10 Common Challenges in Opening a Childcare Center & How to Overcome Them

10 Common Challenges in Opening a Childcare Center & How to Overcome Them

Opening a childcare center is an exciting and respectable goal to work toward. Today, there are growing opportunities and increasing demands for quality childcare, and you may be the best person to provide this to your community. But there are some expected (and unexpected) challenges you’ll need to be prepared for.

The good news is, any challenge can be overcome when you have a solid business approach. It takes work, but there are plenty of resources available to help you get there. 

If you’re opening a childcare center or daycare, keep reading. Here are some of the most common challenges to expect and the best ways to overcome them.

1. Securing Funding

Many aspiring childcare owners run into unexpected costs. From rent to equipment to marketing fees, childcare is a financially demanding endeavor. Many directors pursue public grants or government aid when first getting started.

Overcome initial funding challenges by starting with a realistic budget. It takes money and energy to open a daycare or childcare business, so it’s wise to work out all the numbers before diving in. 

2. Finding a Location

It can be difficult to find a childcare location. You have several options:

  • Offer daycare in your home. You’ll need the necessary licenses and permits. Plus, you must be careful to abide by limited enrollment numbers for home daycare.
  • Rent a space. In addition to paying for licensure and certifications to operate, you’ll have to cover the cost of rent, utilities, and supplies.
  • Purchase a facility. Some childcare facilities are purchased as commercial buildings, which means you’ll invest a lot of money. But there are trade-offs: you’ll be able to grow your business rapidly without as many limitations.

Consider what part of town that’s best suited for your business. What clientele are you serving? Do you want to grow a commercial brand or an independent daycare? These are all things to decide before finding a location.

3. Buying Childcare Equipment

Different early childhood education models require different equipment. For example, large facilities need plenty of tables, chairs, cubbies, and storage equipment while Montessori daycares use specific learning tools. Whatever the case, creating a great indoor learning environment for your kids is a great investment.

This can be a challenge because the equipment is expensive. It also takes time to set up. To overcome challenges in finding equipment and supplies, consider sourcing from online shops, TeachersPayTeachers, used furniture stores, teacher supply collectives, and more.

Take exact measurements of your space so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of exchanges and returns. Get help finding deals, ordering equipment, and setting up larger items so you don’t burn out before opening your childcare center.

4. Getting Licensed 

Licensure is required to operate legally and safely in the United States. Get clear on all the federal, state, and local regulations to avoid setbacks and prevent legal trouble.

Another way you can overcome licensing challenges is to stay up to date on annual renewals. Schedule digital calendar reminders, pay fees on time, and organize all your documents digitally so you have everything you need in one place.

5. Hiring and Training Employees

With the current staffing shortages, it’s extra challenging to hire competent childcare employees. You may need to offer higher pay or more promising career opportunities than your competitors in order to hire and retain teachers and support staff.

It can also be challenging to find the right type of people to hire. Remember: it’s not all about the educational background of a potential staff member— other factors are important, like compassion, communication skills, and willingness to constantly learn. 

6. Creating Childcare Curriculum

If you’re new to the childcare industry, you need to know how to educate young children in an environment where they feel safe enough to explore the world around them. Creating an early childhood education (ECE) curriculum is crucial to providing childcare as a service.

Overcome the confusion by focusing on the specific categories of ECE. Break down annual, seasonal, and monthly lesson plans to hit all the main learning assessments within the school year. 

Another way to develop ongoing curriculum plans is to stay involved in a community of supportive, knowledgeable educators. This will not only help you on your way to becoming an established business owner, but it’ll keep you motivated toward a greater cause. 

7. Acquiring Your First Customers

Marketing, promotion, outreach, enrollment— there are so many steps that go into acquiring your first customers. How can you do it all? 

Here are several helpful strategies you can use to start attracting parents to choose your childcare center.

  • Share the word: Tell your friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, and local community members about your new childcare or daycare. Tell them what makes it stand out and ask them to refer potential parents or employees your way.
  • Run online ads: Marketing your childcare center on Facebook, Google, Instagram, Yelp, and other platforms can have a big return on investment. You don’t have to run paid ads, but in the right situation, they can help. 
  • Market yourself locally: By posting flyers on gym bulletin boards, community announcement platforms, and other places families frequently visit, you can build interest in your business. Also, consider making a website and investing in SEO (search engine optimization) so locals can find you online.

Need help getting more childcare customers? Read our Ultimate Guide to Increasing Childcare Enrollment.

8. Communicating With Families

One surprising challenge many new childcare centers face is the amount of effort it takes to communicate with parents. Children can indeed be difficult to manage, but you’ll likely learn that sometimes, the children’s parents are even more emotionally demanding.

To overcome this challenge, make sure you maintain positive communication no matter what. Always make an effort to understand a difficult confrontation, and keep the kids’ best interest in mind. It’s financially difficult for many families to pay for childcare, so consider offering various plans and payment options.

9. Establishing Business Processes

Everything from time management to accounting can put lots of stress on childcare business owners. Overcome the headaches by establishing a solid business process ahead of time. Here are the main points of a business process:

  • Parent billing
  • Payroll
  • Accounting 
  • Parent-teacher communication
  • License compliance
  • Child learning assessments 
  • Staff development
  • Curriculum 

Come up with systems and procedures to operate from, ensuring your whole team— as well as your customers— know what to expect from your services. 

10. Managing and Maintaining Your Childcare Center

Once your childcare center is up and running, you need to focus on not only your business processes but also the management and maintenance of every aspect. It can be challenging to manage everything by yourself, which is why many providers rely on childcare management software

Childcare management software allows instant secure parent messaging, automatic billing, contactless check-in, learning assessment reporting, and more. Think of it as a digital administration and management tool to help you set up and run your business.

Ready to overcome all the challenges that come with opening a childcare center? Reach out to Daily Connect today for a free trial of our supportive management tool.

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