banner svg (1)

Daycare Business Financial Planning: Essentials for Launching Your Childcare Center

Explore various financial planning tips and resources for launching your childcare center.

Daycare Business Financial Planning: Essentials for Launching Your Childcare Center

Daycare Business Financial Planning: Essentials for Launching Your Childcare Center

Opening a childcare center is rewarding, but its success and longevity depend on proper financial planning. Before starting this journey, it's essential to consider everything that goes into daycare business financial planning. There's a lot to remember, from budgeting and securing funding to developing a profitable business plan and ensuring long-term financial stability. 

Keep reading to learn more about managing the financial aspects of establishing a childcare center. 

Budgeting basics for starting a childcare business

Creating a detailed budget is the cornerstone of financial planning. Establishing a childcare center budget will help track your income and expenses while also helping you improve efficiency in your operations and spending over time. Particularly in the beginning, drafting a budget gives you a clear view of the startup costs and what's needed to keep your center up and running. 

Practicing fiscal responsibility will likely help your business to succeed and thrive. When building out your budget, you can split expenses into two categories: operational and capital. From there, you can break down your budget into essential elements, including facility costs, staffing expenses, licensing fees, and other expenditures. 

Operating expenses

Operating a childcare center involves various costs to ensure that your facility runs smoothly and serves the children well. Key operating expenses include:

  • Licensing and accreditation fees
  • Facility rent or mortgage
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Taxes
  • Staff salaries and benefits
  • Administrative costs
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Transportation fees
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Cleaning services
  • Security
  • Food and snacks
  • Classroom supplies
  • Building supplies

Capital expenses

Capital expenses are one-time, long-term investments that contribute to the functionality and sustainability of your childcare center. Here are some capital expenses to consider:

  • Licensing, accreditation, and certification fees
  • Building or renovation costs
  • Furniture and fixtures
  • Play equipment
  • Security systems
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Transportation vehicles
  • Computers and technology
  • Learning materials
  • Outdoor facilities
  • HVAC systems
  • Safety and compliance features

Technology is valuable in managing and tracking your center's income and expenses. As you estimate your operational expenses, include the technology you'll implement to manage center operations. Solutions like brightwheel's center management software streamline your center's back-office operations, so you'll understand all aspects of your billing, payments, and revenue. It also enables you to manage admissions, pull reports, and communicate with staff and families. 

Tips for accurate cost estimation

Ensuring accurate cost estimation while setting up a childcare center is important in avoiding financial challenges. To begin with, researching your city and state's local guidelines can provide you with insights into the necessary licenses, certifications, and training required for your center. Moreover, it can also help you anticipate the upfront costs involved. 

As you progress with your planning, research local market rates for staffing, rental space, and other overheads. By meticulously estimating costs, you can ensure that your budget aligns with the reality of running a childcare center.

Person using a laptop for financial planning. Source

How to secure startup funding

Launching a childcare center usually requires a significant initial investment. Here are some ways to secure startup funding:

  • Grants: Research and apply for grants available for childcare businesses. Many government and private organizations offer grants to support early childhood education initiatives.
  • Loans: Explore loan options tailored for small businesses. Financial institutions and government-backed loan programs can provide the necessary capital.
  • Community support: Engage with the local community. Crowdfunding campaigns, partnerships with local businesses, and community events can generate financial support. You can also tap into your network of friends and family to ask for financial support.

Remember that crafting a compelling business plan is critical to attracting potential investors. Before any person, bank, or organization invests in your idea, they want to be sure that you have a solid business plan in place. Outline your center's mission, vision, target market, and competitive advantage. Provide detailed financial projections demonstrating the viability and profitability of your childcare center.

Developing a profitable daycare center business plan

It takes more than a single idea to open a profitable daycare center. Creating a business plan that includes insights into your local market, target demographics, the services you'll offer, and financial projections is also important. Here are some components that comprise a well-structured business plan for your daycare or preschool:

Understand local demand

Research childcare center trends, particularly ones that apply to your local market. See how many centers are open in your area and if there's a need that you can fulfill. Study your competition to learn more about what they offer, where they're located, their hours of operation, and more. Find ways you can set your childcare center apart from the competition.

