Do you have what it takes to open your own child care center?

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Many child care centers are born out of family daycare operations. Whether a family has decided to care for children in the home and the demand has outgrown the space or a family cannot find a child care center that meets their needs, there are a variety of reasons they want to open their own child care center. During our beta testing, we met child care center owners who used to trade stocks on Wall Street, nurses, chefs and more—everyone came from a diverse background. There are a lot of reasons people open centers and we want to focus on tips to help make the process a little easier for you.

The first decision you must make is whether or not you want to be a licensed center or not. Licensing means different things in every state so look into what you need for licensing. Learn more about licensing and how to find requirements for your state here.

Next, start thinking about your budget* and how to take your business to the next level. Do you need to rent space? How much space do you need? What about paying employees? Figuring out how much money you are going to spend monthly will help you determine a budget so you can figure out rates, etc. Child Care Aware has resources on budgeting that can be found here. *When budgeting, it’s also a good idea to research grants and tax credits that may be available in your area.

Third, figure out how to market your center in a way that sets you apart from the competition. SmartCare has a variety of blog posts related to marketing your child care center including how to compete with free care, standing out from the competition and more. View all of our marketing blog posts here.

Now that you are ready to open your doors, there are just a few more things to think about before the families start trickling in. What is going to get them in the door? Are you offering a special for the first few months? What about discounts for referrals? Think about different ways to reach new families and give them a reason to try out your new center.