How to Build Enrollment

How do I build childcare enrollment?  This has to be one of the most frequent questions that a childcare provider asks.  As business owners, it seems we are constantly marketing and recruiting for enrollment in our programs.  

Well today, I want to give you some tips you can do this week on how to build enrollment in your childcare and fill those open spots.  So here are 10 SUPER SIMPLE tips to help you boost your childcare enrollment.

How to build Enrollment

  1. Join your CCR – Check to see if you have a local CCR in your area. This is a great resource for providers, especially new providers. They offer referral services for parents, subsided programs you can apply to be a part of and childcare training and workshops for providers.
  2. Ask clients for referrals – Years ago I had a client from a local company enroll with me. Over the years I have had eight families from that company come through my childcare. Ask clients if their co-workers, family or friends are in need of childcare. You might think about offering a referral incentive like a free day or $ off for any paid referrals you receive.
  3. Pre-enroll – Think about reserving future spots or pre-enrolling. Check out this post for details for how you can fill spots in advance.
  4. Collaborate with the local preschools – Believe it or not, the preschools aren’t always a competitor for a home childcare. Many do not accept younger infants and toddlers. Try contacting a few in your community to see if they might be interested in referring babies to you. In turn, you could refer children that age-out of your program to their school.
  5. Collaborate with other child cares – Just like preschools, collaborating with other home childcare providers can offer opportunities to build your enrollment. You could offer to take their clients during vacation periods and vice versa for when you go on vacation. You could also offer to refer clients that you are not able to take their way too and vice versa.  See how this can work for both of you?
  6. Get clients to write reviews – Like it or not we live in a yelp conscious world where everybody is looking to see what someone else is saying about your business. Ask current and former clients to leave a review on your website, Facebook. Google or yelp page.
  7. Advertise everywhere –  I know!  This is a no brainer.  But you need to get the word out about your childcare whenever and wherever you can.  Place ads on Craigslist, Google and yahoo classifieds.  Challenge yourself to see if you can find a new way to advertise every week.
  8. Approach people – Make sure you always have your business card at the ready.  You never know when you might have the opportunity to approach someone about your business.  You might be in line at the store and notice a mother with her child or an expectant parent in the baby aisle. Having your card with you at all times means you are ready to turn a chance encounter into a potential business connect.
  9. Offer more services – I am a firm believer that the more problems you can solve, the more opportunities you will have. Offering more services may just lead to more potential clientele.  Try to be in-tune with what services are lacking in your community.  Do parents tend to need half-day programs or back-up/drop-in care?  Maybe earlier or later hours would expand your customer base.  Bottom line; the more services you offer, the more clients you could attract.  Need some ideas for additional services you could offer?  Check out this list of 10 potential services for your childcare.
  10. Show off your program – Parents really respond to a well-rounded program.  Nowadays, they look for indications that even home childcares lead to school readiness.  Discuss with parents the importance of the social, large and small motor skill development that your program has.  Develop a philosophy for your program that you can easily explain to parents.  If your program is more play-based, being able to explain why that is important in a young child’s stage of development could very well help a parent to choose your program over another.

Do you struggle to find new ways to find clients?  Did you find a new one you might try? What has worked for you?  Tell me about it.  Leave a comment below.

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