Any first year business major will tell you that to succeed in any business you need to start with a business plan. Any bank willing to lend money to a start-up business will want to evaluate a business plan to determine if the business is likely to succeed, and pay back that loan. Having a business plan for starting a daycare is just as important as for any other business. However, since many daycares that operate out of a home have few start up costs and don’t need a loan, a complex detailed 20-page plan is not necessary. In these cases, a simple daycare business plan is all you need to get started. What you need is a realistic plan that will help you know what type of daycare you want to start and how you will operate that daycare.
A mission statement for any business includes the basic goals and philosophies of that business. You only need two or three sentences to lay out your vision for a daycare. Consider your personal philosophies on childcare that you want reflected in your business to create your mission statement.
Daycare Licensing Checklist
Create a list of what you need, such as child development courses, to get and maintain your daycare license. This information can be found through your county government offices. A checklist will help you stay organized and keep you on tract for getting your daycare license.
You will need a list of business related expenses such as insurance and supplies. Also, seek out an accountant that specializes in daycare finances if you need help with taxes and other financial help.
What age range do you want to care for? Do you want to care for babies and toddlers or are you interested in school age children? This will help you know where to market your business. For after school care you can target local elementary schools. For babies and toddlers then you’ll need to target mom’s groups and places that have activities for children under the age of four.
Hours of Operation
Setting specific hours in your contract is important. Without this, you could have parents dropping off kids at 5 a.m. and having the last pick up occurring long after dinnertime. You’ll want to balance your personal life needs with having the ability to service the children you care for and their working parents.
Will You Offer Full, Part-Time, and/or Drop-In Care?
Although many families have two working parents, many do not have two parents that work traditional 8 to 5 Monday to Friday jobs. Whether you accept kids on a full-time schedule or have more flexible options will greatly determine the type of business you get. Offering flexible part-time and drop-in services will give you more clients. The downside is trying to schedule the number of kids each day to make sure you don’t have more kids than your daycare license allows. Other services to consider offering is transport to and from school and monthly parent night out babysitting.
Hired Help and Back-Up Plans
Do you plan to go it alone or hire help? If you plan to work alone, you’ll still need a backup plan for personal sick time or emergencies. Consider if you want help everyday or have someone who serves as a backup caregiver.
Vacation and Time Off
What does vacation and time off look like for you? When running a daycare out of your home, you don’t get much of a break. However, when you take a vacation or personal days off you force your parents to have to find other childcare services. Having an established schedule of vacation and days off well in advance greatly helps parents plan for alternate childcare. Having a plan for staff help in your daycare business plan will also help you serve your clients even if you take the day or week off.
What types of activities are you going to offer your kids? Deciding how to keep the kids in your care busy will be greatly influenced by the age of the children. If you have three to five-year olds will you offer a preschool-based curriculum? How about homework help for older children? Knowing what activities you will have will help you get your house ready with daycare supplies.
With a daycare business plan in place, it’s time to market your business. As you put your plan together, you should have also gotten many ideas as to whom you want to target as clients. You have several options for marketing, such as registering with daycare related websites, posting business cards at local schools or kid events, and just spreading the word with friends and family. Make a list of where and how you want to market your business.
While not an official business plan in the traditional sense, these daycare business plan ideas give you realistic tips that you can put to use. Using these tips you will not have a plan meant to satisfy or bank or even a college business course. You’ll have a plan you can put to use and refer to if you feel yourself floundering as you start your business.