The dream for most people in the job sector is to one day work their way to a managerial role, become the boss or supervisor, and one day have a role to look over their own team of employees. Though this can be accomplished after many years of labor at a company, whether small or big, most people nowadays are beginning to see the benefits of owning their own business.
Of these people, it takes a big heart to start a business that caters to the elderly, the needy, and most important of all, to children in need of daycare services. With more and more mothers and fathers working at the same time in order to reach financial stability, it is becoming more and more difficult for parents to find the right daycare system that will work for them. Many times these working new parents cannot rely on simple family visits, or school if a child is not old or stable enough to be left alone with their teachers or classmates.
The Joys of Owning a Small Business that Caters to Small Humans
This is where the boom in the daycare industry comes in. Over the last five years, the child care industry has grown by 3.5%, and that number will continue to grow as more and more parents leave the household in order to work. With these changing times filled with this new job market opportunity, it’s a great time to start looking at taking steps into reaching that managerial role by starting and running your own business, with daycare being a great option.
As a beginning business, daycare is great in that it can allow you to literally work from home, use your skills that can range in anything from teaching to art to psychology. In fact, studies have shown that being a mom is the equivalent of having 2.5 jobs! We know those parenting and teaching skills are virtually endless, and so are the career and job opportunities in possessing them.
If you’ve been bitten by the business bug, and are sure you want to start off your business in daycare, here are 5 steps to follow in starting up your own child care business strategy.
1. Decide if you want to work and run your daycare from home
For some, the idea of working from home seems like a dream come true. The benefits of running your daycare from home can come in both the convenience aspect of it, and also the ease with which you can incorporate your daycare into your child’s life, if you choose to also include them within your daycare business. If you have a big enough house, and can designate an area for playtime, nap time, eating, teaching, and other activities both educational and recreational for children, you can easily start setting up your own home in order to accommodate for your business.
In setting aside space for your business, your home can then be deducted when it comes time for tax season, with the percentage of usage for business, or most commonly the number of square feet that is used for your business. Make sure you keep track of all expenses used if you are using your own home, such as mortgage, utilities, repairs, etc. so that you are prepared and get the most deductions during tax time.
2. Make preparations if renting out a daycare center
On the other spectrum of business owners, the idea of taking their work home with them after a long day of being the boss is a drag in and of itself. Many times, we just want our business to stay outside the home, and thus, running a daycare center from your own home could prove stressful and unnecessary in this mindset.
The benefits of renting out a daycare center are the ease with which it is to separate home from business during tax time, as mentioned above. Many people, with the help of a financial advisor, can easily keep track of their business expenses, rent, additional repairs to a rental property, staff on payrolls, and so on if they run their business as a separate entity from their home. In addition, hiring staff might be easier to do if a daycare center is separate, has bigger amenities, and provides more comfort to a staff member than a traditional home would.
If you are going to rent out a daycare center, make sure the location has a reputable past, and has not been abandoned for quite some time, or otherwise can scare possible customers away for any means. Remember, the customers of a daycare center are not just children, but the parents of those children, and thus, standards of operation, appearance, even the look and smell of a daycare center can all either help in pulling in, or turning away lifelong customers.
3. Begin advertising for your business
As mentioned before, the customers for a daycare center are not just your neighbors and their children, your possible family friends and their children, or any other personal contacts that might initially help build up your daycare center. If you want to expand and grow your daycare, eventually you will need to gain the trust of customers that will be complete strangers to you, and at the same time will be entrusting you with the care of their child.
Because of this, being well-known, easily accessible, and trustworthy will be a big and essential part of spreading the word for your business. Though you can gain referrals from family for other outside customers, a great idea is to send out a press release to your local news agency. The press release can include contact information for your new business, or a designated contact person that can be reached even after-hours. The local press will want to know about why they should promote your business, and might want to set up an interview with yourself and your daycare staff.
