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Growing From Daycare Center to Daycare Franchise

Explore strategic steps and proven insights for successful expansion and long-term franchise success.

Growing From Daycare Center to Daycare Franchise

Growing From Daycare Center to Daycare Franchise

Growing your daycare business into a successful franchise provides financial growth, marketing, and increased enrollment opportunities. But it also comes with unique challenges, including budgeting, resource allocation, and maintaining the quality of services. 

Reviewing your childcare center's financial health, learning about franchising, and assessing whether your business can transition to a franchise without compromising quality, will help you decide whether you can consider daycare franchise opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore strategic steps and proven insights for successful expansion and long-term franchise success.

Teacher with children sitting on floor at Montessori daycare center.Source

Opportunities for financial growth into a franchise

Before you can grow your daycare business into a franchise, you need to grow your finances. Preparing your business financially before you expand into a franchise will give you the resources you need to continue to provide the best care to families before, during, and after the expansion.

As you prepare to expand your daycare center, review your center's budget and look for opportunities to increase your revenue by engaging with your community and taking advantage of multiple revenue streams. Some of the most profitable revenue streams for daycare centers include:

  • Forming partnerships with other educational institutions and businesses that provide services to families of infants and toddlers in exchange for a percentage of the business's revenue.
  • Hosting paid workshops, training, and conferences that teach educators and childcare professionals about the latest advances in early childhood education.
  • Offering after-school programs for school-aged children and charging families tuition and fees.
  • Increasing your enrollment by offering discounts to families who enroll multiple children in your program.
  • Hosting paid seminars that teach families about child development, parenting, and early childhood education.

How to maximize your daycare business income without compromising quality

Implementing and maintaining high-quality services while you expand your daycare center will help you maximize your income so your business can grow into a successful franchise.

Here are some steps you can take to improve the quality of your services as you expand your center:

  • Update your curriculum: Review your daycare center's curriculum and, if needed, update it to meet your state's latest early childhood education standards. You can also use assessments and observations to determine what teaching strategies work best for your children and personalize your curriculum using the most successful strategies in your lessons. Implementing a personalized curriculum tailored to your children's learning styles will improve the quality and efficiency of your lessons and reflect well on your business, which may lead families to recommend your center to others.
  • Invest in staff training: Enroll your staff in training programs to help them learn new skills and provide them with information about the latest child development and early childhood education research. Staff training will improve the quality of your educators' care and instruction and your center's credibility, which will help you increase enrollment.
  • Automate your administrative processes: As you expand your center, look for ways to optimize your tasks to save time for income-building activities. You can use childcare management software like brightwheel to automate your center's administrative processes, such as billing families, tracking expenses, maintaining records, and running payroll.

How to grow from a daycare center to a daycare franchise

Growing your daycare center into a franchise requires careful planning and budgeting to ensure that each facility follows a consistent framework that allows it to provide families with the same high-quality care.

Budget for facility expansions

It's important to create a budget for expanding each center and an overarching budget for the franchise. When creating your budget, consider the following for each franchisee:

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  • Construction costs: A daycare center that becomes part of a franchise may need to move to a new location and may incur expenses for land acquisition, environmental and soil testing, building construction, furniture and appliance costs, and security systems, as well as additional fees for site development.
  • Fees: To grow your center into a daycare franchise, you’ll need to pay fees, including an initial franchise fee, real estate fees, accounting and legal fees, royalties to your franchisor for the rights to use their franchise's name, and the costs of marketing materials that you'll need to align with the franchisor's brand properly.
  • Regulatory compliance: Each franchise daycare center must comply with applicable legal requirements and health and safety regulations. You must obtain new childcare licenses, permits, and health and safety inspection documentation for your center according to your state's licensing requirements

Phased expansion strategies

Starting a daycare franchise doesn't have to happen all at once. Many franchisors divide their processes into phases. Following a franchisor's phased expansion plan can help you receive the ongoing support and resources you need to grow your center into a successful franchise. 

A Place to Grow, an early learning center in New Hampshire, uses a three-phase approach to franchising. The first phase includes training that teaches directors and teachers the administrative, operational, and marketing skills they need to start a franchise with A Place to Grow. The second phase includes a week of on-site training by an experienced trainer. During the third phase, A Place to Grow provides training in operations, client relations, and purchasing and helps daycare owners develop the marketing strategy and design of their advertising materials.

Childcare center expansion budget templates

Maintain consistency throughout each business

Daycare franchises have consistent marketing between all franchisees. Using cohesive marketing and design elements for all franchisees under the franchisor's brand helps to identify the franchisees as members of the franchise. This strong marketing increases the franchisor's brand awareness and recognition, builds trust among families, and makes the franchisor's brand memorable.

Franchisors often have a set curriculum that's used by all of their franchisees. Using a single curriculum ensures that every franchisee provides their children the same quality of education and enrichment. It also reinforces the franchisor's brand and demonstrates their commitment to high-quality education.

Daycare franchises will often use the same childcare management software for all their franchisees. Using one type of software for every location helps to improve efficiency and strengthens the franchisor's brand.

Integrate technology to improve efficiency and support growth

Integrating technology into your workflow as you grow your childcare business can make your financial processes more efficient and help reduce potential errors. Digital tools like brightwheel's billing and payment features can help childcare businesses create billing plans for multiple students, automate invoicing tasks, offer multiple payment methods and autopay to families, and access billing and tax statements instantly. All of these features can help you easily stay on top of your finances and save you time.

Other digital tools that can help daycare owners manage their budgets, create reports, and manage their resources include QuickBooks and FreshBooks.

Use staffing and professional development to fuel growth

When hiring staff for your daycare franchise, it's important to note the expenses and additional considerations of hiring new employees. For instance, you'll need to hire the appropriate number of educators based on the number of children you plan to enroll and ensure you comply with your state's staff-to-child ratio requirements. You'll also need to provide competitive benefit packages to your staff. Offering benefits to your staff can help you attract high-quality hires, improve your work culture, and show that your daycare prioritizes its employees' success.

Once you've hired employees, you'll want to provide them with high-quality training and professional development opportunities to help them improve their skills and advance their education so they can provide the best care.

Providing training and ongoing professional development to your staff can be costly. You can save money without sacrificing quality by enrolling your staff in cost-effective e-learning platforms like Care Courses, having experienced staff members share their knowledge with new hires during on-site training sessions, using free non-profit training resources, applying for educational grants for your staff, and using regular check-ins to encourage your staff to work toward professional development milestones.

Deliver continuous quality improvement to maintain new growth

It's important to monitor and assess your daycare's services on a regular basis. Think critically about the quality of your services and work to improve your business by implementing systems that allow families to provide you with feedback about their experiences.

Using a tool like brightwheel to collect feedback and taking steps to implement changes to your business based on the feedback you receive will show families and potential employees that you see families and employees as partners and that you value their insights about your business.

Final thoughts

Becoming a daycare franchise is a big step for a large daycare business, and it's important to maintain the high-quality care you provide as your business transitions to a franchise. Carefully managing your finances, maintaining consistency, and investing in staff can help you expand your business to the next level.

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

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