Starting a new daycare business is an exciting endeavor, and you may be feeling eager to get started with your day-to-day operations right away. But it’s important to slow down and weed out all of the kinks in your plan before jumping in. Here, we will discuss a few crucial elements that you need to include before moving forward, as they will help ensure success for your daycare. Keep reading to learn about these important daycare business plan elements!
Define your daycare’s mission
A mission or “vision” statement is essential for any business, and that includes daycare centers as well! As a daycare owner, your primary focus is keeping children safe, happy and healthy while they are away from their parents.
Your daycare’s mission should reflect these goals in a succinct way. For example, you might say something like, “We are dedicated to ensuring that every child who attends our daycare will be safe and supervised during our hours of operation.” The next step in crafting your mission statement is defining what your daycare means in terms of safety. Are you referring to physical safety or does it also include each child’s emotional and social well-being as well? Does ensuring that children behave appropriately also fall under safety? It may take some time for you to develop an understanding of these concepts, but they’re essential in order to establish trust with parents from day one! This is just one example of coming up with a clear vision statement for your daycare business plan, as there are plenty of ways to demonstrate the value of enrolling at your daycare for parents.
Familiarize yourself with licensing requirements in your area
The daycare industry is still one of the most in-demand services for parents who work, so it’s important to learn about daycare licensing regulations and standards before you go ahead and register your LLC. Licensing requirements vary by state and territory (and sometimes even for each county!). Typically daycares need an operating license or certification as well as a staffing credential, including either an Associates Degree or credentials as a Registered Nurse, at minimum.
Figure out what type of daycare services you plan to offer
This can seem like an intimidating step because there are so many options when it comes to daycare services. Do you want to offer daycare services geared toward infants, toddlers, school-aged children… or all of the above? Pre-school day care hours are usually in the mornings, while preschool daycare is typically offered on days when public schools have an afternoon break. What about catering specifically to a specific age group, such as infants (birth to 12 months), toddlers (12-36 months) and preteens/early teens (ages 13-15)? You’ll need to consider different equipment, space designations, and staffing levels based on your age groups.
Determine staff roles and requirements
Finding qualified staff is a huge component of running a successful daycare center. Begin by contemplating what types of roles your daycare center will require. Depending on the size of your daycare or which services you will provide, positions may include teachers, assistant teachers or teaching assistants (depending on your daycare’s size), administrative support personnel (such as bookkeepers), cooks for food services, or maintenance staff to help keep the space clean and operating safely. Depending on which roles your center requires, that will help determine your operating costs. The more roles you require may mean higher costs, but it also means you’ll be able to ultimately provide better care for children, which generally translates into increased enrollment rates.
Develop a budget
You’ll need to come up with a budget in order for you and your team members to understand exactly what your daycare’s expenses will be. This includes everything from utilities, food items, staff salaries, and more! Create an annual operating plan that outlines these costs so there will be no surprises on either side of the equation down the road. Start by figuring out fixed monthly costs, such as rent (or mortgage payments), utilities, salaries, and any other recurring expenses. Then, figure out your variable costs. Ask yourself questions like what supplies will you need? What types of meals or snacks will you be serving? What kind of insurance coverage do you need for staff members and your daycare center’s equipment?
Establish a schedule that works well for your daycare
Your daycare should have set hours, and they should reflect the needs of your families. Some families use daycare to enable them to work different shifts or take advantage of early drop-off times, while others may look for after-school programs or before-school services. It’s up to you as an owner/administrator (or team) to decide how flexible your daycare will be. It’s also important to offer full time options in addition to part-time enrollment options so each family can find something that fits into their needs!
These are just a few key items that you’ll need to include in your daycare business plan. It’s important to have a starting point. Knowing what kind of daycare you want to provide, how many staff members will be required, and what your daily schedule will look like are just a few things that need to be carefully considered in order for your center to work smoothly. Understanding key factors such as licensing requirements and budgeting basics are also important aspects of running daycare services. Creating a thorough daycare business plan outline that includes the above items will set you up for success when starting your daycare!