So you’re thinking of opening your own daycare. You’ve seen the state of a lot of child care centers, and you see ways to improve management and better care for the kids. You know the ins and outs of childcare, and you just want to see educators, parents and children happy.
So how about you start applying all of that?
With life getting as hectic as it does with time, it’s becoming more popular to send your children to a child care center. It’s not easy to leave your children in the care of strangers and in an unfamiliar setting. That’s why it’s important to have a daycare center that’s reliable, open, and trustworthy. A familiar place where you know your children are cared for the way you prefer, and the way they deserve.
Sounds ideal, but it’s by no means impossible. To help you get started, here’s a list of the most important things to think about when considering opening your own daycare.
Let’s get all the heavy stuff out of the way first.
Based on where you live, you probably need some kind of certification or licensing in order to open a daycare. It’s a good idea to look up what kind of degree you need and what type of licensing you need to apply for. Remember that there are probably a lot of small things you’ll easily overlook when it comes to licensing and that it differs per location. You might need first aid for children, or your future staff may have to do police checks among other safety measures in order to open a secure and stable center.
It’ll take some planning to gather all the necessary information and make sure you’re all prepared. So make sure you start early. Remember that licensing really depends on local rules and regulations, so make sure to study which type of license applies to your country. Legitimize your company by mentioning your accreditation online to clients and in brochures.
2. Budgeting, Funding & Investing
You’re someone with a heart for childcare first and foremost. But on the business side of things; there are a lot of things to take into consideration. The space; the rent; the staff; the equipment; it’s all essential to learn about budgeting and pre-planning your finances before anything. A budget plan will definitely come in handy when outlining daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures and income. Not just internally, but also how much you’ll charge parents and what other potential expenses there might be, like inspection or licensing costs.
You want this ride to go as smoothly as possible. There are a lot of free budgeting templates out there that can help you get started, and it’s best to start on time to eliminate any hiccups along the way.
Often, starters look to family and friends for initial funding opportunities, such as a loan or some type of investment or exchange. If that doesn’t do it, then you might need to look outside of your comfort zone for fundraising options, such as a loan from a bank.
Besides these options, you may also consider applying for a grant or subsidy. Eligibility often depends on the requirements of the location you live in, so make sure to check government websites or institutes to find out what is possible for you.
The most important thing to consider when you want to invest or find shareholders is having a convincing, clean business plan and a solid presentation. If you can show confidence in the success of your daycare and back it up with a clear plan, persuading investors of your abilities to create profit and future ROI, will create interest and keep them hanging on. Also, consider practicing your elevator pitch internally and with trusted external candidates. An elevator pitch is essentially you selling your whole concept in under 30-35 seconds – as if you’re explaining your business to a prospective investor in a suitably brief elevator ride.
Did you think about the location of your child care center? Is it going to be a home daycare or are you going to rent a space? Is it located in an easily accessible area? Are there a lot of other daycare centers out there? There’s quite a lot to think about, and at this stage: there’s no such thing as too much speculation.
Think about the why, the what, and the how from the inside out. It’s easy to just open a child care center and go on autopilot. But when there are so many other centers doing exactly what you do; you have to think about your value proposition and plan everything accordingly.
Written policies and contracts are essential for small business owners, which is usually the nature of daycare centers. Contracts and policies are put in place to help determine services and costs, and help parents understand how your daycare center takes care of their children. Contracts also help determine timelines, such as procedures regarding terminating the contract or early drop-outs. This is considered to be vital information and helps the overall credibility and reliability of your center.
A very important aspect of opening a business is, of course, promoting yourself. You have to have a soul, after all, when everyone’s doing the same thing you’re doing. This means you need to market your child care well. Knowing how to do that and having the right tools is extremely important. It’s what fends off the competition, and shows that you have the best resources and knowledge around compared to others.
You’ll need the right social media channels and a strategy, you’ll need a website, talk to magazines and other childcare-related companies, post flyers, and spread them around. Think about what makes your company stand out and what the tone of voice is. Who are you trying to reach? What visuals would fit your daycare best and what would make it stand out? What can you use to make parents visualize the daily life of your daycare in the best way? Getting creative with marketing and utilizing the right strategy is key.
It all starts with a step
Starting a daycare center, or any small business on your own can be tricky. It’s easy to overlook important steps. But using these 5 pillars will support you in getting that ball rolling. Remember why you started, and remember that progress is never linear.