How To Start A Daycare Business In The US – A Short Guide
The concept of a traditional nuclear family is fading worldwide which explains why people are looking into how to start a daycare business.
A traditional family with the father as the ‘breadwinner’ only comprises a little over a quarter of all households in the US.
Most families are evolving. It isn’t unusual to see families with dual-income parents, or a single parent.
This is where daycare businesses come into the picture. They’re the need of the hour and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
However, since daycare businesses heavily involve children and families, certain rules, regulations, and care must be followed to maintain the highest standards.
In this article, we talk about such things to keep in mind while learning how to start a daycare business.
1. Get Licenses And Degrees
Child Care licenses and regulations aren’t a one size fits all in the US. The licenses vary from state to state and getting one ensures that you’ve met the minimum requirements for taking care of a child.
Courses And Degrees
However, licenses only provide a minimal guarantee for parents.
To really stand out, get educated or hire people who have an education in Early Childhood Development.
Getting a Bachelor’s Degree can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you’ve already crossed that road.
However, certificates, courses, retreats, and short educational programs can all add to your repertoire as a Child Care specialist.
2. Get Appropriate Toys
This should be at the top of your list when learning about how to start a daycare.
Parents will look out for both the happiness and development of their children. It isn’t an either-or.
That’s why, while adding toys that are ‘fun’ is great, but adding toys that aid in cognitive, creative, and athletic development is even better.
Think about stocking up with artboards, crayons, puzzles, mini goal posts, and other toys that are fun and educational.
3. Create An Online Presence
Every ‘How to Start a Daycare in the 2020s’ should include this.
Daycares are a very local business. However, people use websites and Google Business searches for even hyperlocal options.
From a phone number and email to pictures of your facility, an online presence can help people learn about you without having to come face to face with the awkwardness of interacting with a total stranger.
Write a little about yourself, share pictures and videos, and reviews. Start with social media and Google and then expand to a full-fledged website, if need be.
All this helps, greatly.
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4. Tentatively Schedule Activities (But Don’t Make Them A Mandate)
Teachers are required to have a teaching plan. It is completely voluntary for daycare professionals. However, this should be a vital part of your checklist on how to start a daycare.
Creating a schedule of how you’re going to interact with your class is a great way to reassure parents that their children are being engaged with positively.
With that being said, depending on the age of children, pediatricians recommend unstructured play, instead of planned activities.
The schedule should only act as a guiding light for you to have options on what to do.
Rather than gearing children towards what your preference is let them explore and have a set of activities ready if they look to you as the fun purveyor.
5. Engage With Parents
A common trope used in movies is one parent missing a vital moment in their child’s development and when you’re thinking of how to start a daycare business, you need to keep this in mind.
While daycares often involve preschoolers, parents can miss out not the first walk, but on the first development of a hobby likes and dislikes.
This is why proactively engaging with parents should be on your thinking plate when learning how to start a daycare.
Talk to parents about what their children did during the day, who they interacted with, what kinds of foods they liked, etc.
Even daily interactions can help parents build an idea of what their children like and what they don’t.
6. Invest In A Daycare Software
Daycare software is not what they sound like at first glance. No, children do not stare into a computer and listen to its every command.
Such software is more geared towards the administrative side.
Enrollment, paperwork, day-to-day children’s report, and processes are handled by the software so that you and your staff can spend more time with the children.
It is great for teams, both small and large, and, if financially possible, should be on your list when planning on how to start a daycare.
7. Choose An Appropriate Location
While the quality of your daycare will cancel out any commuting worries, having an appropriately located daycare will only buttress your case as a quality institution.
Look for leasing and purchasing options near quiet suburbs, without any external industrial noise, where you can only hear yourself and the children.
Look for places parents can easily commute to and look for areas that provide ample space for children to play.
8. Always Restock (But With Care)
While childcare software can help you with restocking alerts, there must be a certain cognizance on your part while restocking toys.
It’s not just a matter of restocking, but also choosing the right quality and conducting research about what helps children and what your class likes.
It is not unusual to see broken toys after a bit of harsh play. However, this is treading on the sensitive territory, as kids attach themselves to certain toys.
This will require vigilance on your part. Though, if a run-down toy becomes a choking hazard or is unsafe for children, it has no place in your daycare.
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5 Simple Ways To Promote Your Daycare Business Online
Starting a successful daycare business requires a combination of great service provision and an entrepreneurial mindset.
You’ll have to activate the latter while thinking of pricing, hiring, administrative work, and all the backend processes.
Marketing and promotion are two very important aspects of being an entrepreneur/ solopreneur.
As a daycare entrepreneur, you’re targeting a market that usually has great spending power- the family. This also makes wanting to enter the daycare business all that more lucrative.
So, in order to stand out, you’ll have to promote and create content. Here are five things you can look at in order to make that happen!
1. Blog It Out
Blogs can be powerful tools if used correctly. Don’t think of them as a marketing tool, with brand integrations left, right, and center.
Rather, come from an editorial perspective and only integrate smartly once you’re done thinking of the content.
Here are some ways you can use blogs cleverly:
- A Guide For Parents: Your blog can act as a guide for young parents. Rather than talking about why you’re the best service, talk about how parents can manage kids of all ages. Good advice will most likely translate to leads and calls for an inquiry.
