View Full Version : Rather worried...just starting out (Long post)

07-09-2011, 11:32 AM
This is partly in response to the news reports today about families struggling to afford childcare and actually hearing childminders cited alongside nurseries as well.
I've been registered now for just over a month and have just picked up my first mindee a nearly 8yr old who is doing before and after school sessions from 6.30am until 8pm at night. You may think I am mad but mum is a nurse so as my first client I can't afford not to have him. He is actually in my son's class at school. My son and daughter have just started at the local school having gone to my old school ( I have given up primary teaching after 17 years to become a childminder).

ANYWAY to cut along story short, in April I did a flyer drop through people's letterboxes to notify them I was setting up and giving them a chance to register their interest with a view to notifying them when I was setting up once I had been registered by Ofsted. I said mid August and to be honest, this date was more or less spot on.
Now comes the worrying part all of a sudden no-one seems interested. I have been at home since the children started back at school (ok I know it was only yesterday...) but I've started contacting the people who made enquiries just to see if they were fixed up for childcare... without trying to sound desperate...
I have applied to join my local childminding network but was advised to wait a couple of months even though my local Family Information Service have all my details for their website. I've joined childcare.co.uk and have a website. My husband went and ordered some small advertising boards like the ones you see tied to lamp posts and...yes we've done that in the surrounding areas if only to remind people of my website address. And then there was the maildrop...(if i never see another letterbox again I'll be happy!)

I know a lot of business is drummed up by word of mouth so I'll have to get myself known to the parents down by the school gate. And yes I've given the school a poster to put up on the board outside the gates. Funnily enough I took my two down to feed the ducks last week and got talking to this lady who had had a flyer put through her door so that was a topic of conversation... from my point of view it probably helped to put a name to the flyer so to speak.
I'm going to enquire at the local playgroups maybe take some flyers down there.
I honestly don't think there is anything else I can do until I have built up a reputation but I would be interested to hear your own stories or advice. It's abit like waiting for a bus (only at least all my policies and planning are in place ready).

Thanks ladies

07-09-2011, 11:44 AM
I'm sitting here at home at the moment worrying about the exact same things. My certificate of Registration is sat in front of me and I have just ordered a very nice frame for it! However, I have no children to mind at the moment and my only real enquiry seems to have come to nothing as she said she would call me back two days ago. Feeling really dissapointed. I am so eager to get going with a new child! Even looking forward to the paperwork :laughing:

There is an under one's mother and baby group on tommorow at the Library and I am so tempted to crash it, with my two year old, or linger round the entrance and give out my business cards, but I'm really not sure if that is the right way to go about things.

I hope you find someone soon. Word of mouth is doubtless the best way.

07-09-2011, 11:50 AM
When I first set up it was to care for a friends child, then I started visiting the local toddler groups getting myself known locally, I went to the surestart groups and made myself known to the other childminder in the area, there was only 1 other. All the following work came from word of mouth, through the other childminder and the toddler groups.
It can take a while before people realise that there is someone available to care for their child so enabling them to get a job or return to work. Get known to the local health visitor, tell her you are in the area offering childcare, perhaps you could volunteer at a baby group as that is where the returning mums will be found and they could get to know you.

07-09-2011, 11:53 AM
Unfortunelty in some cases it can take a while! When I reg'd I thought I'd be busy straight away, having worked as a nanny for over 15 years and so loads of childcare experience. But it's taken me almost 2 years to be at the point where I can breathe a sigh of relief cos I'm almost full!

07-09-2011, 11:54 AM
It is very hard to start with, thinking that you never get any children and wondering if you have made the right decision. Let other childminders know that you are now registered and looking for business - hopefully they will pass your details onto families who they are unable to help (that's how I started). I also put cards up at the local children's centres.

After a year, I am full and turning children away but it was a very slow start.


07-09-2011, 12:32 PM
I think you might have been a bit late registering. Most parents will be sorted by mid August for childcare for September. I personally would not consider a childminder who is not quite registered unless I had alternative childcare in case the registration took a bit longer. The busiest months (judging by the number of calls and messages) for me have been June-mid August for September start and November to December for start in New Year. Maybe your area is well populated by childminders and you just need to make yourself known. Meet other minders ... I often pass enquiries to newbies if I can't do them. Sometimes getting started takes a bit longer that we'd like to. Good luck.

07-09-2011, 12:37 PM
like the last post said there seems to be two defined 'i'll be returning to work' periods, end of aug and after xmas.

I know its not helpful but its just the right person seeing your notice at the right time.
I put up a poster in doctor surgery and got both my kids from there as little one and toddlers go for jabs often.
Meet some childminders too if you can, eventually you will be able to relieve hols and pass on ones you can't fit in, my neighbour has so far sent me three numbers over, only one of which i could care for as limited numbers but that was fab!