The most difficult part of opening a home daycare is getting your name out there and landing your first client. It may take up to a few months, but once you find your first family, more will quickly follow. As with most things in parenting, no one wants to be the first to try something new. And rightly so — I would be hesitant to place my child in the care of a complete stranger who doesn’t have any other children in their care besides their own. How do you get around this? There are a couple of ways:
–Offer to watch a friend’s children once a week on a short-term basis for free or for a steep discount. Then when potential clients ask, you can let them know how often you watch your friend’s children, the activities you do, the kind of snacks you provide, etc.
–Provide a resume of the previous child care experience you’ve had, whether it’s at your church in the nursery, volunteering at your child’s school, a nannying position you held in the past, or a kids’ team you’ve coached.
–Advertise yourself as a drop-in daycare for the first few couple of months. Look for stay-at-home-parents who want a morning off to run errands, or for working parents that need a last-minute back-up for when their regular daycare provider is closed. Just be sure to let them know that drop-in spots are on a first come, first served basis — you don’t want to end up with more kids than you’re legally allowed.
–Take lots of pictures of your playroom, the activities you do with your own children or the children you watch occasionally (just be sure to keep their faces out of the picture), and the artwork they make. Use those photos in your advertising wherever possible.
–Tell everyone you know that you’re starting up your home daycare. Post it on Facebook or whatever social media circles you’re a part of. Most of the people you know won’t need care for their own kids, but they will know someone else who is looking. Give them your phone number or website address, or even better, your business card to pass on.
The important thing to remember is to be patient. Because this is a job that involves something a precious as children, it will take time for your name to get out there and for you to become known as a trusted daycare provider.