Business plan your future
Whether you plan to expand to a bigger building or remain in your home, you will definitely want to plan nonetheless. You should have a business plan written up to act as your GPS, helping you navigate this jungle called paid child care. Your operations plan, in particular, is a crucial part of your business plan that should be given the most attention. Items such as how you plan to discipline unruly children, your monthly spending budget, handling emergencies, and how you plan to keep up with immunizations should be clear and detailed.
You’ll also need a business plan if you want to be taken seriously. I understand that you may be aiming to keep things small for the time being, but following a plan helps you to stay the course. Should you finally decide to go big and leave your home, you’ll need the business plan you followed if you are going for loans and grants. What more can I say? Before you do anything else, you need to work on planning the direction of your business and getting it on paper.
Get your child day care service legal
If you expect to do any business in your locality, you’ll need to be legal. In places like Philadelphia, you’ll need a business permit to legally operate any business in the city. If that is a requirement where you live, you have to start there first.
Decide if you want your company to be for profit or nonprofit. If you are considering a nonprofit organization, understand that you will still make a “profit”. Running a nonprofit doesn’t mean you won’t get paid! Don’t let the name fool you. You can assign a salary to yourself as well as your employees and partners/board members. And, you can still charge for your services. The icing on this already sweet cake is the amount if programs and grants that your company can procure, vs. being a for-profit business.
Continuing with the topic of being legal, you’ll also want legal protection. As a for profit company, you will be doing yourself a huge favor by NOT operating as a sole proprietorship. Invest the extra money into forming a Limited Liability Partnership or an LLC. Incorporate yourself. You’re taking care of children. You don’t want your personal assets to be affected if you happen to be sued by an angry mom. Whatever business form you choose, do your research and keep your lawyer’s number on speed dial.
If You Need Funding, Ask
I would suggest contacting community banks when applying for loans. That is, if you need loans when you’re just starting out. Should you seek loans, SBA loans are the way to go. Contact your local community banks to find out which of them provides SBA loans.
If you are or plan to operate as a nonprofit, reach out to foundations and organizations that provide grants. Expect to write a proposal stating how much money you need and how you plan to use the funds. Check with Grants.gov and the SBA for child day care funding.
SDWS.com Pro-tip: If you don’t have experience or simply don’t want to get your hands dirty with proposals, find someone on Upwork.com or Elance who specializes in Proposal writing. Sure, it may cost you a few hundred to hire one, but the upside is the thousands they can secure for your company.
Protect your assets Pt. 2
Many businesses that provide a service need to be insured. A day care center is most definitely one of them. Jump on your favorite search engine and search “day care insurance” or “child care insurance”. Another option is to contact business insurance brokers in your area for assistance.
Hire Some Help
How many children are you expecting to care for on a typical day? Depending on that number, you may need more hands on deck. In order to have a certain number of children under your care, you’ll need a set number of employees on duty. In Pennsylvania, for example, one staff member is allowed to care for no more than 4 infants. Find out what your state will allow.
When hiring staff, makes sure their backgrounds are checked and that they can pass child abuse clearances.
One more thing to consider…. Your client is not only the parent, it’s also the child. When you hire employees that will work hands on with the children, make sure that they have the personality kids want to be around and can help them grown and develop. Does that mean that you need to check references? Sure. Hire on a temp to permanent basis to evaluate how your new employees and the children you are responsible for will interact. I would. I’ve seen parents change day care centers simply because of how their children reacted to being dropped.
Be Prepared For Inspection
To legally be able to care for children for a profit, the facilities being used has to be up to a particular standard. Expect to meet requirements such as having fire extinguishers, zero fall hazards, etc. Use your state’s website to research what these requirements are and get your place up to standard. Your licenses and permits depend on it!
Open For Business
Once you’ve completed everything listed above, there’s nothing else left to do but to throw your grand opening celebration!
If you aren’t the type to celebrate, there are other things you can do in the meantime. Marketing! Getting the word out that you exist. Print up fun leaflets and have them handed out around the neighborhood. Have a fundraising event targeting the neighborhood children (Sing-alongs, facepainting, etc). Do some local community service on behalf of [Insert your day care’s name] Day care Center. Do what ever you have to do to get the word out. Let people know that you are open for business!