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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Anybody Regret Opening Their Own Daycare?
ZenZen Hen 09:17 PM 05-28-2020
I'v been in the daycare field for eight (long) years now. I've worked in mainstream centres, young parent programs, Montessori schools (I've got my certificate) but I have never been truly happy in any of them. I've always wanted my own facility and fortunately I'm only a couple of years away from achieving that.
I'm wondering if anyone ever regretted the decision to go solo or I'm just a malcontent who's never happy
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DaveA 04:40 AM 05-29-2020
Never regretted opening, but would probably do a few minor things differently. But no I don't miss my center days. It's been better for me and the needs of my family to be working from home.
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Josiegirl 04:53 AM 05-29-2020
I've been out of it for a year now. I never regretted having an in-home daycare, there were tons of pros. BUT I do wish I'd known more and had more support right from the beginning. I started caring for children back in 1982 and things were soooo different then. Much less government involvement but also nobody to turn to with problems or for answers. I just did the best I could and see where my mistakes were made.

Looking back, the best changes I made involved contract changes such as charging weekly rates, not depending on attendance. Towards the past couple years I only accepted FT clients.

I put up with so much BS in the beginning such as "I can only afford $40 a week" despite the fact she had 2 little boys. NOT getting paid for when dcfs didn't come. Even towards the end I put up with too much, such as moms overstaying at drop off and pick up. Late payments without fees, because I knew they were good for it.

Burn out is extremely high, having your own children grow up in it can be challenging if you don't make them your priority, not setting limits and enforcing your policies can lead to trouble, not taking care of yourself through it all(IOW, keep those dr. appts., they're important for your well-being!!), don't let demanding dcps talk you into anything, stand up for yourself. And on and on.

Would I do it all again?? I believe it was the best thing for me, and my family and yes I would. With lots of changes!!!

Good luck!!!
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Cat Herder 06:12 AM 05-29-2020
I also disliked working in centers but love running my own. It allows me to meet all of my personal and professional goals without roadblocks or gatekeepers in my way.
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CountryRoads 07:21 AM 05-29-2020
I'm like a couple of the others.

I don't regret opening my own daycare, but I would've done SO many things differently!

I feel like you go into this business with the mindset that people appreciate you, think of how their choices affect you and want what's best for their kids. ()

I definitely would've developed a backbone earlier on and had stricter policies to begin with and make sure to follow through on them 100% of the time.

But being home with my kids and still making money has been the best thing for our family, despite all the negatives about running a daycare
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CountryRoads 07:22 AM 05-29-2020
I'm like a couple of the others.

I don't regret opening my own daycare, but I would've done SO many things differently!

I feel like you go into this business with the mindset that people appreciate you, think of how their choices affect you and want what's best for their kids. ()

I definitely would've developed a backbone earlier on and had stricter policies to begin with and make sure to follow through on them 100% of the time.

But being home with my kids and still making money has been the best thing for our family, despite all the negative things that come with running a daycare
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ZenZen Hen 08:36 AM 05-29-2020
Thanks for the replies!

I'm a long time lurker here since I discovered this place five years ago and feel I've learned do much from everyone's trials and tribulations and the stories of keeping a healthy backbone.

I work in a very idealistic centre right now where the managers, though meaning well, will let the parents walk all over us if we didn't pipe up. My closest coworker is completely delusional when it comes to the realities of actually managing families and enforcing expectations. Just the other day I sent out a letter to families about the requirement to send their child with sunscreen already applied as we start our day outside and I got some push back from her about wanting to put a line in about "only if they can manage it." I'm sure I'll hear about it from my manager but it's nice to know I'm not alone n approaching this career with realism and not pure idealism
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AmyKidsCo 12:36 PM 05-29-2020
Originally Posted by CountryRoads:
I'm like a couple of the others.

I don't regret opening my own daycare, but I would've done SO many things differently!

