In a world of DIY everything, opening a private home daycare has become the dream of many young professional parents. It’s a great way to create an optimal scenario for your own children and those of your friends, associates, and community, and can bring in some nice side income at the same time.
Opening any small business comes with its demands and challenges, and running a daycare involves more than the usual share. In this brief guide to these unique day-to-day challenges, we’ll identify some of the main elements you’ll need to focus on and offer tips on how to run a successful home daycare.
Safety first, client relations second
For starters, your ‘product’, if you will – happy, healthy children – requires a focus on health and safety far beyond most normative work environments. Any customer (parent, in this case) is rightfully concerned with the level of service he or she is receiving - and the well being of their children is the most prominent concern of their lives, with unparalleled expectations placed on daycare standards. This higher standard of client concerns must be navigated carefully, and potential well-intentioned parental interference should be expected and dealt with tactfully and reassuringly.
Finely tuned people skills will go a long way in dealing with issues of over involvement. Even more important, however, is maintaining rigorous safety standards. These include establishing a proactive policy against contagious disease, ensuring all staff is CPR certified and first aid trained, keeping record of allergies and other medical issues, providing a clean and healthy environment, and organizing well planned nutritional snacks. High rankings in the safety and health category will offset many potential issues and interference.
Children are unpredictable, and so it is a given that no caretaker can ever assume absolute control over all their movements and actions. As adults, we do whatever we can to minimize all risks, but accidents can still happen. Therefore, it is imperative to be solidly insured by a company which understands your business and the risks involved. NEXT Insurance offers affordable and simple Daycare Insurance policy options especially geared for home daycare businesses.
Time management tips
Automation software is playing an increasingly important role for SMBs of all types as a major time saver and stress reducer. A quality direct invoicing/payment system is a perfect tool for daycare businesses, and excellent apps abound that offer all-in-one scheduling, client data, employee hours tracking, and much more.
Delegating tasks is sometimes counterintuitive or not natural to many daycare managing personality types – but delegate you must! The desire for perfectionism and having your personal touch on everything is commendable, but for your own sanity and the smooth functioning of your home daycare, remember to trust your employees, and share the burden.
Getting the word out to potential clients can be a fun and creative part of your business – and is essential for growth. Networking is key, so look for online parents’ groups in your area in which you can unobtrusively promote your daycare. Another good resource is kindergartens and elementary schools in your area. Meeting the administrators of institutions like these will bring in recommendations for parents of younger kids.
Parent are notoriously meticulous when it comes to choosing a daycare for their child – and that’s a big understatement. So you can be sure they’ll be checking you out online after hearing about you, which is a prime reason to make sure your social media platforms and website are inviting, beautifully designed, and glowing with positivity. Encourage feedback from current and past clients, respond graciously and promptly to comments, and don’t skimp when it comes to investing in an excellent graphic designer.
Hosting a yearly event (BBQ, parenting workshop, open house) is a great way to meet local parents in a low-stress setting while forming relationships and answering questions. Have guests sign in with their names and email addresses so that you can follow up with more information and to thank them for coming.