Just Graduated from College? Start Your Own Daycare Business

If you’ve just graduated from college, opening a daycare business can be an excellent way to begin your career as an entrepreneur. According to the National Household Education Survey, 58 percent, or about 6.38 million working parents, rely on childcare services. This demand presents a great opportunity for you to build a rewarding career in the childcare industry. In this article, we will provide easy-to-follow, yet comprehensive steps to help you get started on launching your own daycare business. So, let’s get started!

Choose the Type of Daycare You Want to Operate

Before planning how you will run your business, decide first on the type of daycare you want to operate. Depending on the licensing regulations of your region, different states can have different classifications for daycare businesses. Generally, these categories are:

  • Family Childcare: This type of business provides care for children in a residential or private home setting. In this format, a smaller group of children of mixed ages are under the supervision of a single care provider and may include care during non-traditional hours.
  • Childcare Center: This non-residential facility provides care for children in a classroom setting at a commercial location. A childcare center with multiple staff members typically cares for larger numbers of children, divided into different groups according to age.

In order to choose the type of daycare you’d like to start, you’ll want to consider these two options and determine which fits with your personal goals and interests, as well as the professional pathway you’d like to follow.

Create a Business Plan

The next step to starting a daycare is to create a business plan that will serve as a roadmap for building your daycare business, along with strategies to achieve your desired results. To ensure your plan is effective, include a well-defined mission statement and strategic plans for operations, procedures, staffing, and budgeting needs. This plan will help keep your business on track and moving toward long-term growth and success. For a comprehensive plan, use this daycare business plan template for guidance.

Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

To legally operate your business, secure the required licenses and permits. Depending on where your business is located, the application process can be rigorous; however, once this process is completed, you’ll be ready to move ahead in opening your daycare business. In the application process, the issuing authority will first review your background, experience, and other relevant information. From there, you’ll need to ensure your daycare meets the standards for building codes, zoning laws, and health inspection requirements. Obtaining this paperwork is essential to ensure that your daycare business meets acceptable standards and regulations.

Find the Best Location for Your Daycare

Whether you open a daycare business in your own home or in a commercial facility, carefully choose a strategic location with a target audience who have a high demand for childcare services. Ideally, look for a place that is conveniently located, easily accessible, and child-friendly. To remain compliant with applicable regulations, ensure that your chosen location meets zoning, fire, and health and safety laws. Additionally, if you plan to start a daycare in a residential area, review your mortgage deed and HOA agreement to determine if there are any restrictions.

Secure Financing

Starting a daycare business requires a degree of upfront investment to cover initial startup costs. If you do not have the funds necessary to run your daycare, secure financing through personal savings, loans, and investments. Other possible financing sources include funds from friends or family members, business partners who will share ownership with you, or banks or credit unions. Additionally, consider taking out a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or apply for grants from nonprofit or charitable foundations. 

Hire Experienced Team Members

Depending on local regulations and the number of children in your childcare center, consider hiring staff to ensure that every child in your daycare receives adequate care and attention. Employ qualified and experienced caregivers and administrative personnel to handle the day-to-day operations. To ensure the safety of the children in your facility and maintain an excellent reputation as a childcare center, thoroughly conduct background checks, request references from applicants, and require staff to be appropriately licensed and trained.

Develop Policies and Procedures

To ensure the smooth operation of your daycare business and create an environment children will enjoy, you will want to establish boundaries and procedures. This process includes developing emergency plans, safety procedures, privacy protocols, and facility rules. Ask parents to sign your “childcare service contract,” upon admission, which will outline the responsibilities of the parents and those of your daycare business. This contract will ensure all parties are informed and in agreement regarding the policies of your daycare business. 

Market Your Daycare Business

Now that your daycare business is up and running, it’s time to market your services to attract potential clients. Utilize conventional marketing approaches, such as distributing flyers in local libraries, community centers, and schools. Additionally, leverage social media and set up a website to create a professional and engaging impression for your daycare business.

Starting a daycare business right after graduating from college can be challenging and there is no blueprint for success, but taking these steps will help you get off to a solid start with excellent prospects for long-term growth. Congratulations!

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