Essential Tips for Building a Daycare Business Plan
Starting a childcare business can be an exhilarating experience — but when it comes time to begin building a daycare business plan for your program, you might find yourself at a standstill.
At LifeCubby, the team behind our award-winning childcare management software is full of former early childhood educators who have been in your shoes. They know first-hand how difficult it can be to navigate everything from licensing and funding to competitive analysis.
That’s why they’ve put together this list of essential tips for building a daycare business plan that will have any childcare pro loving their new program.
Check out the licensing guidelines in your area.
Before you start envisioning what your future day care center business plan will look like, take time to find out the licensing guidelines in your area. Your city and state governments likely have several regulations in place that will dictate how you can operate not only as a small business owner but also as an early childcare provider. ChildCare Aware of America is a great resource for finding out about any national licensing requirements, as well as finding the contact information for your local licensing agency. Most states also have annual training hour requirements once your center has opened its doors, so it’s good to be aware of those ahead of time so you can build it into your plan.
Write out your company description.
If you Google “building a daycare business plan” the first true step will likely always be the same: writing out a description for your company. This can be as simple as creating a mission statement and a few business goals, or it can be a detailed outline covering your motivation behind starting a center, what your daycare’s purpose will be and what you’ll offer families in your area. Once you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll have a clearer idea about what your business will look like — and you’ll be able to complete your business plan more easily.
See what other programs in your area are offering.
Take time to look at what trends are prevalent in the childcare industry, as well as among programs in your area. This will help you determine what kind of services you should be offering, as well as any gaps in service that your program could fill. In addition to researching other programs, look at what the demographics are in your area and determine who your target customers will be. A child care business plan built for a neighborhood full of commuting parents will look a lot different than one built for a neighborhood of remote-working families. Include your findings in your day care center business plan and take the time to address how you will position your center to meet the needs you’ve discovered.
Outline your program’s legal and staffing structure.
Find out what legal structure you’ll choose for your business (e.g. sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and include a section about it in your business plan. See what is required to gain that status and create a step-by-step plan to meet the requirements.
Next, plan out how your business will operate from a staffing perspective. Think about how many staff members you’ll start out with and set benchmarks to help determine when you’ll bring on new employees. Add information about what your hiring process will look like, as well as what type of onboarding and training new employees will go through. It might also be beneficial to go ahead and create any staffing procedures you plan to implement, as well as handbooks to pass out to employees.
Focus on the financials.
When it comes to building a daycare business plan, few sections are more important than your financial plan. Having a detailed budget for your daycare will help ensure you’re ready for opening costs, as well as day-to-day operations and any unexpected expenses. In addition to listing out costs, write out how you plan to fund your business. This includes income you anticipate receiving from clients, as well as other types of funding like grants, donations, and more. If you have any specific grants in mind, go ahead and list out the requirements and timelines so you can be prepared.
Think about marketing.
In order to have a successful childcare program, you’ll need to constantly attract new families to your center — which means you need to have a smart and effective marketing plan in place. When building a daycare business plan, Think about what type of marketing efforts would work best for your center and in your community and spell those out in your business plan. Find out what local opportunities are available in your area (like directories, parenting groups and community events) and research what is required to participate in each.
While you’re thinking through what marketing channels you’re going to use, also set aside time to think about what differentials you’ll focus on in your marketing efforts. Will you be offering any unique hours or extracurricular activities? Will you have any technology that sets your center apart from others?
If you don’t already have technology to set you apart, LifeCubby can help. Our easy-to-use childcare management software is packed with innovative features that will make managing your center and attracting new families a breeze. By joining the LifeCubby family, you’ll be able to offer families the gift of connectivity (through things like live photo updates, digital daily sheets and in-app messaging) as well as the gift of convenience (through features like automated billing & tuition, at-home memory logs and incident history reports).
Want to learn more about how LifeCubby can help your center succeed? Click here to schedule a free demo today!