Probably you have a knack for looking after children or you’ve just been taking care of some child for as long as you can remember. Whatever your reason here, whether you’re a parent with heaps of experience willing to help out other parents or simply a nanny having a certain vision, you’ve chosen quite an onerous and delicate task to tackle – opening a child care business of your own can be truly exhausting, yet rewarding in the end.
Nothing surprising, but fewer than one in three toddlers would stay with their parents at home during the daylight. This busy worlds wants us to shape up and pursue career goals while children have to mingle on their own. What’s more, the overall number of single-parents homes keeps growing, and even though these statistics might make proponents of traditional family systems succumb to a little depression, daycare businesses cannot help but rejoice at this news.
All these poor families need a child care provider who will be confident and helping, and that’s where you should step in. But if you’re seriously looking into the possibility of starting your own child-care business, there’s actually plenty of details you’ll have to sort out before stepping in – the very first of them all is to figure out how to act and learn all the steps needed to open a child-care business.
To help you get rolling, we’ve crafted a comprehensive guide full of essential pieces of advice, tips and important information that’ll allow you to start off easily and almost effortlessly.
So, let’s roll.
Prospects of Daycare Business
However, before taking the bull by the horns, you need to clear the stage and get to perfect understanding of what niche you’re about to fill. First off, do you really know if your niche is actually profitable? What can of worms are you going to open?
If you’re ready to pack your things in and start exploring something else, hang on for a second because we’ve got encouraging news: according to the US Bureau of Labor, now it’s an excellent period of time to open a child-care business because this segment is expected to see the fastest employment growth through the next couple of years. The population growth projections stay on the right side of daycare business, too: the population is going to increase by around 1% annually. What’s in there for you? More people, more kids, larger demand. That’s why the daycare niche gets the best-case scenario.
A Shortcut: Buying a Franchise
You should be aware of the fact that you can leap over a whole lot of steps of starting a child-care business by buying a franchise. Of course, for the majority of freshly-baked entrepreneurs the option appears costly: you’ve got to own more than $60,000 to venture into a franchise path, and it was probably the cheapest option ever. Here’s a great list to look over the best child-care business franchise at the moment.
This guide, though, will concentrate on how to start a child care business of your own, from scratch and without any clear directions ahead. But keep in mind that you always can take a detour and leave out all the issues connected to licensing and opening by purchasing a ready business solution.
Preparation Stage: How to Lay the Groundwork
Your success in opening a child-care business fully depends on thoughtful management of the whole process from the very start. While some daycare business owners try to focus on licensing or location first, you should go ahead with a plan and get armed with professional knowledge first.
Get Yourself Educated
Though there’s no formal education required for starting a daycare business, you should acquire at least a certificate in child development to fulfill basic training requirements. A great place to start here is an early childhood education degree. However, a certificate or a degree is a lot more than an approved piece of paper proving you’re capable of looking after a child – it’s mostly about the experience coming along with gaining knowledge. Even if you have a plan to hire nannies and pass the ball of responsibility to someone else, how are you going to know without proper education if your employees are doing things right?
So, you should act professional, be professional and distinguish professionals from piles of amateurs, and it’s only education that could be a differentiating factor in this daycare equation. Here’s what you may consider:
- Working alongside daycare providers. Before you’re eligible to operate your own childcare, you must see for yourself what it’s like to be in a daycare setting. Preschools or kindergarten classes suit your needs perfectly – you’ll be able to witness the process, gain new skills and special techniques shown by an experienced daycare provider.
- Going for certification. The Council for Professional Recognition issues the Child Development Associate credential to those who complete their examinations and meet eligibility requirements for experience.
- Becoming a professional. If you have any certified teaching experience, you can obtain the Certified Childcare Professional degree from the National Child Care Association. To get awarded with this degree, you must obtain a high-school diploma and also complete 720 hours of classroom education.
