Where to advertise and how to be picky?!
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  1. #1
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    Default Where to advertise and how to be picky?!

    Hi all!

    I'm just wrestling my way through the monumental pile of pre-registration stuff (I do wonder what percentage of would-be childminders give up in despair around page 11 of the Preparing for Ofsted sheet) and decided to join this forum for some light relief - and because it's been incredibly useful so far and I'd love to be part of it if I do manage to get registered!

    I wondered where most of you advertise your spaces? Do you use facebook community sites at all or Gumtree - where do most parents come to you from? And how did you manage not to make bad choices in your first families in your enthusiasm to get started - what should I look out for?

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    Hi, welcome and don't give up. For me the registeration progess was shorter. I'm minding approx 10 years now. I only advertise on here and a lot of parents are aware of this site and the numbers are growing daily.

    When I first started I didn't advertise anywhere. I wasn't aware of many advertising places. We are talking 10 years ago. I registered in Feb and didn't work till the June. So be prepared for this, although it may not happen to you.

    With regard to 'choosing' families, you have to go with your gut instinct. Very important! There have been a few threads on here recently about CM's with families that just don't 'fit' into their home. You have to interview them as much as they interview you. Think 'could I work with this family?', 'do we have the same values?', 'will I grow to love this child?'. Some parents are lovely instantly, some come charging in, like a bull, full of demands and sleep timetables etc. So work out how you would like the minded child to fit in with your family circumstances then think how you will run your business and imagine additional children in it and then rely this back to new prospective parents. Always a good idea, when they first contact you to chat and then want to visit, is to say yes but I've also got another family interested. It's a good 'get out clause'.

    Best of luck! It's a wonderful career and fab being my own boss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOH View Post
    Hi, welcome and don't give up. For me the registeration progess was shorter. I'm minding approx 10 years now. I only advertise on here and a lot of parents are aware of this site and the numbers are growing daily.

    When I first started I didn't advertise anywhere. I wasn't aware of many advertising places. We are talking 10 years ago. I registered in Feb and didn't work till the June. So be prepared for this, although it may not happen to you.

    With regard to 'choosing' families, you have to go with your gut instinct. Very important! There have been a few threads on here recently about CM's with families that just don't 'fit' into their home. You have to interview them as much as they interview you. Think 'could I work with this family?', 'do we have the same values?', 'will I grow to love this child?'. Some parents are lovely instantly, some come charging in, like a bull, full of demands and sleep timetables etc. So work out how you would like the minded child to fit in with your family circumstances then think how you will run your business and imagine additional children in it and then rely this back to new prospective parents. Always a good idea, when they first contact you to chat and then want to visit, is to say yes but I've also got another family interested. It's a good 'get out clause'.

    Best of luck! It's a wonderful career and fab being my own boss.
    I also advertise through Childcare.co.uk (so on here). I don't use Gumtree or Facebook. I have seen a couple of childminding ads in our local "xxxMums" (first word sounds like 'vet'). I personally haven't tried it, but you never know.

    That is good advice from MOH - I love the "Yes, but I've got another family interested" line.

    Although I can see it working as a get-out clause, I can also see it working to let them know that you have other interest already - as some parents seem to think you are desperate to work so will put up with any demands they wish to make. I'm going to start using it and I've been childminding for almost 9 years!

    LK
    Last edited by lollipop kid; 09-10-2015 at 08:29 AM.

  5. #4
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    I haven't been childminding long. I registered in Feb and got my first mindees in May. Most of my enquiries have come from advertising here. I have also had a few enquiries from listing with my local authority and on xxxmums. I have a facebook page but haven't really pushed advertising with it, but I have had one enquiry through it. Also getting out to toddler groups (with my own children) and talking to mums - it got me a couple of enquiries.

    As for picking mindees/families, I went with my gut instinct. I had some people visit that I just didn't click with - luckily I had other parents around the same time that I liked so I could be picky. Although I had one enquiry that I thought would never work but I met them anyway (as I was getting desperate) and they are still with me and it's worked really well!

    Good luck.

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    Thank you all - will start crafting my advert :-)

  7. #6
    Simona Guest

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    I like MOH and lollipopkid's suggestions!! ...good if it would catch with many more cms.

    Remember that 1st interview and that cms are not employed by the parents: they buy your services....make sure parentsaunderstand we are self employed!
    Never say yes to parents after the 1st meeting...always say you will consider their requirements and get back to them...regardless of whether you have others waiting on your list.....I think they would understand that well.

    Always explain very clearly to parents how the 'funded hours' work...who pays for them and who subsidise them...it will be one of the 1st questions parents will ask in future!

    Even when the actual care starts the 1st few weeks can be designated as 'trial'....if that has been cleared stated in the contract.

    never advertise on FB...there are more and more sorry stories popping up that are too sad....keep your relationship 'professional'...if you care for friends' children make sure they do not feel you are doing them a favour...friends should also understand 'respect'.
    Keep in touch with your FIS for advertising...they are very important !

