5 Big Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When Starting Your Own Daycare

May 6, 2013 | By | Reply More

Starting up your own daycare can seem like a daunting task, especially when you consider all of the details that go into running a daycare successfully. It may come as no surprise that daycare owners often overlook important details in their business, or make important mistakes, especially when they are just starting the business for the first time. Often, these mistakes can cost a daycare owner money, time, clients, their reputation, or even their job. Here are five common mistakes that you can’t afford to make when starting your own daycare.

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1. Getting started without understanding your state’s daycare laws.

Doing your research on your state’s daycare laws ahead of time can help you make any necessary changes to your home environment, and to earn any necessary qualifications, without the hassle of deadlines and government officials breathing down your back. It can also help you make sure that you meet your state’s requirements to receive voluntary-pre-kindergarten (VPK) vouchers from government-dependent families, which can be a major source of business.

Visit our Licensing Requirements of Starting a Daycare or Child Care Center: State Requirements to get information on the licensing requirements of your state.

2. Under-pricing yourself.

It may be tempting, especially if you’ve never owned your own business, to want to set a low price for your daycare services. You may be modest about your abilities, or you may want to make sure you’re not driving customers away with unreasonable prices. But by setting your prices too low, you’re telling your potential customers that your business isn’t of the same quality as other, higher-priced day cares in the area. Remember, people think they get what they pay for, and when it comes to the care of their child, they want the best. A good idea is to price yourself just below some of the higher-end day cares in your area; this way, customers will feel like they are getting a good deal for their money, but won’t be left wondering why your rates are so low.

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3. Cutting corners in safety-related areas to “save” money.

Cutting corners on your daycare’s safety may be one of the most tempting mistakes you can make, especially if you are strapped for time and/or money. This is also one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make! If a child is injured at your daycare, and the child’s family finds out that you weren’t following proper safety protocol, they could sue you for thousands of dollars in damages, and you could lose your job. It’s much safer to just invest the extra money in proper equipment, well-trained staff, and a safe home, than to go through the headache of a malpractice lawsuit.

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4. Letting yourself get taken advantage of by your clients.

If a client tells you they will pick up their child at 3 pm, and repeatedly shows up at 5 pm instead, you may feel like biting your tongue and saying nothing. The problem is, if you let a few parents repeatedly slack off on their end of the daycare contract, you are sending the message to those parents that it is okay for them to take advantage of your services for free, and you are sending the message to contract-following parents that you play favorites. When a client doesn’t follow up on their end of the contract, warn them after the first offense that you will charge them for your extra time/effort/etc., and then if the offense happens again, follow through on the warning. You are running a business, after all, and your time is money!

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5. Failing to do your research

There is so much you can gain from other daycare owners, your friends, relatives, and the internet. Do your research on the business, look for sales on daycare-related items, and get advice from people who know the business inside and out. You will save time, money, and headaches by taking advantage of the resources that are at your disposal.

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Original Publication Date: November 3, 2009

Recommended Books on Starting and Marketing a Day Care Business:

 About the Author: 

Article written by Chad Gilmore. For more help on starting your own daycare (with advice from daycare owners just like you!) go to http://daycarestartupsecrets.com
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Category: Business Ideas

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