If you’re considering starting a day care center, you’re in good company: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 428,500 of all day care workers are self-employed or unpaid family workers. Opening a day care business can be as hassle-free as sectioning off part of your house, or as complex as designing a day care center from the ground up. Either way, if you’re a hard worker who loves children, a day care business could be a very rewarding endeavor for you.
The first thing to consider is your attitude as both a businessperson and a caretaker. You must have an interest in the development of infants, toddlers and preschool children. In some cases, you must be willing to put in the hours required to obtain a Child Development Associate credential and attend continuing education classes annually. You must also have the mindset of a businessperson, or the ability to hire others who can do bookkeeping, accounting and other managerial tasks.
The success of a day care center depends largely on where it’s located. Does your city have a shortage of day care facilities? In many cities where there is a shortage, the state or local government offers grants to encourage entrepreneurs to start up their day care businesses. Query your local government about financial aid for starting a child care center. Also, to find out the level of your community’s need for a day care center, you can conduct interviews with local families, create an Internet survey, or collect data about the concentration of children/families in your area. The U.S. Census Bureau or your local municipal center are both helpful places to start.
According to BLS, jobs in childcare services are expected to rise 15 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to 11 percent for all industries. Day care centers, as opposed to home or “family care” centers, should expand more due to parents desiring a formal education setting for their children.
What to Expect
If you’re leaning toward the idea of opening a day care center, it helps to gauge what an ordinary day as a small business owner will feel like. Once your day care is running, you will probably work eight or more hours a day — and you’ll spend a good amount of your time standing and moving around. Although you may enjoy the daily challenges of working with children, beware that the turnover rate of day care employees is often high due to low pay, stress and lack of benefits.