Some may believe that opening a toddler daycare is as simple as putting together a few high chairs and some playground equipment. Putting out a sign and maybe running an ad in a local paper aren't enough to open the doors to a professional childcare facility. There are a lot of moving parts to opening any type of business, and one of the first steps is to draw up a business plan and list the necessary equipment for a quality operation.
There are many types of equipment necessary for a business such as this. You're probably thinking about swings and slides, tables and chairs, and maybe even a van. What most new entrepreneurs forget is the office equipment and furniture, parking lot fixtures and accommodations for special needs. Safety supplies include so much more than Scooby Doo bandages -- automatic external defibrillator (AED) machines with pads fitted especially for small children as well as a fully equipped first aid kit and outlet plugs for every area should be on the top of your inventory list.
Your inventory should also include a wide variety of toys that appeals to toddlers. These can range from large playhouses to board games to coloring books. Keeping pace with trends in both play and education will pull you ahead of the competition. The more your toy inventory both engages and teaches a toddler, the happier and more satisfied the children and parents will be. Choose toys without the small pieces that children can choke on or lose quickly. Don't forget the storage chests and shelving needed to return the items to at the end of a long and busy day.
If the daycare is not in your own home, you will need a fully-equipped kitchen complete with fire extinguishers, fire alarms, refrigeration units and ovens. Child-safe dishes and cutlery will also be necessary as well as cooking pans, baking utensils and a kid-friendly but healthy food supply. You can expect visits from your local health inspector, so be sure to have thermometers in all refrigerators and freezers and make sure your extinguisher contents are updated. A door or gate should also be in place so children cannot wander into the cooking area and harm themselves.
Before you sling out a shingle advertising your new venture, be sure you have all your ducks in a row. Training and licensing must be complete before you even think of taking in that first toddler. Frame the certificates and add them to your inventory of things you will need before starting on your great career adventure. Sit down and make a complete list of every single item you believe is necessary. Visit another local childcare facility and watch that inventory list grow. The items and equipment that are needed are almost unlimited. You will need to decide what is in your budget and what is most important to the safety and well-being of your young charges.
The office needs are almost always the last items people think of. They are also crucial items that you will need every day that the facility is open. Computers, desks, chairs, copy machines, shredders and file cabinets are just the basics of a well-equipped office. Add all the bells and whistles that you want or need, but be aware such additions can be costly. For a start-up operation, it may be best to stick with the basics until the business is better established.