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SEAS13
29-09-2014, 05:18 PM
Hi everyone

I'm in the process of doing my training but PSLA have advised to do market research. I've taken a look and it seems that there are a reasonable amount of childminders in the area, but a need has been determined and I think full time spaces are in short supply.

I want to survey some local parents at my childrens centre, library and via some online forums to find out their thoughts and needs. I was wondering if anyone had carried out a similar exercise and what questions you asked?

I plan to ask if they, or someone they know, is looking for childcare, if they feel there is enough provision in the area, what hours they would need care, their ideal childminder and if pets would put them off. Is there anything else you would ask?

Thanks - I really appreciate any help!

moggy
29-09-2014, 07:29 PM
Mmm, I think you'd need to ask hundreds of people to get a meaningful answer.

We have so few places to fill, we only need 1, 2 or 3 families to go with us and we are full. You could ask 20 people and no one be interested but still fill your places. Even if there seems to be little demand it just takes you to stand out as being the perfect CM for a particular child and you will get the job.

Think about what you'd do with the results- if pets put people off are you going to get rid of your pet?! If people say there is no demand are you going to give up?! If a family say they want 5am starts are you really willing to offer that? Market research is a funny thing, you can end up with data that is actually no use to you...

More useful market research would be to find out what going rates are in your area (so you can price yourself either competitively or higher if you want to be seen as 'a cut above', if they include food etc (so you know what they get for the fees), what schools are in need of before/after school care (so you can identify a local demand), what after school clubs are running that could impact your business (so you can maybe avoid that school or that age group).

SEAS13
29-09-2014, 07:47 PM
Thanks moggy - these are very good points. Hadn't thought of it that way.

I feel so bad calling round other childminders - am I just being too nice? I'd prefer to work with them rather than treat them as comp!

Thanks again

moggy
29-09-2014, 08:07 PM
Thanks moggy - these are very good points. Hadn't thought of it that way.

I feel so bad calling round other childminders - am I just being too nice? I'd prefer to work with them rather than treat them as comp!

Thanks again

- Go along to a Toddler Group or local childminder group, introduce yourself and ask people your questions- most CMers are friendly and are happy to help out a new starter, talk to parents their too- they might use a CMer and be happy to talk about the experience,
- ask your local Children and Family Centre if they have a list of CMers and their details/fees,
- look at your local Family Info Service website as they should have a directory of local CMs and often include lots of details and fee info
- You can also look at childcare.co.uk, read local CMers listings
- ask your Local Authority if they can give you some guidance or if they have any childminder support network/groups
- see if there is a local CM facebook page and introduce yourself there- ask what people charge etc.

loocyloo
29-09-2014, 08:28 PM
- Go along to a Toddler Group or local childminder group, introduce yourself and ask people your questions- most CMers are friendly and are happy to help out a new starter, talk to parents their too- they might use a CMer and be happy to talk about the experience,
- ask your local Children and Family Centre if they have a list of CMers and their details/fees,
- look at your local Family Info Service website as they should have a directory of local CMs and often include lots of details and fee info
- You can also look at childcare.co.uk, read local CMers listings
- ask your Local Authority if they can give you some guidance or if they have any childminder support network/groups
- see if there is a local CM facebook page and introduce yourself there- ask what people charge etc.

I agree, definitely go along to groups and meet with/chat to other childminders. most are willing to help a new or prospective childminder. its when people try to 'trick' childminders that they come unstuck! where I used to live a lady rang round and arranged to see 6/8 minders ... her story/requirements were slightly different and with each minder she spent ages reading/copying ( !!! ) bits of policies etc ... she obviously didn't realise that in a small town we all knew each other and chatted ... then she started advertising for work and wondered why no one was helpful! if she'd just asked, we would all have helped her!

good luck x

SEAS13
29-09-2014, 08:34 PM
Ah that's great thank you! I will go along to the childminders group and have a chat with them!

The PSLA say to call around and do mystery shopping but that just didn't sit right with me. Glad to hear I can go along and be honest and chat with others!

mama2three
30-09-2014, 06:17 AM
Ah that's great thank you! I will go along to the childminders group and have a chat with them!

The PSLA say to call around and do mystery shopping but that just didn't sit right with me. Glad to hear I can go along and be honest and chat with others!

I don't know who psla are but avoid mystery shopping at all costs!
Unlike any other business we rely on each other locally and have a close relationship , passing each other enquiries etc. It would really damage that relationship if you weren't up front from the start.

SEAS13
30-09-2014, 07:27 AM
Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, I probably used the wrong acronym! It's the Preschool Learning Alliance. They sent me a whole document on market research telling me how to mystery shop and straight away I though ouch - isn't that a bit unethical?!

I will make sure I'm honest and build relationships with my fellow CMs! Thanks so much for your advice x