WANT TO START A DAYCARE BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN? LET’S STEP OUT THE PROCESS AND THE OVERWHELM.
8 Things to Do Before You Open Your Daycare
Starting a daycare can feel overwhelming because there are so many requirements and moving parts. A simple strategy to help alleviate some of the stress is to take each task step-by-step. By taking this approach, you can focus and set small goals that are more manageable. In this post, we will look at each step and prepare you to open and start a daycare!
1. Plan and research the type of daycare you would like to open
The first step is to consider what type of daycare you want to open. Consider whether you want to start an in-home daycare, or a large daycare center. What you decide will impact your planning significantly.
You may also want to decide whether you will follow a specific educational philosophy (Montessori, Reggio Emilia, etc.), or what curriculum you would like to use. If your planning and research during this initial step is thorough, the remaining steps will be easier to manage.
2. Contact your state’s licensing department
You want to contact your state’s licensing department because this will further help your planning. Your licensing department will inform you of your state’s rules and regulations, and can also help to connect you with other daycare providers in your area.
Reaching out to other daycare providers can help you in your planning and connect you with people who can give you advice and encouragement.
3. Write your business plan
Once the first two steps are completed, you can begin working on your business plan. As you work on your business plan, you will begin to plan your goals and aspirations for your business. This will help you fine tune the details of your daycare’s day-to-day operations.
Once your business plan is complete, you can use it to secure funding or find a business partner.
4. Find a location
If you are choosing to do an in-home daycare, this step is already done. Perhaps, you can think about how you want to set up your daycare inside of your home.
If you are starting your daycare in a facility, this step might take a while. Depending upon the market in your area, there may be only a few commercial spaces available for leasing or purchasing.
As you look for a location, you will need to consider the square footage; most states require a specific amount of square feet of space per child. You will also need to consider whether the location is easy for parents to find; a space that is near a residential area might be a great location due to its proximity to families with children.
Your budget will also impact your location search. Finding the perfect location will require you to spend time being thoughtful about your business goals.
5. Get insurance
Once you have found a location, you will need to contact insurance companies to get a quote for insurance. Insurance protects your business and protects the children in your care.
Often, the size and location of your daycare and the number of children in your care impact the cost of your insurance policy, so it is important to complete the previous tasks before inquiring about insurance.
6. Prepare your daycare and apply for licensure
After you have completed each of the other steps, you can start preparing your daycare. This includes purchasing tables, chairs, toys, and everything else you will need to operate your daycare. You will use your licensing guidelines from the state to help you outfit your daycare with everything that you need.
Once your daycare is set up, you can reach out to your licensing department again. This time you will be applying for licensure. Often, this requires an inspection. After your inspection, they will either provide you with corrective steps you need to meet licensing requirements or they will approve your license.
Typically, your daycare license will establish how many children you are licensed to have in your care and your hours of operation.
7. Hire Staff
If you are starting an in-home daycare, you may not need to hire staff. However, a daycare center will need to be staffed. Your state will have specific requirements for any staff that you hire.
8. Begin advertising your daycare
Once everything is completed, you are ready to open! You will want to begin advertising to reach interested families who are looking for quality childcare. Your advertisements will be the community’s first introduction to your business it is important that they positively reflect your business’s mission and vision.
- A Year-long Curriculum Bundle
- Setting Your Child Care Hours
- How to Hire a Childcare Assistant
- Marketing Kit for Child Care – the How and the Why
When you break everything down into manageable steps, you will find that accomplishing your goal of opening a daycare feels less overwhelming. As you complete each step, you become more focused and can move on to the next step with more ease.
Each step requires you to be intentional in your planning and allows you to fully consider what is a priority for your daycare program. When you are finished, your daycare families will appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort you put into planning!