Starting a childcare care business can be very rewarding
Starting a childcare care business can be very rewarding. The most important step is to study the Local, State, and Federal laws to ensure you are compliant when you open. Much like opening any other business, you need to research the competition in your area, create a plan to make your business stand out, choose the right location and secure the needed financing. Read below for unique needs for preparing to open a childcare center.
Learn everything about state daycare licensing
Childcare laws and regulations vary across the Country. These include Federal, State, and Local laws. You'll need to speak with the agency in your area dedicated to the child care business, the local fire department, and health agency. ChildCare.gov has a great source to find local resources on child care licensing, health and social services, financial assistance, support for children with special needs, and more.
- Plan at least five months to complete all the inspections and licensing
- Research your local child care subsidy programs.
- Employees will need to purchase criminal background checks
- Child care providers and workers will require training such as health and safety, child nutrition and obesity, First Aid and CPR, Child Development, etc.
I was fortunate to have a partner that was very knowledgable on the local laws in Nevada where we opened our first 24-hour daycare. If paperwork is not your forte, then I suggest finding someone that can help you with the process. You must be organized and at times you'll need your teacher voice to get the different agencies to move your applications forward. We found the various inspections were required to be completed in a specific order in our area. Scheduling this can take a little friendly urging.
Child care laws are always changing. You will need to find the best resources in your city to keep up to date. Many of the Government agencies regularly sent out email updates.
Study your competition
Opening a child care center around the corner from your house for your convenience is not the best idea. Where is the gap between your community's needs and existing child care services? Find an old fashion paper map of your community. Put a mark for each of the daycares in your area then draw a one-mile circle around them. Do you see any gaps on the map? Is that gap near neighborhoods with a high percentage of children? Take note of the position of large employers in your area. Is there a need for childcare center along the daily commute? Once you locate a target take a drive around the perspective area. Look for family-oriented businesses such as playgrounds, theaters, and child entertainment restaurants. Locating around these types of establishments would help build name recognition plus you may be able to partner with them to develop your clientele.
Location is not the only way to stand out against the competition. Visit the websites and social pages of other daycare centers and make a list of the operation hours, different services, types of education and the customer's reviews. You may find that opening a daycare that specializes in pre-school education, open later hour or weekends is needed. You also may find that your city requires a higher quality program. Determining your focus before opening your doors will help to target prospective families and build your enrollment quickly.
Create a business plan
When your planning to step into a room full of energized toddlers you better have a plan. A list of learning, activities, and schedules. It is no different when opening a business of any kind. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Simply grab a notebook or open a word doc whichever tool you are most comfortable with and start making lists. Keep it simple at first then go back through and expand where needed. List your top categories; location, financing, licensing, curriculum, and marketing. Then dive into each heading and start adding in subheadings and details. We go into detail on most of these items in other sections of the website. I find it best not to over think these items because you will need to adjust as changes occur through the opening process. Having this roadmap to fall back on will help you to overcome issues that arise and possibly avoid some problems that will derail your efforts.
- Planning and processes will curtail chaos every time.
- Start with your top categories then continue to add details.
- A business plan is not set in stone. You will need to adjust as you proceed.
- Find business organizations in your town to gather resources and to build relationships.
- Don't forget to ask the kids what they want in a daycare!
Daycare owners are mostly a friendly bunch and they are willing to help with advice. I have found a number of Facebook groups with owners and directors willing to answer questions and help guide you in the right direction. Don't be afraid to ask for suggestions from other types of businesses in your city. You may find a niche that needs to be filled or a better way to offer childcare services to families in your community.
I hope this helps start your journey down the path of childcare ownership. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of new ideas and trends in the industry.
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