    In future schools will be the place to advertise or have good links with...thanks to the Minister for Education and her last brilliant idea on wraparound care she has made advertising in schools for Cms very easy!

    Last but not least ...what we do we do for the children not for Ofsted!

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    Get some business cards from Vistaprint and a magnetic car sticker - keep the cards in your bag and coat pockets at all times and drop into conversations with everyone you meet that you are a childminder - I have a new baby just started, I met her mum in our local swimming pool, me and her mum swam in the same lane before work for about a year and chatted sometimes at the end of the lane - obviously I didn't have a business card in my swimsuit but a friend of a friend told her how to contact me as she stopped swimming once she had the baby.

    I have also given out cards whilst walking my dogs and at the park. I find it helps if you find like minded people eg: the dog walking family aren't going to be worried that I have dogs as they do too and are used to children walking in the fields and woods and getting muddy. The swimming mum knows that when she turns up 5 mins early that I will still be drying my hair and she knows that I swim every morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    never advertise on FB...there are more and more sorry stories popping up that are too sad....keep your relationship 'professional'...if you care for friends' children make sure they do not feel you are doing them a favour...friends should also understand 'respect'.
    In fairness Simona, you don't use FB, so may not appreciate that you can have a "professional" business page on there. It doesn't mean you only advertise to friends and is really no different to having a business listing anywhere else, except it is more accessible to a larger number of people. I have yet to hear any sad stories from people placing professional adverts on FB.

    I've always found word of mouth to be the best advert, although it obviously takes time to establish a good reputation and for you to get your name out there. One of the best ways of doing that is to go to childminder groups, toddler groups etc. Even if you haven't got young children of your own, you can still drop in at childminder groups and get yourself known.

    I've also found childcare.co.uk very good as it gives you the added opportunity to contact parents, rather than just waiting for them to contact you. You do have to pay, but I think it's well worth it. My top tip for using it would be to make sure you have a good profile. I get a lot of enquiries from people who are sure they want to use me, just from reading my profile. Make sure the grammar and spelling is correct and really use it to sell yourself.

    As for vetting parents, it starts from the first phone call or email when I say I may have a place, depending on their exact needs. I tell them that I can't commit to anything, but that I will be happy to meet with them to discuss their needs and that after our meeting I will email them and let them know if I will be able to offer them a place. I explain that it will depend on the hours needed, how this fits in with current children and other enquiries I am taking etc. After seeing them I will either email saying "Thanks for meeting with me. I would like to offer X a space on...days" or "Thanks for your enquiry. It was lovely to meet you, but unfortunately I will not be able to offer X a place at the moment. I can contact you again if a suitable place becomes available, so please let me know if you would like to go on the waiting list".
    It's worked well so far and gives me time to think before committing to anything

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  13. #9
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
    In fairness Simona, you don't use FB, so may not appreciate that you can have a "professional" business page on there. It doesn't mean you only advertise to friends and is really no different to having a business listing anywhere else, except it is more accessible to a larger number of people. I have yet to hear any sad stories from people placing professional adverts on FB.

    I've always found word of mouth to be the best advert, although it obviously takes time to establish a good reputation and for you to get your name out there. One of the best ways of doing that is to go to childminder groups, toddler groups etc. Even if you haven't got young children of your own, you can still drop in at childminder groups and get yourself known.

    I've also found childcare.co.uk very good as it gives you the added opportunity to contact parents, rather than just waiting for them to contact you. You do have to pay, but I think it's well worth it. My top tip for using it would be to make sure you have a good profile. I get a lot of enquiries from people who are sure they want to use me, just from reading my profile. Make sure the grammar and spelling is correct and really use it to sell yourself.

    As for vetting parents, it starts from the first phone call or email when I say I may have a place, depending on their exact needs. I tell them that I can't commit to anything, but that I will be happy to meet with them to discuss their needs and that after our meeting I will email them and let them know if I will be able to offer them a place. I explain that it will depend on the hours needed, how this fits in with current children and other enquiries I am taking etc. After seeing them I will either email saying "Thanks for meeting with me. I would like to offer X a space on...days" or "Thanks for your enquiry. It was lovely to meet you, but unfortunately I will not be able to offer X a place at the moment. I can contact you again if a suitable place becomes available, so please let me know if you would like to go on the waiting list".
    It's worked well so far and gives me time to think before committing to anything
    That is right Mouse...I don't use FB and never would but anyone is free to use it...all I am saying is be careful of what can happen as there are plenty of other ways to advertise as you also suggest....free or otherwise.

    I would be careful of putting stickers on cars especially for those cms who have opted not to have their address published by Ofsted...it is about keeping safe as well and not advertise where cms live and when the house is empty.

    The stories I have read about FB are just an alarm call to be 'careful'...how many cms have posted here on what has happened to them on FB even with having a 'professional page'?
    Being badmouthed or even having safeguarding issues coming up is a no no.

    The issue pops up elsewhere too not just in this forum....social media is for me not the place to advertise...keep social separate from professional but anyone is free to decide for themselves

    maybe worth reading Kathy Brodie's blog on cms using social media.

