Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions from Childcare Ninjas about how to find the perfect location for your childcare business. And it’s made me realize that actually it’s much more complicated than you might initially think.
When it comes to seeking out the ideal space and a location that suits my business needs, I’ve got a lot of experience. And it’s not merely about the place on the map! So, I’m going to share some tips with you here about how to find a place for your day care center.
Location, Location, Location!
I bet you’ve heard the phrase “location, location, location” at some point as it seems to float about a lot when someone’s opening a business. And sometimes these cliches are said often because they’re true! Yes, location really is key!
So you need to be thinking about where you’ll open your daycare. When you’re choosing a location, you’ve got to consider whether there’s a need in that specific area. Do you want it near a school or positioned in a community that serves a lot of young families? Make sure you do your research. Have a look at the shops and facilities offered in the area. Who do they cater for? Are your perceptions correct? After all, it’d be a poor business decision to locate your daycare center in a location where the older generations reside.
And while you’re contemplating a map and thinking about the socio-economics of the area, you need to simultaneously factor in your budget. Can you afford the outlay of a building in that area? Will it put strain on other elements of your business? Would it be better to rule out some of the higher end possibilities and give yourself breathing room for repairs and alterations? I’ve written more about opening your childcare on a budget here.
However, as important as the placing of your childcare setting is it’s not the only thing you’ve got to think about…
It’s not just the location that matters
The environment isn’t the only thing you ought to be thinking about when choosing a place for your business. Because when you’re running a daycare there are so many additional things you need to take into account. You can’t just choose an area you like and put down the deposit, collect the keys and expect it to be perfect. You’ve got to think about the building itself. Trust me! Because what works for one business doesn’t always work for a childcare based one.
And to find the right kind of space, I’ve found that it’s often best to start with the end in mind. So take some time to consider what you want your daycare to be like. To feel like. To look like. Create a vision. Actually sit down and map out – draw or cut and paste – a picture of what you want.
Without overthinking, trusting your intuition and gut feeling, answer some of these questions to get you started:
1. What age group do you want to serve?
2. What kind of ‘feeling’ or mood do you want to set?
3. Will you be hosting ‘courses’ or activities?
4. What ethos or values will you have and model?
Take some time out to reflect on these prompts and journal around them.
So what I’m suggesting is that the location for your childcare business isn’t the only thing to consider. Getting clear on your vision will help you to understand what kind of property you’re looking for.
A space to reflect your business
Once you’ve got clarity around what your values are and your vision for the space, you can start to look in a more logical way. For example, if you know you’re looking for an open plan space, then you can rule out properties that only have smaller rooms. If your vision includes access to an outdoor space or garden where the children can help you grow their own lunches, or explore outside, then you can eliminate the buildings that don’t have that kind of facility.
Don’t forget that the way a building is laid out has implications for ratios and the number of adults you’ll need. And the size of the rooms and total area of the floor space will impact how many children you can facilitate at one time.
There’s no right or wrong answer for what the space should look like. I know you don’t want to be a cookie-cutter daycare center. You want to stand out and let your Ninja personality shine through.
The choosing of space is as unique as you are! And no one but you will know when you’ve discovered the ideal spot for your daycare. I know that when I’ve gone hunting for the perfect daycare location and building, it’s been a whole lot quicker and less painful all-round when I’ve had a clear vision! You won’t waste time umming and aaahing about properties, and the realtor will thank you for that (and so will your family!).
Remember: Location is important, but so is the inside space!
I’m going to be talking a lot more about this in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group, so please come on in and join in the conversation! I wanna know if you’re finding it hard to seek out the perfect spot to open up your daycare.
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