The short story: Finding daycare is really, really hard, so we wanted to help parents find care easier, and help providers promote themselves online.
The long story: We’ve had to find daycare a few times since our children were born, and know how frustrating it can be to call dozens of providers to only find a few with openings (if you get calls back at all). Thankfully, we’ve found great providers that have made our lives as working parents much easier!
The idea for Daycare Detector came to us on April 15, 2017 when Martin’s brother and sister-in-law were looking for daycare for their son because there wasn’t a spot for him at the daycare their daughter was attending. They had been calling providers for months in a four city area and were not finding a solution. We were all talking about this at Easter, and my sister-in-law said, “Why isn’t there an app that shows which providers have openings?” We all talked about it for a while, but Martin and I kept talking about it for a few weeks afterward.
We were thinking of all the ways we could improve the current situation: the lack of visibility to providers with openings, the limited information available about providers online and the lacking state database with no easy way to contact providers.
We met with a local website developer and determined that this was something we could make happen. It took a little bit of time to get the project started since we needed to make an investment to build the website, and we wanted to get some feedback from providers and parents before we got started.
We created a survey for providers and parents to take online, had some working session “date nights” and Malisa attended a few conferences in the fall to get some initial feedback from providers. We had business cards made, postcards created and DIY’d some decor items so we could spread the word about Daycare Detector.
One of our "date nights" working on our business plan.
August 2017: We had our logo and branding completed.
September 2017: We officially kicked off building the website, and quickly had a landing page up so people could start learning about our solution.
October 2017: The Daycare Detector blog launched, and we’ve been posting weekly since then (with a few weeks off here and there).
January 2018: The Daycare Detector map finally went live! This allows parents to search for the providers near their work or home using Google Maps. Every licensed provider and/or center in the state of Minnesota is listed on our map.
One view of the Daycare Detector map.
March 2018: Now we are just days from launching the provider portal log-in so we can officially give providers the capabilities to create a customized professional profile page for their daycare and give parents the resources to make finding daycare just a little easier. We are so excited to finally bring this site to life!
Provider portal log-in screen
We couldn’t have done it all without the expertise of our website developer and designer, WebVolta. Their technical and design skills are what makes DaycareDetector.com look so professional and cohesive!
While the website has been a fun project, now it’s time to get to work and promote it! We’ll be attending conferences and promoting Daycare Detector on Facebook ads in the coming weeks. We’re also looking forward to reaching out to local bloggers and news stations to get additional publicity as we kick off the official launch of Daycare Detector to the public!