Daycare centers across the country were hit hard by the initial COVID-19 shutdown in early 2020. But now that Texas opened up vaccine eligibility to all adults, things are slowly starting to return back to normal—and small businesses like daycare centers are getting some much-needed revenue.
If one of your post-COVID plans includes starting your own business, opening up a daycare center is a solid option. So many shuttered in the early days and haven’t yet reopened—if they’re reopening at all. That’s leaving many Texas families scrambling for child care services. This puts savvy entrepreneurs in a great position to start their own daycare business.
Starting a daycare center in Texas can be a complicated process (and government websites aren’t known for being easy to navigate). Here’s what you need to know about opening up your own child care center in the great state of Texas.
Before you start buying toys and setting up posters in coffee shops all over Houston, you need to have a solid business plan in place. For a daycare center, this includes figuring out what type of daycare you’re going to have—Texas allows four different types of daycare operations:
- Listed family homes
- Registered child care homes
- Licensed child care homes
- Licensed child care centers
All four have specific requirements you’ll need to follow to keep a child care license and to keep the kids in your care safe. But the main difference you’ll initially want to decide is whether you want to operate your daycare center in your home or somewhere else. Other basic information you’ll want to figure out in your business plan includes research on the daycare market in your area, what your competition looks like, how much they’re charging, and average area income.
The Licensing Process
In order to operate a daycare business in Texas (or anywhere in the United States) you need to have a valid child care license. This shows the government and parents that you’re qualified to care for children and that your center is safe. Texas’s child care licensing process can be a bit daunting at first, but Texas has local child care licensing offices all over the state that can guide you through any issues or questions.
Before you receive your license, you have to take a pre-application class, familiarize yourself with Texas’s licensing requirements and formally submit an application with all the necessary forms to the Texas HHS website.
Just like any other business, it won’t always be fun and games when running a daycare. To keep your center running, you need to be making a profit. And to make a profit, you need to figure out exactly where every dollar of your business is coming and going. You’ll need to figure out what one-time opening expenses you’ll need and what recurring expenses you’ll have (like staff salaries, a monthly lease, and insurance).
A big part of Texas’s daycare licensing process is making sure that the daycare center is ticking off all the right safety codes both inside and outside the center. Whether you’re planning on leasing retail space or operating your daycare from the comfort of your own home, you need to make sure it’s as child-friendly as possible. Some things you can do to ensure your center adheres to proper building safety codes include:
- Installing childproof locks on all cabinets and doors
- Attaching protective gates on doors and stairways
- Regularly testing fire alarms and extinguishers
- Buying child-safe furniture
- Ensuring any medication, tools, or other dangerous items are stored away from children
The Fun Stuff
Once all the not-so-fun business stuff like budgeting and licensing are figured out and approved, you can now start figuring out what your actual center will start to look like. Think about the lesson plans you want to develop, toys you want to buy, activities you want to plan, and arts & crafts you’re interested in having the children make. Have fun with this step – create Pinterest boards for daycare inspiration, check out other centers for decoration ideas, and start getting excited about your new business!
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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