Your Step-by-Step Guide to Opening a Daycare
You ’ ve been caring for kids since you can remember. Healthy snacks, educational games and pile time routines — you ’ ve got ‘ em all down. But now you ’ re ready to take the future step. You want to open a daycare business and the clock finally find right .
Fewer than 1 in 3 toddlers stay home with a rear during the day, as the number of single-parent homes continues to rise and more dual-parent homes require dual salaries. These families need child care providers who are caring, convinced and competent, which is where you come in. But if you ’ rhenium looking for your own slice of the american dream by starting and running a base daycare business, there ’ s enough you ’ ll indigence to get sorted out—the first base, and most outstanding, is figuring out all of the steps needed to start a daycare of your own.
To help you get started, we enlisted some pros to help us create a simple, bit-by-bit usher on how to open a daycare. Keep reading for some helpful penetration for opening your own daycare .
9 (often overlooked) steps to opening a daycare
Danielle Lindner, founder and CEO of The London Day School used to teach kindergarten. When she realized how blase her kids were getting at daycare, she had a revelation : “ Hey, I ’ m a teacher, I could create something better for them ! ”
She says research, readiness and adhesiveness to express regulation are the biggest differences between a daycare that thrives and one that closes its doors. Follow these steps to ensure you don ’ thyroxine fall into that second class .
Step 1: Get educated
This is a valuable footprint for any aspiring small clientele owner. If it ’ s a daycare you ’ re launch, an early childhood education degree is a big place to start .
A degree is more than passing grades and a sign piece of newspaper. It ’ mho about distinguishing yourself among your competitors. It ’ randomness about gaining the cognition and have from professionals who have gone before you. It ’ second about learning insights from peers walking adjacent to you .
It ’ s the peace of take care knowing you ’ re make decisions that will benefit your business down the road and attract those who are looking for what you have to offer. As you start your journey to opening a daycare, don ’ thymine let this first step be one you overlook .
Step 2: Look into licensing
possibly you started small—occasionally watching a neighbor ’ s kid or babysitting your niece and nephew. But now you ’ ra considering expanding. Before doing anything, be indisputable you have the correct child care license needed to be legally compliant .
Lindner says her first move was contacting her state ’ s Department of Children and Family Services ( DCFS ) to learn the regulations for child care providers. “ Do whatever they need you to do and don ’ metric ton cut corners, ” she says. “ You might think you ’ re saving money improving front, but it will cost you in the long play. ”
Another resource is the local childcare licensing agency ‘s web site. To obtain a license, you may need a current CPR documentation, an unblemished tug record and other documents that demonstrate your commitment to children. Gathering all of the necessity documentation can be clock consuming, so be certain to plan ahead .
“ I used my licensors as resources, ” says Alise McGregor, owner of Little Newtons Early Childhood Education Centers. Ask as many questions as you can when you take a step like license or looking into child worry regulations. The people on the other end of the line can be a huge help .
Step 3: Create financial goals
This is a must for anyone looking to open a small occupation. It ’ mho significant to remember you ’ re not being paid in hiccups and hugs. Outlining your fiscal goals will help you remain focused and keep your business on cut .
“ Create a budget and a business plan, ” Lindner says. She recommends relying on the expertness of friends whenever potential, and at least downloading a free template to fill out what you can. She besides suggests tacking an supernumerary 20 to 30 percentage on to your budget as a buffer, fair to be dependable .
You need to know precisely where the money is coming and going to ensure you ’ re profitable. Consider these basic questions :
- Do you plan to hire an employee?
- Do you need to expand a room in your home?
- Are you renting space in a building?
- Do you need to purchase bedding? Additional toys? Safety equipment?
besides, don ’ metric ton underestimate the cost of license, inspection and zoning. The buffer you baked into your budget will come in handy when you discover you need to put up a gate or add a fire fire extinguisher. Getting a fascinate on the finances early on is key to understanding the ebb and flow of your business .
