Tips For Starting a Child Care Business
What to consider before becoming a child care provider
Do you want to become a child care provider and open your own business? You’ll need to do your research on the following:
Advocacy: “Speaking to policymakers … is a very important part of securing funding and ensuring regulations are reasonable and realistic,” says Tyrone Scott II, director of government and external affairs at First Up of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Child care providers should be prepared to advocate on behalf of themselves and the children in their care.
Breadth of Knowledge: Scott suggests prospective child care providers understand, or have partners who understand, both the world of early education and the realm of business. Skills in and plans for marketing and financing are as essential as knowledge of child care and early learning research.
Needs: The Maryland Family Network encourages potential providers to first conduct an assessment to consider the needs of the community. This assessment should answer the question “what existing programs are there, and are there any gaps in services?”
Pay: Child care is essential to our society, but it does not often pay well, unfortunately. Many are looking to change this situation.
“The education and ongoing training which child care providers are expected to obtain is expensive and time-consuming too. They should earn a living wage or better,” says Douglas Lent, communications director of Maryland Family Network. “Expanding access to pre-K programs, increasing reimbursement rates for tuition assistance and supporting minimum wage increases are all good first steps to make that happen. But changing how we think about early care and education as a society is a shift whose time has come: These are not babysitters. They are educators and should be respected and compensated as such.”
Check with your community for state-specific guidelines and procedures for operating a child care center.