The demand for child care services continues to increase. In Canada, 46% of parents have used some method of child care for their children under 14 years of age. The child care market is large and provides plenty of opportunity to start a new business. Opening a child care center is also a great way to support the local community and provide the services that many families today need. Here are 6 steps to follow when starting up a child care center.
Study your Market
First things first, you will need to have a good understanding of the demographics for the area where you plan to open your child care center in order to accurately position your business. Look into the types of services that you will need to provide, and research other child care centers in the area to find out how you will match up against the competition. This will help you to establish what will set you apart and give you a competitive advantage over other local child care centers.
Plan for Success
Once you’ve determined where your new center will be located, and what your competitive advantages are, you will need to begin the planning process to start your center. You will need to consider questions such as what size your center will be, if you should rent or purchase a building, what age range you will provide care for, how you will promote your center, and how much you will need to invest to cover all the startup costs that you will incur before opening the center.
Research Rules and Regulations
Child care centers across North America are well regulated, and it’s important that you have a good grasp of what you will need in order to be compliant with local regulations. Spend time researching local regulations including staff certifications, maintaining facilities, teacher to child ratios, etc. You will also need to find out what permits and licenses are needed in order meet the needs of becoming an authorized child care center.
Plan your Finances
Ensuring that you will have the cashflow to support your new business is obviously one of the most crucial aspects to review in the planning stages. Create a budget for the startup costs as well as the ongoing monthly costs that you will incur. Once you’ve determined what these costs are, find out if you are able to qualify for a loan or government grant to help you finance the initial startup costs. Continue reviewing your budget throughout the startup process, adjusting your costs as needed, and ensuring that you remain on budget.
Hire your Staff
Initially, the task of hiring all new employees can be a daunting task. It’s very important to ensure that you hire the right people. Take your time, ensure that you thoroughly interview candidates, and make sure that you begin the hiring process well in advance of the center opening so that you won’t have to rush in making your hiring decisions. Use local job boards and online hiring sites such as indeed.com or monster.com to help you find the right candidates.
Manage your Business
Find tools that will help you manage your business. There are many different software programs that will help you to simplify tasks such as communicating with parents, managing your staff and family information and managing your billing. Sandbox Software is an example of complete business management software that will simplify the task of managing your child care center. If you start using management software in the beginning stages of your business, it will help you grow into the software as your business grows, and is the easiest way to manage your child care center from the get-go.