View Full Version : New client interviews how do you do yours?

28-01-2015, 05:13 PM
Hi I was just wondering what I am doing wrong or should be doing has after 4 interviews recently been turn down for them all :-( .

I feel I have a lovely setting big area to play in and large outdoor garden, plenty of toys etc.

During interviews I show them round telling them what happens in each room,
offer them a tea, coffee etc, have age appropriate toys out, talk to them about what we do, groups etc, show them my portfolio which has certs etc in, policy folder in interested in it, answer any questions they have.

Am I missing anything? do you ask them to let you know by a date or just wait for them to get back to you.

28-01-2015, 06:59 PM
Firstly, I get to know more about them via email, what they want etc.. I only meet if I think there is real potential and I like the sound of them. I always ask what activities child likes and then put that out on visit day.
When they visit I spend time with child as I chat informally, play and chat, if the child likes you the parent will.
Only towards end of visit do I tour. I have a slideshow of photos of children having fun and local area we spend our days in scrolling on TV so as they talk they are looking at happy children playing with my resources, in garden, baking, etc.. In my chatter I will occasionally explain what we were doing.
I send them off with a presentation folder telling them about me, a typical day, a sample menu the forms I would like completed about child etc.. And suggest they get in touch in a couple of days when they have chatted as I know it is an important decision - I talk about how they have to be able to trust someone to care for their precious offspring etc... Sales or what !! I suggest they visit again too.
If I don't like them ( I so value judge people, and know immediately if we can get on) then I text to say that ....I don't feel that ....will be able to fit in because....
Most parents ring on their way home to visit again.
Second visit is nitty gritty...proceedures etc...
I do suggest they should make a decision soon as others have visited.....

Works for me - hope this helps.

28-01-2015, 07:02 PM
A few "don'ts".

Don't feel you have to do everything at the first meeting. Make it clear that the first visit is not an end in itself, but should merely be the start of a process. This helps keep everything relaxed, and takes away the pressure of having to get everything done in a relatively short space of time. If the parents know they can have a 2nd visit, or phone you with any questions they thing of later, then you'll look more the open, helping CM, and not look like a double-glazing salesman trying to rush for a signature.

Don't go over the top in trying to win over a client. The vast majority of problems which crop up in CM-client relationships come out of money/arrears or from not being clear about expectations before the arrangement began. This is exacerbated by the ridiculous notion that the CM has to be "positive" about everything. I think a lot of parents leave the 1st visit thinking they'll have everything their own way, cos the CM has been desperate to please and/or come across as a wonderful person. Do you want to set up a good, viable arrangement now, or do you want to promise the Earth and then get angry when the parents expect you to deliver on those promises?

Don't forget: you are selecting the client just as much as they are selecting you. This can come as a shock to parents, especially if you're the one who calls them to say, "thanks, but no thanks." You don't have to make an offer to everyone who steps through your door. Ask the questions you want answered, and remember to keep your ears open just in case the alarm bells start to ring.

Don't get rushed into an answer to every question. We all want to appear to know everything. But prospective clients frequently pop up with questions for which a CM is unprepared. If you feel you have to give an answer straightaway, you'll almost certainly muff something or commit to a request you'll later regret. Just remain unflappable, and say, "let me think about that and get back to you." It that doesn't satisfy, then you probably are looking at parents who will prove in time to be rather pushy and excessively demanding.

Don't be perfect. I recently scared off a potential client with all my stuff on EYFS, learning and development, etc. She just wanted somewhere for the lo to be happy while mum was at work: that's all. One of my first clients told me she nearly turned me down because our house was too clean ( :p I dunno which day that was :p) - she found it intimidating. :D

Don't let the 'caring' aspect squeeze out the 'business' aspect. We all want to look like the perfect child-carer, who had that little bit more 'chemistry' with children than the last setting these parents visited. Truth is, any damned fool can kiss a baby, and that's not primarily what CMing is about. I've learnt the hard way that the lo isn't always (ever?) going to magically accept being played with by the new, weird stranger in the strange weird house, and trying to force it can be entirely counter-productive.

Hope this helps and all the best for future visits. :thumbsup:

Tell them a date to let you know by if you need to know by a certain date. Otherwise ask them when they think they'll be able to let you know.

Don't assume you're doing anything wrong. I'm convinced there are just as many people 'testing the waters' as there are people who view dozens of houses for sale with no clear intention to buy. Don't underestimate the power of the irrational: a lot of people make important decisions like childcare choices on 'gut feeling' or 'chemistry'. I suspect parenthood tends to be a major cause of brain damage. :rolleyes:

28-01-2015, 08:16 PM
Alot of my work comes from meeting parents at toddler groups/school playground/Park etc. Or from recommendations... not just from current parents, but other people I know and people who just see me around. I always wear a fleece that says 'childminder' on the back and when I moved and was setting up again ... I wore it constantly!
My latest mum said she didn't need to see anything as she knew I was perfect for her child having known/seen me over the past few months at toddlers.
Good luck xx

28-01-2015, 08:48 PM
I agree on being seen out and about with the children. Last week I had 2 enquiries both just stopped me on the school grounds they just see me every day doing the school and nursery runs. Also current parents tend to recommend me too. Sometimes it just takes time but once you have a child on board it seems easier some how. I'm always very relaxed and chatty on a visit but more often than not don't go into all the specifics, it's usually just friendly and not always about childminding. Sometimes you can look to be trying too hard, no offence. Most people just want somewhere homely where their child can be safe and happy. They are not interested in what you might do in what room and the EYFS etc. They just need to have that rapport with you. Maybe you are going into too much detail?? Also most people just go on gut instinct and the silliest thing can put them off. When I was looking at childminders for my DS many years ago I was put off 1 childminder because her cooker didn't look clean - bit silly or what lol.


