When Ridgefield newcomer Candice Swatzell quit her teaching job and moved with her family to Southwest Washington, she found that sitting didn’t suit her. Not long after landing in Vancouver about five years ago, she put her energy to work on a new business idea – one that utilized her experience in education and her love of children.
Working with partners, including a person who is an expert in military contracting, and Candice’s husband, Charles Swatzell who has a strong business background, the group launched a mobile childcare business to serve U.S. military needs, corporate events and even weddings and other smaller events. Google is a regular on their client list. Parents attend a day-long or multi-day event, and their kids can accompany them and be cared for during conference or event times.
It works like this: They send carefully-screened, contracted daycare workers stationed around the country to the designated event site, deliver an inventory of items to the site such as floor mats, bookshelves and books, games and toys and more – all to make a hotel conference room or other space designated look and feel like a top quality day care center. Parents attending events find their children in a room staffed with knowledgeable care providers who not only foster a safe and caring environment for kids, but also offer educational and just for-fun programs to keep anywhere from 10 to 200 kids engaged all day.
About two years ago, the business served only two states. Frustrated with the slow pace of business growth, the Swatzell’s bought out their partners and renamed the business On the Go Mobile Event Childcare. Since then, On the Go has ramped up to serve 30 states with 55 skilled care providers at-theready. It’s an exhausting pace for the couple, who have three children of their own.
“We travel a lot. I’ll get on a plane, then pick up a trailer at one of our inventory sites and drive it to the event location. It’s typical for us to have six events per weekend, scattered around the country,” Candice, said.
While Candice, who is On the Go’s CEO, doesn’t travel to all of the events, she does have to worry about them all. Realizing she needed to find some balance or quit the business, she recently hired a young man from the community as office manager.
“He’s so great. He prepares proposals, manages the logistics, and sometimes travels with us to help out,” Candice said, leaving her to spend her time training her care providers and developing new programs.
Charles, who serves as the company’s chief operating officer as well as being involved in a variety of other business and start-up organizational endeavors in the area, believes consistency in service is the key to On the Go’s success, which has grown completely organically through word-of-mouth from client to client.
“Other companies have missed the basics, pushing bells and whistles when they don’t have the fundamentals down. Our clients can count on us for worry-free, safe, child care,” he said.
While the hours they’ve put in on the business have been brutal, the duo had a clear plan from the start to cash in on their hard work.
“We are essentially a logistic business that attached good business practice to childcare,” said Charles. “With the lion’s share of the market due to our consistency of service, we’ve built something that’s scalable and saleable as a package in the future.”
For more information about On the Go Mobile Event Childcare visit onthegochildcare.com.