how to start a daycare

Opening a Daycare

The landscape of early childhood education continues to evolve at an accelerated pace. One emerging trend is the rise in the number of daycare centers mushrooming across the United States, fueled by a change in the profile of the modern childcare investor. But why is this happening?


The answer is simple: the demand for childcare services far outstrips the current supply. With many areas grappling with childcare shortages, frustrated parents and overburdened providers are all too familiar with this dilemma. This predicament presents a lucrative opportunity for potential investors keen on entering the daycare business.

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Childcare Deserts: A Window of Opportunity

how to start a daycare center - childcare desert map

Data from

A staggering 51% of Americans reside in what is known as childcare deserts – census tracts home to more than 50 children under age 5 that lack adequate childcare providers or have so few options that there are over three times as many children as licensed childcare slots.


This issue stretches across numerous states, with the number of children under age 3 massively outweighing the available childcare slots. For every licensed infant and toddler childcare slot, there are more than five children under age 3 in need of care.


Communities in these childcare deserts often encounter long waiting lists to secure childcare. This predicament has triggered an influx of investors keen on filling this gaping void in the industry.


“Across several states...the number of children under age 3 far exceeds the number of child care slots available for infants and toddlers. On average, there are more than five children under age 3 for every one licensed infant and toddler child care slot.”

Data from

So, who are these childcare investors?

Today's childcare center owners come in diverse forms, compared to the traditional image of yesteryears. The industry's leading figures typically belong to one of six categories:

  1. Entrepreneurs – looking for fresh industries to invest in
  2. Existing childcare owners – aiming to expand or establish new centers
  3. Childcare employees – ready to launch their own center
  4. Families – frustrated by poor service or lack of access to care
  5. Corporate in-house childcare – provided by companies to attract and retain employees
  6. School districts – venturing into early education to cater to community and staff needs
  7. Community improvement groups – organisations focused on improving the area economy and supporting workforce development.
  8. Religious institutions/Pastors/Churches - looking to add an additional revenue stream and value to their membership.

Exploring Options: Franchise, Existing Brand, or Start-Up

Regardless of your investor profile, there are several routes to consider when launching a daycare center. The path you choose will dictate the level of support you need, your creative freedom, and even the course of the programs you offer.

When it comes to commercial group childcare centers, you have three choices: opening a franchise, purchasing an existing center, or starting your own brand. Each option comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.



How to start a daycare

Top franchise options:

​With a franchise, you receive an immediate game plan to get your center up and running, plus you gain instant credibility from the name.

However, you miss out on the exciting chance to create something of your own —something amazing, unique, and impactful.

Also, not only are you held hostage to the franchise requirements, but the fees create a recurring expense for the life of your centers. 

Existing Center

How to start a daycare centerChoosing to purchase an existing center might seem like an effortless way out, but it comes with its share of headaches.

Yes, you have ready staff and enrolled children, but you might also inherit problems that require "clean-up".

Start Your Own Brand

How to start a childcare centerLastly, launching a childcare center independently, without franchise backing, is certainly achievable.

However, it is also a complex, time-consuming venture. But is there a better way?



A New Approach: Partnering with a Child Care Consultant

We recommend partnering with a Child Care Consultant, a specialist who understands the intricacies of the industry and can help you craft a brand you can grow and take pride in.

Building a childcare program that meets the specific needs of your community and aligns with your mission is immensely rewarding.

Working with a childcare consultant can help you navigate important decisions and implement those decisions successfully. They can assist with due diligence, brand development, marketing, program development, vendor/systems evaluation, and provide post-live support.

Launching a Daycare Center: The Steps

All aspects of starting a daycare need meticulous planning and execution. Follow our comprehensive guide to ensure you get everything right, from creating a robust daycare business plan to effective location selection, hiring, marketing, and daily operations management.

  1. Due Diligence (Feasibility study, workforce & demand, financial & enrollment projections, liability)
  2. Executive Strategy
  3. Brand Development (Unique Selling Proposition, differentiation, core values, logos)
  4. Program Development
  5. Vendor/Systems Evaluation
  6. Marketing, Advertising, & Lead Tracking
  7. Implementation of Childcare Plan Services
  8. Post-live Support

Steps to Starting a Daycare Center

Interested in learning more about each step in launching a successful childcare center?

Download the Child Care Biz Help eBook on Steps to Opening a Successful Childcare Center today!

No matter which path you choose to start your daycare, the driving force is a profound desire to create the best possible environment for the families it serves and the staff it employs.

Ready to get started? No matter what phase you are currently in or the type of center you wish to establish, get your ebook and schedule a call with us today to learn how we can assist you!


