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Marissa Schneggenburger

How to Increase Enrollment & Retention Rates at Your Childcare Center

  • September 15, 2020

If you’re looking to increase enrollment and retention rates at your childcare center, you’re not alone. Due to the pandemic, many centers have experienced a decrease in enrollment in recent months and are looking for ways to bounce back financially. The need for childcare is greater than ever and families are looking for reliable and quality programs for their children. Whether that means expanding your offerings to after-school programs or offering enrollment incentive programs, there are some simple ways to provide more value to your families and set yourself apart from other centers. In this post, we’ll outline some simple and effective ways to get your enrollment and retention rates back on track. 

1. Ask for Reviews and Offer an Incentive

A simple example of an incentive program can consist of asking parents to write a review for your center in exchange for a $10 gift card. Even if you can’t offer an incentive, loyal families might be willing to write reviews in order to help your center. Reviews go a long way in this day and age as parents spend a lot of time researching which childcare center is best for their child. Getting to hear real parent’s experiences can help new families build trust within your center and feel confident in choosing your center for their child. A small incentive is a great way to establish positive reviews, leading to a higher-rated center and more enrollment. Google Reviews are a great option and they’re free to take part in! Simply register your business with Google My Business and you’ll have a better chance of being noticed by new families. 

2. Offer a Discount

During these times, offering a discount might seem like something you can’t afford to do. However, it’s possible to offer discounts if the cost is covered elsewhere. For example, if you charge an onboarding or enrollment fee for new families, offer that same amount as a discount to families who refer new customers. This is a great addition if you’re looking to offer a larger incentive program and comes at no additional cost to your center.

If you’re financially able and are looking to increase retention, offering an overall tuition discount for struggling families can help make sure that they stay with your center. They will be extremely appreciative for the help and would be more willing to make sure they stay at your center since they know you truly care about their business. 

3. Leverage Social Media

Use your social media platforms to connect with parents and families and establish a positive image for your center. Sharing upcoming events or new safety procedures can build trust with potential customers as they know your center is working to provide a high quality and safe learning environment for their kids. Taking advantage of social media is a great, easy, and free way to help get the word out about your center and boost enrollment. 

If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money on marketing, consider implementing some paid advertising to increase brand awareness for your center. Social media advertising is becoming more and more affordable and can help you reach a wide audience. When implementing your ads, focus on targeting parents within your area to ensure you’re reaching the right people. 

4. Virtual Meet and Greets and Open Houses

More and more events are taking place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering a virtual meet and greet or open house can be a great way to connect parents with your current center staff. You can even use virtual meet and greets to introduce current and new parents and build a community within your center. 

Virtual open houses are a great alternative to having parents walk through your center. Give them a tour over Zoom or Facetime so they can get a feel for your facility. These tours are crucial to increasing enrollment as parents prefer to see the center before they enroll their child. 

5. Ask for Feedback

Having an open and honest conversation with teachers and parents about how your center can be improved can greatly increase retention rates, not only for students but for staff as well. 

To increase retention among your teachers and staff, consider interviewing them to get a better look into their experience at your center. Ask questions involving their training experience, anything they wish were different at your center, what they wish they would have known beforehand, and any suggestions they have for new teachers. Your employees will appreciate the fact that you care about their feedback and insight. This will also help them feel more comfortable and supported at your center, especially during this difficult time.

When it comes to retaining families, gaining their feedback through surveys, interviews, or quick chats can be extremely helpful. Families and parents are major stakeholders in your business and will be able to offer a unique perspective on your center. Just like employees, they will be grateful you’re willing to listen and implement new ideas into your center. Families will be more confident sending their kids to your center knowing you truly care about their experience and want to make it the best it can be. 

6. Extended offerings

Centers are now starting to look into additional opportunities to bring in more revenue and more families. A great way to increase your enrollment is to expand your offerings to include an after school or school age program. As parents have to continue to work and many kids are transitioning to virtual schooling, they’ll need additional help with their care. Whether that be tutors for further education or just supervision for a few hours in the afternoon, these programs can be a huge value add to your center. Take a look at how Magic Memories in Pennsylvania is finding new opportunities with new program offerings here. 

For more insight into improving your childcare center, check out our blog at kangarootime.com/blog

Kangarootime is the leading all-in-one childcare management software for daycares and preschools. With billing and invoicing capabilities, parent communication and staff management tools and classroom automation, Kangarootime helps childcare centers grow and scale. To learn more about optimizing your center with Kangarootime, visit kangarootime.com.

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