How to Start a Daycare Business

by Sean Ross

4 min read

Starting your own daycare business might feel daunting, but with the right advice, it can also be the first step on the road to financial freedom. There are many resources to help you learn how to start a daycare and how to launch your new business successfully, some of which also make tax time much easier.

Choose Your Daycare Location

Benefits of an in-house daycare include being able to stay home with your own young children, not having to commute to work, and a more leisurely morning routine. Drawbacks might include making your entire home child-friendly and sacrificing family time when parents run late. Advantages of a more spacious on-location daycare include the ability to host a larger number of children and potentially employing other people to help share the load. Possible disadvantages might include having to purchase the daycare location, the commute, and more complex licencing laws.

Create a Business Plan

Successful businesses don’t often achieve success by accident; they usually thrive as the result of an excellent business plan. The very first part of your business plan details who you are and what you intend to achieve, providing readers with a succinct overview of your intentions. Next, you research your consumer base, in this case, parents looking for childcare solutions, and outline several marketing ideas. After that, you present the ways in which you plan to make money from your consumer base, and how much money you expect to make within the first year, two years, or more. The most effective business plans are living documents, so they get updated with fresh information and new projections as entrepreneurs go along.

Obtain the Right Permits

Local laws vary from province to province, so you want to learn about the regulations in your area before you proceed. In Nova Scotia, for example, you need to obtain a licence to operate a childcare centre if you plan to care for more than six children of any age or eight school-age children at once. In Alberta, you need to get a licence if you plan to care for more than seven children at a time. These application processes, which usually take about three months, generally include an inspection of your home or off-site daycare facility.

Create an Educational Syllabus

Before you welcome your first child, decide what type of environment you intend to provide. Some daycare facilities have organized syllabi to give young kids a head start on education. Others provide toys and books for less formal free play. Still others combine both approaches for a hybrid daycare. Your choice may depend on your own educational background, how many children you intend to look after, and what consumers in your area want from a daycare facility.

Define Your Pricing Plans

Daycare clients generally appreciate clear pricing plans and well written contracts. Consider the amount of paid and unpaid time off you’d like to give yourself each year and include it clearly at the front of the document. Include a list of public holidays, such as Canada Day, Labour Day, and Thanksgiving, and let your clients know if you’ll be open or closed each day. Outline weekly or monthly charges for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children, and list any multi-child discounts. This is also the right time to create a company policy document, which you can use to explain required withdrawal notice, sick child policy, and other standard procedures to your customers.

Organize Your Finances

The old saying, “Winners keep score” particularly applies to financial aspects of running a daycare business. Online accounting programs, which work with smart devices and computers, can help you keep track of invoices. To stay on top of payments, consider incorporating Dream Payments into your financial setup. Use Dream Payments’ portable point-of-sale device to accept debit cards, credit cards and contactless payments as well as Apple and Samsung Pay transactions. You can link Dream Payments to your QuickBooks Online account with your point-of-sale device and also via the Dream mobile app. At tax time, you can deduct certain business-related expenses, including advertising costs, office expenses, field trips, and business-use-of-home expenses.

Hire the Right Employees

If you plan to keep a small number of children in an in-home daycare, you might decide to work without support. If you want to keep a larger number of children, you may need to hire additional members of staff. People with childcare experience and a list of reliable references often make great support employees. You can find out more about applicants by conducting pre-employment screening, which can reveal additional details about jobseekers, including any criminal histories. If the people you hire haven’t already gone through first aid training, consider sending them to a St. John Ambulance safety and life-saving course.

Find Your First Client

You’ve drafted a business plan, drawn up a standard contract, come up with a syllabus, and organized your finances. At this stage, you can begin looking for daycare clients in your area. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the daycare world, but before that, newspaper advertisements and yard signs can help drum up interest in your fledgling business. If you stick to your goals, keep track of incoming and outgoing payments, and make good tax decisions, you may see positive results within a surprisingly short time.Starting your own daycare business takes several steps; the more planning you do, the better prepared you will be to welcome your first clients and start generating income

References & Resources

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