I feel like you go into this business with the mindset that people appreciate you, think of how their choices affect you and want what's best for their kids. ()

I definitely would've developed a backbone earlier on and had stricter policies to begin with and make sure to follow through on them 100% of the time.

But being home with my kids and still making money has been the best thing for our family, despite all the negatives about running a daycare
Agree with all of this! If I'd started out viewing it as a business (What would KinderCare do?) I would've saved myself a lot of stress & heartache.
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Josiegirl 05:03 AM 05-30-2020
Originally Posted by ZenZen Hen:
Just the other day I sent out a letter to families about the requirement to send their child with sunscreen already applied as we start our day outside and I got some push back from her about wanting to put a line in about "only if they can manage it."
Haha this statement reminds me of the first time I created a set of policies and a contract. I had my son proofread it all because, well, he's always been a LOT smarter than me and much more eloquent. He made some good suggestions and they all revolved around taking out the type of statement that you quoted above. He, himself, said it sounded like everything was an option and said that was no way to run a business because they'd take HUGE advantage of me.
He was VERY on target. I admit, my trying to be kind and thoughtful of dcps, without giving any thought of how it would affect me, got in my way.
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Ariana 04:17 PM 05-31-2020
A lot of people, myself included, chose this career because we like to help people and take care of them. What we fail to realize is that we have to stop being people pleasers and we need boundaries and that this is a business.

Working for myself is much better than dealing with coworkers but dealing with parents is a nightmare.
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badger411 07:13 PM 06-01-2020
Take my perspective with a grain of salt, since I was kind of forced into starting a home business by forces beyond my control.

I seem to attract kids that are very naughty and time out has no effect because they are not disciplined at home, and parents that think daycare is an optional expense. I have written off at least $5000 of care that I know I will never collect. I sent two to collections, one paid and the other one never will. Most of the ones that don't pay get county assistance, so I keep them on in order to at least get paid something for my time, even if the parents won't pay their copays. And yes, I know you're supposed to be firm and kick them out, but that leaves me with NO pay and an empty spot and nobody on my waiting list.

My house is run-down, I don't do preschool or crafts, so I attract very little in the way of interest. The parents that do make the leap are all very happy with us, give referrals, bring in new business, but the ones who are referred usually don't last. The kids we have are reluctant to leave because they like being with us so much. We were lucky this spring in that we had 2 school kids when Covid closed our district. They were already enrolled with us, but they started coming full-time. The downfall was helping them with schoolwork, different methods for each (public vs parochial), different online schedules, different Zoom meeting times, not knowing anything about the math teaching methods that somebody invented that they use today, plus dealing with an unmotivated 8th grader of my own.

I dislike the intrusiveness of the food program and the county coming in and finding anything they can to cite you. I hate having to be licensed in order to receive food program and county assistance. Who cares if the playroom is a mess if the kids are fed and happy? Why is it a $20 a day violation if all the toys are not perfectly perfect every second of every day? I got written up once for a messy playroom WHILE THE KIDS WERE PLAYING. I guess they're not allowed to use the toys I have. I have been cited for having baby bottles in my drying rack if there is no baby present when they come to inspect, because it proves it was yesterday's dishes. Who cares if the dishes aren't all put away every single day as long as the kids are happy and fed?

But I should also point out that I have only been happy in about 5 of the 30+ jobs I've had in 31 years in the workforce. So it's probably just in my personality to complain and find the negative in everything. I'm the kind of person that enjoys the record keeping and taxes side of running a business. Dealing with most of the kids is okay, a lot of the parents are horrible and question every single bill (I bill hourly), and the state and county are constant thorns in my side. I started this mostly because my wife is severely disabled from cancer treatments and can't work outside the home anymore, and really needs someone around all the time.
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Tags:24/48, 24/48 hours, 24/48 rule, backbone, daycare, daycare is not a charity, discontent, enforcing policies - consistency, illness policy, parent - its a verb, startup, tuition not based on attendance
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