Setting up a daycare business involves more than just finding a few clients and having them come to your house. Yes, there are plenty of people who operate small, unlicensed daycares that way, but those are the ones who usually end up in the news when something untoward has happened. You don’t want to end up like that! Instead, you need to set up a proper daycare business, complete with employees, a logo, and an official location. It’s much easier than it sounds. Let’s start at the beginning.
The Nuts and Bolts of Setting up A Daycare
A proper daycare – one that is run out of a storefront or another school-like location needs to be licensed. Depending on which state you’re in, this can vary. You might have to fill out a lot of paperwork, pass an inspection, and prove that you’re hiring trained employees. However, the process might be simpler than that. It all depends, so your first step involves finding out and meeting those requirements. You might need a lawyer to help you navigate the process. Be prepared, since your location will most likely undergo an inspection by some sort of local authority. With that said, you do need to find employees and said location. The best places for a daycare are former storefronts in shopping centers or single, sole purpose buildings on streets that are easy to access. While you don’t want to be on an extremely busy road, you will need enough space for the kids to play. If you end up in a storefront in a shopping center, you may not have this. However, if the interior is big enough, then that isn’t an issue. But, if you do have an outdoor space that you can use (other than the parking lot, of course), you can fence it in and set it up as a playground. The fence is important; it prevents kids from wandering off. Finally, you’ll need to find employees. As a part of your licensing requirements, many of them will either need some sort of degree in early childhood education. They’ll also need to pass an FBI background check to prove that they aren’t felons. This sounds complicated but really isn’t. It’s just a matter of having each potential employee fill out a form. Also, you’ll probably have to adhere to some kind of adult to child ratio, so as your number of clients increases, so will your employees.
The Importance of Branding and Marketing
After you get all of those factors in place – the location, the paperwork and licensing, and the employees, you next have to come up with a name for your daycare. This can be something cute that involves a play on the word “kids” or “care.” It can also be something based on your name, such as “so and so’s daycare.” You can even use your city’s name, the street’s name, or anything else that sounds unique and catchy. However, spelling counts, so while it might seem cute to misspell the words in your name in order to maintain that childlike feel (after all, it’s a daycare for kids), it will look unprofessional to the outside world. This is such a small thing, but it matters. The logo follows the name. Obviously, it contains the name, as well as something that shows what your business is about. You can include blocks, bears, dolls, cartoon characters (as long as they’re licensed) or any number of other things that shout “daycare!” Have some fun with it. As far as colors go, basic blue, pink, green, purple, and red are all good options. This is one type of business where you can choose a very colorful logo and get away with it. The logo will go on your business cards and website, as well as on your outdoor sign. At first, you might find yourself hanging a simple printed sign outside, kind of like a banner. However, over time you’ll want to invest in a proper sign. You do want to look official after all.
Finding Clients Is a Necessity
Okay, your license is in place, your space has passed inspection, and your logo is located on the building. It’s time to find some clients! There are several ways to do this. You can set up online ads that will bring people to your website. These ads can be through Google or Facebook. Your website should have information about your business on it, and there should be separate contact page listing the ways that people can get ahold of you. It also needs to mention that your business is officially licensed and follows all of the requirements. If you have a blog, you can use a number of specially designed keyword articles in order to draw in readers who will hopefully become clients. However, you can also advertise offline. You can send fliers to schools with elementary aged children, some of whom might need after-school care. Newspaper advertisements and television commercials also will help spread the word. You’ll also want to join your local chamber of commerce or rotary club. Both of them will help you meet people who might have kids who need your services. And if they don’t, then they might know someone who does. Word of mouth goes quite far. There’s one other option here as well – a system where you can reward existing clients who bring in new ones. You can give them a cash reward or a credit towards their own care. These kinds of referral systems can be quite useful!
Setting up a daycare is much less hectic than running one. Once you’ve opened your doors and see the kids running around everywhere, you’ll be glad that you set up an officially licensed business. As long as your logo and advertising efforts are successful, you’ll be in business for years to come. You might have to renew your license every year, but it’ll be worth it. A daycare can be a very successful and rewarding business.