Business Overview

Today the vast majority of parents work full-time in addition to raising their children. Roughly four in five parents utilize some form of child care as they struggle to balance the responsibilities of their jobs alongside being a parent. Daycares provide a valuable service to these parents. Furthermore, by engaging children in fun and educational activities with peers, day care centers allow children to develop some independence from their parents, as they learn how to play cooperatively with kids their own age.

Who is this business right for?

Do you like playing with kids? Do you have children of your own? A day care is an excellent business for parents who wish to spend more time with their own children, while at the same time helping other parents by providing high quality child care.

Child care providers are responsible, friendly, patient, and good communicators. Taking care of multiple children is a real challenge; it takes a special person who can give adequate attention to every child in his or her care.

What happens during a typical day at a daycare?

A child care provider typically works during normal working hours, while parents are at work and are unable to watch their children. Depending on the arrangement made with clients, a daycare owner may prepare meals for kids, or offer them snacks to eat throughout the day. Normal activities for children include playtime, reading aloud, watching educational videos, solving children’s puzzles, and other fun and wholesome ways to pass the time. If you are caring for infants and small children, you may also need to change diapers, and clean up after any unexpected accidents. You will also have to make sure your kids are following their scheduled naptime. As a daycare provider, you will need to be present with the children at all times, or have someone on your staff with them. Every state has a different requirement for the ratio of care providers to children at any given time.

In addition to the work of caring for children, you will need to allocate time for communicating with parents, marketing your day care business, and possibly hiring and training staff, depending on the size and scope of your day care.

What is the target market?

Your main clientele will be working parents who have young children and who need someone to help watch their kids during the day. Depending on your location and the specific needs of your local community, you may also wish to cater your services to a certain demographic. The kinds of clients you attract will also largely depend on how much you charge and the quality of care you are able to provide.

How does a daycare make money?

Day care providers are paid either an hourly rate per child or a fixed monthly or annual rate.

What is the growth potential for a daycare?

As high quality childcare is a basic need for most American families, the childcare industry will always have a steady stream of clientele. The growth potential for your day care business will depend largely on the demographics of your area. Find out the age breakdown of your local population. How many young people are there? How many are married or in a long-term partnership? The average age women have their first child is 26, although this number varies considerably depending on the unique circumstances of each person.

How much your business expands largely depends on how ambitious you are. To give an example, Anne and Robert Kennedy, owners of Annie’s Children’s Center, started their first center in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1995. By 2005 they had expanded to three different centers in the greater Detroit area.