More and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to run a business from home. Doing this can give you the chance to have far more control over your work and your daily routine. You can tailor your company to create a job that you really enjoy!
One excellent choice for a new business is a daycare facility. Especially moms have found this to be a great venture to apply their skills and knowledge.
Sounds great! But where do you start?
It takes some work to make this dream a reality, so take a look at our guide for turning your mobile home into a daycare facility.
Guide to starting a daycare facility
Careers in childcare can be challenging. It can be stressful to take care of other people’s children, even when it is just a few hours a day. You need to be able to take responsibility and think on your feet.
However, for the right person, it can be enriching. With the right amount of love, dedication, and patience, you will get to see children flourish and grow before your eyes.
But before, you can start the work, you need to take care of some administrative matters first. Like, what type of daycare do you want to start?
Type of daycare facilities
If you want to run a daycare from your mobile home, the main type of facilities are:
- Infant care center: These are child development centers that care for infants and toddlers. In other words, children that are children two years old or younger.
- Before- and after-school care: In this case, you provide care for school-age children before and after the regular school day.
- Nursery school: Usually a part-time preschool child development center operating during the school year.
Each of these will have slightly different requirements depending on your area.
You will need to figure out what type of facility you want to run before you can do anything else.
Craft a business plan
The best way to start any company is by setting out your business plan. This is essentially a written document that describes the nature of the business, the future objectives, and strategies for achieving them.
It will be a great reference point for you and help you make your venture a success. But it is also necessary to submit this if you are applying for financing or when you try to register the business.
To do this, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- Who’s your target market?
- What makes your daycare unique?
- How will your business grow?
- What is your business model?
- Who will run your daycare?
- Where will the initial financing come from?
- What will the legal structure of your daycare be?
Check out this article for the correct formatting of a business plan.
Permits and licensing
Most states will require that you apply for a license to run any child care facility. Part of doing this is making sure that you comply with applicable standards and regulations.
A few of the most common guidelines involve:
- Physical space such as how many square feet are required per child
- Health requirements
- Emergency procedures
- Educational program requirements
- Staff-child ratios
- Food preparation and nutrition
- Record keeping
- Fire regulations
- First Aid and CPR certification
- Zoning laws
- Safety codes
Before your licensing can be finalized, the relevant authorities will probably send an inspector to take a look at the property. You need to remember to arrange for this inspection.
You can contact the U.S. Small Business Administration for information on the specific requirements. We also recommend that you get in touch with your state’s responsible authority.
Get an insurance policy
Another critical administrative matter that you need to consider is to get an insurance policy. A lot can potentially go wrong at a daycare facility. That’s why you want to get as wide coverage as possible.
Significantly, you will need general liability insurance. Besides this, you want to investigate policies specifically for homes and daycares.
It’s a great idea to sit down with your agent and ask them what the best options are for your specific situation.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the more hands-on part. Let’s look at what changes and additions you need to make to turn your mobile home into a daycare facility.
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Child-proof the mobile home
One of your key responsibilities is keeping your charges safe. You need to make the space as risk-free as possible. More likely than not, this will also be checked in the inspection to get your license.
Did you know that household injuries are one of the top reasons why kids under three end up in the E.R?
Many things that might look completely harmless from an adult perspective can be potentially dangerous.
Here are some critical steps to take to child-proof your mobile home:
- Install safety latches on all cabinets and drawers to prevent children from opening them.
- Securely store all medicines, chemicals, and hazardous substances out of reach.
- To prevent kids from falling in, secure all toilet lids with toilet locks.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with outlet protectors or safety caps.
- Get anti-scalding devices on faucets and showerheads to prevent burns
- Put up safety gates in doorways for rooms with a hazard, such as a bathroom. Besides this, you should put them up for stairways, exits, and entrances to the home.
- Get and place corner and edge-bumpers on all your furniture.
- Secure the latches and knobs for all the doors and windows.
- Make sure that all heavy items and furniture are tied down or anchored.
- Put candles and matches out of reach and cover fireplaces.
- Make sure window blinds do not have looped cords. Also, tuck away other ropes or cables.
- Check that all the electrical wires in the home are properly insulated. It might be a good idea to use cable protectors and covers, as well.
- Get rid of or hide anything that can be a choking hazard like marbles.
- Put anything that can be knocked over or break, such as ornaments, out of reach.