28-01-2015, 09:02 PM
Hi, thanks for help and insight I think I will start to do the tour at end of meeting if they want to look round and have some pictures out of the activities we have been doing never even thought of doing that !

28-01-2015, 10:19 PM
I have a photo album to show new parents, and usually forget to give them a tour! I ask them to have a list of questions ready for when they visit, and after asking one or two we often get chatting and take it from there...I think you know if you click or not quite quickly, once the first is signed up it's so much easier

29-01-2015, 08:06 AM
I once had a mum choose me because my address was the same as somewhere she used to live, the date we arranged to meet was a special number for her, there was something else but I forget! The final 'seal of approval' was that our children had been born in the same hospital ... Not that amazing you would think ... But we now both lived over 200 miles away from that hospital! Mum did say 'you'll think I'm daft but I think it's fate!'

29-01-2015, 02:10 PM
I never know how to fit in the 'do you want a tea/coffee thing' as I would then have to leave visiting parents with my minded children to go to the kitchen which is within hearing but not sight! and I have a no hot drinks around children policy as the rest of downstairs is open planned and there are usually activities up the dining table (between meals).

I usually just ask them in, and take their lead, if they seem to be straining to see out to the play room I say go and take a look etc.....I answer their questions and only raise anything that I think would concern them or directly impact them coming, e.g. I note you want to start at 8.30, but we leave for school run at 8.20 etc.

I don't give any paperwork, unless the parent asks to sign straight away or start date is soon and they have already decided they are coming to us - I will offer to send/drop off or them to collect paperwork when I have prepared it. I offer to email them my policies to read while they decide etc.

I have about 60% sign up from visits. just hardly any visits due to the ratio of childcare places to children in my area right now :(

lollipop kid
29-01-2015, 02:50 PM
Hello, great advice on this thread so far.

Before parents come to me for this first visit, I give them my website address so that they can have a look at the references section to see what other parents have said about my service. They can have a good flick through, find out all about me, view my Ofsted report, etc. (I obviously explain my grade upfront, just in case the parents only want an "outstanding" childminder, as this isn't how Ofsted have graded me, even though this is how most of my current parents describe me in the reference section - I've got great parents, thankfully! :clapping: If they only want to go by the grade, then they're not for me!)

I only see new parents on my child-free days - usually on a Sunday around 2pm (with a mad, frantic clean-up/tidy first. Still, it does get the place ready for the start of my childminding week on the Monday). My family are completely on board with this now, so hubby tends to take my two out for a while just before the 'new' parents are due. I find that the new parents also appreciate this approach, as they know that, should they take a place with me for their child, I won't be conducting 'new business' meetings during the times that I am supposed to be looking after their little one.

This way, the parents can get 100% of my attention and ask as many questions as they like. I try to keep the first visit to about 30 minutes, and tell them that this visit is just for them to get a feel for me, the setting and for them to get an idea of what I can offer their child. Then, if they like it here, I invite them to come back for a 15 minute 'fly on the wall' meeting while I'm childminding. I warn them that I won't be able to answer any questions during this visit, and to bear in mind that their child will be their responsibility. (They very rarely do this - usually they just want to schedule a meeting to sign up, if this is what they want to do.) I then do some of the paperwork at mine again during my child-free time at the weekend, and take an "All about me" form down for a subsequent home visit, which I do just before their little one starts. (I also find that lots of parents look miles in advance - I had one last Sunday who is looking for an October 2015 space, for example!) :D

I turn a lot of parents away as I only take parents who live in the catchment area for the school that I cover. (I tell them that I take a long-term view of childminding and can only take families on who I can support for as long as they need me - so through school etc.) This has the benefit that my parents usually commit to me for a long period of time, as it saves their little ones transitions further down the line.

Anyway, I hope this helps.


29-01-2015, 06:44 PM
I'm not at all sure many parents know what they're looking for. Only a few of them even think they know what they're looking for.

Fr'instance........... and this is where I get cheeky. They all think they want an Ofsted registered CM with first aid training and PLI. Just as they're poised to sign the contract I ask, "how do you know I am an Ofsted registered CM?" Cue blank expression and embarrassed silence. Not a single one has replied that they have read my certificate, although they've all walked past it several times by then. I do, of course, eventually show them all the certificates but the point is, nobody has ever asked to see them or stopped to take a proper look at them before that point. I can only presume they would happily sign a contract with any Tom, Dick or Harriet who passed themselves off as Ofsted-registered without ever checking. :eek:

29-01-2015, 09:36 PM
WOW lots of great advise thank you so much. I have spent most of today adding photos and examples of work to my folder to show future potential parents. I agree I think a lot of parents just like to have a nose or don't even know what they want, my favorite enquiry's are I don't have a job yet so cant advise on days I want do you have space for two children, will you hold the space for me and I will get back to you.