Download the Child Care Biz Help EBook on Steps to Opening a Successful Childcare Center

Steps to opening a successful childcare center ebook


Ebook Download Form

Fill out the form below to download our eBook Steps to Opening a Successful Childcare Center.

NEW UPDATE: Video Course on How to Start a Daycare

Our Video Course on HOW TO START A DAYCARE is now available! Dive into our in-depth video course consisting of 24 lessons, including several downloadable assets. This comprehensive, 2.5-hour course equips you with everything you need to succeed in the childcare industry. Do not miss out, start your journey today!


1. What makes a daycare attractive to families?

A daycare becomes attractive to families when it offers a safe, nurturing environment, a strong educational foundation, and a staff that is passionate and well-trained. Additionally, flexibility in hours, affordability, and a strong sense of community can set your daycare apart from others.

2. How much does it cost to get insured?

Insurance costs vary based on the size of the daycare, its location, and the number of children enrolled. On average, daycare insurance can range from $450 to $1,350 per year for home-based daycares and can be significantly higher for larger centers.

3. How much can you charge?

Tuition rates depend on your location, the services you offer, and local market demand. Researching local competitors and understanding the unique value your daycare offers will help determine a competitive rate.

4. Are daycare centers profitable?

Yes, daycare centers can be profitable, especially when they operate at or near full capacity. Efficient management, effective marketing, and maintaining a high standard of care are key to ensuring profitability.

5. How long does it take to get licensed?

The licensing process can take anywhere from three months to a year, depending on the state and the completeness of your application.

6. How much does it cost to get daycare licensing?

Licensing fees vary by state but can range from $50 to $500. Some states also have additional fees for background checks or facility inspections.

7. Can I open a daycare center from home?

Yes, many successful daycares start as home-based businesses. However, you'll need to ensure your home meets state licensing requirements and is safe and suitable for children.

8. How do I market my daycare business and seek applicants?

Effective marketing strategies include building a strong online presence, engaging with local communities, offering referral discounts, and hosting open house events. Child Care Biz Help offers specialized marketing services tailored for childcare centers.

9. How do I hire staff for my daycare?

Hiring passionate, qualified staff is crucial. Conduct thorough background checks, hold in-depth interviews, and provide ongoing training to ensure your team meets the highest standards.

10. How do I develop policies and procedures for my daycare?

Policies and procedures should cover everything from enrollment to safety protocols. They should be clear, comprehensive, and reviewed regularly.

11. What do I need to prepare my daycare facility?

Your facility should be safe, clean, and child-friendly. This includes secure entry points, age-appropriate toys and equipment, and safety measures like fire exits and first-aid kits.

12. What type of insurance do I need for my daycare business?

At a minimum, you'll need general liability insurance. Depending on your location and the size of your daycare, you may also need property insurance, workers' compensation, and vehicle insurance.

13. How do I find a location for my daycare?

Choose a location that's safe, accessible, and close to residential areas or workplaces. Consider factors like parking, outdoor play areas, and local competition.

14. What are the daycare licensing requirements?

Licensing requirements vary by state but generally include background checks, facility inspections, and specific staff-to-child ratios.

15. What supplies and equipment are needed for a daycare center?

You'll need age-appropriate toys, educational materials, furniture, safety equipment, and administrative supplies.

16. What insurance policies are necessary for a daycare center?

Beyond general liability insurance, consider policies covering abuse and molestation, property damage, and potential vehicular accidents if you offer transportation.

17. What are the licensing requirements and fees for a daycare business?

Each state has its own requirements. Typically, you'll need to meet certain health and safety standards, maintain specific staff qualifications, and pay an annual licensing fee.

18. How much does it cost to start a daycare?

Startup costs can range from $10,000 for a home-based daycare to $500,000 or more for a large center, depending on location, size, and services offered.

19. What are the benefits of opening a daycare center?

Beyond financial rewards, daycare owners make a positive impact on children's lives, support working families, and contribute to their communities.

20. How has the daycare industry been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The pandemic brought challenges like temporary closures and reduced enrollments. However, it also highlighted the essential nature of childcare services. Adapting to health guidelines and offering flexible solutions have been key to navigating these times.


Starting a daycare is a significant undertaking, but with the right guidance and resources, it's an incredibly rewarding journey. At Child Care Biz Help, we're here to support you every step of the way. Whether you're just starting out or looking to expand, our expertise can help you achieve your dreams in the childcare industry. Reach out to us today!





  1. Dan on March 4, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Very informative ebook! Thank you for your work!

  2. Loyda on September 7, 2022 at 10:15 am


  3. Emma Allison on October 25, 2022 at 10:06 am

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  4. Best preschool in Ahemdabad on March 29, 2023 at 2:07 am

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