Tips for Starting a Daycare Center



Maybe you’re a mommy who can’t find the perfect daycare center to trust your little one with, or maybe you’ve noticed a need in your community for quality childcare. Whatever your launch point, you’ve made the big decision to leap into the childcare business–and we applaud you for that! This should prove to be a rewarding and successful venture if you approach the planning process with a few tips in mind.

Do your research.

Before you embark on this adventure, you should be certain it’s right for both you and your community. Do a needs assessment before you invest your time and money into this venture. Also consider all your options: Are you planning an in-home daycare, or will you look for a facility? Maybe you’re only interested in infant care? Whatever you are considering as your focus, Child Care Aware is a great resource as you start your planning process. They publish guides to each type of childcare business and walk you through the process at the planning level.

Follow the rules.

Each state has licensing requirements for childcare facilities, and you’ll want to follow them to the letter. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education has a state-by-state list of licensing requirements as a starting point. You’ll also most likely be governed by your state as a small business owner, too. Check with your local government for all the rules and regulations on starting a daycare center.

Employ the right tools.

Take advantage of the many fantastic technologies available to daycare centers these days. Streamline your administrative tasks and you’ll have more time to focus on providing top-notch childcare to your families–which is your whole goal anyway, right?  Brightwheel is an easy-to-use, free mobile software app that will help you manage your school and stay in touch with families. Your staff will use brightwheel for recording and tracking daily events and activities in the classroom, and parents get real-time updates delivered to their mobile device throughout the day. This powerful app also offers secure, digital check-in/check-out, and an automated paperless billing system. This is a great way to keep your families looped in on daily activities.

Don’t forget marketing!

Depending on your size, you’ll probably need marketing collateral and an online presence. Advertise through local businesses, parent groups, local events, popular blogs. Try sites like Parenthoods or Red Tricycle, and don’t forget about social media. You could start with a campaign focusing on your target population, or host a grand opening event to attract families. The point is that once you’ve managed to fill your daycare center, you’ll need to continue with ongoing marketing efforts so that you’re always building a customer base.


Brightwheel is everything you need for your preschool or daycare, in one simple app. Download it today! It’s free and easy to get started in minutes.


June 10, 2015

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Great article, Jen! I’ve been thinking about starting a daycare, so I’m glad that I stumbled upon your article. I think you’re absolutely right: it’s important that you market your child care so you can get my clients. I’ll be sure to follow some of the tips you’ve shared with us here; thanks for the recommendations!

i just want to say thank you for putting this out there. I have been thinking about doing this for many years now. I have a number of years experience from working for other people’s businesses and would like to be my own boss. I do have people asking me to start one up already, just trying to figure out all the details. This article gives you a great layout on where to start.

If you are looking to set up your own facility (build new or renovate an existing building) it is so important to start with a good site so that your project moves smoothly through council. Childcare centres are known to generate both noise and traffic effects and if they are located in the residential area the look of the building can be considered out of sorts with the surrounding environment. Definitely do your due diligence with a Town Planner and Council.

I think it would be so good to start my own daycare. This article shows me a little bit about what to expect. Thanks for the great ideas guys.

My wife and I just started our own childcare facility and have been trying to find good ideas advertising and marketing our business. We just created some social media accounts for it and we have already seen the benefits of what it can do. I like your idea of getting into parent groups. I think that would be a good place to let them know of what we do. We are really enjoying our new business. We think childcare is so important and we want to make sure we can help as much as we can. Thanks for your advice!

Thanks for a great post! I agree that it is important to focus on marketing. You can have a great childcare center, but if no one know about it, you wont have any customers! Facebook is a great place to start as a lot of 30-year-olds are on it, but there are a lot of good options for marketing.

I have started a daycare center in Oregon. There are various dept that get involved in this process.
The City Planning Dept to see if the area is Zoned for child care
The City Building Dept to see if the Building Code needs to be changed
The Health Dept
The Fire Dept
Check the City Planning Dept for what kind of sign you can post
The Child Care Division in your state.
Once all of the criteria from these Dept were met, then you can open your doors for business.
There is the USDA food program that helps pay for some of the food served.
There are a multitue of website for curriculum and art activities.
There are some websites of other center or homes that can give you ideas on how to start up your business.
I am not stating this to deter you from opening, just to give you a perspective of what needs to happen. It can vary from state to state.

I liked how you explained how technology can make a daycare more successful. Using the right apps seems like a good way to get help managing a daycare facility. If an app can also help me keep in touch with my clients, then it seems like it would be worth using so that I can get automatic updates on early pickup times and details for taking care of a client’s child.

Very nice post. I certainly love this site. Continue the good work!

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