Starting a new centre can seem like a daunting task. Where do you start? How long will it take? How much will it cost? To make things a little easier for you, we’ve asked our Sales Coordinators - the women who will be helping you start your centre – for some advice.
“HI! My name is Carly, I am the Western Canada Sales Coordinator for Quality Classrooms. I assist with all quotes, product inquiries, and new centre openings for all Western Canada. You can always recognize me at conferences from my bright hair and lipstick. When I am not at work, I am cuddling with my four cats, singing along to musical soundtracks or organizing my bedroom!”
“Hello! Bonjour! Boozhoo! Hola! My name is Maria and I’m the Sales Coordinator representing Eastern Canada. My job at quality classrooms focuses on new centre openings, but I also help with quotes, product inquiries but if you just need to get ideas or need someone to talk things over – I’m here to help! In my free time, I'm either binge-watching Grey's Anatomy, Friends or a Netflix Original, or spending time with my family including eight nieces and nephews (it gets busy real quick!).”
- What’s one thing you always recommend?
Carly: “I always recommend fully assembled furniture items like the products in our Jonti Craft line for new centres because they arrive with no additional assembly required, so setting up your centre is as easy as cutting away the packaging!
If tight deadlines are an issue, our flat-packed University Furniture line ships in as little as 7-10 business days, which can ease stress about product arriving before important dates!
As the furniture is the meat and potatoes of the new childcare centre I think it’s important to make sure every individual director's requirements are met – there is no right or wrong way to open a new centre which is why we have flexible recommendations to fit everybody’s specific needs!”
Maria: “Don’t forget the details. While we ask standard questions during the first phase of opening your new centre or updating your room, we want to get to know you, the centre and your vision. Communication between you and your sales coordinator ensures deadlines are on track and we are helping your dream become a reality. Think of it like planning a wedding and we’re your wedding planner: we want to make sure that opening day is perfect!”
- What’s a question you always get?
Carly: “’When will my product deliver?’ This is by far a new centres’ most asked question. We understand that you have restrictive deadlines, which is why we treat your order with high priority from the quote stage to delivery and everything in between. We have a team of people helping you with your centre, so you don’t have to worry about the status of your order. Customers are constantly kept in the loop about delivery date changes and backorders.”
Maria: “’When can I expect delivery?’ Ah, the final piece to the puzzle. We strive to get your items for your centre to you as soon as possible. Did you know that some of our items are custom built meaning they are built just for you and not just sitting on a shelf collecting dust? Getting great quality products sometimes takes time just like setting up a great centre takes time.”
- What’s the best thing about helping to open a new centre?
Carly: “The connections and friendships I’ve made with my clients and keeping in touch with small new centres and seeing them grow and thrive after opening. Seeing my clients’ vision come to life is the best part of my job, and when my day consists of building relationships with some of the friendliest people in childcare, it’s hard not to be excited to come into work every day!”
Maria: “Planning of course! Bringing your vision to life is the most satisfying part of my job. Children are our future so giving them the right tools to help them grow and succeed is so important. However, it’s also important for kids to have fun! Learning and fun go together and it’s great to give you ideas of how to incorporate the two into your centre.”
- What the most difficult thing about designing a new centre?
Carly: “Restrictive deadlines coupled with custom furniture requirements. Some specially ordered products can take a little bit longer and so decisions have to be made about small changes to furniture to ensure the product is in your centre when you need it. This is why we come prepared with in-stock substitutes that are available at the drop of a hat, so there is no stress about when your product will be delivered.”
Maria: “Space constrictions can sometimes be a huge restraint in opening a new childcare centre. It can sometimes hinder on your vision as you might not have space to fit everything. It’s these kinds of details that are important to communicate with your sales coordinator so we can start problem-solving and identify what our next steps are. We don’t want you to worry!”
- How do you help the customer stick to their budget?
Carly: “If you have a tight budget I am here to help! I help with the budget by discussing your expectations during the quoting stage and making sure discounted product is being offered as well as customizing products and offering economical substitutes for furniture pieces.
I also inquire about your delivery expectations early on to make sure your specific requirements are met at a cost-effective price!”
Maria: “It’s quite easy to go over budget when you have an idea of what you want your centre to look like. The idea here is to be open-minded if we need to look at alternatives. Not to fret though, we have done a lot of this type of research before, and many of our products are offering low budget solutions or substitutions. Sometimes during this process, some of our products are overlooked and you might wind up finding something even better than what you had in mind originally.”
Carly and Maria: “We hope these tips make starting your centre a little easier. We want to be a part of creating your new centre and are happy to help you make a space you’re proud of!”