Maybe you’re a mommy who can’t find the perfect daycare center to trust your little one with, or maybe you’ve noticed a need in your community for quality childcare. Whatever your launch point, you’ve made the big decision to leap into the childcare business--and we applaud you for that! This should prove to be a rewarding and successful venture if you approach the planning process with a few tips in mind.
Do your research
Before you embark on this adventure, you should be certain it’s right for both you and your community. Do a needs assessment before you invest your time and money into this venture. Also consider all your options: Are you planning an in-home daycare, or will you look for a facility? Maybe you’re only interested in infant care? Whatever you are considering as your focus, Child Care Aware is a great resource as you start your planning process. They publish guides to each type of childcare business and walk you through the process at the planning level.
Are you interested in learning about the average salary that a childcare director makes? Check out our salary guide!
Follow the rules
Each state has child care licensing requirements, and you’ll want to follow them to the letter. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education has a state-by-state list of licensing requirements as a starting point. You’ll also most likely be governed by your state as a small business owner, too. Check with your local government for all the rules and regulations on starting a daycare center.
Learn about floor plans you should use based on your program's specific needs in our article, Top Daycare Floor Plans and Designs!
Employ the right tools
Take advantage of the many fantastic technologies available to daycare centers these days. Streamline your administrative tasks and you’ll have more time to focus on providing top-notch childcare to your families--which is your whole goal anyway, right? Brightwheel is an easy-to-use mobile software app that will help you manage your school and stay in touch with families. Your staff will use brightwheel for recording and tracking daily events and activities in the classroom, and parents get real-time updates delivered to their mobile device throughout the day. This powerful app also offers secure, digital check-in/check-out, and an automated paperless childcare billing system. This is a great way to keep your families looped in on daily activities.
Don’t forget marketing
Depending on your size, you’ll probably need marketing collateral and an online presence. Advertise through local businesses, parent groups, local events, popular blogs. Try sites like Parenthoods or Red Tricycle, and don’t forget about social media. You could start with a campaign focusing on your target population, or host a grand opening event to attract families. The point is that once you’ve managed to fill your daycare center, you’ll need to continue with ongoing marketing efforts so that you’re always building a customer base.
Make sure to also check out our guide on choosing the best daycare name for your new center!