Running a child care business is a delicate balancing act. Not only do you have strive to increase customers and revenue while simultaneously reducing costs, you also must focus on creating an enriching and healthy environment for children to spend the entire day in. Many of the most successful daycare operations established themselves by focusing on the following aspects of daycare management:
As with any business, the attitude the leadership has towards the daycare itself and the staff who work directly with the children filters down and impacts every aspect of the operation. It is important for leadership to partner with the employees to create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. Maintaining good morale is particularly important in child care management, since the customers spend all day every day there, are particularly impressionable, and can be a real nightmare when they’re cranky.
- Operational Efficiency
Finding ways to do things better and less expensive is a goal in any industry. One important factor is automation. The daycare payment structure is complicated. Daycare payments might come from government subsidies, or from more than one parent. Additionally, the daycare payment plans tend to change as the custodial details change, or as a parent’s income level changes. In order to be successful, the administration of daycare payments must be organized and flexible enough to keep up with this. Some successful daycare owners have been able to save 100 man hours a month by using software to automate the complicated daycare management for them.
- Motivating Staff
Keeping the staff energized and eager to interact with the children is critical for the positive experience that each child needs to have. As we mentioned, this comes through keeping a high level of moral, as well as investing in training and preparing staff for handling the children. Encouraging employees to be proactive about suggesting ways to improve the daycare operations is a great way to motivate staff. It makes employees feel valued and listened to, and it creates an environment that is constantly improving. Your staff are “in the trenches” doing the real work all day every day; they have the best perspective for finding new and better ways to do things.
- Child Safety
There is no question that safety is the utmost important factor in running a daycare. The chief expectation that every parent has for a daycare is that their children are kept safe and healthy at all times. From an ethical standpoint, it is every daycare owner’s chief responsibility to focus on creating a safe environment above all, but it is also important from a business standpoint. A single oversight in safety could result in debilitating lawsuits or put a daycare owner out of business altogether.
Creating a safe environment for the children requires constant inspections to identify potentially hazardous environments, training the staff on CPR and other health and safety subjects, and creating a work culture that makes safety the highest priority.
- Food Programs
Never before in American history has the food program offered by a daycare mattered so much. The subject of children being exposed to GMOs and pesticides and the benefits of organic food is a hot button topic. It’s very common for children to be on alternative diets: gluten, dairy, nuts, sugar and dye are all ingredients many parents keep out of their children’s food (however, you have to feed them something!). Focusing on developing and serving healthy and wholesome meals every day is a factor that makes a daycare popular among health-minded parents.
No matter how wonderful your daycare is, it’s a sitting duck unless your enrollment numbers are high enough to bring a profit in. Marketing is an important factor in bringing new clients through the doors and making your daycare successful. Focus on traditional marketing such as advertisement on TV, billboards, and radio, as well as digital marketing: web design, social media presence, and search engine optimization are all ways to attract new daycare clients.
We want to hear from you! Do you run a daycare? What do you think the most important focus is of a successful daycare provider? We’d love to hear your input in the comment section below!