Define your target demographic 

Understand the needs and preferences of families in your community to tailor your services accordingly. For example, are there a lot of commuting parents, young families, parents who require earlier or later childcare hours, or children who may require a specific type of care? These are all questions you should ask yourself as you draft your plan. 

Decide what services you'll offer

Clearly outline your childcare center's services. Consider what childcare services you'll offer (e.g., a center-based program, in-home daycare, or program that serves preschool-aged children). Include educational programs, extracurricular activities, and any additional enrichment offerings. Also determine what childcare curriculum and learning approaches you plan to implement, such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia. 

Include financial projections

Present realistic financial projections. Include startup costs, monthly expenses, revenue forecasts, and a break-even analysis. The information you've gathered and included in your budget is essential to estimating your center's financial projections. 

Children planning together at daycare.Source

Best financial tools and resources to use when launching a daycare center

When starting any business, you'll want practical financial tools and resources that simplify your operations and keep you updated on your center's financial performance. Your center's financial success hinges on maintaining updated and accurate financials. You'll also need to manage bookkeeping and staff payroll. It’s important to have financial tools that enable you to quickly generate financial reports and have everything you need in place come tax season.

Brightwheel's user-friendly interface stands out as an all-in-one solution, catering to the specific needs of childcare businesses. It allows you to streamline financial processes, generate professional invoices, record income and expenses, track and run payroll, easily monitor cash flow, and provide tax documents, all within a centralized and intuitive interface. 

The platform also automates transaction tracking, making it efficient for daycare owners to monitor financial activities, reconcile accounts, and maintain accurate financial records. Its seamless integration with banking systems facilitates real-time updates on all financial transactions.

Having a comprehensive childcare management solution like brightwheel on hand allows you to simplify back-office operations and focus on providing quality care.

Long-term financial sustainability tips for new daycares

While initial financial planning is crucial, ensuring long-term sustainability for your childcare business is equally important. Consider the following tips:

Maximize tax benefits

When prepping for tax season, look for ways to lower your center's tax liability to help you save money. Consider various deductions such as the cost of supplies, rent, utilities, maintenance, equipment, staff training, salaries, employee benefits, and more. 

Diversify revenue streams

Explore additional revenue streams such as after-school programs, summer camps, parent workshops, events, or specialized services to enhance financial stability.

Continuous cost monitoring

Regularly review and optimize expenses. Identify areas where you can reduce costs without compromising the quality of care.

Community engagement

Foster strong ties with the community. Positive relationships can lead to increased enrollment and support during challenging times.

Promote your center

Use social media to promote your center constantly. It helps to share educational posts, center updates, and fun events and activities for children and their families. 


What is the profit margin for a daycare business?

While community-based centers typically have thin profit margins, chain centers often see annual profits ranging from 15% to 20%.

How profitable is the childcare industry?

The childcare industry can be profitable, especially with careful financial planning. High demand for quality childcare services creates opportunities for successful ventures.

The profitability of the childcare industry can vary based on various factors such as location, scale, and enrollment. According to research, the average turnover per daycare in the US is around $230,000 per year, with potential profits reaching 15% at scale, equivalent to approximately $35,000 per year.

How do I create a budget for a daycare center?

After researching the costs of opening a childcare center, you can reference this sample operating budget and download this free annual budgeting template

Is the daycare industry growing?

Yes, the daycare industry is growing due to increasing workforce participation and a growing awareness of the importance of early childhood education. The US childcare market size was valued at $60.4 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.18% from 2023 to 2030.

How can I make my daycare more profitable?

To enhance profitability, focus on performing efficient operations, providing quality childcare services, forging relationships with families, and maintaining community engagement. You may also want to consider offering diverse services to attract a broader client base.

Get ahead with daycare business financial planning

Launching a successful childcare center requires significant financial and strategic planning. From determining the start-up costs, securing funding, and projecting profitability, financial planning plays a vital role in the success of your venture. By conducting thorough market research, creating a comprehensive budget, and exploring potential revenue streams, aspiring childcare center owners can position themselves for long-term financial stability. 

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

Subscribe to the brightwheel blog