13 Steps to an Ultra-Successful Preschool Startup
So you’ve decided to embark on a new journey to begin a preschool center of your own...
And your timing is just right; according to Forbes and a leading data aggregator, Sageworks , there’s no better time than now to open a daycare center. More families than ever have two working parents, and more families still are willing to travel out of their immediate neighborhood to give their kids the best possible education.
Preschool programs are also consistently growing in sales. Sageworks reported that even during the 2008-2012 recession, childcare programs like preschools increased in profit by 6-7% annually, making them a steady business option for long-term growth.
Read on to learn what you need to do to launch a profitable daycare center of your very own. Disclaimer: remember to be patient, a lot of the licenses and certifications necessary to start a childcare may take several months.
Here’s what you need to get started:
1. Gather Information.
Contact your state’s Division of Child Development for details about starting a preschool program.
2. Obtain a business license from your state.
You can usually apply for one online at your state's ‘Department of Business & Professional Regulation' website. You will likely need to pay a small fee, and depending on the state, and you may need to open a business banking account.
3. Write out a business plan.
Keep clear, attainable, and measurable goals to keep you focused. Be sure to pay close attention to safety regulations, teacher to child ratios, and space requirements. This will vary by city government as well, so be sure to contact your the local office in charge of county-wide education regulations.
4. You’ll need property.
The location is incredibly important if you want to build an impressive, safe, and trustworthy preschool. If you're just starting out, be sure to consider the possibility of adding an extension to your property. Keep those long-term goals in mind and check with your local zoning office to make sure that your property is suitable for commercial services. Most importantly, you'll want to figure out whether your property will be a good fit for long-term growth. Also make sure that you choose a visible, central location with plenty of parking to prevent accidents in and around your property. As always, safety first.
5. Insurance comes next.
Your current insurance company probably has an appropriate insurance plan for you. Be sure to keep your goals in mind and let them know how many students will be on the premises. Your company will likely want to inspect your property as well, so make sure that your building is up to code and meets all of the necessary safety regulations of your city.
6. Make sure you or your employees are qualified to teach preschool in your area.
This will vary from city to city, so you'll want to ensure that you and your fellow teachers have all of the certifications they need to start! Keep in mind that finding and training your staff may take time and resources, so be sure to set aside money for posting high-quality job ads and paying for certification exams.
7. Safety First!
Your space will likely have to pass some basic safety tests before opening up for class. Be sure to have a healthy stock of fire extinguishers, escape routes, first-aid kits, an alarm system, and anything else that your city government requires of educational facilities. Your local will likely offer a list of guidelines to follow
8. Now comes the fun part! It’s time to design your curriculum.
Depending on the kind of preschool you want to be a Montessori, Waldorf, or Parent Co-Op preschool, you'll need a thorough plan for prospective parents and teachers. Building out your preschool lesson plan will also ensure that you have all the right materials in stock before your first semester begins.
9. Buy Furniture and Materials.
Once you have a solid curriculum in mind, you can start stocking up on the things you need, design the layout of your classrooms, and shop for tools and supplies for your students. This is an essential step at this stage since you'll need photos of your furnished classroom to market your new business!
10. Build a Website.
You'll need to find a reliable, professional web designer or design company to create a fantastic preschool website. Be sure to have a bright display of your curriculum, your mission statement, and background information about your teachers and methods. Try your best to cover all of the topics a concerned parent would have and set yourself apart from run-of-the-mill daycare centers by featuring high-quality reviews, credentials, and accreditations (if you have any). Remember, the more credible you are on paper, the more likely discerning parents will choose you.
11. Have a lawyer draft up a contract for parents.
You'll certainly need some legal assistance to make sure that you have all your legal bases covered when the time comes to sign an annual contract with parents. From safety and liability to payments, your legal documentation is a must for an effective program.
12. Create a Formal Application.
Once you have all of the pieces in place, it's time to upload forms to your website. Work with your lawyer to determine all of the information you'll need from students and parents, and use this as the basis for your application. Be sure to include critical screening questions about medical history, allergies, and other potential behavior concerns. The less you leave up to chance, the better prepared you and your staff will be for the first day of class.
13. Implement a Solid Marketing Strategy.
Once you've finished your website, you'll need to update it regularly with events and updates. If done right, it can become a valuable resource for parents and teachers. You'll also want to update social media channels, get a listing in as many childcare center directories as possible, including print-based media like the local paper. The more you market your business, the more likely you'll have a full class come fall!
While starting a preschool is no easy feat, it can and will reap incredible rewards. Using our step-by-step guide, you'll be up and running in no time. From building strong foundations for children in your community, to winning financially as more families choose your school, you'll discover that this was one of the best life decisions you've made to date.
Need assistance building your website and marketing your preschool online? Let our team handle it for you. With personalized attention and impeccable designs, we can help your daycare center maximize it’s potential and thrive.