What does it take to be successful in child care?
Obviously, you should have a deep & passionate desire to take care of children, a huge amount of patience, and the ability to juggle several tasks at once (such as warming a bottle while helping toddlers with an art project).
It also helps if you have a separate space in your home, such as a finished basement, where you can run your child care business.
But as if that isn’t enough, there are many things that a successful home daycare owner needs to be good at besides caring for children. Honestly, it can be quite daunting.
Things like getting paid on time from parents, writing solid policies & contracts, marketing your business to new potential clients, obtaining the right insurance policy, understanding record-keeping and how it affects your taxes, and overall, just getting started in a manner that will optimize success.
To help you get started more successfully, here are seven of the biggest, costliest mistakes women make when starting their own home-based child care business, and how to avoid them.
BIG MISTAKE #1: Not doing the proper research on the child care market in your town or city.
This is a crucial step that many new child care business owners miss, usually because they’re not sure how to go about it. Or they may think that it’s not really necessary to do the research, because they don’t understand how it could impact them.
After all, it’s just a small home-based business, right? Why do you need to do all that extra work up-front?
The goal here is not to spend weeks or months completing some huge market research project that you’re not ever going to use.
I’m talking about spending a few hours over the next few days, calling around (or maybe visiting some other child care businesses) and asking key questions.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. My neighbor Mary, who runs a child care business in her home, discovered a couple things about our local market that helped her create a more profitable business. The first thing was, our town has ½-day Kindergarten, not full-day. By talking to other Moms in our town, Mary found there was a need in our town for “before-and-after care”, that is someone who could watch Kindergarteners & older kids before and after school. She structured her daycare to fill this need. All she had to do was make sure the buses were able to pick up & drop off these kids at her home, and she was able to start taking kids.
So what you want to uncover, when you do your upfront research, is a “pocket of unfulfilled need” in terms of child care. You don’t need it to be a huge pocket, but something unique about your business that will bring you customers who have that need.
Other examples of this are:
– offering second or third shift care if you have large companies …