Competing with Free: How to Market your Child Care Center


Many times child care center owners view their competition as the center down the street or all other child care centers in their neighborhood, but the largest competitor may be free or low-cost child care, much of which is subsidized by the state. Because there are so many of these centers out there, it is important to think of them as competition and market your child care center to families who are looking for more than just a low price. The number one thing to remember when setting your center apart from these free or low-cost centers is you need to quickly show why your center is different to families coming in for a tour. Does your center offer all meals to children at no additional cost? Does your center offer extended hours to meet the needs of families working nearby? Whatever it is that sets your child care center apart is something that needs to be explicitly stated to potential clients.

“When we first started touring child care centers at the beginning of our beta testing, I went to an area in North Carolina that catered to the hospital community. Many parents worked the night shift so one of the child care centers I met with offered extended care hours and even let parents pay tuition using direct deposit from the hospital,” Sara Miller, a SmartCare representative, learned on the road. “Offering longer hours and easy ways to pay sold parents on the idea of attending this center.”

It is no secret that making parents’ lives easier is the secret to success for child care centers and sharing with parents how your center does this is extremely important. Do parents at your center want an option to pay tuition online or on their mobile phone? Maybe introducing new technology will be a great way to rise above the competition. Learn how SmartCare can help here.

The key to building your clientele and bringing in the best families is to identify who your best clients are and learn what keeps them coming back. Once you can figure out why they chose your center and what keeps them happy, use that information to target more families just like them. Plus, those families are always great for word-of-mouth referrals!