As a family child care provider, it can be quite tempting to catch some extra sleep and wait to get ready for the day once the children arrive. However, it is important to avoid this sort of temptation. As a daycare provider, you are the owner of your business. As such, your business presents an image to your clients and vendors even if you aren’t trying to do so. The more professional that image is the better off your business will be.
When you are working from home it may not seem important that you maintain a professional appearance and work ethic. After all, you spend your day chasing children, cleaning messes, and contributing to the upkeep of your household. However, parents are expecting a certain level of professionalism from you as they are paying you good money to care for their children during the day. Your clients will be more comfortable and trusting if they know they have left their children with someone who will care for them and their environment just as well as they take care of themselves.
Another problem with not presenting a professional front is that your clients may be more likely to be unprofessional with you. Running late without calling, skipping a week of tuition, taking vacations without giving you notice are all possible scenarios with parents who think of their daycare providers as simple babysitters or stay at home moms who are watching children during the day. The more you run your daycare like a business, the more you can expect of your clients and they of you.
If you are having a difficult time filling empty enrollment spots, being professional is even more essential. You should always be thinking not only about your own business, but also how your competition is running theirs. At the end of the day, the potential clients will be stacking you up against the other daycares she has visited. Presenting the most put together version of you and your business is truly in your best interest.
Here are some steps to take into consideration to enhance your professionalism:
- Contract – Always have a signed contract. This will ensure that both parties understand the policies and have signed off on them. You should sign and date the contract as well. Update it whenever there is a status change like a shift in rates, schedule or vacation.
- Designated Work Area – If at all possible, keep the daycare area of your business separate from your living areas.
- Dress Appropriately – While no one is expecting you to work in business clothing, you should always be dressed and ready before your clients arrive.
- Business Supplies – You should name your daycare. Consider designing a logo and a website. You can even get a set of free business cards from Vista Print. Doesn’t hurt to have your own stationary and forms.
- Privacy – Just because your clients enter your home every day does not mean they need to know all the details of your personal life. The more you can keep your private life separated from your business, the better. It is great to have a decent relationship with your clients but it is tough to demand late payments from friends. Those who think you are their buddy are more likely to bend the rules to their own benefit.
- Cleanliness – This is just a given. Do you best to keep you home tidy, clean and sanitized. This is important not only for professionalism but also for health reasons.
- Act Professionally – You expect your parents to give you notice before they withdraw their children or go on vacation and you should do the same. Keep your parents updated and try not to throw out too many surprises. They have clients and employers to answer to as well.
- Communication – Establish ways to keep parents informed as to what is happening at the daycare. A newsletter is a great way to provide parents with all kinds of information. Make certain parents of infants know how much feeding, diapering and napping is going on each day.