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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Buying Daycare and Transitioning
Unregistered 08:12 AM 10-04-2017
We are looking into purchasing an existing daycare. We have looked at several at the moment and are getting ready to put a bid in on one. But I have a few questions...
a. How do you transition smoothly? I am told by business owners that it is sometimes best to clean out and start anew. But we know that doesn't work well with daycare. The turnover doing that will have parents causing mutiny. So do any of you have good suggestions on transitioning smoothly?

b. One of the things about touring for sale centers is you are viewing them without the staff knowing. And let me tell you... some of the stuff I have seen! *eye roll* How do you bring up issues that CLEARLY need fixing from staff without coming in like a windstorm?

c. One of the centers we are looking at (actually the one we might bid on) the owner is no longer around. A hired director is running it. My partner and I would need to let her go. Would you offer her a teacher position? Keep her temp to help with the transition?

d. My partner plans to teach. I plan to take over director. Clearly one of the teachers will be going too. My thoughts are to keep most the staff as is for about a month and then start choosing who will be moved where, let go, etc. I certainly wouldn't want to move people to the wrong place or let the wrong person go. And this would give my partner and I time to also put things into place as we like them. What are your thoughts? Too much time? Too little time?

The end result is I don't want to lose parents. And I don't want good workers leaving. I know change is never easy so I am trying my best to take it all into account and make the smallest changes possible little by little until we get where we want to be. We haven't gotten the books and detailed information yet. I am not even sure on policies etc. So of course this is rather stressing me. What I would do in a center isn't what someone else would do.

Anyone who has been through this (either purchasing or even staff who have been through a transition) have any suggestions on how to make this work? I would love to make everyone happy but I have a feeling that simply isn't going to happen. Any ideas or thoughts would be most helpful!
kendallina 11:25 AM 10-04-2017
As you probably know, the staff you have is 90% of the quality of your center. It really is. It's everything.

Taking over can be tough, especially if you're already seeing things that need major change. I've done this before. I wasn't buying a center, but was placed in a center by the 'higher ups' to change it around. I had no option of firing staff and was working with people that had been there FOREVER and whose philosophies of working with kids just didn't jive with the company's way. Eventually I was able to move staff around to other centers which helped break up some old habits. I LOVED working as a supervisor and helping to grow and change a center.

The advice I would give is to listen. Listen to the staff before making changes. Talk to them individually. Talk to them in groups. Talk to them about what they like about their workplace and what they don't like. Talk to them about your goals-for their professional development and your goals for the children and families. Talk to them about your vision. Get their investment in your vision. Set the expectation that communication is important to you and is essential to the success of the program.

One thing that we did at every staff meeting (and I currently do at my family meetings) is we listed things that are "WORKING" and things that are "NOT WORKING". Help them get their NOT WORKING needs met (i.e. if supplies are lacking or help them problem solve what they can change). Encourage and provide opportunity for the staff to communicate with you and each other.

State often what your bottom line is: for example, "I only want to do what's best for the children" or "Let's learn and grow together to make the best learning environment for children" or whatever.

Once you spend time with the staff, you'll probably know pretty quickly who can grow with you and who has no desire for change. And once you know, give clear expectations. Recognize with the staff that it may not be a good fit for everyone and that's OKAY. You want everyone to be in a work environment that is a good fit for them. It's okay to say that you are evaluating them and to acknowledge that they are evaluating you. They also have to decide if the changes coming are something they can roll with.

And as you know, you'll need to keep those that seem like a good fit. Keep those that are looking to learn and change. Replace those that aren't. REPLACE THEM WELL...the people you hire is everything! Good luck!
Unregistered 09:09 AM 10-05-2017
That is really some awesome advise. Kinda what I was thinking too.

I know when I took over my churches VBS everyone was kinda bulking and I wanted to make changes there too. But I had a group meeting and explained I am new and I needed them to help me make this better that without them we couldn't succeed. We took notes and listened and hashed around ideas. It really worked well. I would like to go that direction here too.

I won't know them. Or even the schools set up truly. Whats been allowed and what hasn't etc. What the parents are like or the children. Are they soft on the rules or sticklers for things like picks up and payments etc. I really am kinda walking in blind. I won't be able to do it without them. And unhappy workers make for unhappy clients.

SO. In regard to the director and the head teacher, we know they will be cut. Or at least those positions. The other centers I have looked at the owner is the director and head teacher too. Clearly they sell, their spot is open. This one the set up is different. How would you handle that? Do you think a month is long enough to do this?
Unregistered 07:42 AM 10-19-2017
Ok. I found out that the director is no longer even around. (But she is taking the director pay however). The center currently employees 11 others. She has an assistant director, an assistant, a head teacher, a group teacher and a 17 year old aid along with all the rest of the staff. *eye roll* I knew her expenses were too high in staffing but didn't know why. I am still waiting for the centers accounts etc for more details. But already I know the assistant director, assistant, head teacher, group teacher titles will be going. And why she would hire a 17 year old who can never be left alone with the children is beyond me so unless her birthday is close to closing she won't likely be staying either. That is about 5 people out of 11 not including the actual director/owner. *sigh* HOW do I do this without rocking the boat and pissing people off? Talk about a major mess IMO. I am starting to wonder if I should look into another center. I cant afford to have staff walk and they will if I cut their titles and I won't be able to afford to pay them their current positions.
Unregistered 07:44 AM 10-19-2017
Would you consider posting job positions before closing/transfer? Or wait until like a trial period like we talked about above? Waiting could leave me up a poop creek without a paddle.
flying_babyb 02:00 PM 10-21-2017
Ok I would give it a month. Spend at least a couple days in each classroom with the teacher and observe. find out who works and who dosent. Also at nap ask them questions: whats do you like about working here? What do you hate? Do all the teachers make a good team, do they pull their weight? Some teacher will share the truth with you. Then you can use this and the observations to see whos staying and going. It will also let you see if anyone needs to be shuffled to a new room. Sometimes teachers get to complacent in there room and need a change. I was there, teaching preschool, was coming in frustrated and bored with it. Asked boss for a change, moved to 3s and was happy. I would set a meeting the first week your there, make it mandatory, and sit down and share your theories on daycare, management, any major changes (dont metion letting people go) and stuff like that. And make sure they know they can talk to you about anything.
racemom 08:12 AM 10-22-2017
You have gotten good advice here. You need to learn more about the staff before making a decision. As far as all these job titles, do you know what their pay is? Sometimes job titles are only that, a title not compensation.

I would spend time with each staff member and classroom before making any decisions. Make sure the staff realizes you are a team. Honestly most staff probably don't have a favorable opinion of you, because no one likes the unknown or changes. Start out positive, letting them know you need their input and ideas will help. I would have a staff meeting as soon as you take over, and ask for suggestions, and let them know you are open to changes. Let them know you want them to let you know what works and doesn't work. Also, if you change something let them know why. Make sure they feel valued.
Tags:buying a daycare
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