Day care centers are places in which children, usually between the ages of six months and seven years, are taken care of and, if they are old enough, taught basic things- alphabets and numbers, colors and shapes etc. They usually serve as care centers for little children who need to be looked after in the absence of their parents or guardians and can also function as centers in which children are introduced to learning.
Two things make the daycare center business potentially lucrative: Nigeria’s ever increasing number of children aged below five years, and the growth in the number of families in which both parents are away from home- at work –for the greater part of the day. These two factors have combined to make the provision of daycare services a profitable venture. Those who have set up such centers with the right knowledge, planning, and resources at their disposal, have found it really profitable.
Here are the steps you should take if you want to establish a daycare center:
- Find out how much demand there is for the service.
Before you set up a daycare center, be certain that you have rightly assessed the need for it in your community or in the area you intend to site it. Find out how many families could be potentially in need of the service.
- Research and learn about the running of daycare centers.
Talk to people who run existing childcare businesses, to know how they run their centers (if you’re inquiring of a potential competitor, you might have to be discreet in the way you do this). Read up all the material that you can find, and learn as much as you can. Thankfully, such resources are available at the click of a mouse- the internet can help you out.
- Estimate costs and draw up a budget.
Do a thorough review of cost estimates for the project, and have a budget properly laid out for it. You will have to factor in all expenses to be made, including equipment, rent, power, staffing and other costs. Rough revenue projections may help you determine the time it would take for the business to break even.
- Select a location.
Choose a location that meets your cost, convenience, and purpose-based requirements. If you’re renting a facility, be sure to take one that is spacious enough to accommodate the number of children you want to care for. The outdoor area should be large enough for the children to play in.
- Equip the center and hire staff
Things you’ll have to get for your daycare center include children’s books, pencils, crayons, paper, toys, and furniture. Have toys that give the children the opportunity to learn, and develop their creative and problem-solving skills from a young age. In addition to this, child-sized furniture (chairs and tables), cots and foam mats will have to be provided for the children’s comfort. Bathroom facilities should be in place too.
If you’re hiring staff, ensure that you get people who either have some training in child care or have some experience in this area. Set aside some money for payroll (as well as for rent and other utilities) until you actually begin to make a profit. Also, make sure you have a clearly defined operations policy and daily routine plan before starting off.
- Get the word out
Your business will need publicity attract customers- in this case, parents. This can be done through various means: word of mouth, flyers and posters, and social media. In the end, the publicity your enterprise gets depends on the effort you put into letting the world know about it. You’re the first and most important advertiser your business will have.