"Our parents love seeing their kids throughout the day on the Parent App."

Neena Locke
Childcare Director

7 Things to Consider When Starting a Child Care Business

May 13, 2021

Are you dreaming of starting or expanding your business? The dream phase is an exciting time, with thoughts and visions of leading your own team, working when you want, and having instant success. Unless we want the dream to remain a dream, however, it’s important to understand what starting a business really entails so you can craft a plan to use your energy and passion to turn your dreams into reality!

Today we’ll explore a few facts about starting a business specifically pertaining to the child care industry. More and more child care is seen as a necessity, but quality care isn’t always easy to find. That means the market is there - you just have to step in to fill the need. The question is are you up for the challenge!?

In order for you to truly answer that question I believe you have to understand the following 7 things: 

1. It’s never a get rich quick scheme

The first step in starting a new business is understanding that no business worth pursuing is simply a get rich plan. If you start your business for the wrong reasons you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Starting a business requires passion and hard work. These are great things that you will reap benefits from, but not necessarily in the first few years

2. Hidden costs

There are always hidden costs when starting a new business. One important part of starting a business is creating a startup budget. As you work through this make sure that you are leaving room for extra costs that come up along the way. Make sure that you spend some time exploring the actual costs of opening a daycare center before you get started. 

3. Always on the Clock

As an entrepreneur your lifestyle will shift. No longer are you clocking in and out each day, you’re on the clock all day long as your work will follow you wherever you go. Especially in the child care world if you plan to open a new center expect to have few breaks in the first couple years, including vacations. Your full time, energy and mental capacity will go into your work, but it will have its own rewards! This may sound tough, but you can keep fresh and productive by building breaks into your schedule.

4. Customers Can Be difficult

In the child care world I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that customers can be a huge pain in the butt. As the owner of the center you are now the top of the pyramid and will end up dealing with the unhappy families in your center. No matter how great of a center you lead, I can promise you that you will come across unhappy families but you can manage it by using proven strategies to deal with conflict at your center.

5. Staffing is a full time job

Until your center is big enough for you to hire a management team I can promise you that staffing will become your full time job. In the child care world staff turnover is one aspect that will hit you fast but as your center grows and opens new classrooms you will need to keep up. Staffing is an ongoing priority and since you are the one who is showing up at 5am to open when the opener is out sick, it’s important to hire great staff and onboard them effectively.  


6. The Long Haul

As a business owner you are in it for the long haul. This  isn’t something you start and pass off in a few years. Starting a center is a huge deal, so make sure that you understand and are committed for the long term. If you’re someone who gets bored of things easily or sees yourself in a different field in a few years, opening a center is probably not your calling. You may end up with heartache and disappointment (if not financial ruin) if your passion doesn’t last long enough for the long term rewards. 

7. You Can’t Please Everyone

The last harsh truth about being an entrepreneur is that you will not please everyone. If, like me, you are born and bred to be a people pleaser, just know that this is something you will need to work on because as a childcare owner you will have people who are not happy with you. This includes cranky customers and difficult staff, but also neighbors, competitors, and sometimes even your licensing agency. Just remember that it isn’t your job to please everyone, but rather to build a center where children can grow. It’s more important to do what’s right than please everyone so stick to your guns and don’t let yourself get pushed around!  

Final Notes

Sometimes the reality of business ownership sounds harsh. When put down on paper it could make you stop in your tracks and reconsider. But If I could say one thing that you need to overcome these 7 challenges in childcare it would be passion. Passion motivates hard work but hard work also develops your passion. If you have passion for childcare and are willing to put in the work then embrace the life of a childcare manager today and you’ll be on your way to making your dreams come true!

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