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The Ultimate Guide To Starting a Daycare Center


If you have a passion for child care and finesse for business, starting a daycare center is a great way to channel your expertise while serving the community. You may see a need for a safe, quality child care environment within your community. Building your own business can be daunting, and there are many financial, legal, and logistical details. From licensing to marketing, we’re here to guide you through every step of starting a daycare center.

1.) Research Licensing

The first step to starting a daycare center is learning about the licensing requirements. Your local government will have rules and regulations that govern small business owners. Contact your state’s Department of Children and Family Services to learn the regulations for childcare providers. Don’t try to cut corners, as it will only result in legal issues down the line.

2.) Create A Business Plan

Creating a business plan will help guide the startup process by organizing your ideas. This is where you’ll decide on a name, mission statement, organizational plan, staffing, operations, budget, and more. You’ll work out the details of costs and how you plan to finance your center. A business plan will help you stay on track and meet your goals after launching.

3.) Seek Out Tax Credits & Grants

There are several government grants available to small business owners that can help cover the startup expenses, such as the Community Facilities Grant Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency, and the Small Business Innovation Research Program. Small business owners also qualify for tax deductions for expenses, including wages, advertising, supplies, equipment, insurance, and more. 

4.) Write A Contract

Write up a contract that outlines your daycare center’s rules and policies. A written agreement will allow you to communicate expectations with clients. Your contract may cover rates, payment, time off, pick up and drop-off times, sick policy, and what services you provide. An attorney may also advise you on what the contract should include.

5.) Invest In A Marketing Strategy

A solid marketing strategy makes a world of difference in attracting clients. Your target audience will be parents, so focus your advertising on places where parents will see them. Post flyers in local libraries, gyms, community centers, coffee shops, and grocery stores. Create a website and build your online presence. Social media is effective not only for promoting your business, but to set yourself apart from competition as a voice of authority and build trust with potential parents. Share parenting and daycare tips, and highlight local events as an advocate for your community. 

Join the MKU Family

MKU has decades of experience navigating each step of starting your own daycare. We offer the utmost support, from finding the perfect location and procuring funds to negotiating your lease and marketing childcare services. Let us guide you through the process of starting your daycare center.