags to hand out to trick or treaters. make sure to put on it you are now taking clients. some schools will let you put up flyers or ever keep them at the school office and hand them out to parents asking. The last idea that really worked for me is put a sign up in your front window i had parents knock on my door wanting information on my daycare. Good luck

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  13. #8
    Euphoric !
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    My first piece of advice is to take the DESPERATION out of the equation!!! Parents can smell the fear and the desperation and it scares them!

    RELAX! During the pre-screening and the interviews be confident and self-assured and proud of your business you are building and the plan you are forming. Do you have a website? It's a fantastic selling tool and pictures of children having fun and crafting gives parents a good idea of the kinds of fun and learning you will provide at your daycare.

    I wish you luck!

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  15. #9
    Starting to feel at home...
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    It can be difficult at first! I put ads on kijiji and here. Made a website with pictures of the play room and yard, my basic routine, activities we like to do together and a bit about myself, the weeks menu, etc. Make it bright and cheerful with pics of kids playing in the play areas, doing crafts, etc. I also put up flyers at the gym, grocery stores, library, bulletin boards by the mailboxes. I found at first for the first few weeks of advertising it was SLOW. But, then all of a sudden, one day you end up with 4 responses and have scheduled them all in for interviews! Relax, it will happen one day, it just takes patience, but I understand how nerve wracking it can be while waiting. Be confident in your intervies as you have a lot to offer these families! Also, at the playground and such, I mention what I do while talking with other paretns and have found a few clients that way too! Best of luck!

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  17. #10
    Expansive... Other Mummy's Avatar
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    Sigh. This sounds like an epidemic

    So slow. I've been trying to fill a FT spot that was left by dcg starting JK this Sept. I've had a few calls in the beginning and a few almosts...and now not even one call in 3 weeks. I've put flyers thoughout my neighbourhood, ad on Kijji. And techinically I'm down 2 spots cause my golden child's dad is still out of work, so they only bring her to me one day a week. At my old rate. I don't want to replace her but its been months.

    This is year 2 for me. Last year full. This year. Not so full

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