Renovating your mobile home
The layout and setup of your daycare will play a critical role in its success and failure. When you picture one, you think of bright colors, posters, and toys galore. But remember it’s not just about fun.
You also want to create an environment that is conducive to learning and development. That’s why you need to pay careful attention to how you design the space.
Essential areas for a daycare
Every facility is unique. So you will need to adapt your layout to your specific business model. However, there are some must-have spaces for any daycare. For different reasons, each of these is crucial to helping you provide the best care possible.
Most daycare facilities need to have some kind of a kitchen or food preparation area. This is one reason why it can be handy to run one of these centers in a home.
A lot of parents are looking for a service that can provide at least one meal for their children. Offering healthy meals and snacks can be a brilliant way to make your daycare stand out. The specifications depend on your model, the number of children, and the type of preparation involved.
But no matter what you do, it is vital that you have a dedicated fridge to store the food. Even if you don’t provide meals, we recommend that you still have a refrigerator on-site to store anything that the kids or your staff bring along.
Like all the other areas, it is critical that you make sure the kitchen is child proof.
Whether the parents send meals or you make them, you need to have space for the kids to eat. Allocate a space in one of your rooms for this.
Get a set of table and chairs that are age appropriate. If necessary, you might need to get highchairs instead. Make sure that you get items that are easy to wipe down and clean.
All high-quality childcare facilities should have a quiet area. This will give them the opportunity to rest if necessary. You want to place this in a low traffic space.
Preferably, you should make this a low-energy spot too. You can do this by:
- Keeping distractions to a minimum
- Using muted colors like pastels
- Add some comfortable seating like plush cushions
Different age groups can use this space for different reasons. For example, you can encourage older kids to sit and read or do their homework here.
Open activity area
This section should take up the most space in the layout. You need a multi-purpose space where kids can partake in all the activities that are part of your program, for example, arts and crafts, playing with clay, and building blocks.
It would be great if you dedicate an entire room to this, but it isn’t necessary. If you do, you can still allocate one corner for a smaller section, like the meal area.
You should create an area where children can store all their personal belongings, such as their coats. Install cubby holes near the entrance to the home. Make sure that you anchor it properly.
Although you want to place it near the front door, you don’t want it to block the flow of parents going in and out.
Classroom & teacher storage
You and your staff need a place to store your belongings and equipment, supplies and etc. Creating a dedicated space will help you keep the facility clutter free.
You can use secured cabinets or drawers for this. Ideally, you want to install them in an out-of-the-way corner. Or even in a room that won’t be accessed by the kids to enhance the flow of the layout.
Children of different ages will have different needs that you should provide areas for. The most important of these are:
- Nap area: Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners will need to take a break during the day. If you can, allocate an entire room for this like a small bedroom. Furnish it with mats, cots, and pillows and keep everything low-energy.
- Diapering area: You will need to change the diapers of toddlers and infants. This could fit into any other room as long as there is space for storage too.
- Crib area: Infants will need a crib to sleep in. Outfit it with adult rocking chairs, cribs, and other daycare furniture and place a bottle station nearby.
Tips on using space:
The square feet that you need will be influenced by regulations and the number of children. You could possibly manage with one spacious room especially in an open-plan mobile home.
If you choose this, but you still want distinct sections, you could use room dividers. They can help you keep the different parts and activities of your facility separate.
One critical thing to consider is how traffic will flow through the space. Make sure that there is a pathway through the room that staff and children can use. You need to keep this open and clear for the sake of safety and efficiency.
Signs and advertisements
A critical tool for advertising your daycare will be word of mouth. You want to spread the news as wide as possible. Start by contacting all the moms and dads you know. Depending on the age range, you can also ask local schools to promote your business.
This strategy can be beneficial for after school facilities but is also a great way to reach potential clients who might have younger kids as well.
On top of this, get some signs. You should at least mount some in front of your mobile home to help people find it and to reach local parents as well.
You can have some fun with it. Signage for daycare facilities should be playful and creative. So you can experiment with colors and pictures.
Serve your community
The United States is undergoing what has been called a childcare crisis. Working mothers and fathers don’t have enough reliable options available to them. This is harming parents, children, communities, and businesses alike.
So by starting an affordable and safe daycare facility from your mobile home, you won’t only be benefiting yourself. You will be helping families in your neighborhood.
For other ideas on running a business, take a look at how to turn your mobile home into a pet salon & boarding facility.