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Clueless establishing and advertising in-home daycare--please advise

Harriet Vane

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I have a friend who is trying to establish an in-home daycare. She is truly gifted with children (and especially truly gifted caring for special needs children, though she is not advertising for that niche). She is very sweet and patient with children and instinctively understands how to manage them.


My friend previously had an in-home daycare for five years and was quite successful. She always had as many kids as she wanted, and she had to turn away families at times. That was a number of years ago, and the playing field has changed somewhat now.


My friend would like to advertise her business on the internet. As an editor, I can fix her grammar and punctuation. However, other than that, I'm not terribly savvy with internet advertising, and I have never used the internet for childcare services. My friend does not have any money to spare. She is willing to pay to advertise as that will help build her business, but she is afraid of falling for a scam or using a website that isn't that great.


My friend is considering purchasing advertising through care.com. Has anyone heard of it? It does have free options, but my friend is considering upgrading to pay for better options.


Any advice for website design? For this friend, it would have to be super-simple.


Do you have any other recommendations?


My friend is in a dense suburban area, so I think it likely that if she can get her name out there, the kids will come.



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Care.com has free options, and I'm not sure what the advantage is for the paid ones.


If I were starting up something like this, I would network more so than advertise.  I'd talk to every parent I knew, put them on a BCC email list and send out weekly blasts with 'the latest', like, 'We have 3 4 year olds and still have room for 2 younger children' or 'This week our snacks are focused on fresh organic citrus that is in season right now!' or 'Today the kids made tissue paper collages, and tomorrow we will start making Valentines' or whatever.  I would ask them to forward my information to their friends who have young children, or to email lists of parents that they are on.


This is all free, and at least around here it would work very fast.

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I agree with Care.com. That's where I get sitters. They can take care of a lot of things, like background checks for your workers, etc. It's a trusted website and many people seeking daycare go there.


Also, depending on where she is, there is likely a parent newspaper. In Seattle, ParentMap and Seattle's Child are two. These publications also sponsor a lot of activities for the larger day cares, but you can buy a small ad as well.


Website design: There are free, easy tools like Wix. Is it super simple? Well, that's a matter of perspective. It's as easy as it gets for free, but I wouldn't say it would be easy for someone who has never built a website. She might be able to pay a high school student to do it, though, or get a friend to do it for free.

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If she is really good with kids she probably won't need to do much advertising.  Competitive prices and good references are all she would need around here to be full with a waiting list within weeks.


The first thing I would do is set up a facebook page and have any friends in the area share it with a note that just says "here is a great new daycare being started by a friend of mine."  From there she could also post it to any local facebook boards (our area has a number for selling things, moms, playgroups, etc).


If she still has openings after a month or two she could try care.com but I doubt it will be necessary.

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I'd just set up a facebook page for her business or just put an advertisement on her local community facebook page.  If she is that good with children, it won't take her long to find a few people.  I'd also have her ask a few friends to spread the word that she is open for business.   The other thing I would do is consider a week long newspaper ad.  I wouldn't set up a website/webpage for something that won't be needed long.  


I know our area also has an associate of daycare providers.  She might check to see if there is one in her area.  


Our area also has a buy-sell-trade email list of teachers.  I've had a teacher friend post things on it for me.  If she knows any teachers, she might check to see if they have something like that.  One of my friends does day care and she only watches teacher's kids.  The hours are better and she gets summers off to spend with her kids. 


I have several friends that do day care and they are all usually full with a wait list, so it might not take long for her to find people.    



Edited by mom2samlibby
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I agree with Facebook, we have a page for sitters and parents looking for sitter that is specific to our area. That's how I found my sitter for the girls (I wanted a sitter to come to my home because both girls hated daycare and I didn't want to have dd1 change bussing) next year dd2 will be in a preschool/daycare (hopefully, I'm going to do a trial week to see how it goes) and I will just have dh get dd1 off the bus if need be.

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