Starting your own child care business is not an impulsive act that can be executed overnight — the decision-making process takes time, possibly years. With more parents asking about early childhood education options, they are able to become better informed about the available choices.
Quality service is typically the top priority. Nowadays, parents are looking for more than just conveniences (such as ideal drop-off/pick-up schedules, or the nearest location.) They also want a child care center that can offer their family something special, and one with a top-notch reputation.
Setting Up your Child Care Center – The Planning and the Process
There’s no question that you love kids. You are great with children, you love organizing and planning fun activities, your finances are in good shape, and you have the perfect space ready to go. No doubt, you have already given a lot of thought to starting your own child care center.
Keep in mind, however, that these are not the only things you need to consider. Many specific steps go into planning and executing this kind of business venture, which includes a strong approach to child care marketing needed to promote your center. Some of the things you need to take into consideration include:
1. Licensing Requirements
There are licensing requirements with which you need to comply while starting your own child care business. Doing so will make your operation legitimate, so you don’t run into any legal issues. Every state has its own requirements, so be sure to review your state’s specific regulations for child care services.
2. Early Childhood Education
Starting a child care center does not necessarily require that you have a formal education in professional child care. However, having some basic understanding of the fundamentals of early childhood development and daycare marketing is highly beneficial. Most parents prefer an educated caregiver, preferably those with training in CPR and first-aid in case of emergency.
Remember, you will be caring for the lives of young ones, so it’s vital that you’re equipped to provide appropriate assistance and care. Aside from being well-versed in early childhood development, it is also ideal to educate yourself when it comes to crucial marketing skills in order to help you jumpstart your business. Explore around your local community or online for some courses available to you.
3. Child Care Marketing Business Plan
If you think obtaining a license sounds challenging, then it’s clear that you have not made any business plans yet. Developing a child care business plan can be one of the most grueling and tedious processes. You need a business plan to be successful — this isn’t just done for the sake of formality.
A well-developed and clear business plan will help you clearly identify the details of your center and your vision as a child care provider. Invest the time and energy needed to think about what kind of center you want to create. Do some research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
To keep your business and the children protected, you need to have several types of insurance. Most of these policies typically include things like workers’ compensation, property coverage, business insurance, and liability coverage, among others. If you are not sure about what types of insurance you need to obtain, you can always consult your local child care services office for assistance.
5. Hiring Staff
Your child care business may just be a one-person operation when you first startup, since you may be hoping to save on costs by avoiding hiring unnecessary help for your center just yet. However, as your business grows and your enrollment increases, you may need to hire additional help so you can adequately care for the children at your center. You may also require additional staff to provide assistance with some managerial and clerical tasks at hand.
Hiring additional personnel is particularly important when you run a child care center that requires a minimum ratio of staff to children, based on your licensing requirements. When hiring staff for your center, make sure they undergo all of the necessary background checks and that they provide references (both personal and professional) to ensure the safety of the children and that of your business.
Take your time during the hiring process — this ensures that your facility will remain safe and maintains an outstanding reputation.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Child Care Center?
There are some significant costs involved when you’re starting your own child care business. If you don’t have enough financial resources needed to cover your initial startup expenses, you will need to get creative to acquire the funds you need.
Grants are often available and are provided to help you cover the costs of starting your business. You might also consider getting financial assistance, such as an SBA loan. You may also consider doing some community fundraising to help you pool funds. Remember that your goal is to use and maximize these funds as an investment that will eventually yield profitable returns for your child care business.
In order to get your business up and running, you need to purchase or lease several important items. These start-up costs include, but are not limited to:
- Art supplies
- A daycare space
- Outdoor and indoor play equipment
- Cleaning supplies
- Computer equipment
- Child care supplies (wipes, diapers, etc.)
- Licensing fees
- Bottles, cups, utensils, plates, etc.
- Food (for meals/snack)
- School service (transportation) (optional)
You might also want to think about other additional supplies you might need for your center. Over time, you’ll be able to use the revenue coming in to help cover these costs and invest in high-quality supplies/equipment. Start simple, then scale up.
Marketing Strategies for Your Child Care Center
Marketing any kind of business can be challenging, especially if you don’t have any previous marketing experience. However, if you want to grow your center and increase enrollment over time, child care marketing is necessary.
In between tying shoes, changing diapers, serving snacks, putting kids down for naps, and reading stories, child care owners and directors/managers are also expected to market their centers. Small business owners may tend to push marketing to the bottom of their list of priorities, but the child care industry is designed to have clients in order to yield growth and success. If you don’t consistently put sufficient effort into attracting new clients to your business, you may have a difficult time filling in the spots.
Child care marketing is highly dependent on both traditional and online marketing strategies. There are so many tactics most child care businesses need to execute these days, especially since there are so many digital platforms available. Your child care service needs to have that personal touch and emotional finesse because you cater to something really invaluable: the children. Remember though, that at the end of the day, word-of-mouth and referrals are also vital.
Here is a quick rundown of some child care marketing ideas you can use to build long-term success:
1. Build a website
Setting up a user-friendly website is a great idea to help you market your center. The first place potential clients tend to check when searching for a suitable center is the internet. Your center needs to have a well-designed website that can answer basic questions and will help your prospects move on to the next step — meeting you personally and touring your facility.
There are actually some helpful website templates that you can customize at an affordable cost. You can also hire a reputable digital marketing agency like Local Child Care Marketing to build your website. Make sure your child care center website reflects your qualifications, professional and personal history, and passion for child care and development.
Always include contact information so potential clients know how and where to reach you.
2. Direct Referrals
Word-of-mouth advertising and direct referrals are still considered to be some of the most effective strategies to help you market your child care center. Happy parents can be your best friends when it comes to marketing and advertising your center, at a really affordable cost. Most people turn to friends and family for advice, so having your center’s parents talk about your center positively will be your best bet at gaining leads.
You can also create a referral incentive program in which you encourage existing clients to promote your center. Design a flyer or a brochure advertising that for every successful referral that comes your way, the parent may get a percentage off of their own child care fees.
3. Social Media Marketing
Over the years, child care marketing has heavily shifted to social media marketing. So many people are using social media to promote their businesses. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are the best choices. You can create your own Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter business accounts that include daily updates and information about your child care center.
Connect with parent groups from your community on these social media platforms to help you start establishing relationships. Become active in various online parenting groups. Encourage your existing clients to post comments or engage on your Facebook page or Instagram account.
Let them share their own experiences regarding the care that your center has provided for their children. Post photos of the children under your care to your page (always make sure you have parental permission before doing so). Equally important is to make sure that you are available to respond to any queries from potential clients via your social media pages.
Starting your own child care business can be a daunting and time-consuming process, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and fun. If you have a roadmap to help you get started on your journey, the process will be a lot easier.
With so many child care marketing strategies available, you will never run out of ideas on how to promote your business. It will take a lot of dedication and hard work, but if you are great at what you do and remain focused on your goals, you’ll be off to a great start.
Do you need help with your child care business? For more child care marketing ideas and strategies to help grow your business and increase your enrollment fast, contact us at Local Child Care Marketing.