Shoestring Strategies for Starting a Day Care Business
You might find, if you have your business plan in order, that a church or labor union will sponsor your business, or even offer financial backing. Arranging some sort of partnership or sponsorship agreement with an established local organization will solve a lot of problems for you, not only in the area of space but in assistance with start-up costs and city-father approval.
Incidentally, a day care center is perhaps the ideal business for absentee ownership or a group of professional investors. Keep this fact in mind as you organize your plan and seek financing.
Generally, a “shoestring entrepreneur” in this business will do very well to locate in a vacant convenience store, or even a vacant grocery store in a larger shopping center. The zoning will be in your favor, plus you’ll have adequate parking space, and less expense in partitioning or remodeling the building to suit your needs.
Ideally, your day care center should be located on a main thoroughfare, with the building set back from the street. You should be on the right hand side of the street as the traffic heads towards the major business or industrial areas of your community. In larger metropolitan areas, this would be on the city-side of the “bedroom” communities. In smaller communities, you can locate just about anywhere except in the downtown area.
If at all possible, you should plan your facility similar to a hospital or motel entrance. This would be a driveway from the street to your door, usually under a covered drive-thru, with the driveway continuing back out to the street. Your long-term parking space would then be located in the center of the “U” or between the driveway and the street. You want to strive for the convenience for the parent in being able to drive right up to your door. She can drop off the child with only a few steps into your facility and easy access back onto the main thoroughfare.
Depending on your city sign ordinances and your finances, go all out with your sign. Advertise the name of your day care center, the hours you’re open, whether you accept drop-ins, overnighters, or weekenders, and of course, your phone number.
The sign makers and advertising people may strongly advise you against so much wording on your sign, but in this instance, don’t listen to them. Your sign should state all essential information, and serve to convince passers-by that you can handle their child- care problems whenever the need arises.
If you initially locate in, or through the sponsorship of a church or labor union, these people can assist you tremendously by including a mention of your services in their membership bulletins, and by passing out circulars or flyers.
Operating a Daycare Center
You’ll need to decide on your regular day care hours. Generally, these are from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to offer breakfast for the children. If so, you’ll have to plan for a cook and food supplies for morning meals. We’ll discuss kitchen facilities and kitchen help later, but the first decision must
be if you will include breakfast. You’ll already be set up with kitchen facilities and a cook because you will be serving a noon meal. If you do decide to offer breakfast for those parents not wanting to feed their children at home, you’ll be able to add $8 to $12 per week to their billing. By buying your food supplies in bulk, you’ll probably be able to realize some savings in overall food costs.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are required in some states, but even where they’re not required, they are pretty much standard fare in most day care centers. Fresh fruit, cookies, and juice are the usual snack foods served in most day care centers.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll definitely be providing a hot meal for the children at noon. This entails a cook, dishes, planned menus, food supplies in bulk, and perhaps even small size table and chairs. You’ll also have to have kitchen help and facilities for washing the dishes.
Recommended Articles on Starting a Daycare Business:
- How to Start Your Own Daycare Business
- Starting a Day Care Business on a Shoestring Budget
- Operating a Daycare Center
- Caring for the Children
- Income Potential of a Daycare Business
- Managing Your Daycare Business
- Complementary Businesses for Additional Income
- Marketing Your Day Care or Childcare Business
- Licensing Requirements of Starting a Daycare: Alabama to Louisiana
- Licensing Requirements of Starting a Daycare: Maine to Wyoming
Recommended Books on Operating a Daycare Business and Caring for the Children:
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Child Care Service: With Companion CD-ROM
- How to Start a Home-Based Day-Care Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)
- The Business of Child Care: Management and Financial Strategies
- Dollars & Sense: Planning for Profit in Your Child Care Business
- Child Care Marketing Online