Cindy Beck owns and operates Cindy's Daycare in Salem, Oregon. After having bad experiences at two different daycare homes, Cindy, a single mother, made the decision to quit her job with the Oregon State Marine Board to be at home with her two children. That was two years ago, her son is now six and her daughter is three and a half.
While her original motivation was to stay home with her son and daughter, Cindy has since discovered that she really enjoys the business and is currently registered to care for up to 10 children. She is happy that she is working in a field she likes and gets the added benefit of being home with her own children.
The biggest problem Cindy has experienced in her daycare is client turnover. "I get the customers and stay full for a while, but then someone moves or gets transferred and I have to start over," Cindy says. Cindy used two main methods of advertising that have both been very effective for her. She uses her local paper to run classified daycare advertising and the more cost effective method of posting flyers at the state assistance office in Salem. Cindy went on to say, "To put flyers up there you have to be willing to accept state subsidy as childcare payment, but it works very well."
If Cindy could pass on the wisdom of experience to a new childcare provider, she would tell them to completely research the daycare rates in the local area before setting theirs. Daycare rates can be so varied, even within the same city.
"It often depends on how many childcare providers are in the immediate area," Cindy says. "I found that when I first started my daycare I ended up charging too much. Once I did some more research, I lowered my rates to the norm for my area, and ended up with many more customers."
In order to give her family time away from the daycare, she takes the weekends off to go to the movies and take drives to the coast. She understands the importance of taking care of yourself when you care for others on a daily basis.
Cindy also has a unique way to give her daycare parents some "free time" as well. She has built in one Saturday per month where she will provide care for her regular daycare children free of charge. This allows parents the opportunity to pamper themselves too!
Cindy would like to see the state to raise the age of children in daycare. "The current age for children to be at home alone is 12," Cindy explained. "There are some children who just aren't ready to be alone at this age!" Another concern Cindy expressed is parents who don't ask enough questions of childcare providers. It bothers her that some parents are willing to leave their children with childcare providers sight unseen.
Cindy became a member of ProviderWatch in February of 2001. She feels that her ProviderWatch membership allows her to take the guesswork out of accepting new clients. "Before, there was no certain way to be sure parents were going to be responsible. My membership really makes it safer for me as a daycare provider." Cindy states.