7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Daycare Business


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The daycare business is slated to have some of the fastest employment growth of all service industries through 2020. If you’re thinking of starting a daycare business, this statistic is encouraging.

But there are many challenges to starting and operating a daycare center, as well as many rewards besides just financial. Working with children can be fulfilling and inspiring in and of itself.

Be sure to ask yourself these questions, and get the answers, before you begin your daycare business:

What are the Licensing Requirements in Your City, County and State?

A daycare center is more tightly regulated than many other businesses. Be sure you count the cost, time and money for obtaining all the requisite permits and licenses for your daycare, and balance that against the projected profits in your daycare business plan. Don’t forget that most towns also have zoning restrictions on daycare when it is held in a private residence, as well as in a commercial building.

How About Cutting to the Chase with a Daycare Franchise?

There are over 5000 franchises offered in the United States. These include daycare franchises, with startup costs ranging from $59 thousand on up to $3 million. Only you (and your business partners) can decide if franchising meets your personal, as well as financial, goals and will provide you with a comfortable fit.

Do you Have a Budget Model Prepared?

Your budget model for a daycare center should include staff salaries, rental, utilities and other bills, administrative costs, and, as noted above, licensing and zoning fees.

Will you use Montessori or Some Other Type of Educational Program?

This is especially important for a preschool. While Montessori is the preeminent and best-known early education program, it is by no means the only one. There are half a dozen legitimate early education programs to choose from; so do your homework to find which one fits your agenda and philosophy.

What Part will you Personally be Playing in the Business?

You may be a qualified and certified teacher who wants to interact with your daycare charges at all levels. You may be an entrepreneur who likes kids and wants to turn that affection into a thriving business. Define your role early on in the start up process, so you’ll know in what areas you’ll need the most help and backup.

How Many Daycare Centers Have you Personally Visited?

If the answer is “one or none,” you need a course correction. When you visit, put yourself in the shoes of a parent by asking yourself “what is the child to staff ratio?” Or “how do they handle a sick child?” Or maybe “what kind of neighborhood is this daycare center in?” Learn from what you see done right — and done wrong. There are a lot more questions you should ask about a daycare center, especially before you start one yourself.

Are There any Grants or Funding for my Daycare?

As ChildCare.net succinctly puts it; if you are non-profit there are several good sources of grants and funding for your daycare, but if you are for-profit about your only source of government help is the CAFCP (Child and Adult Food Care Program). And if you’re undecided about whether to go for-profit or non-profit, remember that there are some significant tax advantages to being non-profit, plus Google is now offering $10 thousand of free advertising per month on AdWords for qualifying nonprofits.

Day Care Business photo via Shutterstock

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