How to Start a Daycare

Learning how to start a daycare can get you on the way to small business success, especially if you enjoy early childhood activities such as drawing, reading stories and playground games. Many of us have cared for kids before, whether babysitting or taking care of our own children, but opening a daycare can turn this into a profitable and rewarding business activity.

You may be a good fit for opening a daycare if you enjoy taking care of children, as that will be the bulk of the business. Opening a daycare can be a difficult task, but once it becomes successful, it will be more than worth it.

Opportunities for Child Care Businesses

Studies have shown that daycares are one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. For those who want to start a daycare, the growth is a positive sign.

Less than a third of children are with a parent at their home during working hours. This is due in part to more single-parent households and double-parent households where both parents need to work. Therefore, many working families need an effective and trustworthy daycare center as well as other childcare services, which is where you come in.

There are two main models for those starting a daycare:

  • If you only want to take care of a few children, you may be able to run that service from your own home.
  • If you want to take care of many children, it can be difficult to manage that effectively in just your own home. In that case, it might be better to open a formal center.

Having your daycare at home allows you the benefits of working at your own place and being able to have more time with your kids. In contrast, a formal center gives a greater sense of professionalism, allowing you to take care of more children and not require you use your own home for business.

To start your daycare business, there’s a lot to be done on the business, financial, and legal fronts. You will need to prepare effectively to make your daycare business a success.

Get Educated

The first step in starting a daycare business is getting the required training and education, such as a degree or certificate in childhood education.

By getting a certificate or degree, you will demonstrate your qualifications to potential customers, get insights and training from experts, and learn from your peers.

Many states even have requirements that daycare overseers have certain degrees or certificates. It is important to check your state’s requirements to ensure you are in compliance.

If you don’t get the needed certificates, not only may you have difficulty in staffing and growing your daycare business, but you also may run into regulatory trouble as well.

Assess the Need for Child Care in Your Community

When starting your daycare, you should research the demand for daycare services where you hope to operate. Doing market research early on can help you determine the type of daycare you should run, how competitive the market might be, what prices to charge, and how much revenue you might make.

You should talk with parents in the community to see what kind of demands there might be for daycare services and what current providers already exist in the area.

It also is useful to look at demographic information from the United States Census:

  • How many families there are with working parents, and therefore potential childcare needs
  • The number of couples that have married recently, as an indicator of future children and childcare demand
  • Household incomes of families and the way the incomes are distributed, as that may indicate the prices you will be able to charge to the market

Identify Existing Child Care Businesses

It is worthwhile to study other daycare businesses in the region because they will be both your competitors as well as helpful co-businesses.

When there are many daycares already operating, you will need to find a way to make your business stand out in the crowd.

Find out the following information about other daycare providers:

  • Ages already being provided for
  • Hours of operation
  • Types of daycare services
  • How many daycares there are

Starting a daycare can seem complex, but if you enjoy working with children and you do the right research, training, and planning, you can make it a great success.

If you need help with starting your daycare, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.