One of the most important factors in starting a childcare business is having the finances that are required to start a new business. Expenses can add up quickly when you are starting a daycare, so it is common for new business owners to first investigate where they will find the funding. If you don’t have the finances yourself to start a business, applying for government grants is an option you may want to consider. We have all the details you need to know about starting a childcare business with government grants.
You can start a daycare business with government grants by finding the best grants for your specific business through grants.gov. The process of applying for government grants includes determining your startup costs, putting together a list of the grants you want to apply for, putting together your business plan, gathering other required documents, submitting your information and then tracking the status of your grants.
Determining Your Startup Costs
Before you start searching for government grants, we recommend determining your startup costs first, so you have a clear understanding of how much funding you will need. This will help you search for grants that are more likely to meet your needs since the amount of money available will vary depending on the grant.
When you are determining your startup costs, it is best to include all your expenses needed for the first 6 months of your operating your business. This will give your business time to start growing your client base and earning income. Once you’ve reached 6 months, a lot of the startup type expenses will be paid for and your expenses will be consistent.
Some of the startup costs you want to plan on in your budget include your business license, any building permits you will need, business insurance, enough toys to get your business started, safety equipment, educational material and cleaning supplies.
Another benefit of determining your startup costs is you are less likely to run into surprises down the road. By having a startup budget, you will have a clear understanding of what costs you can expect to have during the beginning phases of your business.
Searching for Grants You Qualify For
The first step in funding your new childcare business with government grants is finding the grants that your business may qualify for. When searching on grants.gov, you will see an extensive database that is full of grants available through various government agencies.
However, your business will not be qualified for most of the grants you see in the database. You will need to read through all of the grants on the site to discover the grants that fit both you and your business. Each grant will have specific requirements that the business needs to meet in order to be able to receive the grants.
You do want to keep in mind the amount of time it can take to search the database to find grants that will work for your business. Since you will be looking through such a large amount of grants to find ones for your business, you want to ensure that you have extensive hours available to spend searching for grants.
Another option available if you don’t have the time available is to hire someone you trust to search through the database for you. If you choose to go with this option, it’s important the person you hire has a full understanding of your business. This will ensure that the person searching the database will know what requirements to search for.
The amount of time it takes to search for potential grants will depend on your availability and how much time you can put towards searching for government grants. If you set aside a couple of hours per week towards looking for grants, you will have a great list in no time!
We recommend first making a list of links to the grants that your business would qualify for. After you have the full list, then you can move on to the next steps that include gathering the information. We have found that it works best if you gather all of your potential grant links first, so you can submit all your applications at the same time.
Gathering your full list first will help you save time and also keep everything organized. Once you have your list, you can check off each grant once you have successfully applied for it. If you mix both looking for grants and submitting your applications, you can get confused about what grants you have applied for and what applications you still need to submit.
Putting Together Your Business Plan
Depending on the specific government grant, you may be required to provide your business plan, along with the other documents they require. A business plan helps the person reviewing your information see an overview of your business while looking through your application. It’ll give them a clear idea if your business is a great fit for the grant or not.
Putting together your business plan is not a step you want to take lightly. This is a business tool that you will likely use frequently throughout the life of your new childcare business. Your business plan should include details regarding your business budget, marketing plan, ideal target market and research explaining the competitive market.
Your business plan is not only needed for applying for grants, but it also acts as an incredible business tool. It gives your business a sense of direction and gives you a place to refer back to. It acts as the vision for your business.
We recommend keeping your business plan in a place that you can easily refer back to, since there is a high chance that you will need it again in the future. It is also a great idea to have an electronic copy of the business plan backed up on a storage device (in case anything happens to your computer).
Gathering Other Required Documents
Since each grant will have different requirements, it is important to pay close attention to what the specific requirements are for the grants you plan on applying for. You want to gather all your required documents before you submit your information.
If you are missing any requirements when you submit your information, you can jeopardize being approved for your grants. For some government grants, you won’t be able to make any changes or resubmit your application once you’ve submitted it once. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you’ve gathered all the documents you need first.
Examples of other documents you may be required to submit are your business license, certifications of certain trainings, and details on the business owner. It is always better to be safe and be extra prepared with any information you may need.
Submitting Your Information
Once you have gathered all of your required documents, it is time to submit your information. Grants.gov gives you the ability to submit your information online through their website after you have created your own account.
When you are submitting your information, you will also need to fill out the application that has your general information. When you are filling out your details, you want to take your time to ensure you fill out everything correctly. As we mentioned earlier, you can jeopardize your ability to get a grant if you have any incorrect information or are missing anything.
Although we mentioned paying someone you trust to gather the grants you may qualify for, it is recommended that the actual business owner is the one to submit all of the information for the government grants. Your application and required documents will have private business information.
The other reason why it’s recommended having the business owner submit the information is that you want to review all the information before you submit it. You want to take your time to ensure everything has been entered properly. No one will know your business better than you, the business owner!
Waiting to Hear Results
Applying and receiving government grants can be a lengthy process. Once you have submitted all of your information, you will also need to wait to hear back on the results for each grant you apply for. This can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.
One great benefit of grants.gov is you have the ability to track the status of the grants you apply for easily on the website. You don’t need to call a government office and wait on hold to check the status of your grants. As long as you know your login credentials, you can easily check the status online, even from your smartphone.
Since it can take a while to hear back about grants, this option is best for those who have time available to wait to receive the funds. If you need funds right away for your childcare business, you may want to consider other finance options (like a business loan).
When it comes to starting your daycare business with government grants, it can be a time-consuming process, but it can be an incredible tool for financing your business. The grants.gov website makes the process easy to follow and simple, even for those who may not be the most tech-savvy.
Before jumping to business loans automatically when starting your business, we do recommend at least seeing what grants may be available for your business. If you don’t look into business grants, you may be missing out on free money.
By following our steps included above, you will be on your way to finding financial assistance to help you with the startup costs of a new business. With financial assistance, your business will have a solid foundation!
What is the difference between getting a business loan or a government grant for my new childcare business?
Business loans and government grants are two excellent ways to find funding for your new daycare business. Business loans are great for the business owners who need financing quickly since you will get your funding much quicker with a loan than a grant. However, you want to keep in mind that you will have to pay back your loan over time.
Government grants will require large amounts of time to find the grants you will qualify for and then more time to go through the application process. Grants are not an option you want to consider if you need the funds quickly. However, the large benefit of grants is you aren’t required to pay these back (unlike business loans).
How long will it take me to get my new daycare business up and running?
The length of time it takes to get a new daycare business up and running will depend on your location of the business and your availability to get through all the required steps. It takes anywhere from 2 months to a year for a daycare to be open for business.
Generally, daycares that are operated out of a home take much less time to launch. In most states, in-home daycares have fewer permit requirements. You also don’t want to spend the time looking for commercial buildings and getting it set up.
Is starting a new daycare business expensive?
Starting a daycare business does not have to be expensive. A large factor that determines the startup costs is your location. You can keep your costs down by starting your daycare in your home (if you have enough space available).
All daycare businesses will have a standard set of expenses they can expect. As a daycare, you can often keep your expenses lower in the beginning when you’re working with a low budget and then invest in more tools as your business grows.
You will need to pay for your business license, permits, business insurance, safety equipment and toys to keep the children entertained. Other likely expenses include meals for the children, training for employees, and both indoor and outdoor play equipment.
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.
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