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Establish Reasonable ExpectationsFirst, it is important to establish reasonable expectations regarding how your lifestyle may be affected by this business. If you plan to look after children inside your home, you will need to accept children into your home on a regular basis. If you will be the only childcare provider at your childcare centre, it is reasonable to expect that you will need to provide care to the children on a daily basis except for holidays. Others will be relying on you to care for their kids while they are in work. If you take a two week vacation and don’t have a back-up childcare provider available, the parents may be forced to make alternate arrangements. You should also establish reasonable expectations regarding your work hours. Working parents often need access to childcare up to an hour before through an hour after traditional business hours. This provides them with time to visit the childcare centre and complete their commute.
Research the MarketYou should also research the market thoroughly to determine what reasonable childcare service rates are in your market. Pay attention to which amenities and services are included with higher rates. You will need to be able to compete against other childcare providers in order to attract customers and to retain their services. This means that your rates need to be competitive, but you also need to create a facility that is equally as enticing or that offers something extra that other centres do not offer. Through this effort, you can see how profitable a childcare centre may be to operate.
Understand Regulations and LawsIt is important to research the regulations and laws in place regarding childcare providers. For example, all childcare workers in Australia will be required to have at least a Certificate III in the area of Children’s Services before 2014, and at least half of your workers must have a TAFE childcare diploma or more advanced credentials. There may also be licensing requirements in place that you must follow. Failing to comply with these and other industry guidelines can spell legal issues for you and your facility. Understanding what the regulations are is a first step toward ensuring that your facility complies with regulations and laws.
Set Up Your WorkspaceIf you have followed the above steps and feel that a childcare centre remains a viable goal to pursue, you should consider setting up your workspace and preparing to accept customers. Consider everything that you, the kids and your employees may need over the course of a workday. This may include administrative equipment such as computers, a copier machine and phones. It may also include cribs for infants, age-appropriate toys, a refrigerator for food and bottles, a changing table and other items. Kids need to spend time outdoors playing, so age-appropriate outdoor play equipment is necessary. You may have a difficult time finding new customers without the equipment already in place, so you may need to obtain a small business loan or make other arrangements to fund your business initially.
As you can see, there are many points to consider and steps to take before you can begin accepting customers. By following these steps, you can lay the framework for a successful childcare business.
Written by Kim Maynard Kim has recently returned to the workforce after being a stay home mum for three years. While she was not working, she completed a diploma in children’s services from HBA Learning Centre which helped her to land a job as the Managing Director of a national child care centre group.