Having a waitlist helps you grow your business and reduce revenue gaps. Not having one can be harmful for a child care program.

“I don’t need a waitlist, I have plenty of openings.”

This is one of the most common statements that we hear from child care providers without a waiting list. While this statement may sound reasonable, it can actually be harmful to your business’ bottom line. Here’s why.


Child care turnover is unpredictable. Whether one of your families decides to move out of town or a global pandemic hits, as a business owner with smaller margins, it’s important to always plan for the future. And that’s exactly what waitlists can do when used correctly.


The majority of families join a waitlist at least 6 months before actually needing care. We’ve even seen families who aren’t expecting yet, join waitlists just in case. So even if you have openings now, not every family that contacts you will be looking for care now. 


Waitlists help you plan ahead.

Having a waitlist of families can help you predict future enrollment. As you’re planning one year out and doing classroom transition management, you can turn to your waitlist to review your upcoming demand and see whether or not you’ll have enough families to fill your spots, or if you should double down on your marketing efforts now. If you do it right, you can stay full at all times, with minimal gaps between turnover.


Waitlists help you stand out against the competition.

Child care waitlists have earned a bad rep with parents due to poor management and inconsistent policies–and understandably so. But we see waitlists as a chance to create a positive customer experience for families seeking care. Think about it: If parents have such low expectations for the dreaded waitlist process, it’s not hard to raise the bar. A well-managed, seamless waitlist experience is sure to impress and will certainly set you apart from your competitors. With LegUp, waitlists are always up-to-date, parents are automatically sent monthly status updates, and they can even update their own information. This means fewer phone calls, fewer interruptions, and fewer roadblocks to enrollment.


Waitlists are a powerful marketing opportunity.

Waitlists are often an overlooked marketing opportunity. Without a waitlist, if a family inquires about care but doesn’t match your current openings, the conversation would end there and result in lost revenue. But with a waitlist, you could cultivate a relationship by sending them information about your program (or sending them to your LegUp Enrollment Page!), inviting them to sign up for your waitlist, and keeping the lines of communication open.



If you have a waitlist, be sure families can join it easily, and have a way to update their preferences and family information. And if you don’t you can start one easily with a simple spreadsheet. You’ll quickly want an online option though to make it easy to manage and help answer the question that’s going to come up often -- “where am I on the waitlist??”. 


And if you’re looking for a touch-free, automated, and free waitlist solution, schedule a demo of LegUp today!