Did you know that the daycare industry is currently worth over $59 billion?
As anyone with a child will know, there’s some serious money to be made in daycare. The cost of someone else looking after your little ones all day isn’t cheap. For those with a business-savvy mind, that opens up a whole world of money-making potential!
If you’re thinking of starting a daycare, there’s a lot to think about before you get started. To run your daycare safely and profitably takes a fair amount of planning! Luckily, we’re here to help.
Here are our tops tips for how to start a daycare that’s built to thrive.
1. What Kind of Daycare Do You Want to Start?
First things first, what kind of daycare are you looking to start? Not all daycares are the same, so you need to look at your niche and what makes your brand stand out. Start drawing up a business plan that details exactly who you are.
Consider things such as what age groups your daycare will be for, whether it’ll be run from home or from a facility, and if you’ll have partners or be a one-of-a-kind daycare that you open yourself. If you opt to become part of a franchise, the process of opening your daycare will be much simpler, but you won’t get to make as many of your own decisions.
When it comes to the things that’ll make your brand stand out, here are some ideas:
- Focusing on STEM subjects for education
- Being a multilingual daycare
- Having eco-friendly attitudes
- Using certain behavior techniques to teach your children
Make sure you have a couple of key values that you can base your brand on. These will help your business stand out when starting a daycare.
2. Create a Budget
When it comes to how to start a daycare at home or in a facility, you need to create a budget – just like with any business! Your budget will consist of all of the costs it takes to open your daycare and keep it running. Whilst it might not be totally accurate before you get going, it should still give you a good idea of what you’ll be spending.
Your startup costs will include everything from equipment and food, to wages and licensing fees. If you’re buying a new facility to run it from, make sure to factor that cost into your budget! You might need to do some market research to get an accurate idea of the costs for these things.
You also need to consider ongoing running costs. These will include utility bills, such as electricity use, as well as things like diapers and cleaning supplies or daycare cleaning services.
Then, work out how much you’ll charge per child and your capacity. You can use this to predict your monthly income and work out how many children you’ll have to look after before you’re making a profit.
When working out how much to charge, make sure to do your market research again! Look at how much other daycares are charging in your area and those with similar niches across the country.
3. Have You Got the Right Licences?
If you’re looking at how to start a daycare center, it’s vital to remember that you’ll need licenses. If you’re unsure of what you need, be sure to check the Division of Child Care Services in your state. This should let you know what training and credentials you must have when starting a daycare.
Some examples of licenses and credentials you may need include:
- A degree in early childhood education
- At least 3 years experience caring for children
- A CDA (child development associate) credential
4. Find a Safe Place for Your Daycare
In some states, you’ll first need to have your facility set up to obtain your licenses. Choosing somewhere suitable that meets the health and safety requirements in your area is essential. If you don’t, you’ll have to move your daycare somewhere else.
If you’re looking into how to start a daycare with no money, you can run them from your home. However, you might have to make some alterations to ensure it meets safety standards, so factor these into your budget. You’ll also need plenty of space to store all of the equipment for the little ones, so be prepared for your home to become a little cluttered whilst you sort this out!
5. Get the Right Insurance
Alongside finding a safe place for your daycare, you’ll also need the right insurance to obtain your license. In some states, you might need to get a license through your Department of Health and Human Services (or equivalent) to open up your business. You’ll also need liability insurance if you’re operating from outside of your home.
If you’re starting a home daycare, you won’t need insurance to gain your license from the Department of Health and Human Services. But, even though it’s not a must, it’s still a good idea to get some kind of small business insurance. By looking after people’s kids, there’s always the risk of a big, unwelcome lawsuit landing in your lap, so make sure you’re protected with insurance!
There’s actually a wide range of different insurance you can get to cover your business. To work out which is best for you, get in touch with an insurance broker. They’ll look at your specific daycare and work out what you need to make sure you’re always protected.
6. Buy Your Equipment
As a daycare, you’re going to need a whole lot of equipment! Here are just some of the items you’ll need to buy:
- Play equipment and toys
- Educational tools
- Diapers and spare clothes
- Baby bottles, dummies, bowls, etc.
There’s plenty that’s not on that list, so make sure you go through exactly what you’ll need. When buying your equipment, it’s important you focus on quality and safety. Only buy products from licensed manufacturers and always check the reviews for products first.
What you choose to buy may change depending on your daycare niche, too. For example, if you’re an eco-friendly daycare you should avoid plastic and disposable items. Opt instead for things just as washable diapers and bowls made from bamboo.
Alongside your equipment, you’ll also need safety equipment such as first aid kits, safety training gear for your staff, and smoke and carbon monoxide protectors. Safety is key, so don’t skimp on these things!
7. Start a Daycare With the Right Team
Once you’ve got the basics of your daycare up and running, it’s time to start building your team. If you’re starting small you might be okay running the daycare alone, but as you get more kids that’ll quickly become stressful! To run a safe and fun daycare, you’ll probably need a few extra sets of hands to help out.
Before hunting for your dream team, write up a list of qualities you’d like them to have. For example, they should be friendly, responsible, and confident. You may also prefer to hire people who have experience around small children, such as having their own or having grown up with younger siblings.
Remember to check their qualifications, too! It’s a good idea to always do a background check as well to make sure the people you hire are all safe to work around little ones.
8. Start Marketing
How will anyone know about your daycare if you don’t tell them about it? When you’re up and running, it’s time to start marketing your business to make sure all the local parents know who you are! There are a few different ways you can do this, including advertising in local newspapers and popping ads up in cafes and shops.
You should also set up a social media page for your daycare on Facebook. Join different local parents groups and post about your daycare for free, easy marketing! You could also circulate business cards around your town with contact information including your phone number and a link to your daycare website.
Once word starts getting around of a new daycare, you should start seeing a few mums and dads getting in touch!
Open Your Daycare
There’s a lot to think about if you’re looking to start a daycare and we can’t say it’s easy, but once you’re up and running all of the work will be worth it! There’s nothing more rewarding than running your own business whilst doing something you love.
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