How to Start a Daycare Business in Seattle

A career in caring for children is one that is filled with joy. Watching children learn and grow is among the best experiences that one can have. Not only is it a highly fulfilling line of work, but it is also a highly stable industry that boasts an expected growth rate of 7% over the next ten years. Individuals in the Seattle area with a love for children and a flair for entrepreneurship will find a gratifying experience in starting their own daycare business. 

A daycare startup is an involved undertaking, requiring a history in childcare and an intimate understanding of how to operate a profitable business. Individuals may find it less challenging and more rewarding to invest in preschool and daycare business franchises.

A Case for Franchising

Owning a childcare center has many benefits ranging from the ability to stay close to one’s children during their formative years to the emotional reward one receives from teaching small children. The process of starting a daycare is complicated and often overwhelming. For that reason, many people decide to purchase a daycare franchise rather than start from scratch. The key advantages of choosing a franchise over a brand-new facility are detailed in the list below. 

Higher Success Rate

A daycare franchise, like those offered by KLA Schools, has an established system of management that is proven to be both profitable and a valuable learning environment for children. Franchises come with an existing support network to guide new owners through the process of running their own daycare business and help them with any questions or concerns that arise. This support network, in conjunction with a proven system, improves the success rate of the daycare center compared to those starting from scratch.

Brand Recognition

Trust is arguably the most critical factor for parents as they browse their childcare options. When running a daycare or preschool franchise, franchisees benefit from the brand’s existing positive reputation in the community. Franchisees do not have to do as much work to convince parents and caretakers to trust the wellbeing of their children with them, as they recognize that the brand represents the high quality of education and attentive care they are looking to provide for their children. 

Built-In Core Values

When choosing a franchise, potential owners can screen their options to find the facility that most closely matches the values with which they want to align themselves. Screening for core values is especially advantageous for daycare franchisees as how one teaches a child is a very personal and high-impact endeavor. When a person finds a daycare franchise that fits their childcare approach, they benefit from having a system in place that supports their values.

Marketing

Startup daycare centers, like any other business, are charged with the task of marketing their center to local families. Marketing can be a costly and labor-intensive process, and many business owners find it a stressful process. On the other hand, investing in a franchise means the franchisor handles a large part of the marketing efforts, which allows the franchisee to spend more of their time on their childcare center.

Training

Running a childcare business is a complicated endeavor. Franchisees benefit from receiving supportive training throughout the process. Franchisors train their staff facility on the proper way to teach and handle childcare, as well as coach owners through the details of running a successful business.

The Franchising Process

Childcare is both a personal and sensitive area, so franchisors have requirements that one must meet to be considered for a franchise opportunity. For example, KLA Schools utilize a system inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. When considering franchisees, they employ an application process that includes phone interviews and board reviews to decide if the child care franchise candidate’s goals and values align with their own. The process has several steps from start to finish, and, as an example, the KLA Schools franchise purchasing process is detailed in the list below. 

Initial Inquiry

The potential franchisee makes the initial inquiry. This person seeks out the school’s contact information or visit their website to find general information about the franchise opportunities that the school offers. 

Phone or Skype Interview

The next step is to set up a phone or video call with the school. During this call, the potential purchaser answers questions about their core values and goals and asks the school any questions they have about the franchise opportunity.

Franchise Application

After the preliminary discussion with the school, the potential owner fills out the school’s franchise application. Once the application is submitted, board members review it and consider the individual for pre-approval. While considering them for a franchise opportunity, the board members will factor in specific details to make their final decision. 

The things the board will take into consideration are:

The intended location of the childcare center

The total amount of money the potential owner intends to invest

The prospective owner’s experience in teaching children 

The possible owner’s experience managing a business

Business Development 

Business development is an essential step in the screening process that takes place before purchasing a franchise. During this meeting, the school will interview the potential owner and get a detailed picture of their previous childcare experience. They will also discuss the qualifications the prospective owner has that support their desire to run a thriving daycare center. The school’s franchise owners are heavily vetted, which ensures the quality of education and care that people expect to receive from KLA Schools.

Franchise Disclosure Document

Moving forward, the franchisee gets the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). The FDD is a critical legal document that outlines who the franchisee and franchisor are, and what is included in establishing a relationship between the two entities. The franchise disclosure document sets the training and support that the franchisee can expect from the school and what the initial investment cost is. It can take some time and a lawyer to read and comprehend the information inside of this document, so potential owners are given ample time to review the material before they finalize their decision. 

Speak with an Existing Franchise Owner

After reviewing the franchise disclosure agreement, potential owners speak with an existing franchise owner. There they can discuss the various benefits and challenges that accompany the purchase of a daycare franchise. Current franchise owners often discuss the joys they experience by owning a childcare business, as well as their financial situation and the realistic expectations one can have after opening a daycare center. 

Visit the Franchise Headquarter

After speaking with a franchise owner, individuals visit the school’s headquarters to experience firsthand what the school’s program looks like and how it is set up. Additionally, franchisees are given an in-depth explanation of how to participate in the school franchising program by the members of the school’s franchising team.

Sign the Franchise Agreement

After the thorough vetting of the potential owner and the various screen processes, it is time for the franchisee to sign the franchise agreement. After signing this form and becoming an official franchisee, the new owner and the support team will start the process of finding a location for the facility. 

Site Selection and Development

After becoming an official franchisee, individuals will need to find a place for their daycare facility. Since many daycare centers franchises, including the KLA Schools, have specific requirements for their child care centers, owners may need to either construct a new building or retrofit an existing one to be in-line with the franchise’s requirements.

Pre-Opening Training and Advertising

The next step in the process is to train the new owners and the staff on the school’s best practices and the details of managing a daycare business. The franchise provides support for training the staff members and helps the owners advertise their new location. The pre-opening advertising helps the new owner encourage local families to enroll their children at the new school and get their business up and running quickly. 

Opening Day and Post Opening Support

Once all the training and advertising is complete, it’s time to open the doors of the new daycare business! The franchise continues to offer support to the new owner, coaching them through the initial months of opening. The franchise stays in contact throughout the life of the business, ensuring its success going forward.

Things to Consider Before Starting

A love of teaching children is not the only thing one needs to start a daycare. Both financial and legal requirements must be fulfilled to start the process and develop a successful daycare for both the owner and the students. Inquirers need to familiarize themselves with the region’s licensing requirements and pay close attention to the state’s health and safety codes for daycare facilities. 

Washington state has specific licensing requirements that all daycare owners and employees have to abide by when operating childcare center. Contact the Washington State Department of Early Learning to get a complete list of the credentials one needs to legally open a childcare facility. A few of the laws governing child care centers in Washington State are:

Center directors must be at least 18 years of age

Center directors must obtain an ECE state certification or its equivalent 

Center directors must have a minimum of two years of experience working with children in any age group

Some Final Thoughts

Owning a daycare center is a gratifying career. Those who choose to invest in a childcare franchise are best equipped to be successful and provide loving care for young children. Click here to get in contact with the KLA Schools and inquire about potential franchise opportunities in the Seattle area.

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