From our experience working with hundreds of childcare agencies, we’ve seen that agencies usually lose the most time on four activities:
- Creating Candidate Profiles
You should not be chasing applicants for lousy resumes or creating portfolios for them in Canva. The reality is that most caregivers are not the best at Microsoft Word, so many of them don’t have a resume, or if they do it’s not very good, both in terms of design and content. Providing them with a template or a digital resume builder makes it easy for them to create beautiful portfolios themselves, which saves them time, saves you time, and gives your clients and families a consistent, professional, experience. You can even add awesome elements to digital portfolios like badges and introductory videos!
- Chasing Temp Clients and Sitters
How much do you make per booking and how much time do you spend on it? Is it worth it? The reality of temp/on-call/babysitter clients is you won’t make that much money per booking, so in order for it to be profitable it needs to be efficient. Design your intake and booking request forms to capture everything you need up front so you don’t need to chase your clients. This generally includes 5 things: the parents’ information (contact information, location, etc.), children’s information (name, gender, age, special needs, medical conditions), bookings (dates, times, notes), payment information and legal information (signed contract/terms and conditions). If you have these 5 pieces of information up front, you have everything you need to immediately match them with your caregivers!
Speaking of which, how much time do you spend asking sitters if they are available for and interested in a job? Create systems that automatically figure out which sitters are a match based on their schedule, location, preferences and skills and then communicates available bookings to them (ideally via SMS), and then also enables them to communicate their interest back to you, or even directly to the family. If you do this right, the entire process, booking to matching to payments, can pretty much run itself!
- Your Data Needs to Be Searchable
What if your client asks for someone with more than 10 years of experience who speaks Spanish, is comfortable with dogs and doesn’t mind cooking, can you pull up a list of everyone who fits that criteria from everyone who has ever applied to your agency? If you can’t, you’re wasting the time you spent processing applicants 8 months ago because you no longer remember they exist or what they’re looking for. You need to have a way to search and filter your data, and even better combine it with an email or SMS broadcasting system so you can notify highly targeted lists of people about new opportunities. This is also much more effective than notifying everyone about every opportunity, because they will find it spammy and starting ignoring or blocking you, the key is to be able to target the right audience.
- Reference Checking
How much time do you spend calling references and leaving voicemails? Don’t stop calling, but use automation to back you up! If you are able to get a reference on the phone, that’s fantastic. If you’ve tried calling a couple of times and are not getting a response, however, a great plan B is to have a digital copy of your reference check questions, which can be sent to the reference via email, or even better, SMS. We’ve seen that often these get filled in at 10 pm or 11pm, because for a childcare provider it’s likely their references are going to be busy parents with small kids, and it’s not that they don’t want to talk to you or don’t want to provide a reference, they just don’t have time to talk to you, especially during normal working hours, they really only get time once they’ve finished work and the kids have gone to sleep. If you can combine this form with a system that sends auto follow ups and do some security checking like IP tracking, even better, and you can always schedule a 2 minute follow up call if you just want to authenticate the reference, but this process can save you so much time chasing references and also make their life easier to provide the reference when it’s convenient for them.
Using technology to complement your work in these 4 areas can save you hours of mundane work, while also improving, not detracting from, the experience of everyone you work with!
Aakash Goel is the founder of Enginehire, a software platform designed specifically to help childcare agencies save time, and give their applicants and clients a truly phenomenal experience. He and his team are honored to be working with over 250 agencies all across the country. Aakash is an engineer by training and an inventor at heart, he loves working on hard problems and creating things that help people. When he’s not working he loves playing sports and discovering new restaurants with his girlfriend.