In addition, a press release can not just include the announcing of your local daycare center, but it can also include promotional community events you might want to host in order to spread the word that you’re now open. A good idea for these events might be setting up arts and crafts (can anyone say, edible candy flower?), reaching out to volunteer at your local elementary schools, setting up a meet the staff night, pizza and movie night, or pizza and popcorn night, basically any event that will show the amount of care and dedication your business has in reaching out to the community.
Don’t just limit yourself to the local newspapers, however. Paying for advertising on the newspapers, radio, and television are all great ideas, but now the internet is full of parents desperately searching for the best daycare center near them. To take advantage of these parents that continue to search for businesses, consider hiring the help of a full service SEO agency. For those that don’t know, SEO agencies are also known as standard engine optimization agencies, and help give content to your business website that will have a higher chance of being seen by future customers by utilizing keywords, fantastic written articles, and professional blog content creators. These articles about your business or on your business website can then spread across the internet, and spread the word about your daycare center.
4. Hire staff through extensive background checks
In running a daycare, like most other businesses, hiring staff is a giant step in and of itself. Especially when dealing with children, you want to make sure your daycare does a more than competent reference check, background check to include past criminal history that is relevant to childcare, and accurate and up-to-date education and past work history.
Some of the best staff to hire are those with experience in childcare, such as teaching, child psychology, or working with children in programs such as Boys and Girls Club, the Girls Scouts or Boy Scouts, and even those that have an interest in niche subjects such as art or design. Additional staff you might need to hire besides those that teach and provide activities for your children are those that might need to maintain the business center, cook healthy meals, and even keep up with the gardening or structural maintenance of the property.
An even better option for a prospective daycare employee would be a person who has experience in the medical field. Some small towns might not have a hospital or even a childrens urgent care center near the daycare center, and you might not want to hire a full-time nurse to be at your daycare center at all times if it is smaller. However, it’s still important to train your staff to have medical knowledge.
In some cases, being able to provide first aid can prove to be the difference between saving a child’s life or not. This is the reality, as most children suffer more from medical illnesses that can quickly grow complicated, such as febrile seizures, immunity deficiencies to illnesses such as the common cold, chicken pox, allergies that can result in allergic shock, concussions and other physical trauma while playing, the list is pretty extensive.
Keep all these in mind when hiring staff, as their experience and ability to help a child in need can not only save their life, but help make your daycare center one that is considered top-quality and responsible. During any emergency situations, either with staff or children, be sure to follow the proper claim processing system to ensure your business remains with as little liability as possible.
5. Start paying attention to the small details and changes in your daycare center
Once you’ve gone through the process of deciding whether or not to run your daycare center from home, rent out a separate business, hired a financial advisor and accountant, advertised your business, and hired exceptional staff, it’s time to now breathe and really enjoy the little things about your business and watch it change with the times.
True, you will still have to deal with the pain and hardships of summertime ac repair in order to keep your center cool. You will still have to deal with cleaning up after messes that are inevitable, sanitizing beds and desks during the flu season, and dealing with parents that will at some point or another be extremely late to pick up their child.
But among all these pesky everyday things, running a daycare brings with it joy, from having children play on tricycles to bicycles, to watching their first words and first steps, and seeing them change from wearing a cartoon to wearing a handmade leather backpack. The interests of your children will change, and as a daycare center it’s important to keep up with the details of your business, the latest changes in trends in child education and television or entertainment, and all in all be active in the changing child’s world of today.
For instance, children’s toys and electronics are changing all the time, and have gone from children wanting to play board games and tag, to wanting to sit on iPads and leapfrog tablets that they might be very used to at home. Though you cannot control what a parent does with their child after they leave, you can make sure to keep up with most trends and spend the most keeping your daycare entertaining for children. The amish built shed took over the doll house, the iPod took over the walkman and the CD player, and the kindle took over for books! These changes happened over a short period of time, but you can get the most successful of daycare center kept up with the details.
Make the most of your new business!
Drop by and enjoy your visits to paint stores to find the perfect wall for your nursery, your play room, your designated teaching area, and shop around for those cute little desks and tiny chairs. You did it! These five steps have taught you, hopefully, to think about the most essential aspects of running a daycare, and will serve to have you thinking outside the box.