What is needed to succeed in childcare?
Clearly, you should have a deep and passionate desire to take care of children, a lot of patience and the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once (like warming up a bottle while helping toddlers with a artistic project.)
It is also useful if you have a separate space in your home, such as a finished basement, where you can manage your childcare business. that's not enough, there are many things that a home day care owner must be good at next to looking after children.
Things like being paid on time by parents, writing solid policies and contracts, marketing your business to new potential customers, getting the right insurance policy, understanding record keeping and how it affects your taxes Overall, we are just starting to maximize success.
Here are the seven most expensive and costly mistakes made by women when they start their own home childcare business.
BIG ERROR # 1: Do not do proper research on the market for child care in your city.
This is a crucial step that many new childcare business owners miss, usually because they are I do not know how to s & # 39; Take it. Or they may think that it is not really necessary to do the research, because they do not understand how it could affect them.
After all, it's just a small home-based business, is not it? Why do you need to do all this extra work in advance?
The goal here is not to spend weeks or months making a huge market research project that you will never use.
I'm talking about spending a few hours over the next few days, phoning (or perhaps visiting other day care companies) and asking key questions.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. My neighbor Mary, who runs a day care business at her home, has discovered a few things about our local market that have helped her to create a more profitable business. The first thing was, our city has a half day kindergarten, not a full day. In discussing with other moms of our city, Mary found that there was a need in our city for "before-after care", that is to say someone who needed it. one who could observe kindergarten children before and after school. She structured her daycare to fill this need. All she had to do was make sure the buses could pick up and drop those kids home, and she could start taking kids.
So, what you want to discover, when you do your initial research, is a "pocket of unfulfilled need" for childcare. You do not have to be a huge pocket, but something unique in your business that will bring you customers who have this need.
Other examples are:
– offer a second or third shift if you have large companies in your city that employ staff in the evening or at night
– offering bilingual care or special languages, such as sign language for babies
– offer special meals (such as organic or vegetarian foods) if you live in a city where it would be desirable (like Boulder, Colorado or a similar university town)
Again, you ask key questions and try to discover an unsatisfied need in your city or city. You can start by calling your local resource and guidance agency for childcare, your local elementary schools, chat with your neighbors and friends, and visit other daycare businesses in your city. You can even call other home care companies and talk to these women about what they see in the market. Usually, women in day care support each other by forming friendships and partnerships, so do not be intimidated.
By taking the time to do the research, you will have a huge advantage in understanding your market and how you can be
BIG ERROR # 2: Do not get the right liability protection for you and your business.
If you want to be able to rest easy at night and not worry about being sued, you will need to be properly covered. You need the real scoop on the type of insurance to buy, and how much it should cost, so you do not pay too much.
Many new business owners make the mistake of thinking that the policy of their owner is enough to cover them if there is a problem. But the truth is, this policy does not usually provide enough protection, nor the right kind of protection you need for the special situations that a daycare owner may face.
An example of this situation would be if your house had a blackout, and you had to shut down temporarily due to the loss of electricity. If you had a professional liability insurance policy for "interruption of business income", you would be covered by your policy and you would still get that income.
Similarly, if a parent has filed a lawsuit, your policy will cover you in most cases.
Surprisingly, a corporate responsibility policy for a home daycare is not so expensive, and well worth the investment (in my opinion). These types of policies usually cost between $ 30 and $ 40 a month. Is it worth a good night's sleep?
BIG ERROR # 3: Do not charge the right fees
Do you know how to know what other child care centers are asking for? Most new daycare owners literally leave money on the table by not setting their rates properly. You will be changed by loading too little, and if you charge too much, you will not get any customers!
So, how are you going to determine what to charge? It's a process similar to that of the initial search in your city … just make a few phone calls or visit other daycare companies and set the prices so appropriate.
fare for each child, regardless of the age of the child. However, if you talk to centers in your city, most of them charge the highest rate for infants, and the lowest rate for older children (pre-K and above). Many parents are used to this type of price structure.
So, depending on the age of the children you can accept, if you charge a little more for infants and young children, you may find that your income will be a little higher than a flat rate for all ages. You will have to look at your individual scenario and choose what suits you best.
For example, say that depending on your state and the age of your own children, you can accept 1 baby, 3 young toddlers (15 years old). -24 months), and 2 older toddlers (3-4 years old). If you charge $ 120 a week as a flat rate, you would have a weekly income of $ 720.
If, however, you charge a little more for infants ($ 135 / week) and toddlers ($ 125 / week) and less for older toddlers ($ 115 / week), your income weekly with this scenario would be $ 740. This equates to $ 80 more per month, or $ 1,040 more per year
. Small adjustments like these in your price, if it makes sense in your area, can make a difference in your profits at the end of the day.
BIG ERROR # 4: Do not cover yourself with a custody policy manual and a contract.
Okay, it's a very big one. You must have a well written contract for your parents, and you need a comprehensive policy manual. If you use your contract and policy manual correctly, you can literally save yourself thousands of dollars in lost revenue (and countless hours of headaches!)
So, what is the difference between a contract and a police? a binding legal agreement between two people. If you agree to take care of a child and the parent of the child agrees to pay you for this care, you have entered into a verbal agreement. If you put the contract in writing, it becomes a written contract.
There are five key elements of a child care contract: the names of the parties, the hours of opening, the termination procedure (ie, terminating the Agreement), the terms of payment (including rates, due dates, and additional charges), and the signatures of the parties. Be specific and clear with your wording.
