Getting a daycare started with no money. First, of all you will have to find money somewhere, because even if you are planning on running things from your home, you will have to spend a little bit to be compliant with state regulations.
To start a daycare with no money you should start it in your home. You need to create a budget and within that budget consider what changes you need to make to get your daycare within state regulations. If you need money to make changes consider; grants, loans, investors and crowd-funding. Then make sure to utilize sweat equity whenever possible, there is nothing wrong with working for yourself and starting small.
To raise money through crowd-funding you could always host a benefit. It will require coordinating with your community. You want to have the cheapest start-up cost possible and the least amount of over-head. By keeping these things in mind, you can build up your business for sure. Running a daycare is a lot of work, before you commit too much (both financially and emotionally) you want to know that it is something you love.
To get started you need to evaluate the environment you will be utilizing to care for children. Something to get you started might be the best for you. You can use something that is handy, like a spare room, or your renovated basement. You can always look at commercial spaces too, but you need to know what is in your price range. If you can afford to rent a space, or buy a space and that works best for you then great.
Once you have decided on a location You need to determine how much it will cost to bring that place into compliance with state standards. The state regulations can be found online. I suggest you print them off to review them as thoroughly as possible, you don’t want to miss something.
BUDGETING & GETTING MONEY
Make sure you are tracking your expenses and checking back with what you are spending and earning regularly. Find out where you can save money and use those savings to reinvest back into your business.
To get that budget supplied with funds don’t be afraid to ask for help/ investors. If you talk to friends and family they may be willing to invest into your business.
You may also be able to try crowd-funding. Generally speaking daycare’s are desirable in neighborhoods. So neighborhood’s may be willing to pitch in, they may like the idea of having a place they can trust to take their children to. You can
earn money through a organized benefit’s coordinated with your community, they may even allow you to use one of their public spaces to hold the crowd-funding event.
How can you get a grant for daycare equipment?
There are additional ways for you to get money to start up your business. Consider a government grant, a bank loan, or a small business loan; you just need to do your research before stepping off. If you apply for a state grant you need to first decide what status you are applying under. Will you create a for-profit or a non-profit daycare? Usually a non-profit is more successful in receiving governmental grants.
There is the HHS grant, called the Child Care Development Block grant. It is a government grant created with the sole purpose of helping daycare’s get up to state regulations and standards. The government wants daycare’s around so why wouldn’t they help out owners with some funds. You can find other grants at online at sites like grants.gov.
Let’s say you don’t decide to go with a non-profit, if you open a for-profit daycare loans will be the way for you to go. To get started check out your preferred bank. Try going for specific types of loans that suit your needs, these are sometimes easier to obtain. If your go to bank doesn’t have the loan you are looking for, do a quick web search it may be worth your time. Bank loans will require a lot information from you such as, do you have collateral (a house or a car you own), a detailed business plan, copies of past tax returns and more.
If you are unsuccessful in getting a bank loan try getting a small business loan from the SBA, Small Business Association. You will have to qualify to be approved, one of the qualifications is you need to prove you were unable to get a bank loan. Another qualification is you can only have so many employees, which shouldn’t be a problem for a daycare.
Another way to make opening your daycare more affordable is consider taking advantage of whatever sweat equity you have. Sweat equity is about doing whatever work you can yourself, or if you know people with skills that can help, ask them. Say for example the size of the room you are working in isn’t up to code. You may have to learn how to put up dry-wall, or learn to lay linoleum flooring/carpet.
What role will you play within the daycare? What skills do you have? You need to decide how involved you want to be. Of course this depends mostly on how much money you can get together to start the daycare. How many employees can you afford to hire?
Whenever you begin your search for furnishings for your daycare, keep your budget in mind. Of course you want everything to be safe, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive thing out there. Try Amazon, or discount school supplies for furniture that is cost effective. These furnishings don’t have to be perfect, you just need something to get you started. You can build up from there.
You need to keep in mind, get what you can afford. If you can’t afford to start out in a commercial space, don’t get one. Fix up a back room or a basement if you have one, or borrow space from a family member. Consider leasing if that is is your price range. Starting off small isn’t only cost effective, it is a great way to test the waters and make sure this isn’t going to be something that burns you out. Because it is exhausting and a lot of work.
Opening a daycare without money is doable, but you need to find sources of money. Because even if you opening the daycare in your home there will still be something you will have to spend money on. Like childproofing outlets, putting a lock on household cleaners, and you will probably need more toys.
You have to meet nutrition requirements as well and the supervising adults have to do certain training’s.
There are so many regulations for daycare’s. You want to make sure you are over-prepared to meet those requirements and find a way to appeal to parents. Start by bringing your facility up-to-code, with whatever loan or grant you have to get. Daycare isn’t easy work, you are always cleaning up a mess, but it is rewarding work and worth it in the end.
What if a child gets hurt at my facility and the parents sue me?
Of course provide those children with the best possible care you can, but accidents do happen and we all can’t prepare for everything. To prevent lawsuit from accidents usually daycare centers have something called Child Care Insurance. There are companies like Assure Child Care which can protect you from lawsuits.
How do I recruit more children for my daycare, or rather their parents?
You can do open houses for parents to tour your facility and build their trust during their walk-through. Sponsor local events, like a junior soccer tournament. You can always use the internet too, encourage your clients to leave you positive reviews.
What do parents want from a daycare?
A clean safe environment for their child to flourish in. The ability to pick up their child when they need to and a daycare which understands children. They want the staff to be knowledgeable about what level a child should be at and able to provide the environment necessary for the child’s development.
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.