How To Start An Overnight Daycare

Compared to standard daycare facilities, there are very few overnight or 24-hour facilities that offer care after typical working hours. The reason for this is simply because there is much less demand relative to standard daycare.

Typically, less demand is not a good thing when you are starting a business, however, with less demand comes less competition. If your area doesn’t currently have an overnight childcare facility, opening one could be a lucrative and profitable business.

In order to start an overnight daycare you need to:

  • Perform market research
  • Understand customer needs
  • Write business plan
  • Become legally compliant
  • Purchase supplies
  • Hire & train employee

How To Start An Overnight Daycare

Perform market research

Before you consider opening an overnight child care facility, you should do extensive market research to make sure this would be a viable business. The reason you need to be so diligent in this phase is because the demand for overnight child care is so small, and you are competing with in-home child care providers.

There are certain people that need overnight childcare, and if there is an adequate amount of those people in your area, you could be in a great situation. It is estimated that around 40% of Americans work non-traditional employment hours. Healthcare workers, service industry workers, and police officers are just some of the jobs that require overnight shifts.

If these types of workers are a single parent, or their spouse also works night shifts, they will be in desperate need of overnight childcare. These are the customers you should target, because if they work these shifts consistently, it may be difficult for them to find an overnight babysitter throughout the week.

When you are researching your target market area, look for things like hospitals, late-night restaurants, and other businesses that are open after hours. You can even take it a step further and go to these businesses and ask if their employees have a need for overnight childcare. You might get some weird looks, but most businesses will be happy to give you a quick yes or no.

Another place you can go for research is online. Thanks to social media, there are plenty of groups on Facebook that focus on local topics and issues. A lot of these groups will let you post onto their page as long as you aren’t blatantly advertising your services. This could give you a larger sample size of what your target market looks like and what their needs are.

Understand customer needs

An overnight childcare facility has to satisfy a different set of needs for your customer compared to a daycare facility. At a regular daycare facility, children are awake, playing, learning, and interacting with one another. Your main job at this type of facility is to keep everyone safe, happy, and productive.

At a nighttime facility, you need to provide comfort, relaxation, and a place where children are able to sleep peacefully.

Some basic customer needs you should look to satisfy with your nighttime childcare facility are:

Peace of mind for parent and child

Most parents can drop off their children at a daycare facility and know that their child will likely be playing all day and making friends. Dropping them off for an overnight stay is a different story. They might worry that their child is too scared to sleep, or that they are homesick and missing their parents.

It is your job to put both the parent and the child at ease when they come to your facility. This is done both by having a quality facility with everything the child needs, as well as interacting with both the child and parent in a relaxed, comforting, and caring manner.

Take your time to welcome each kid and parent. This helps the child warm up to you while their parent is still around. When the child sees that their parent likes you and trusts you, the child will be much more likely to do the same.

Convenience and flexibility

As mentioned earlier, most of your customers are going to be parents who work night shifts and odd hours. Compared to a daycare facility where the bulk of children are going to be dropped off at 8 AM and picked up at 5 PM, your facility will have a much wider array of pick up and drop off times.

Aside from flexible pick up and drop off times, a great way to bring customers in is to offer transportation to and from your facility. This can be a huge deal for parents who get off work in the very early morning. Instead of driving to your facility at 3 AM, waking up their child, then having to drive them home and put them back to bed, they can go home, get a couple hours of sleep, and then have you drop off the child around 9 AM or whenever they choose.

Unmatched comfort for the child

It’s a big deal for a child to sleep somewhere other than their own bed. Couple that with the fact that they aren’t around family or friends for comfort, and you’ve got a difficult situation.

Difficult, not impossible. But, in order to make this work for both the child and parent, you need to have your facility be better than their sleeping arrangement at home. Obviously, you won’t be able to have the comfort of Mom and Dad sleeping next door, but you can make your facility a place where kids will love to sleep.

