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Program Director

10 Step Checklist for Opening a New Child Care Center

September 17, 2021

Whether you’re preparing to open your first child care center or your fiftieth, congrats! Opening a new center is an exciting process and we’re happy to support you every step of the way. Read on for 10 steps you don’t want to miss when opening a childcare or daycare center. It will help guide you as you get your brain waves moving and creative juices flowing. As you read through the list make a mental note of where you are in the process and which areas are left to complete. 

Here are 10 steps to Opening your New Childcare Center. 

1. Connect with your Licensor

Depending on the type of center you wish to open it’s an important first step to connect with the licensor in your area. Depending on your business model and the regulations in your area your licensor can help you determine if your center needs to be licensed or not. If your center needs to be licensed, it’s important to get the process started right away. Licensing can take longer than expected, delaying the opening of your doors and costing you precious time and money!

2. Write your Business Plan

One of the first steps to starting any successful business is to write up a business plan. Start by defining your mission, vision, and business goals and go on to research competitors, hire personnel, and lay out your startup budget . Check out our recent blog post for an ultimate checklist for your business plan!

3. Financing

At this point in the process it is important to figure out financing options. Can your center qualify for grants or government assistance? Can you find an investor to fund your startup? Do you have the credit rating needed to secure a traditional bank loan? Determining how to fund your startup budget is an essential part of the process. 

4. Find a Location/ Building

They say real estate is about Location, location, location, and childcare is no different. Don’t settle here if you can help it. Be wise and choose a location that’s easy for commuting parents to drop off and pick up. The location of your building can be a deciding factor in the success of your center, so don’t rush into a purchase. Do some location analysis so you know where you need to be before choosing your building.

5. Marketing

Once you have a business plan and a building location it’s time to market your business. Start a facebook page, send out a mailer or connect with a marketing agency to help. There are so many ways to market your childcare business online.

6. Prepare your Handbook

Having a curated handbook for both the families and staff in your center is a must. Take some time here to make sure that you don’t miss anything. It’s wise to glean from other existing centers in addition to your own experience as you put together your handbook. I recommend finding someone to bounce ideas off here, don’t do this phase alone. For some of our tips check out our ultimate childcare handbook checklist!

7. Choose a Child Care Management Software

Utilizing an online child care management software is increasingly important due to it’s time-saving and communication benefits. Spend some time determining what you need and what you’re willing to pay. Be sure to schedule a few trials and demos before making a decision. Sandbox Software is an example of an easy to use all-in-one management software with great reviews. Quality software will offer online registration, billing, payment, instant communication with parents, and much more. Schedule a demo today or sign up for a free 30 day trial, you’ll be glad you did! 

8. Start Enrollment

Once you have a location and know your capacity, you can begin to think about starting the enrollment phase. The beginning of the enrollment phase includes defining your enrollment process, calculating tuition, and choosing schedule options. If you’ve already completed step #5 this step should be in full swing already. Consider hosting an open house to get started. Check out our blog for everything you need to know about hosting an Open House

9. Hire your Team

Although hiring is #9 on the list, it can really begin as soon as you have a business plan and an opening date. It takes time to assemble a childcare dream team so get started right away. Designing your job descriptions, selecting the right candidates, and training new hires will all need to be done before you open. 

10. Get your Facility Ready

Once you’ve secured a building for your childcare center you will want to design your space and identify whether any remodelling is needed. You will want to look at things like classroom sizes, bathrooms, sinks, emergency exits, and outdoor play areas. Especially if you plan to get your center licensed, you will want to carefully plan these items according to licensing requirements. If any remodelling is needed to your space I recommend doing it right away before opening your doors. Then start outfitting your classrooms for the big opening day! 

Final Notes

Like what you see in our ten step process? Then take the next step and jump over to our Opening a Childcare Center eBook. We designed this ultimate guide to help you with every detail along the way! We hope it saves you time and stress so you can avoid re-inventing the wheel and focus on the joys of your new venture instead. Wishing you much success in starting your new childcare center, drop us a line to let us know if we can help in any other way!

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