- A Guide To Shopping For Children In Your Locality: While the value of such articles will only be limited to the city your daycare business is in, they will prove quite useful to your target market.
Parents will find genuine shopping advice very helpful. Think of shopping spots, value for money, healthiest items, etc… while writing on shopping.
- A Guide For Self-Care: Raising children is no easy feat. Parents burn out and it shows most of the time. Dark under eyes, disheveled hair, and an untucked shirt are just a few signs of your child(ren) taking up your time.
How can parents take care of themselves? Talk about that and you have a crowd that’ll appreciate you for looking out for them, while they’re looking out for their children.
2. Invoke Your Inner Photographer And Videographer
Visuals are a great way to grab your audience’s attention. This is all that truer for parents who barely have time to go through a lot, at once. So, photos and videos are your best friends.
The best thing is, in this day and age you don’t even need a computer to edit. Your smartphone is enough.
Here are some media you can create:
- Photos Of Your Daycare Center: Good photos of what your space looks like, other children having fun, and how you and the other daycare staff interact with the children.
- Videos Of Games Parents Can Play At Home: You can show these games happening inside your daycare center and also explain directly to the camera how to play them. Parents will appreciate such content.
- Testimonials From Other Parents: Upload videos/ screenshots of what parents have to say about your daycare business. The more testimonials, the better. However, instead of flocking your social media account/ website with testimonials, upload them in one place or as a carousel post.
- Beautiful Images With Quotes: Parents can do with all the motivation they get. Why not take your camera out, take good pictures and juxtapose quotes over them to help parents?
- Cute Internet Video Trends: Make sure parents are ok with this, first. The internet is rife with trends, dances, songs, and just about everything content-related. You could make cute versions of these videos with your daycare children, only if they’re also into it! However, the final result will be great!
3. Create Online Events
Online events are great and can help you bond with parents and children. Schedule an online event with your existing clients and ask them to get other parents along.
Here are some types of online events you can host:
- Parents Roundtable: An online event doesn’t necessarily need to have a strict agenda. Sometimes, all parents need is to talk to each other and share tips. Your event can be as relaxed as that. Obviously, have some themes/ topics/ games in mind to keep everyone entertained.
- Live Masterclass: You can host a tiny masterclass for parents to give them tips and tricks on how to manage their children. This can especially be helpful for young parents.
- User Generated Masterclass: Instead of you doing the talking, you can have an open forum for parents to talk about how they’re raising their children. This can be useful for both you and the parents.
- Virtual Playtime With Children: A virtual playtime can act as a ‘lite’ edition of your services. This is also a good way for the children to warm up to you and the other children from the daycare.
4. Create Promoted Content And Adverts
An advertisement or a promoted post is a great way for you to target your audience- young parents in a certain geographical region.
So, when they’re on Google, Instagram, or any other social media, your daycare’s advert will show up, which will probably interest them.
Keep these things in mind while creating the advert:
- Use Good Pictures & Media: Show your the space of your daycare center, children interacting with each other, and all the books and toys you have. These will form the first impression.
- Use Search Engine Optimization: Either do it yourself (through a website like Soovle.com) or hire an SEO expert. SEO is essentially using the words, phrases, and sentences people look up the most. So, if you use SEO-powered copy, your content is more likely to show up in search results.
- Include A Call To Action: If your aim is to get more parents to call you, include that, and don’t forget your phone number! Make sure each advert has a purpose.
- Do Quality Checks: Make sure your location, age bracket, copy, and CTA are on point. A mistake can cost you a lot of clients.
5. Take Your Business Processes Online
Providing convenience is one of the best marketing tactics you can practice as any business. You can make your clients’- the parents’- lives easier by taking your business online.
Along with taking care of their children, giving them an online touchpoint will save them the hassle of any additional offline travels to your daycare center.
These are some processes you can take online:
- Referrals: Put up an online referral program either on your website or on social media. You can use a program like Tapfiliate or manually create your referral program.
- Payments: Online payments are the mainstream now. Thanks to companies like Venmo, PayPal, and many others, paying online is not a hassle at all. This is why your daycare business should follow suit.
- Updates: Create an online system for parents to see updates about their children, what they did, what toys they enjoyed, who they’re interacting with. This can come in the form of a scheduled online call, or a casual report of sorts.
While these are marketing tactics, per se, listing them as ‘features’ of your daycare service will make your business a lot more attractive.
Combined with a great staff and an even better facility, you’ll have parents choosing your service, often.
Marketing will only help a strong product look stronger. In order to create a unique and impactful promotion, you have to create a unique and impactful product or service.
Your daycare should follow the highest standards of service. You must help in the growth of the children you’re responsible for. These aspects will make promotion the easiest thing ever.
If parents feel like they can trust you, they’ll let other parents know, and there’s nothing stronger than word of mouth from a happy client.
Learning how to start a daycare business can be a very long process. The utmost care has to be taken, since growing, developing children are involved in this.
It requires not only a lot of planning but also a lot of care when the actual business has started. In order to help children develop, you’ll have to develop yourself professionally and this requires some time.
However, the work is worth the reward. Nothing compares to observing happy parents and children who grow positively under your care.