If you could jump in the Back To The Future car and go back to when you started your childcare what would you do differently? For me, there are probably quite a few things I’d switch up when starting a childcare.
Today, I’m sharing a few things that I wish I had figured out when or even before I started my childcare business. Actually, there probably wasn’t a way to see some of these things unless I did go Back To The Future. But it sure would have been helpful. Here are 3 things I would do differently if I were starting a childcare today.
Imagine your next trip to the mall. You know the fastest route. The one with minimal traffic and the least stoplights. So you take that route. But you probably realized your secret route over time. It may have taken you a while to figure out the best way to go.
Well, in childcare it’s the same thing. Sometimes it takes a little hindsight or a bit of trial and error to figure some things out.
Looking back, there are many things I wish I had known or could foresee about starting a childcare. Today I’m sharing only a few, but these are great places to start. Especially if you are starting a childcare today.
1. Research a childcare need in the community
In business, if you can fill a real need most likely you will be successful. And in childcare, if you can find an underserved niche it’s like finding gold.
If I were starting my childcare today, one of the first things I would do would be to research where the needs are. Specifically, is there more of a need for infant care, off-hours care, drop-in care, etc.
Is there something that no one else is doing or offering? Is there a way for me to offer that in my business?
Just like in any other industry, if you are the go-to business or one of the only ones doing or offering a service you can almost command the market.
2. Set my rates based on expenses
Ok, this is a biggie! If I were starting my childcare business today I would assess my business expenses first and then set my rates.
Listen, this is pretty standard for everyone. If a job won’t pay you what you need to pay the bills, you probably won’t take that job. It just doesn’t make sense.
This is one of those things that you probably don’t think about when starting a childcare. But you really need to know if your income will cover your expenses. If it doesn’t or you are just barely breaking even, you could be headed for problems in the near future.
Instead, I would make note of or try to predict my monthly (and annual) expenses and consider that amount when setting my childcare rates. That way when enrollment dips, I wouldn’t go in the hole or stress out about having to immediately fill the spot.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan!
And finally, if I were starting a childcare today I would plan better.
What do I mean?
What Maximum Capacity Looks Like
Well, first I would assess my space for the maximum capacity. When you first start a childcare you understandably are concerned about just getting those first clients.
But if you could see down the path a bit it would be even better to have a plan for the future. Specifically, how will you handle when your childcare is full.
What would that look like?
Could you handle all 8-12 children by yourself? Are you allowed to do that? What about space? Do you really have enough room for all those children?
Ask yourself –
- When would I most likely need some help? When does licensing say I need to have an assistant?
- How can I space plan for the maximum enrollment? Can I create more space?
By projecting my business into the future, I would have had a better plan for space planning, planning for expansion and even for fluctuations in enrollment.
Now You Know
Sometimes you just don’t know until you know. You know? What I mean is that sometimes it takes a little experience to realize the best or just a better way to do something.
So since I can’t jump in the DeLorean and go back to the beginning to when I started my childcare, I hope that sharing how a little research, assessing how to set rates and planning will help you in your childcare business.