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My Advice on Day Care Center Planning

May 25, 2008
You might find, if you have your day care center business plan in order, that a church or labour union will sponsor your business, or even offer financial backing. Arranging some sort of partnership or sponsorship agreement with an established local organization will solve a lot of problems for you, not only in the area of space but in assistance with start-up costs and city-father approval.

Incidentally, a day care center is perhaps the ideal business for absentee ownership or a group of professional investors. Keep this fact in mind as you organize your plan and seek financing.

Generally, a 'shoestring entrepreneur' in this business will do very well to locate in a vacant convenience store, or even a vacant grocery store in a larger shopping center. The zoning will be in your favour, plus you'll have adequate parking space, and less expense in partitioning or remodelling the building to suit your needs.

Ideally, your day care center should be located on a main thoroughfare, with the building set back from the street. You should be on the right hand side of the street as the traffic heads towards the major business or industrial areas of your community. In larger metropolitan areas, this would be on the city-side of the "bedroom" communities. In smaller communities, you can locate just about anywhere except in the downtown area.

If at all possible, you should plan your facility similar to a hospital or motel entrance. This would be a driveway from the street to your door, usually under a covered drive-thru, with the driveway continuing back out to the street. Your long-term parking space would then be located in the center of the 'U' or between the driveway and the street. You want to strive for the convenience for the parent in being able to drive right up to your door. She can drop off the child with only a few steps into your facility and easy access back onto the main thoroughfare.

Depending on your city sign ordinances and your finances, go all out with your sign. Advertise the name of your day care center, the hours you're open, whether you accept drop-ins, overnighters, or weekenders, and of course, your phone number.

The sign makers and advertising people may strongly advise you against so much wording on your sign, but in this instance, do not listen to them. Your sign should state all essential information, and serve to convince passers-by that you can handle their child-care problems whenever the need arises.

If you initially locate in, or through the sponsorship of a church or labour union, these people can assist you tremendously by including a mention of your services in their membership bulletins, and by passing out circulars or flyers.

You'll need to decide on your regular day care hours. Generally, these are from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. You'll also need to decide whether you want to offer breakfast for the children. If so, you'll have to plan for a cook and food supplies for morning meals. We'll discuss kitchen facilities and kitchen help later, but the first decision must be if you will include breakfast. You'll already be set up with kitchen facilities and a cook because you will be serving a noon meal. If you do decide to offer breakfast for those parents not wanting to feed their children at home, you'll be able to add $8 to $12 per week to their billing. By buying your food supplies in bulk, you'll probably be able to realize some savings in overall food costs.

You can begin small, and expand in stages with your profits. However, you must draw up a long-range plan detailing exactly what you intend to do, and each milestone you'll have to pass before proceeding to your next goal. In this way, you can succeed and attain not only the ultimate business, but also the kind of profits planned at the start.

The basic and bottom line secret to success with your own day care center will be your ability to hold your costs in line while achieving maximum capacity enrolment. You've got the plan and my best wishes for success!
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor.

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