Finding a quality child care center is one of the concerns of many parents with children below school-age. Pew Charitable Trusts underscored the scarcity of child care providers in the US. This gap in child care opens up a lucrative opportunity, especially if you love children.
Starting a daycare business is a great way to serve your local community while gaining economically. Considering the steady growth in pre-primary school enrollment, it is indeed a great industry to be in. In fact, the number of licensed daycare operators has been on a steady upward track and is estimated to be around 856,238 by 2021.
Setting up a childcare center may seem daunting but with commitment and discipline, you can achieve your goals. Below we take a look at some important pointers to help you start a daycare center.
Know about local child care operator licensing requirements
Visit your local government and learn about the rules and regulations that govern daycare centers. Request for information about licensing guidelines for child care providers in your area. Start compiling the requirements.
Write a business plan
A business plan gives you comprehensive insight about the business you’re starting. With business plan writing, you’ll understand the operational requirements and costs involved in setting up and operating the daycare center. You also need to outline the childcare center’s mission, organizational plan, manpower, location, marketing plan, etc. Basically, your business plan is the blueprint which will help you successfully operate your daycare.
Search for a suitable location
Whether you’re planning to rent an existing daycare center, start from scratch or operate from home, you need a location that is meets licensing and zoning guidelines. The location should also be accessible to parents, which is among their top considerations when looking for a daycare center.
Prepare your daycare center
Once you have a location, you need to equip it with furniture, childcare supplies, safety equipment, and office equipment. You might need to do minor repairs like repainting, remodeling interior, modifying the lighting, re-carpeting, and others to meet the licensing guidelines.
Write policies and procedures
Well-crafted policies and procedures ensure smooth operations of the facility. You also need to develop handbooks, programs, protocols, and plans to be used by staff and families come opening day. Many daycare centers use childcare management app Prime to streamline their administrative processes. This enables you and your staff to spend more time with the kids and providing quality childcare.
Insure your daycare facility
Running a daycare center comes with risks. Insurance protects you from unwanted eventualities. There are several types of insurance policies that might be applicable to your daycare center, such as business, liability, workers’ compensation, and property insurance. You can consult your local authorities for guidance on which specific insurance you’ll need.
Your staff will help you run your daycare center, so you want to select qualified and dedicated applicants. Check the licensing guidelines on the staff to student ratios as well as educational requirements of childcare workers. Typically, you need to request for criminal background checks and stringent verification on the education and references of your staff. Always remember that your staff will be taking care of very young kids; hence, they need to genuinely love the company of kids.
Start marketing your daycare center
Get your business out in your local neighborhood. Deploy marketing collaterals like banners, flyers, radio and TV advertisements. You need to establish online presence through social media and website, popular child care or parenting blogs, and parenting forums. Likewise, you should run social media campaign that targets parents. Joining local events and fares can also help you attract families. Lastly, offering discounts or free day care sessions can increase your enrollees – and if these parents are satisfied with your business, they’ll be more than willing to refer you to other parents.