One reason why daycare centers are experiencing steady growth over the last five years is that the startup cost of roughly $50,000 is relatively low. However, if your center is going to have the modern technical equipment and outside playground equipment that most new childcare facilities have, these startup costs will be substantially higher. There must be a way to help offset the high equipment cost of starting daycare or upgrading an existing daycare.
To apply for a grant to purchase new equipment for your daycare center, you must go through your state’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R). These agencies will assist you in applying for grants that can help you to either start a new daycare or make improvements to an existing daycare.
In this article, we are going to take a look at a few of the different grants available for purchasing equipment for your daycare center, and the types of upgrades for equipment purchases you can use this grant money towards. We will also take an in-depth look at the requirements which must be met to qualify for these grants.
What Grants Are Available To Help My Daycare Center Purchase Equipment?
There are several grant options from which you can receive funding to improve your existing daycare center, or to start a childcare facility. The website Child Care Aware states that there are funds earmarked in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act that provide funds to build a better daycare system in the United States. In total, this bill provides 39 billion dollars for both parents who need child care services and owners and operators of daycare centers. Amongst the many much-needed improvements that must be made first to the American daycare system, the American Rescue Plan provides funding for items such as rent, mortgage obligation, utilities, insurance, and facility maintenance or improvements, as well as upgrades to existing equipment.
According to the Houston Chronicle, another grant that can be used for equipment purchases is the Community Facilities Grant Program, which is awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This grant can be used to “finance the construction, expansion, and renovation of essential facilities used for community, public safety, health care and public services such as daycare centers.” It can also be used for equipment necessary for facility operations.
Since computers are considered to be an essential aspect of facility operations, this grant money can be used for purchasing computer equipment. You can also allocate some of this grant money to purchase washing machines, dryers, and kitchen equipment for your daycare. This grant program. is available to people located in cities, towns and districts with fewer than 20,000 residents.
Another grant that can provide a much-needed source of funding for your daycare center is the Community Development Block Grant, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The differentiating factor in this grant is that it is awarded to state and local government agencies, rather than awarding the funds directly to owners of childcare facilities.
These agencies then award this money to fund capital projects to improve the living and economic conditions of communities. A few of the many uses of this grant money are to build daycare centers, upgrade or improve daycare centers, and make renovations to non-residential buildings. The amount of money awarded by these grants is determined by factors such as the population and the poverty level of the community.
Applying for these grants is a relatively simple, although somewhat tedious, process. You can check your center’s eligibility for these grants, as well as apply for them, by following the links I have provided. You can also visit the Resources 4 Me website and click on the “Grants” button to see what grants your daycare may qualify for, as well as start the application process.
What Kind Of Equipment Does My Daycare Need?
Whether you are starting a new daycare, or upgrading an existing Center, the most expensive purchases are going to be your equipment. When parents are touring potential daycares for their children, the equipment the center has on hand can be a differentiating factor that separates your daycare from other childcare facilities. While you should allocate some of your grant money for much-needed playground equipment, a substantial amount of your equipment budget will be used for purchasing computers and software for students to use in your daycare center.
Traditional daycare centers used to be primarily used as a service for working parents who needed someone to care for their children. The main function of the center was to entertain children, and to keep them occupied. The equipment that these centers needed amounted to not much more than traditional playground equipment such as slides, swing sets, sandboxes, and a few outside toys. Then, we began to slowly start seeing a shift in the primary function of daycare centers, as most parents wanted something more than for their children to be occupied or entertained. Many daycare centers began to rebrand themselves as Early Learning Centers. With this rebranding came the implementation of computers and learning software into a learning-based curriculum for the children.
Equipment that encourages learning through play can also be a valuable asset to your childcare facility. Some of the more traditional types of learning toys found in daycare may include blocks, puzzles, and books. However, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to learning and developmental toys. A couple of examples of toys that can help foster a passion for learning in your daycare centers may include items such as memory games, name puzzles, and toys that incorporate counting and math into their design. You can use grant funds allocated for equipment purchases and upgrades to make your daycare the Early Learning Center that most parents are looking for in a childcare provider.
One of the most often overlooked aspects of a daycare center is the kitchen. If your daycare center is serving hot meals, it will probably have a kitchen that includes an oven and a refrigerator. Because this equipment may be viewed as necessary for the daily operations of your daycare, you may use some of the funding provided through equipment grants to purchase these items.
As I’m sure you already are aware, kitchen equipment can be quite expensive. These costs can add up quickly if you are solely responsible for purchasing them. However, each state has its own unique set of rules and regulations regarding daycare centers. You may want to look into these regulations before deciding to open a daycare. For example, my son went to a non-profit daycare center that was not allowed to have a kitchen on the premises, according to Alabama state law.
Learn how to start a successful daycare business.
It’s true. Equipment purchases for daycare centers can be costly. However, you do not have to be solely responsible for these purchases. A few ideas for equipment purchases that your daycare may benefit most from are our computer equipment, playground equipment, and kitchen equipment. There are a handful of grants available to daycare owners, which can help to offset some of the costs of these purchases. Applying for these grants is a relatively easy process. You just have to make sure that you are thorough and detailed when filling out the applications. Having a little patient won’t hurt either. Some of the grants that are available to you as a daycare owner are:
- The American Rescue Plan
- The Community Facilities Grant Program
- The Community Development Block Grant
Is it easier to open a traditional daycare center or a Montessori School? While both of these centers have plenty of state and local government regulations you must follow, opening a Montessori school is a much more involved process. Besides having to follow normal state regulations and guidelines, you must also be Montessori certified to own or operate a Montessori School. The start-up cost for a traditional daycare center is around $50,000, while there are also several more financial qualifications you must meet to own a Montessori School. You must have at least $200,000 available in liquid assets, have a net worth of over $300,000, and pay a substantial franchise fee to open a Montessori School.
What is the basic equipment needed to start a daycare center? Besides adhering to all of your state and local government’s rules and regulations, starting a day-care center is not that difficult. If your goal is to open a traditional childcare facility, and not in Early Learning Center, you will be able to open your center with minimal equipment purchases. A few of the necessities your daycare will need are kitchen equipment; tables and chairs; cots and rugs, and a few toys. You may also want to consider purchasing a few pieces of outdoor equipment if your center is going to have a playground.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.