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Getting Started in the Preschool Industry
If you’re thinking about starting a preschool business, the most important step is to find out about licensing requirements in your state. The rules vary all across the nation, so gaining basic knowledge will be invaluable if you plan to have your school legally recognized by the region in which you live. With very few exceptions, you must be a licensed teacher before you enroll any students into your preschool program. Fortunately, this information is extremely easy to find on the Internet, using a website such as the National Resource Center for Health and Safety (NCRKids.org).
After you have confirmed whether you will be able to complete licensure requirements, you should write a business plan. Although you might think starting a preschool business will be fun and simple, remember you will be caring for a diverse array of young children with varying needs and personalities. Having a passion for children is not enough to launch a successful educational center. You must be willing to endure strict legal regulations and hefty bills to get your business off the ground.
Your business plan may include whatever you like, but some questions are fairly standard. What is your maximum enrollment capacity? Will your preschool be part-time or full-time? Will you observe a standard holiday calendar, or will you have more or less flexibility?
The Cost of Childhood Education
Starting a preschool can be pricey, even if you decide to run it out of your own home. Outside of establishment costs, you need to take upkeep expenses into consideration. Initial costs will include licensing fees, childproofing, any renovations large or small, and basic educational equipment such as toys, books, worksheets and art supplies. You also can expect to spend a significant amount of money on advertising to let families know about your intentions of starting a preschool business.
After your preschool is up and running, you'll need money for janitorial services and safety maintenance. You’ll also need to regularly replenish your classroom supplies, from glue sticks to seasonal projects. Starting a preschool business is automatically assumed to be expensive, but keeping it going can be just as costly. Planning ahead for these costs and networking with other preschool owners can help you determine what you should charge per student to stay ahead of the game.
Getting Students in the Door
Once you’ve gotten your preschool set up and ready for opening, finding students is the final step. Through companies such as DirectMail.com, you can order personalized mailing lists geared toward your specified demographic. Using a list filled with contact information for young families will be much more effective than blindly advertising. You can also garner some students by putting an ad in your local newspaper or creating a website featuring your business. Sometimes, local schools will allow you to advertise to their students’ families, and you can also occasionally advertise to the wait lists of preschools in your area that know they won't be able to grant families a spot in their classes.
Plan and execute each step in your business plan carefully and responsibly, and you'ill be on the right track to finding success in the world of early childhood education.