This can be achieved by things that are cool, comforting, or just something that the child doesn’t have at their house. Things such as:

  • Weighted blankets
  • Ambient noise machines/apps
  • Aromatherapy
  • Comfortable mattresses
  • Room decorations (glow in the dark planet stickers, paintings of a beach or forest, etc.)
  • Massage pads

These should be things that the kids are excited about, but also things that help them relax and able to sleep.

How To Start An Overnight Daycare

Write business plan

After researching your market and understanding what your customers are needing, it is time to put your plan into written form. Writing a business plan will help you dive deeper into every detail of your overnight childcare facility. Your business plan will be a dynamic document that changes as your business grows.

A typical business plan has these main categories:

  • Executive Summary
    • Brief business description
    • Problem & solution
    • Opportunity & competitive advantage
    • Business model
  • Company Description
    • Name
    • Services
    • Position in market
  • Market Analysis
    • Market area
    • Competition
    • Niches
  • Organization & Management
    • Business structure
    • Owners
    • Key employees
  • Service or Product Line
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Funding Request
    • What type of funding you are requesting (if any)
    • How much
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix
    • Any relevant documents and resources

Become legally compliant

It is important to do your research to make sure you are compliant with the laws and business regulations in your state and city. This is especially important for overnight childcare facilities, which may require different certifications compared to a standard daycare facility. Some things you need to do:

  1. Register your unique business name with the Secretary of State’s office
  2. File your federal tax identification number with state and local revenue offices
  3. Choose what type of business to register (Sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation)
  4. Obtain a federal employer identification number from the IRS office and register the number with state and local agencies
  5. Obtain a business license from the Department of Revenue
  6. Obtain business insurance
  7. Join the National Child Care Association (NCCA) and any other associations you want to be apart of, you can find a list here
  8. Join your local chamber of commerce

If you need more information here are some more resources on the legal side of starting a small business:

Purchase supplies

As mentioned earlier, your facility needs to be better than the child’s sleeping situation at their house. Below is a list of the basic supplies, as well as optional supplies that will take your overnight childcare facility to the next level.

  • Mattresses, box springs, bed frames
  • Sheets, blankets, pillows
  • Nightlights
  • Ambient noise machines
  • Scentsy or oil diffuser
  • Weighted blankets
  • Room decorations (glow in the dark planet stickers, paintings of a beach or forest, etc.)
  • Massage pads
  • Food
  • Comforting drinks (herbal tea, hot cocoa)
  • Eye masks
  • Stuffed animals

How To Start An Overnight Daycare

Hire & train your employees

Finding the right employees for any business is important, but for an overnight childcare facility, it is crucial. As mentioned earlier, putting the child and parent at ease is one of the most important steps to having a successful nighttime childcare facility.

You aren’t going to always be at your facility or the one to handle this situation, so you need to find employees that can handle this situation without your help.

Think back to what your customers need and the service you are trying to provide. At a regular daycare facility, you need employees that are energetic, can handle conflict, and are able to multitask. At your overnight facility, you need employees that are comforting, caring, and can take the time to help a child slowly relax and fall asleep.

When training your employees, help them prepare for difficult situations so they can stay calm and help the child get to where they need to be. Situations such as:

  • Child can’t sleep
  • Child is homesick
  • Child is scared
  • Child is being defiant

Along with these situations, give them standard procedures and tools they can use to help children calm down. For example:

  • Meditation
  • Music
  • Stories
  • Yoga
  • Reading

Related questions

  • If I have a nighttime childcare facility, does a staff member need to be awake all night?

Yes, most states have laws in regards to this. There needs to be at least one staff member “on-duty” to ensure the children are safe and accounted for.

  • I have a daycare facility and want to add nighttime care to my services, do I need to get additional certifications?

 Most likely, yes. Every state is different in their requirements for nighttime care versus daytime, but most require a certification and possibly extra training. The Department of Human Services or the Department of Social Service in your local state should be able to tell you exactly what you need.

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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How To Start An Overnight Daycare