There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
In my experience talking with family child care providers across the country, I sense that the majority of child care providers do share their rates when asked by prospective clients on the phone.
The primary reason why is because they don’t want to waste their time interviewing parents if the parent cannot afford their rates. Another reason is some child care providers don’t want to enroll a family if their main concern is about rates, and not the quality of the care.
Here’s a wonderful way one child care provider handles a parent who seems only to be interested in her rates: “I’m not the low-cost alternative. If you are looking for the cheapest care in town, keep looking.”
Many child care providers are sharing their rates on their website or in their advertising (Craigslist, etc.), so this information is already public. These providers believe that those parents who do call are more serious prospects.
Other child care providers don’t answer questions about rates directly. Instead, they will ask questions of the parent to find out if their child will be a good fit. They explain to the parent that they offer incentives/discounts depending on circumstances (military family, multiple children, etc.). Then they will invite the parent to their home for an interview.
One child care provider told me she does not share her rate information over the phone because she wants prospective parents to make their decision based on the quality of her program, not her rates. She told me this story:
After a few months in her program a father said to her, “When I first started looking for child care I had a set amount I was willing to pay. After our interview in your home, I saw how much you had to offer my child and I decided I was willing to pay more for your quality. If you had told me your rate over the phone I probably would not have followed up.”
Sometimes parents who call you on the phone may end up asking about your rates because they don’t know what questions they should ask. You may want to take charge of the conversation by describing the benefits of your program and asking about the parent’s needs first. This way the parent can become more interested in what you have to offer.
How do you answer this question?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: lonelygirlbloggers19.wordpress.com
For more information, see my book Family Child Care Marketing Guide.