“ There is n’t a depart of the business that I do n’t understand, ” Mcgregor says. “ That is crucial to running any business. ”
Step 4: Research tax credits
If you ’ ra design on opening an in-home daycare, you may be able to claim a tax subtraction on spaces used for businesses purposes. This can be the case even if the distance doubles as your family room when your bantam clients go home for the night. This is a simple so far fantastic way to help cut costs .
Step 5: Seek out grants
even if you start belittled there are constantly going to be start-up costs when opening a daycare. But, there are several grants available to help you compensate for those expenses. Some of these grants besides provide extra education in areas related to child development. This is merely another direction to distinguish yourself among other childcare providers .
Step 6: Distinguish yourself from the competition
“ Just because kids need to be watched for seven hours a day, doesn ’ metric ton entail it ’ second babysitting, ” Lindner says. “ That brain is bad for kids and providers. offer more than fair keeping them alive. ”
What do you think children in daycare need ? What will set you apart from other childcare providers in your area ? Do a short research to scan the competition and figure out how to meet the needs you see. For example, would it be advantageous to offer strange hours for your daycare ? Would an constituent, vegan or kosher menu give you an edge ?
For Lindner, it all came polish to curriculum. “ I actually wanted an educational environment and I couldn ’ thyroxine find a put like that in my area. I decided to focus on STEM. ” Do your research and be certain that something — localization, business hours, menu or services provided — sets you apart .
Step 7: Create a contract
once you determine the details, write up a abridge that clearly outlines what you will ( and won ’ t ) put up and your expectations for your clients. here are some crucial questions to get you started :
- What time do parents need to pick up their children?
- Are there consequences for being late?
- What services will you provide and what items are parents responsible for? (e.g., you’ll provide formula but they provide diapers.)
- What is your policy for sick children?
- How many days off will you take? Are those days paid?
- How will you handle late payments?
You can find respective on-line resources to help you write your own child wish contracts. alternatively, a childcare lawyer can advise you on the elements of your narrow. Whether you seek legal advice or write it yourself, your contract should be complete before seeking clients .
Step 8: Market yourself
This is a childlike yet overlooked part of opening a daycare. Lindner emphasizes the importance of keeping things local and targeted to your potential clients .
“ Set up a Facebook page that says your business will be coming soon. Tell everyone you know. Make a web site and get some pictures on it, ” Lindner suggests. She advertised her business in a local kin magazine and wrote a imperativeness spill for some of the local newspapers .
post flyers for your business in local libraries, community centers, chocolate shops and grocery stores. Utilize the cheap advantages that social media sites can offer, and do what you can to make your business look master and ready .
When people came to see Lindner ’ s space, they were welcomed by walls covered with children ’ randomness artwork. “ I used everything my children always made, ” Lindner laughs. “ But it worked. Clients could visualize it. ” Get creative when getting the discussion out !
Step 9: Get people in the door
even though it may feel counter-intuitive, Lindner recommends giving a few months of exempt tuition to some parents you know. “ No one wants their kid to be the first pull the leg of at a new daycare, ” she explains. “ Get people in the door, encourage clients to spread the parole and thank people for every reference book they give you. ”
McGregor has learned from her three centers that discussion of mouth from happy clients is the real key to success. If you ’ ve cared for children in the past, ask for testimonials from parents and post them online or in early selling materials. Highlight your experiences and display your licenses. Do whatever you can to get those first gear clients through the door. Sacrificing some profit up front is worth it to build a lucrative business .
Take the first step towards opening a daycare
Opening a daycare can be chilling. There ’ sulfur no blueprint for success, but following these square steps will help get you off to a capital begin. The key is to stay motivated and remember why you ’ ra doing it.
“ You ’ ll make mistakes and some of them will cost you, ” Lindner admits. “ There are capital ups and downs, but you ’ re making your sight come active ! ”
If you ’ re ready to take that first base step now that you know how to start a base childcare serve, visit our early Childhood Education degree page to learn how the course of study can help set you up for success as a childcare provider .
Editor ’ south note : While the terminus “ daycare ” is normally used, many early childhood educators prefer to use other terms to better reflect the professionalism of the battlefield. Our article, “ Childcare vs. Daycare : What ’ s the Difference ? ( And Why It Matters ) ” explains this in far detail .