As an owner/operator of a preschool, a big part of the job is making sure there are enough clients to support the operations of the organization. All preschools benefit from customer referrals to help get new clients. This guide gives some tips on how to get more referrals in ways that are fun, simple, and easy to implement.

1. Be Proud of the Preschool

The most important thing of all is for the owner and the employees to be so proud of their preschool that they always talk about it to everyone they meet. Every day is a learning day for all the children and the staff. Learning is sharing.

Teach staff to generate referrals by sharing stories with everyone they meet about what and how the kids are doing in the preschool. Be creative and make it fun to do.

Here is a project idea as an example. Go to a dollar store and tell the manager you are buying macaroni for the preschool to use for an arts and crafts project. Ask permission to put up a simple display of the artwork in the store to show off the best work. The parents of the kids will come to the store to see it and, more importantly, other parents with kids who shop in the store will also see it.

2. Community Events

One fun way to meet people and their kids is to provide a preschool activity at a community event. This is easy to set up. Just have some tables for the kids to do cut-and-paste projects and put up the best for everyone to see. Think of this as giving the parents of preschoolers, who are thinking about where to send their kids, the opportunity to have a sample of what it is like in the preschool.

3. Friendly Referral Association

Think about all the things that parents of preschoolers might need and then make a community association referral system among the local businesses that offer those services. Potential members of the referral association for a preschool include pediatricians, dentists with a practice that focuses on kids, furniture/toy and other stores with kid’s items, and many more.

Work together and do as many cross-promotional events as possible to build up all the businesses with referrals from each other.

4. Welcome Wagon

Many communities have an association that welcomes people who buy homes and/or become new residents. To increase referrals, become a member of these organizations and participate in the welcome wagon gifts that promote local businesses.

5. Teacher Thank You Dinner/PTA Event

Many families with kids have more than one child. Get more referrals by associating the preschool with the efforts of the local Parents Teachers Association for elementary schools.

6. Send Thank You Notes

To encourage referrals, mail a handwritten thank-you note to those who give referrals. This may seem a bit old-fashioned; however, this is exactly why you should do this. This politeness and gratefulness stand out from the rest of the crowd and makes the preschool more special.

7. Reward Existing Clients for Referrals and Positive Reviews

Give existing clients motivation to make referrals by offering some form of rewards, such as a discount on their monthly fee or a free month. Reward them for posting positive reviews on online review systems such as Yelp and others.

8. Paid Referrals

Paying for referrals is also possible through online marketing systems that offer these services. Be careful to balance the new customer acquisition costs with the budget for this form of paid advertising to make sure it is worth using this method.

9. Quality Content Marketing and Email Newsletters

Websites that offer a continual stream of useful content are much more effective in generating referrals than those that are static. The content can be fun to create. Freelancers can be hired for a low cost to help write the content. Attract attention to sign up for the email newsletters by using interesting titles such as “How to Get Something Sticky Out of Your Four-Year-Old’s Hair.”

10. Give Referrals to Get Customer Referrals

This is probably the most effective way to build up a powerful referral system. Give referrals first and make sure it is clear that the referral is coming from the preschool. One great way to do this is to help parents make appointments by calling another business to get information and letting the business know, in advance, you are making the referral.


Referrals increase organically by doing good things with a focus on always improving. The word gets around. Use these tips on how to get more referrals to increase “word-of-mouth” activity. When a good job is done, referrals come naturally. An excellent preschool becomes highly desirable and, in the future, there may be a waiting list for new clients.