Keeping a group of toddlers occupied and writing a strong business plan may be very different tasks, but both take patience, time, and coordinating a few moving pieces. You bring the child care skills, this guide will help out with the other one, outlining the five key areas to include in an effective child care business plan. From financial projections to local business marketing strategies, here are the most important sections of a successful daycare business plan.
1. Executive summary
Your childcare business plan will be as functional to your business as a shelf stocked with Curious George. Not only is it an essential document if you’re raising funds for your business, but it’s also a helpful way to organize your thoughts and plans for yourself and to share them with employees.
Start every business plan with a summary to hook whoever’s reading it to learn more about your company and your proposal. Think of it a little like a sales pitch for your business and a preview of everything you lay out inside. Be sure to include:
- Contact information – Include your name, number, address, email, and any other relevant contact information so potential partners know how to get in touch.
- Business concept – Whether a one-person babysitting service or a 24/7 child care facility, include key details of your business, including staff size, services, a summary of general operations, and the required operating licenses you have or plan to get.
- Business structure – List owners, partners, managers, and employees, and explain the structure of your business and how it will run. This should also include your target demographic and basic marketing plans.
- Mission – Share your reason for starting a childcare business. For Matt and Anne Evers, owners of the Primrose School of Atascocita in Kingwood, TX, their business is personal: “Since both of our children attend the school it is very easy for us to ask ourselves when making daily decisions, ‘What’s the best choice for the child? What will result in the best outcome for [them]?’”
Keep the executive summary to one or two pages. You’ll have the space to dive deeper into the details of your childcare business in the following sections.
2. Location details
Child care is a local business, which means location, community needs, and demographics are all key in planning your grand opening.
Your business location will likely fall into one of two categories of childcare businesses:
- Inside your home – Operating within your home can mean less overhead costs, fewer rental expenses, and more flexibility. To comply with local and state safety regulations, you may be required to renovate or change portions of your home.
- Outside your home – Factor in rent, utilities, and any necessary repairs to the property. Whether renting in a residential neighborhood or purchasing a commercial property, summarize your general knowledge of the building and neighborhood, plus why you plan to operate there in this section.
Since your location is important to your childcare business, include insurance costs, relevant zoning laws, neighborhood information, and applicable details on kitchen and bathroom facilities.
3. Financial layout
An effective business plan will share both a compelling narrative for your idea and the steps you’ll take to make it a success. Your financial planning section should be well-researched with estimates for costs, the funding you’re seeking, and projected growth over the next three or more years. While this section is necessary for investors and partners, it will also give you a working plan to help your childcare business run smoothly and make a profit.
When fleshing out the financial section of your business plan, include details like:
- Tax plan – Share your business’s legal structure — commonly C or S corporation, general or limited partnership, sole proprietor, or limited liability company — to plan for taxes.
- Insurance – Assess risk, liability, protection, and coverage options to ensure you’ve covered all the necessary bases.
- Budget – Include both costs and projected profit for your child care business accounting for personnel, equipment, supplies, professional fees, and other expenses. Include monthly and annual budgets, as well as a cash-flow forecast.
Detail your plans for fluctuations, which is common for childcare businesses. Take it from Danielle Burns, director of Lil’ Red Barn Academy in Washington whose business experienced an influx of children in the summer of 2021, despite the summer typically being a slower time.
If you run into questions with the financial section of your business plan, consider tapping an accountant for help, especially if they have advised other local businesses in your area.
4. Marketing plan
It’s almost time to spread the word about your services. Building a marketing plan as a neighborhood business is more than catchy slogans and photos of cute kids. In this section, show your understanding of your local market and how your business will support it.
When developing your marketing plan, include:
- Market analysis – Summarize the state of childcare in your area: Will you be one of five daycares on the block, or are you opening up within a community that’s lacking in childcare options? Consider neighborhood trends, your competition, and the average cost of child care in your neighborhood. Include information on your target clientele and how you’ll meet their needs to show your business’s potential.
- Business niche – Whether you’re focused on a specific age group or specializing in evening care, explain where you fit into the overall childcare industry and how any unique services will distinguish you from the competition.
- The 5 P’s: Price, product, promotion, place, and people – You’ll want to make sure you’re offering the right prices and products to the right people in the most effective way possible. Analyze market and demographic data for marketing or advertising plans for your childcare business to reach the right clients for your business.
Start with a free business page on Nextdoor. Set one up for your local business in minutes to instantly unlock a following of your most valuable customers: neighbors. Show up in local searches when neighbors look for childcare options near them, share updates as you open and grow, and build trust in your business with recommendations.
5. Daily operations
The details of your day-to-day operations are just as important as the big picture ideas and long-term goals you’re setting. Use this section for the details of your services, including information on:
- Personnel – List your team along with the goals and responsibilities of each of their roles. Share details of your hiring practices and staff policies, from sick leave to the termination process.
- Structure – Include a schedule for what a typical day at your daycare looks like highlighting what makes your business unique: lunch or nutrition plans, classes and other organized activities, playtime, exercise, and storytime.
- Parental policies – The two most important details with parents are how you plan to keep them informed, and what your policies are. Pick-up and drop-off requirements, what happens if they’re late for pick-up, behavioral issues — build an action plan to set expectations when they first enroll their children.
- Emergency plans – Include fire escape plans, medical protocol, and other possible contingency plans as part of your daily operational details.
Build a community with Nextdoor
The building blocks of a successful childcare service start with a comprehensive business plan. From there, your business will rely on your local community and how you’re able to meet the needs of the families in your neighborhood to thrive.
With one in three U.S. households on Nextdoor, neighbors use the app every day to get things done, connect with everyone and everything nearby, and pass along local recommendations. With 50,000 shared each week, make the next recommendation for your child care services with a free business page and a plan to reach local families who need them.