As a standalone daycare provider, you cannot possibly overlook this step because only impressive certification will help you distinguish yourself among the competition. If you’re starting off as a company, then a few books are something you’ll make do with. Check out this educational library to form the basis of daycare.
Look Into Licensing
Now, after you’ve learned the ropes of child care, you need to contact your state Daycare Licensing Agency to see what’s required of your business. Thankfully, not every state is going to ask you for licensing, but, most certainly, you’ll need to complete a registration. Visit Daycare.com where you’ll find further contact information, licensing requirements, worker qualifications requirements and the number of children allowed to target. Note that in some states you may not need licensing at all if you take care of five or less children – it’s a chance to exclude licensing and rush straight into business passing by legal issues.
Just to set ax example, here’s what you may be required in terms of daycare licensing:
- Education. Some states require specific training education or experience – an Early Childhood Education, some number of years of experience in daycare.
- Place. There’s a minimum square footage (outdoor and indoor) that should be allocated to each child, but the total area depends on age.
- Fire regulations. There’re two essential requirements here you should get prepared for – fire drills and evacuation plans scattered through every room.
- Health requirements. The last but not the least is immunization shots records and annual medical reports for every member of your staff.
Look Into Taxation
In case you’ve got an in-home care place ready and set for your daycare business, you can claim a tax deduction that would be just great to cut additional costs. Some overlook taxation opportunities because they instantly think of some savvy-stuffed rooms, but it’s not the case: even if you use this space as a bedroom when your little customers return home, you still can claim a deduction.
Create a Business Plan
Your business ideas are worth zero unless you’ve got you back covered with a detailed plan. There’re two ways you can draw up a business plan: craft a unique and simple piece for your own use or write fundamental and financially strong to attract investors. When it comes to investments, though, no one would do without some help coming from professional business plan writers. Remember that business plans are designed to screen out the deepest insights of your care business. Whatever way you choose, here’re three moments must-have in your plan.
- A contract blueprint. When parents turn to you, it’s important to offer them a contact documenting vital information like additional fees, supplies, payment rates. Contracts request details like a twofer because they protect your and child’s parents interests. But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay through the nose to pay off a lawyer – this PDF sample provides amazing guidance on how to form a general daycare contract.
- Key Questions. It’s all up to you how you’re going to manage your business, but these four aspects are similar to every child-care:
- Stuff. Are you going to hire some more staff? That’s where you get started because the answer to this one determines the budget. You might need a helping hand not for a professional caregiver, but from friends who can photoshop newsletters and launch advertising campaigns.
- Age. You love kids, no doubt to it, yet are you sure of looking after a baby infant three weeks old? Limits and boundaries in terms of maximum and minimum age will come to the aid to mark the border of your responsibilities.
- Schedule. Timing is always a key, so you should consider all the options on what time you’re going to open the doors of your daycaring and when a child is going to head back home. Leave a little space for non-traditional timetables because a broad category of parents might want your for demand care.
- Food. Are you going to cook or buy child lunches in advance? Should your tiny clients grab a bite at home? Or do they have to bring along some snacks to quench the hunger? If you’re planning to provide meals, check out the food program by the US Department of Agriculture.
- Tuition Fees. How do you value your daycare services? Is it going to be $20 daily or $200 as a weekly rate? Maybe hour rates? Take into consideration the amount of money you’ll charge for taking care of children.
Taking Action: How To Set Up the Business
Once you’ve got a firm business plan and ambitions to keep going, it’s quite the time to set everything in motion and look out for a daycare location, equipment and prepare the facility to run a safe and sound business.
Choose the Location
What would you rather:
- Start from scratch and build a new facility?
- Open a cozy in-home daycare?
- Rent an existing child-care center?
In any case, picking the right location is a necessary step since it’ll be the place where you do meet and greet with parents, take care of your child and run the business. Go to Craigslist and browse through options, yet take into account zoning laws and your licensing guidelines before making the final decision. Ensure your place is compliant.
