I) Get the necessary Childcare licensing
The first step is to contact your local Licensing Agency to know what measures should be put in place for the institution to be allowed to operate. Note that each state has its own guidelines which may be slightly different from one another, so it’s important to keenly read the requirements in order to avoid breaching the law.
In most jurisdictions, you’ll need a license if your center has at least 5 children, plus it’s usually mandatory to complete a registration form from the child welfare department, showing how many kids will be attending your institution.
Likewise, there are certain minimum physical space measurements that the youngsters should have both indoors and outdoors. Your daycare facility shouldn’t be crammed in a tiny space, but rather have sufficient room for the kids to learn and play comfortably throughout the day. There must also be safety mechanisms in place such as first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and so on.
The National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations is available at https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/licensing.
II) Choose a good name and philosophy for your institution
In business, names matter a lot since they represent the goal and potential which an entrepreneur seeks to achieve. Likewise, your daycare center’s philosophy will tell prospective parents what kind of environment their kids should expect to find should they choose to enroll at your institution.
Currently, one of the most popular philosophies for early childhood learning is Montessori. This system views the youngster as innately eager to gain knowledge, and with the ability to initiate learning when given a supportive environment. Moreover, students learn various concepts through practically working with materials, instead of being given direct instructions by the teacher. Other learning philosophies that you may also adopt for your daycare school are the Reggio Emilia, Waldorf and HighScope systems among others.
III) Ensure the logistics are in place
In terms of future outlook, data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that this industry will experience one of the fastest growths by the year 2022. By opening a daycare center, you’ll not only earn some good income but also help young children in your community to progress in their learning. You need to create a budget showing where resources would be spent and how much will be used for each particular project. A well-organized budget will ensure everything runs smoothly in your institution, from payment of employees to buying learning materials/supplies and so on.
Generally, when opening a daycare facility it’s recommended to have sufficient financial resources, which shall cover both your startup and operational costs for the next 3 months. Always remember that it’s unlikely for your daycare to launch with full enrollment, therefore don’t rely too much on the registration fees that parents would spend for their kids’ admission.
Also as part of the logistics, prepare a comprehensive contract that the parents shall have to sign before enrolling their children to the institution. Check with your local Childcare agency for form requirements. The contract needs to have information about payment, pickup policy, extra supplies/activities to be paid for and health matters among other factors. For health, in particular, the parents should be able to disclose any allergies/medical conditions their child could be suffering from, immunization records and emergency contacts that are easy to reach in case of any problem.
IV) Promote your daycare center
Few people will know about your business unless you take the step to market it. One of the best places to reach potential clients is through your local communities’ social media pages. Here, you are likely to interact with people within your niche locality who are interested in your childcare services.
Alternatively, you can pass out flyers to various homes around your neighborhood, or use word-of-mouth marketing by telling your friends and family about the business, and hoping that they will also share the information with other people within their social circles.
To summarize, starting a daycare business can be easy provided you follow the correct procedures for registration and establish policies to ensure the smooth running of your institution.