    With regards to 'vetting' parents or interviewing them at least the issue is being discussed now and will make cms change or reflect on the way they approach interviews and vacancies...I read Flora Dora's comments in another thread on how she does with her parents and learnt a lot from that too....it is all in the spirit of info sharing !

  14. #10
    Simona Guest

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    If anyone is interested this is Kathy Brodies's blog on Social Networking for cms which she wrote following a question I put to her.

    Social Networking for Childminders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    If anyone is interested this is Kathy Brodies's blog on Social Networking for cms which she wrote following a question I put to her.

    Social Networking for Childminders
    Oh yes, I remember reading it now.

    As she says, it's important to keep personal and professional separate and it is quite easy to do that on FB.

    As a big fan of FB I see it as a useful tool in advertising & sharing information. I do think a lot of the negativity towards it is from people who don't use it and don't fully understand it. It's really not the big, scary place a lot of people see it as. But then it's like me & Twitter - I don't use it and remain completely unaware of how it actually works, so just don't see the appeal. They key is to always remember that, potentially, anyone could see what you post so never post anything you wouldn't be happy for absolutely anyone to see.

    I know there are stories of bad things happening on FB with unfair/untrue things being said, but that could happen just as easily in the school playground and could happen whether or not the cm is even on FB. I've never carried out any research into it, but I bet the number of positive posts on FB about childminders far outnumber the negative ones

    I know we'll never agree on the use of FB (private or professional) and I would never attempt to convert you, but as a non-user you'll have to accept that your views on the perceived dangers will always be challenged by this particular FB fan!

  16. #12
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
    Oh yes, I remember reading it now.

    As she says, it's important to keep personal and professional separate and it is quite easy to do that on FB.

    As a big fan of FB I see it as a useful tool in advertising & sharing information. I do think a lot of the negativity towards it is from people who don't use it and don't fully understand it. It's really not the big, scary place a lot of people see it as. But then it's like me & Twitter - I don't use it and remain completely unaware of how it actually works, so just don't see the appeal. They key is to always remember that, potentially, anyone could see what you post so never post anything you wouldn't be happy for absolutely anyone to see.

    I know there are stories of bad things happening on FB with unfair/untrue things being said, but that could happen just as easily in the school playground and could happen whether or not the cm is even on FB. I've never carried out any research into it, but I bet the number of positive posts on FB about childminders far outnumber the negative ones

    I know we'll never agree on the use of FB (private or professional) and I would never attempt to convert you, but as a non-user you'll have to accept that your views on the perceived dangers will always be challenged by this particular FB fan!
    I feel it is not a question of agree or disagree...it is a question of choice and those who use FB do so as their right and I have no intention of converting anyone against its use.

    I always say I am not an expert on how to use FB.....that is not the point and neither is negativity about its use
    The point was to warn against issues that do come up...they may be rare but I would not want them to happen to me or any cm.....if cms are confident in how to use FB then that is fine

    What I have read is enough to tell me to stay off it....I have received threads on FB that have made my hair stand up!...not for me....I have also spoken to those who use it and listen to their opinion on what does happen there.
    It was a learning curve for me.

    This is an open forum and at times we have different points of view.
    I fully respect your use of FB as I am sure do those who do not, like me, use it but are regularly told what is said there without us having the opportunity to double check or comment .

    I use Twitter but would not raise the same argument to those who do not use it but I do share what I feel is important in cms' issues.

    As life teaches us...never say never...but at the moment that is my position on using FB for me.

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    Another good way to advertise is to always act professional while out and about with children. I know it sounds stupid to say this, but how many childminders do you see sitting in the park on their phones while their children are running amuck, or asking other parents or childminders to push them on the swing because they know their childminder wouldn't.

    We do get noticed while out about, both for good as well as bad reasons!

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    Quote Originally Posted by k1rstie View Post
    Another good way to advertise is to always act professional while out and about with children. I know it sounds stupid to say this, but how many childminders do you see sitting in the park on their phones while their children are running amuck, or asking other parents or childminders to push them on the swing because they know their childminder wouldn't.

    We do get noticed while out about, both for good as well as bad reasons!
    I've been out to the farm today, and have had spoken to 3 different family groups, all of whom said variations of 'how lovely of you to bring them to the farm' 'great to see a childminder out and interacting with the children' 'my childminder never goes out, I didn't think you could go out with the children' and 'can we listen to your story too?' ( I was reading a farm book I took with me to my children. I said yes, and ended up reading it with about 7 small children! )

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    Quote Originally Posted by loocyloo View Post
    I've been out to the farm today, and have had spoken to 3 different family groups, all of whom said variations of 'how lovely of you to bring them to the farm' 'great to see a childminder out and interacting with the children' 'my childminder never goes out, I didn't think you could go out with the children' and 'can we listen to your story too?' ( I was reading a farm book I took with me to my children. I said yes, and ended up reading it with about 7 small children! )
    That's a brilliant example. Thanks for sharing

 

 

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