I Want To Open A Daycare
Are startup costs high?
Startup costs will vary based on your specifc situation.
If you are running a daycare out of your home, one of your largest expenses – rent – can be avoided. However, there are many other expenses which do not immediately come to mind but are equally important:
- Higher gas and electric utilities to heat and cool your home.
- Cost of food for each child.
- Payroll for additional employees. This should include the cost of either an accounting software package with ongoing tax updates, or an accountant.
- Learning materials, crafts and supplies.
- Child size furniture (tables, chairs, etc).
- Child safety tools (gates, electrical outlet covers, etc).
- Ongoing training.
If you are running your business in a rented space, all of these expenses can be written off your taxes. If the business is run out of your home, then you can only write off the expenses which are required to run your business.
What training is required?
You are required to complete 6 credits of ongoing training each year. That is in addition to maintaining current first aid and fire safety training, or any provider training required by state or local agencies.
If your educational background is not in childcare, consider obtaining a Child Development Associate (CDA). The CDA will teach you the different phases of child development and what can be expected in each phase. It will also allow you to spot potential learning disabilities because you will have a point of reference.
How do you prepare for inspections?
All licensed facilities must undergo scheduled and surprise inspections throughout the year. This ensures each daycare is meeting the required standards. The best way to prepare for an inspection is to make sure you are following your state's regulations every day. Also, when it comes to paperwork, do a monthly check-up to make sure all documents – both the children’s folder and the facility – are up to date.
What are some of the pitfalls new daycare owners should avoid?
- Starting the daycare without a clear plan.
- Not starting slowly. If possible, consider starting out as a family daycare. This will give you an opportunity to understand what it takes to run a successful business. You can then upgrade to a group daycare or childcare center when you client base increases.
- Not separaring business expenses from personal expenses.
- Not keeping a rainy day fund to cover expenses during a slowdown in business.
- Not collecting payments on time.
- Failing to realize a home business is still a business.
- Understanding the importance of first impressions. When a parent walks into your business it should be clean and well organized.
- Forgetting parents expect to get something for their dollars. Show them what their child is learning, and raise a red flag when you notice a child has a learning disability. This will allow the parent to obtain help early.
Where does most of your business come from?
Most of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals. There are a number of families who have been with us since the doors first opened.
Do you accept childcare subsidies?
Yes. We accept subsidies from the Child Care Informaton Services (CCIS) and the Department of Welfare (DPW). These sudsidies allow working parents and those in school to afford childcare.
With free preschool programs like Head Start available, why would anyone pay for day care?
Many parents work a full business day, so they are unable to pick up their child in the middle of the afternoon or at midday on Friday. Also, private preschools offer parents an opportunity to take advantage of accelerated learning programs which allow their child(ren) to move ahead of their peers.