A policy manual is longer and more detailed than a contract. It should contain all the rules that indicate how you will take care of children, how you will handle specific types of situations, and how you run your business. For example, you should include your vacation policies and sick days, how you deal with behavioral issues and discipline, and how children will be fed.
It's a good idea to require a signature page at the end of your policy manual. the parent agrees that he has read the entire manual and agrees to abide by the policies you have set out.
You must have both documents in writing. (If you need real examples that you can copy and edit to fit your business, they are provided in my childcare success system … more on this later.)  BIG ERROR # 5: Do not use the best means Let's face it, you may not be a marketing and advertising salesman, but you need easy and inexpensive ways to get the word out and attract new customers.
We have all heard that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. It's after you've started and your customers recommend you to their friends and neighbors.
But what about when you open your doors for the first time and you have no antecedent?
Fortunately, there are many ways that can get the word out about your new daycare business, and most of them will not cost you a lot of money. Here are 4 marketing ideas to get you started.
Marketing Tip # 1: Register with the Child Care Resource and Referral Service (CCR & R) in your area.
This is the very first thing you should do to get your name, and this should be done before opening your doors. The Web site is located at: www.childcareaware.org
Then, enter your postal code in the search field and you will receive the coordinates of the nearest CCR & R office. You can also call them toll-free at (800) 424-2246
Since December 2007, to be registered with most CCR & R companies, you do not need a license. 39, state or certification. However, they may have special requirements to list, depending on your condition.
For example, in Ohio, they demand that single parent caregivers have a maximum of 6 children at any one time, and not more than 3 children under 2 years of age. If there is more than one home caregiver / facility, the numbers may be higher. These rules vary by state, so be sure to call your local CCR & R branch to confirm your rules.
Once registered with your CCR & R, it will provide your contact information, as well as any special information about your daycare, to parents seeking childcare … free!
Marketing Tip # 2: Contact all elementary schools on your bus route and / or in your community.
Most schools maintain a list of child care providers that they provide to parents on request. Ask for your name and phone number to be added to the list of suppliers.
Marketing Tip # 3: Communicate verbally to everyone you know.
Tell everyone you know that you provide child care and ask them if they know someone who is looking for child care in your area. Make an announcement to your church, and to all other groups to which you belong. If you do not belong to any community group, join! You are an entrepreneur now, it's time to start networking!
This may be your best source for enrolling daycare children. Most parents prefer to leave their children with a provider recommended by a friend, neighbor, colleague or family member.
Marketing Tip # 4: Place ads or classifieds in community newsletters.
Ask all the organizations you know and / or belong to a church, playgroup or community group, if you can place an ad in their newsletter.
If you know of a community group, a church, and / or a professional sending a newsletter by email, ask them to advertise your business for local residents in their database. In your advertising, focus on the unique features of your business and the benefits that children and parents will receive from your registration.
Remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg. When you learn these easy and inexpensive methods (or free) to bring new leads, you will have a full and profitable daycare and you will establish an ongoing relationship with your parents-customers that will make them mad about you.
Now back to the 7 biggest mistakes and how you can avoid them
BIG ERROR # 6: Do not use tons of free resources in your area, including sources of subsidies. 19659002] Many new daycare or preschool owners are unaware of the local resources available to them and how to navigate the waters of local, regional and local government agencies.
With so many organizations and websites, be really hard to know where to go and who to ask if you do not know where to start.
The best place to start is with your state. Every state in the United States has an agency within their state government that sets the rules for home child care providers. This agency is usually called something like the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), or the Department of Employment and Family Services (DJFS) and they all have sites Web
(If you are in Canada or elsewhere have a similar office in your government).
Simply go to your state's website (for example http://www.Illinois.gov ) and search for the appropriate department, or type "child care" in the search box .
The website must contain the phone numbers of the Child Care contact in your state. Call them on the phone and find out about the rules of your state and what they recommend for people who are starting to look after their family.
Most counties also have a daycare service that helps people at the county level. Ask your state contact person how to find help for your specific county. Then contact your county representative and ask the following questions (these are also good questions to ask your state representative):
– What do you need to know that specific rules or regulations for your county?
– What training do you have to follow before opening your doors?
– What type of continuing education / training is required?
– Do they have any recommendations on insurance providers for daycare owners in your county?
– What resources do they have to help you get started?
– Do they know of sources of subsidy or low interest rate start-up loans?
– Are there local or county support groups that meet to discuss child care issues?
There may also be other questions that you will think about. Do not be intimidated. You have the right to get the best information to start, and you owe it to yourself to start with as much success and knowledge as possible.
BIG ERROR # 7: Do not get a license or certified by your state.
Getting a license or certified with your state can be a bit of work, but it's probably easier than you think. Usually, to get a license, you have to undergo some training (often very inexpensive or even free) and your home will be inspected once or twice a year by a state inspector to make sure that the guidelines are respected.  There are many reasons why you should consider it … the main reason being that you can charge higher rates!
Here are some of the other benefits you will gain by being licensed or certified with your state:
– You will be proud to know that you are providing the highest quality of care (and you can communicate it to others).
– Potential parents will be more likely to choose you, so you will not have to spend so much on marketing and advertising
– Schools and other businesses will be more likely to recommend you.
– You may be eligible for grants or low-interest loans to expand your daycare or improve it with a new outdoor playground, etc.
– You will stand out from the crowd as a superior company.
You will have the best chance of success if you strive to be the best in what you do.