Business-Building Tips for Childcare Providers
A great childcare provider’s primary focus is the health, safety and happiness of the children under their care, but a dedication to building your business is almost as crucial. After all, even the best childcare provider’s success will be dependent upon the existence of a solid, reliable customer base. Though an economic downturn can be frightening, the childcare industry is one in which there is still great room for growth across the country. From the largest daycare centers to on-call babysitters, anyone who hopes to be successful in the childcare industry must make sustained business growth a high priority. Whether you’re just starting your childcare business or are actively working to expand enrollment in an existing facilities, there are ways for childcare providers to promote themselves and their services.
How Reputation Can Make or Break Childcare Providers
The relationship between childcare providers and parents has its foundation in mutual trust and respect. For parents to be truly satisfied with their childcare solution, they need absolute confidence in the people who work with and care for their children. A happy, satisfied parent can be one of your most valuable marketing tools. At the same time, an angry or disgruntled parent can deal significant damage to both your reputation and the health of your business. Childcare providers with a sterling reputation and glowing references are the ones with long waiting lists, and a line of parents vying for their services. The first step to fostering growth in your childcare business, regardless of the scope of your services, is to actively cultivate a great reputation for both top-notch care and stellar customer service.
Accreditation, Licensing and Certification to Build Your Business
One of the first things most prospective clients will inquire about during an interview are qualifications, licensing and certification. Depending on where your business is located and the kind of services you offer, the requirements for licensing and the availability of accreditation may vary. For instance, childcare providers who operate a small daycare out of their homes may not be required to obtain licensing through their state or local government. Making the effort to do so, even when it’s not a strict requirement, shows a dedication to quality and a commitment to providing the best possible care. For nannies and on-call babysitters, state licensing may not even be available. Still, there are accreditation programs and certifications to fit almost any business model. All childcare professionals should have CPR and first aid certifications, at bare minimum.
Promotional Efforts and Special Events
Even the highest quality programs are likely to struggle with enrollment if their target audience isn’t aware of service availability. In order to effectively build your business, you must make sure the parents in your area know where you are and how to contact you. Consider hosting a special event, or partnering with family fun centers in your area for joint promotions. Explore advertising avenues in your area, and work to establish an Internet presence so parents can find you through an online search. Research local parenting newsletters and communities to find any directories or recommendation programs, then learn the listing requirements. Make sure your business, be it a large daycare center or part-time babysitting services, is visible when parents in need start seeking out childcare options.
Sponsoring youth sports teams, working with local charitable organizations and working to become a valued part of your community not only increases the visibility of your business, but can also boost your reputation.
You already know how valuable a resource satisfied parents can be when it comes to building your business, so consider utilizing this resource through direct incentives. A parent who’s satisfied with your service may recommend you to other parents when they’re asked, but a parent with incentives to spread the word will actively champion your business. Consider offering discounts to parents for referrals, or waiving extra fees for each new client referred to you by an existing one.
The key to successful marketing is to continue promoting your business, even when it’s booming. Too often, childcare providers take a relaxed attitude when enrollment is high, then are left scrambling to fill empty spots during a slump. Consistent marketing efforts, paired with exemplary service, can help you to avoid those slumps altogether for a thriving, stable business.