Child care is an essential and growing necessity for today's workforce. Working mothers and fathers are willing to pay a premium for quality day care for their children. Opening a private day-care center offers a viable business opportunity. It may also provide you with the best of situations, as you can care for your own children while earning money from the endeavor as well.
Research the regulations and laws that govern your city, county and state concerning the operation of a day-care center. This would include the amount of land necessary for legal operation, the caregiver to child ratios and other general requirements imposed so as to maintain a high standard of care. Also research the required legal licenses and permits for the operation of a private day care. (See Resources below).
Choose a location for your private day care, whether this will be your home or a rented facility. If you will open it in your home, designate the particular areas that will be used for the operation of the day care and which areas will be for private usage. Install partitions that will clearly demarcate the private areas from the day care areas. Aside from privacy issues, this is also important for tax purposes. (See Resources below.)
Design an outdoor play area, taking into account the cost of age-appropriate toys and equipment. This area must be fenced for the safety of the children. Obtain indoor toys, art supplies, play centers and other equipment that you will need to educate and entertain your young charges.
Research the health code regulations and FDA requirements for providing hot meals to the children. Plan an ongoing menu that is nutritious and varied enough to give even the most picky of eaters something to eat. Determine whether you will have on-site meal preparation or if you want to outsource this aspect of your day care.
Determine the hours of operation for your day care. Keep in mind that most parents are running late for some reason or another and you will most likely be working long days, including early morning hours before usual work hours and late evening hours after regular work hours. Estimate your staffing needs and post job listings for potential employees.
Write a business plan that will take all the above steps into account. A key component of your plan is determining the amount and source of the initial investment capital along with ongoing capital for the day-to-day running of the day care. A sound business plan is necessary to get a bank or SBA loan or even a government grant. The plan should also include a marketing strategy for getting parents to sign up their kids in your day care. (See Resources below for a business plan template for a day-care center.)
Refine your business plan and marketing strategy, and then implement them to open your private day care.