If you want to run a successful in-home daycare, welcome! You’re in for a very fun ride.
And even though things may seem complicated at times, we’ll teach you all the tricks you need to know after starting a home daycare.
Let’s hop in!
1. Start Off on the Right Foot
You wouldn’t build a house on crooked foundations, and the same goes for your business. If you understand that your family daycare is not only a way of spending time doing what you love, but a veritable business in its own right, you’ll have no problem carrying on.
In-home daycares, like every business, have their own rules and regulations. Yes, they may even include having to write a business plan.
All of this can be a lot when you’re starting out, so go through starting a home daycare checklist to make sure all the bases are covered.
2. Have a Really Great Value Proposition and Give Great Family Daycare Tours
You need to know why families should be signing up for your daycare, not your competitor’s.
Is it because:
- You take care of kids outside standard working hours?
- You have a unique curriculum?
- You offer drop-in daycare/daycare on demand?
If you make it clear from the get go why parents should be lining in to get their kids in your daycare, you’ll run a successful in-home daycare much easier. Differentiation is the name of the in-home daycare game.
Family Daycare Tours
Once you’ve got your value proposition on lock, you should work it into your in-home daycare tours.
If you want to run a successful in-home daycare, you should get to know the families and the kids. Additionally, you should also give them a chance to get to know you.
During the daycare tour, cover things like:
- Your personal and professional background
- The daycare’s values and principles
- The child’s affinities and needs
- The setting and activities kids will do
- Daycare safety
- Address parents’ concerns
It’s best to schedule the daycare tour during your standard work hours, as that can help you point out examples of your daycare’s quality, and show parents that your daycare is right for them.
This is also the time where you can observe parents and their children to see if they’re a good fit for your daycare. The interview part of the daycare tour goes both ways.
3. Want to Run a Successful In-Home Daycare? Get Organized!
Even if you’re starting out with three kids, that doesn’t mean the number isn’t going to grow.
You should make a plan for daily, weekly and monthly activities. Even just having a close-up daycare cleaning checklist will be very helpful after a long day.
This’ll help you run the daycare on autopilot so you can focus on what matters: the kids, and your business.
For example, make a checklist of daily activities:
- 7am – Prepare the food and activities, arrange the furniture
- 8am – Greet kids
- 9am – Serve breakfast
And so on.
If you also have your curriculum, you should find the best place to integrate it, and add it to the permanent schedule.
Not only is this beneficial for you, but daycare-aged children need routine and quality interactions for proper cognitive development.
Home Daycare Policies and the Parent Handbook
No matter how pleasant you are, incidents will happen.
And when they do, you should have policies to rely on.
Policies should typically be included in the contract parents sign so they can’t claim lack of knowledge later on. You can adjust them to cover anything you find necessary; from things like kids’ conduct to meal policies.
You can also add them to the parent handbook.
For example, Lauri’s Daycare’s Parent Handbook covers everything from her home daycare’s mission to late fees.
This is extremely helpful with organization as rules are made clear, and it’s easy to proceed in case someone breaks them.
If your business grows so much, don’t be afraid to use technology to help you out.
There’s a lot of great daycare software out there, some of which will even help you offer daycare on demand without changing your work hours.
4. Know Your Families (and Your Staff)
If you want to run a successful in-home daycare, you have to be a great communicator.
There are a lot of situations in child care where you’ll be required to be more diplomatic than professional diplomats, so learn everything you can about conflict resolution.
This also means understanding the changing needs of your customers.
For example, most daycares experience summer enrollment drops, but they don’t use them nearly well enough.
Implementing a special summer activity program can be a great way to fill any gaps in enrollment, while also emphasizing why your daycare is different.
Home Daycare Staffing
Needing to hire extra help for your family daycare is a great sign of your daycare’s success.
However, it’s important to hire staff whose values align with yours. You want people who you can completely trust with the kids and your business, even if you have to briefly step away.
Daycare staffing can be complicated, so use every possible method to find the perfect caregiver:
- Referrals and word of mouth
- Online job boards
You want your staff to be your partners, so resolve any conflicts as quickly as possible and carry on successfully!
5. Fill Vacant Spots at Your Home Daycare with Marketing
When you’ve created a successful business and a great daycare, you need to tell the world about it.
There’s a lot of things you can do to spread the word, from advertising to inexpensive promotional tactics.
The main thing to keep in mind is:
Promote where your customers are.
Sometimes that’ll lead you to unforeseen conclusions and better results, such as this experiment in buying ad space in grocery stores.
You can also try things like:
- Promoting in Mom & Dad Facebook groups
- Doing a cross-promotion with other local businesses that parents frequent
- Radio and newspaper ads
Another good way of drawing customers is by offering what they need. For example, Hopping In is daycare software that helps parents book extra spots when they need them.
Let’s say you have two vacant spots in your daycare’s daily schedule. Without Hopping In, they’ll stay empty because parents don’t know your availability.
However, if you have Hopping In, your vacant spots will be visible to parents so they can book a spot for their kiddo. This means you’re earning extra and if the parents like your daycare, they may just switch to it full-time.
Hopping In is free, as there’s no charge unless you’ve filled your spots with it, so it’s a win-win.
Do You Want to Run a Successful In-Home Daycare?
The main thing you need to run a successful in-home daycare is patience and a can-do spirit.
There’s nothing that can’t be optimized with a little good will and organization. Sometimes it takes a checklist, and sometimes it takes a fun day at pool.
No matter what, we’ve got your back with the best tips on home daycares that you can use to make your home daycare thrive.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org