Take Care of Your Business Equipment
Toys, lots of toys, additional supplies and high chairs – that’s just the beginning of the read. The checklist will definitely vary from one daycare to another, so first draw up your priorities, get to know the kids you’ll be working with and only then purchase pieces of equipment. Your list could grow larger than expected, so make sure you have step stools, child cutlery, plates, mats and blankets, booster seats and ‘entertaining tools’. Then you might have recourse to Education.gov’s full shopping list to wrap things up.
Again, there’s nothing better than looking it all up in the licensing requirements to get a little guidance with insurance. In general, depending on the size of your child-care business, you may need several types of insurance policies such as business, liability and property insurance.
Develop Your Policies
It’s more than crucial to work off your daycare business procedures and handbooks for both parents and staff you employ. If you need a hand in that, Child Care Aware provides an informative guide to the process of working out child-care policies. You’ll also have to think of a crisis management plan and different protocols – privacy, safety, health, nutrition. Remember to reference to your local licensing requirements to nail the policies under the guidance.
Rounding Up: How To Market
As a local daycare center, you might need a well-structured marketing plan to fill up the enrollment numbers and beat the competitors. However, if you remain in an in-home environment, marketing is also an indispensable element of building up a child-care business – word of mouth always shows the best results, but before you reach the point where parents become your advertising sources, you need to build a little bit presence both online and offline to draw first customers.
Stick To A Strategy
There are tons of marketing funnels and channels you can turn to – from classic banner advertising to advanced techniques utilizing partnership and shoutouts. Everyone gets lost in the maze of alternatives, so you need to separate milk from coffee and get to a coherent care business path. That’s how you can scrape together a good marketing strategy:
- Define target marketing channels. Now you know that your potential audience is made up of mommies and daddies tired of constant streams of workloads. What channels should you target to make it right to the eyes and ears of these mommies and daddies? Do research and find out whether TV advertising outruns social media presence for the case. To spill the beans a little, that’s quite common for daycare businesses to get to parents through direct and social media advertising.
- Mind budget. The amount of money allocated to advertisements defines the overall pattern for your campaign. A couple of hundred bucks can be of great help to get started.
- Set fixed timetables. You should learn the best time to promote the services – advertisements won’t be effective if you sprinkle them like glitter all around without any system. Maybe it’s the end of the summer when your advertising campaign could bring the desired results?
Tune Up For Going Online
Do you have second thoughts you local business even needs online presence? Here’s the numbers: according to Google analytics, 97% (!) of consumers go to the web search to look for local services. So, if the majority of your potential audience dwells online, you should get there, too. Building a solid online presence is the bread and butter of any marketing strategy. Not a tech savvy? Never mind, because modern management tools allow total newbies to start communicating with the audience through different platforms at ease.
So here’re three first things you have to take a look at to lure more parents in:
- To begin with, all businesses, no matter how local, must have their own website. It doesn’t mean at all launching a highly structured web resource – a landing page with vital information about your daycare services and contact info would suffice.
- While you’re looking for a place or services, Google keeps promoting venues at the top of the page in their Maps sections. You desperately need to get there ASAP, and in order to create an informative listing, you need to sign up for Google My Business. It’s simple and playful to set up an account, and we’ve got a guide if you feel dizzy about registering there.
- Social media is the third element that improves your odds at generating additional customers and building a loyal audience. Facebook is your top priority because of strong targeting tools for advertising campaigns. Consider having a YouTube channel as well.
Keep Promoting Your Daycare Business
After a few month of operating, you’ll need to keep building the relationships with potential customers and developing the reliability of your ‘brand’. Once you’ve created an online presence and targeted local channels, advertise through parent groups, city events, blogs and family sites like Winnie and Red Tricycle. Besides, you can participate in preschool fairs around the area you live.
To keep being motivated to move forward, here’s an awesome video for you highlighting the success story of one really enthusiastic caregiver.