Childcare may already be your passion. Perhaps you have a large client base as a nanny and want to expand it even further. Or, you may be a parent who’s realizing there’s a hole in the community that an excellent childcare center could fill.
No matter what your reason, you want to start your own daycare. It’s a huge undertaking, and you have many points to consider before you even get started.
To make the thought process a bit more straightforward, read on. We’ve compiled the top six things you should think about as you prepare to open a daycare of your own.
1. Know What Licensing Is Required
Every state will have different requirements when it comes to licensing. You should familiarize yourself with these must-haves before you start making major purchases and plans for your daycare center.
This tip applies to both small-business and daycare-related licensing. Child Care Aware of America’s database can help you with the latter. It compiles every state’s requirements in health promotion, play areas, nutrition and more. Opening a small business requires you to adhere to federal and state law — investigate both to launch your small business in the breeziest way possible.
2. Draw Up a Business Plan
On that note, you will need a business plan before you go any further with your dream of opening a daycare. This plan will cover the most significant details of your future center.
For starters, you will need to draw up a company mission statement — what separates your daycare from the rest? Once you have a goal in mind, you can design everything else around it. You will need to come up with marketing tactics, as well as a staffing set-up and business budget.
To help with the latter, you will want to do detailed research into the operational costs of running a daycare. Once you understand those expenses, you can decide if you need to take out a small-business loan. The first step to securing a loan is knowing how much cash you need.
3. Find the Perfect Space
With a business plan in place — and all the money you need — it will be time to find the right property to house your daycare.
Some daycare owners operate out of their homes. Look into your city’s zoning requirements to make sure you can do this.
If you plan to rent a commercial space, you’ll have to look at it with a critical eye. Most buildings constructed with grown-ups in mind won’t work. For instance, look at the commercial bathroom set-ups available. Full-sized toilets won’t suit the tots you’ll teach, so think about the bathroom layout before you sign a lease.
Once you find the right place, double-check your city’s zoning and licensing laws. You’ll want to check and double-check that every decision you make complies with the law. No need for surprises down the line!
4. Obtain the Proper Insurance
Owning a daycare center comes with a lot of risks. As the business owner, you will have to take a handful of different insurance policies to cover your investment.
We’re not just talking about property and liability insurance, either. Your daycare will need workers’ compensation coverage, as well as business protection. You never know what will happen — and you only want your daycare to be a space for nurturing and teaching little ones. But you should have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens. So, purchase a thorough combination of insurance policies to keep everyone safe and secure.
5. Delineate the Center’s Policies
As it gets closer to opening, you might start to bring staffers on board. You’ll also have to sell your daycare center to potential clients. You can’t do any of this without clear policies for your establishment.
You might have already started this process when writing your business plan. Now’s the time to write out all of your daycare’s policies to make sure everyone knows what to expect from you and your business. You will need forms from parents, as well as emergency plans in place. Plus, you might send home daily progress report forms and other documentation. Have those templates at the ready to make opening easy.
Staffers should know what they have to wear and how many hours they’ll work. Teach them the state’s requirements for working with small children. For instance, you must maintain a certain ratio between students and teachers — if they step out of the room and unbalance this percentage, your center could get in trouble.
6. Put On the Finishing Touches
Finally, you’ll put the finishing touches on your daycare center to get it ready for opening. Some might argue that this is the fun part. You can order all the school supplies you’ll need. Plus, you get to decorate the classrooms in a way that’s engaging for kids and teachers alike.
Ticking off this box on your checklist will make it easier to market your center as well. You can give parents a tour through the bright and beautiful classrooms you’ve created. Even if they’re enrolling their children before opening, they will have a good idea of what to expect from your center with all the pieces in place.
On that note, now’s the time to start marketing, too. You’re closing in on the finish line — time to show off all that you have achieved.
Open the Daycare of Your Dreams
As you can see, it will be a lot of work to get your daycare business off the ground. But if you follow these six steps, you’ll be well on your way to making it happen.
You won’t be the only one better for it, either. With such a thoughtful person at the helm, your daycare is sure to be a beloved place for the kids attending and the parents entrusting you with their little ones.