Private kindergartens and child day care centers are popping up at every street corner, and it makes sense, considering that most parents are trying to balance work and family life. Currently, there are approximately 846,085 day care operators in the United States alone. This number is expected to reach 856,238 by 2020. If you're planning to start a business in this niche, research the ins and outs of managing a day care and come up with a plan.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The key to successfully managing a day care center is to have a solid business plan and stay organized. Come up with unique ideas and activities for your day care facility, hire qualified staff and leverage the power of online technology to streamline your operations.
Consider Using Child Care Software
Child day care services are booming. Financial experts predict that this industry will be worth over $49 billion by 2023. This makes it appealing to entrepreneurs and business owners looking for new revenue streams. Managing a day care center comes with its challenges, though. These services are tightly regulated and must adhere to the highest-quality standards.
As a day care manager, be prepared to handle extensive paperwork, from invoices and financial statements to child information. Everything needs to be sorted out and organized; otherwise, you might run into legal trouble. Consider using software programs to streamline your operations and stay compliant. These may include:
- Online or cloud-based day care center management software
- Accounting software systems
- Communication software programs for keeping in touch with the parents
- Database management software
Ideally, choose a complete day care center management solution that stores child and family data, generates invoices and allows for digital check-ins and check-outs. The solution iClassPro, for example, is designed for schools, kindergartens, day care centers and other class-based businesses. It provides everything you need to manage a child care center, from integrated billing solutions to class scheduling, attendance tracking and communication tools. These services do require monthly or annual fees but can help you avoid hefty fines and can simplify your everyday operations.
Understand Day Care Center Management Challenges
Paperwork is just one aspect of the regulatory challenges of managing a day care. You will also need to build trust with parents, find qualified teachers who enjoy working with children and ensure a steady flow of income to keep your business running smoothly.
Another factor to consider is children's health. Toddlers are prone to infections and injuries. Therefore, it's important to make sure your staff practices good hygiene, sanitizes the toys and play areas and prepares fresh, nutritious meals for children.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends that parents look for facilities with a well-planned written curriculum that covers all aspects of child development. It also advises them to ensure that teachers supervise all children, adjust learning materials based on their needs and use a variety of assessment methods. Furthermore, teachers should be trained in pediatric first aid and know what to do when a child is sick. Your child care center should meet or exceed these standards.
Grow Your Day Care Business
Marketing is an integral part of managing a day care center. It should also be one of the key points in your day care business plan. Without good marketing, you won't be able to reach your target audience and generate revenue. You also need to implement activities that appeal to parents and that separate your business from the rest.
Brainstorm unique day care ideas to promote and grow your facility. It's not enough to create a safe space for children to play and interact with each other; you also need to help them develop their skills and grow as individuals. Educational toys, board games, workshops, boot camps and outdoor activities all provide tremendous value. For example, you can organize weekly events for both parents and children. Consider inviting guest speakers, organize an art fair or host contests with prizes.
Seek creative ways to promote your day care center. Leverage the power of social media and use online platforms like Facebook and Instagram to connect with parents, address their concerns and show why your facility is right for their kids. Another option is to launch a child care app for your day care center, as this will make it easier for parents to keep in touch with their children while at work or on the go. Attend family-friendly events in your area to connect with potential clients and spread the word about your day care business.
- Statista: Projected Number of Daycare Operators in the United States From 2017 to 2021
- Statista: Industry Revenue of “Child Day-Care Services“ in the U.S. From 2011 to 2023
- Capterra: Child Care Software
- iClassPro: iClassPro Features
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: The 10 NAEYC Program Standards
- Forbes: Growth in U.S. Day Care Businesses
- Educa: 6 Affordable Marketing Ideas for Child Care Services