How to Write A Daycare Business Plan

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If you're planning on opening a daycare, the first thing you'll need is a daycare business plan. Whether you’re a childcare professional with a vision or a parent who sees a need, you’ve got your work cut out for you. To successfully launch your center, you’re going to need a comprehensive daycare business plan.

This is a big task, but due diligence and hard work at this stage will inform the rest of the process. You’ll need to do your research, with a focus on gaining a deep understanding of what you’ll need to successfully launch and run a daycare business.

Before you get started, find out about licensing guidelines in your area. Your local government will have rules and regulations that will govern you as a small business owner and as a childcare provider, and you want to strictly comply with both.  Start by checking out Child Care Aware of America’s licensing guidelines, and then research your specific state and city. If you’re in California the Child Care Resource and Renewal Network should have all the info you need.

Once you’re clear on licensing guidelines, you’re ready to get started on your daycare business plan. Here are the sections you’ll need to get started.

Business Description

Start with the basics--what are you planning to do? The exercise of detailing out exactly what service you’re offering will help you shape a clear plan for your business. You might want to write some goals or even a mission statement, outlining your purpose and motivation.

Needs Assessment

Start by looking at general childcare industry trends, but then narrow it down to looking at the childcare offerings and choices in your local area. You’ll need to figure out who your target customers are, and confirm that there really is a need in your community. Are there a lot of young families in your neighborhood? Is there a particular age group that has a need for childcare? Are you located somewhere convenient for commuting parents? Also, check out the competition. Do some research on the existing daycare options in your community. How will you differentiate yourself to attract customers?

Budgets

Developing detailed budgets will guide you in the logistics of running your small business. You’ll need to figure out cash flow vs. expenditures, and build in a plan for unexpected costs. How many children do you need to serve to be able to pay your bills and stay afloat? Child Care Aware offers some terrific planning worksheets for this process.

Insurance Policies

Depending on the type and size of your daycare, you’ll need insurance policies of several different types, including liability, property, workers’ compensation, and business insurance. Check the licensing requirements for guidance.

Operating Policies & Procedures

Write out policies, procedures, and handbooks for your staff and families. Again, Child Care Aware offers a detailed guide to this process. Verify the licensing requirements for staff ratios and teachers’ educational backgrounds. Childcare staff are subject to criminal background checks and fingerprinting, and be sure to rigorously verify references and education levels. You’ll also develop a disaster or crisis management plan and health, safety, privacy, and nutrition protocols, all under the guidance of your local childcare licensing requirements.

Marketing Plan

This part of your business plan is the key to attracting customers. Decide what type of advertising will put you in front of potential customers. List your daycare in any local directories of childcare providers and participate in parenting events in your area, such as maternity & baby fairs, or kid-friendly community events. Run a social media campaign focusing on your target population.

Another big piece of marketing will be to consider how to differentiate yourself from other childcare businesses. These days going high-tech is a surefire way to please families with young children. Brightwheel is an easy-to-use software platform that will help you manage your daycare and stay in touch with families. You will use brightwheel for recording and tracking daily events and activities, and parents get real-time updates delivered to their mobile device throughout the day. It also offers secure, digital check-in/check-out, and a paperless billing system. This is a great way to keep your families looped in on daily activities.

These are just the basics to get you started. For further information, the U.S. Small Business Association’s website has detailed instructions on creating each necessary piece of a successful business plan

Brightwheel is everything you need for your preschool or childcare center, in one simple app. Download it today!