For many, children are their biggest passion and are eager to do something meaningful with their careers that addresses it. Some go to university and study a degree on education, special education or children’s development; others apply to teaching internships or traineeships. On the other hand, there is indeed another way in which you can end up both working with children and feel fulfilled while doing it – starting a daycare center.
This article will provide you with ideas and insight on what steps to take in order to start a daycare. Good luck!
Being completely honest, not much gets really lifted off the ground without a good and steady base. In the case of daycares, this strong foundation is based on thorough and substantial knowledge on a wide range of fields from children to education. If anything, you could easily consider this step to be the most important one of them all. This is because the amount of “backstage” or “background” work that you put into it is eventually clearly reflected in the long run once the center us up and running, evidently affecting the success rate of the daycare as well.
For example, you level of professionalism and expertise on the subject of child development or welfare will determine how comfortable the children feel at your daycare, the levels of satisfaction on behalf of the parents, and therefore amount of children that attend your daycare; having a direct impact in the aspect of your profits and popularity among the community.
Not only it is crucial to have enough knowledge about children and their care, but it is also imperative that you have sufficient knowledge about the technicalities and marketing side of starting a business. Without these two sources of knowledge, it is likely (unfortunately) that your business will not grow as successfully or fruitfully as you had intended it to. To avoid disappointment, make sure that you have taken the time to properly prepare yourself so that the journey towards building the best daycare you can imagine is as smooth and positive as possible.
Create A Business Plan
For any entrepreneur, making a business plan is both an inevitable and incredibly helpful step. This is because it is a way for you to easily visualize all the elements to consider to build your business, as well as opening you eyes to any minor details that need to be addressed that you may not had taken into account before.
When writing your business plan, make sure that the following points are included:
Summary – As the name itself says, write a summary or general description of what your daycare is. Mention every point that is going to be explained in further detail throughout the rest of the business plan. Take this section as an opportunity to clarify your goals and objectives you aim to attain with your daycare center; doing this will make it easier to detect what to focus most of your attention and effort on.
Overview- in the overview, go into more detail about the location of the daycare, the type of business you strive to manage and the legal structure. By legal structure, it means that you have to define whether your daycare is attempted to function as you being the sole proprietor, or if it leans towards being more of a company or corporation. On the other hand, it is strongly recommended to ask an attorney for suggestions and advice on this matter; so you can get a chance to understand what other available business structures there are and which is the most convenient to you.
Service and Target Audience – Here, you will have to explain the type of services that you will offer. Distinguish the target audience for the daycare – or in other words, the age range of the children you are expecting to attend the daycare. In fact, defining the target age range will be helpful when deciding what types of services will be available; for example, if toddlers happen to be your target audience, the activities what will be held at the daycare are most likely to be based around educational playtime, naps, and lunch hours.
Defining the hours that your service will be open for will help narrow (or widen) your target audience even more. For instance, if you decide to open from the early hours of the morning, your daycare can be rather attractive for working mothers who start early shifts. If you happen to offer breakfast or lunch services, your daycare will sound like a good solution for parents who work full time and find it difficult to come back for meal times with their children.
Remember that the more services you offer, the more attractive you daycare will be for families looking for one.
Financial Plan – Perhaps one of the least appealing stages of developing a business plan is to organize and structure finances. It is important to remain as realistic as possible as any miscalculations may result costly to the success of our daycare, and may cause some serious disappointments on your part, and on the parts of your customers.
Don’t forget to plan for the long-term future; for three of five years ahead, and in the case that you may need additional funding, have some sort of back up plan in the form of savings or a loan. Also make sure to state the amount of money you deem as necessary to start and maintain the daycare.
In your financial plan, it would also be worth calculating how much and in what ways you would charge your customers. This said, it is also important to set up a business bank account; so that you keep clear accounts.
Safety – As part of your business plan, it is imperative that you put into strict consideration all the safety measures you must take. Maintaining a safe daycare implies everything from keeping a safe ratio between staff members and children, only hiring staff members with the qualifications required to work with children (which may entail background checks and proof of knowledge in first-aid services) and child-proofing the facilities.
Become A Legal Entity
In order to avoid painful and heavy legal surprises, it is important to make your daycare center legal. To attain a legal status, there are several processes and paperwork proceedings that must be made.
Before you open your daycare center, you must first register your business to federal and state taxes; otherwise you risk getting closed down. It is also important to obtain the required licenses and permits to avoid getting fined; when working with children, this is a very important step since facing a fine would be the least of the consequences. Getting a business insurance is also greatly recommended; especially if you are thinking of hiring staff.
Overall, these steps come in very handy of you want to avoid being personally liable in the unfortunate (but possible) case that your daycare becomes sued.
For the marketing part of setting up your daycare business, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, the location. Choosing a good location for your daycare – or any business for that matter – is crucial. In order to gain as much clientele as possible, you must ensure that your center is situated around an area of high-visibility. Considering that you aim to work with children, it may be a good idea to settle close to a residential area where there are mostly working parents that are able to afford a daycare service. Try to look for a place where public transportation is available close by. Most importantly, consider the safety and calmness of the location. Taking this into account is something that parent will be grateful for; hereby increasing their trust in you.
Another aspect of marketing is to advertise your daycare to parents, neighborhoods, communities or companies to make yourself known and distinguish your daycare from the rest. There is a wide range of ways in which you can do this; making up a website, a page or account on various social media platforms, through pamphlets or advertisements on the streets, and many more. In your advertisements, it is important for you to not only divulge your daycare’s name, location and services it includes, but it is also essential to communicate your personality, the daycare’s values and the employees working in it. Implementing these aspects into the advertisement will provide the parents a clearer picture of where their children could potentially be spending a lot of time in; so make sure you plan this stage well. If needed, many graphic designers or ad designers would be willing to work with you; assistance that would not be any less than beneficial. If you are planning to use an advertising strategy that lies within digital methods, you may consider including testimonials of satisfied parents, or even videos showing the facilities or which reveal the values and educational emphasis that the daycare focuses on.
To keep a consistent amount of clientele in your daycare or if you want to boost the amount of customers that come in when starting your business, you may find it a good idea to implement a sort of “loyalty system” where customers may be entitled to benefits if they come in for a certain number of days within a set timeline. Examples of benefits that you could include are discounts, free daycare days or free lunches.
Besides keeping track and being aware of any other daycares in the area to manage your competition, try to think of additional, creative, services that would make you stand out from the rest. For example, providing a birthday celebration in the case of a child’s birthday or transport services.
Creating your Business Website
Social media is a great start to having an online presence, though an online website is also an essential sales and marketing tool for any successful business. You website should be the storefront when your business is closed, it should act as the conduit for information about your daycare and also an exhibit your business as a reputable and trustworthy daycare. That being said, setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
In short, starting up your own daycare center will indeed take a lot of hard work but will result incredibly rewarding by the end; so much that all the effort and willfulness put into it will pay off. Remember to enjoy is as much as you can!