A daycare makes money by providing a safe environment where an adult can care for children who aren’t their own. But, the children aren’t the customers here. It’s the parents of those children that a daycare owner is trying to bring in. So, how do you do that?
There are several ways to attract parents to your daycare. You need to let parents in your community know you are there and what you’re offering. You can do that by:
- Establishing your online presence early—Website
- Socializing through technology—Social media
- Providing an experience—Open house
- Out your business—Signage
- Leverage your reputation—Incentives
This article is for, both new and existing, daycare business owners. There isn’t ever going to be a time when you don’t want to be able to attract parents to your daycare. Even if you’ve hit the maximum capacity for children you’re allowed to care for, things can always change. You’ll want to be ready to bring in another family when those changes arise.
Now, let’s get into how you go about attracting parents to your daycare.
Establishing Your Online Presence Early—Website
This step is very important for owners who have a new daycare business. Don’t wait to get your business website set up. Think about what you do when you want to know about something. Where do you go? Most of us will answer that question on the internet. So, you need to get your daycare website set up early. You’ll want somewhere to direct your potential customers to go should they want to find out more about your daycare.
Make sure you put some time and good effort into creating this website. You want it to be easy to navigate and have the information people are most likely looking for in obvious places that don’t take too long to get to. For instance, your hours of caregiving shouldn’t be buried on a page that takes 10 clicks to get to. Most people don’t have the attention span it would take to get to that page. They’ll get frustrated and move on to another site, in those cases. We recommend getting an expert to create your website for you if you’re not too up to speed with doing this. It’s a critical piece for attracting parents to your daycare so it needs to be done well.
Socializing Through Technology—Social Media
Having a business website is like the foundation for your online presence. Once you’ve established that, you want to build on top of that with your social media sites. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for letting parents in your community know what you and your business are like. This is where the personality, the values, the mission, and your staff get to shine. Your business website is where parents can get information about your daycare. The daycare’s social media pages are where parents can get to know you, your staff, and your daycare.
Providing an Experience—Open House
There’s a reason that realtors and business owners hold open houses. It’s because pictures and words don’t really let you experience anything. Real-time exposure to something is always going to be better than simply reading about it or looking at pictures posted.
Even after you are well established, you may have times when you want or need to attract more families to your daycare. An open house is perfect for this. It gives parents the chance to come in and see the daycare facility, or your home in the case of an in-home daycare, so they can envision their children there. Don’t just let them come in and walk through alone, though. Below are some tips for how to make the most of your open houses.
- Prepare samples: Have something ready to show parents how you hold children accountable, how you reward them, and how you handle discipline.
- Provide a glimpse of the daily routine, either through observation or a schedule.
- Be available! You are the owner of the daycare. Parents coming to tour your facility will want to have access to you. Do NOT schedule an open house for a time when you cannot be present.
- Provide takeaways: Give parents something to take with them that includes the daycare name and logo on it. Provide them with overview information about the daycare so they can easily reference it.
- Schedule open houses when you know parents will be looking for new daycare facilities. Many families move in the summer or at the end of the year.
Out Your Business—Signage
Many people will hear about your daycare through social media, word of mouth from other parents, or advertising you’re paying for. That being said, good signage can attract parents who are just driving or walking by. Most of us can remember a time when we saw a sign for a local business and wanted to know more about it. So, what did we do next? We picked up our phones and searched for the name we saw on the sign.
You want parents to be able to see your daycare. If you have a daycare facility, either design a sign yourself that you know will represent your business and grab parents’ attention, or get with someone who can do that for you. Your sign needs to be memorable, needs to communicate upon sight what your business is, and needs to be eye-catching. It also needs to be strategically placed where people can easily see it.
In-home daycares may have some regulations they have to follow when it comes to signage. Many HOAs won’t allow for any signs to be placed on or around the home. It’ll be up to you to look into what is and isn’t allowed in your neighborhood.
Check out our article to help advertise your business HERE!
Leverage Your Reputation—Incentives
You can certainly offer some kind of incentives when you’re first getting started to attract more parents to your daycare. Referral programs are huge for this. That’s where one parent spreads the word to a friend and brings in another parent who signs up as well. You can offer a discount or something similar to each family.
There are plenty of other incentive programs you can offer, too. Parents who really love what you’re doing at your daycare would likely be happy to leave a good review for you on your social media pages or your website. Maybe you can offer an early drop-off or late pick-up for free if they do that for you. Another idea would be to offer punch cards if you’re doing drop-in childcare at your location, so after so many drop-ins the family gets a free day.
There is nothing like a happy customer to help generate leads for more customers. Take advantage of the happy customers you’ve already created so you can create more of them. Incentivize them somehow to leverage your reputation and build your business more and more.
You’ve put a lot of work into preparing to open your daycare or into establishing a solid daycare business. The work that goes into attracting parents to your daycare shouldn’t ever stop, though. You want to make sure you have a strong online presence with a website that flows well and social media that stays up to date. You should periodically invite parents in to see your daycare at strategically scheduled open houses. Make sure people can see your daycare when they’re walking by, and finally, find a way to ask happy customers to help bring in more parents. The hard work will always pay off in the long run.
Some Related Questions:
What do parents want in a daycare?
Parents looking for a daycare want to see lots of good reviews. They want to see that you have established a curriculum and schedule that will stimulate their children when they’re in your care. They want to know your facility is safe and your staff is well trained. Parents want to know you’ll be able to have enough time and availability to give their kid the attention he needs. Your child-to-caregiver ratio needs to be within the standards set by the governing agencies, or even lower. Parents also want to know that you are easy to be reached and that you’ll communicate with them consistently.
What questions should a daycare provider ask parents?
The parents who are considering your daycare as an option for the care of their children will most certainly be asking you a lot of questions. You should be asking questions of them, as well. Ask them about their expectations to let them know you care about them. Find out if their child has ever been in daycare before and how that child adjusted in daycare. Ask about how long they’ll be needing care. Also, it’s important to know about pick-up person availability and if there is a backup caretaker for the child. The more you know about the child and the family, the better you’ll be at caring for the family’s needs.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.