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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Opening a Center Before Having a Home Daycare
Moni_Momma 11:09 PM 08-10-2010
I was wondering if anyone thinks this is too ambitious? I'm looking to open within the next 3 to 5 years. To give me time to get training and funds situated. I'm 24 with two young children and was kind of looking for an owner (home or center) whom i could ask some questions to before i decided to dive in.

1.) what's your take on owning a center before having a home daycare?

2.) what's the most and least rewarding part of your job?

3.) How long before you were full?

4.) How many months of bills (payroll, rent, utilities, food, etc.) did you save in case enrollment didn't meet your bills?

5.) How do you feel about accepting county vouchers? (mainly those who come with it, haven't heard too many good things)

I have so many more questions, and appreciate you all for your HONEST opinions thanks!
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Abigail 11:32 PM 08-10-2010
Did you check out the rules of opening a center from the start because I know you have to have a degree in early childhood or a year experience owning a home daycare licensed, etc.
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Moni_Momma 11:45 PM 08-10-2010
I have been reading policies for months now, i did see as an administrator they want you to have a minimum of 4 early childhood education classes and 2 years experience. And it says the administrator can be the owner. But i didn't see any specifics on the qualifications of an owner. I've been searching but only been able to find what an administrator would need. I'm going back to read the specifics now....
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Michael 11:47 PM 08-10-2010
Are you two really up this late?
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Moni_Momma 11:54 PM 08-10-2010
:Lol, yeah, i'm up all night long!
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Abigail 01:35 AM 08-11-2010
It's only 3 am here!

I would recommend you call your local CCR&R and your Licensure....is that how it's spelled? They will be able to tell you the qualifications over the phone. Each state or county is slightly different, so they would give you a straight up---hopefully--answer and then you can tell us what the options are.
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kidkair 02:36 PM 08-11-2010
Originally Posted by Moni_Momma:
I was wondering if anyone thinks this is too ambitious? I'm looking to open within the next 3 to 5 years. To give me time to get training and funds situated. I'm 24 with two young children and was kind of looking for an owner (home or center) whom i could ask some questions to before i decided to dive in.

1.) what's your take on owning a center before having a home daycare?

2.) what's the most and least rewarding part of your job?

3.) How long before you were full?

4.) How many months of bills (payroll, rent, utilities, food, etc.) did you save in case enrollment didn't meet your bills?

5.) How do you feel about accepting county vouchers? (mainly those who come with it, haven't heard too many good things)

I have so many more questions, and appreciate you all for your HONEST opinions thanks!
1. I think I would not be able to handle the amounts of kids that would come through a center vs home based. I had 16 kids come through my home based DC last year when I allowed for drop-ins and irregular contracted hours. It was a mess.
2. Most Rewarding: the kids' laughter! I love having them laugh and be happy. Worst aspect: not getting the respect I deserve
3. It took me nearly a year to get as full as I wanted to be
4. I didn't save up too much ahead of time. I saved for the house and then got help on the bills from my boyfriend (now husband). I had 2 kids right way so that helped a bit.
5. I have accepted county payments from a few different clients. I had really bad luck with one but the others (3 other families) were fine. I made it part of my policy that everyone has to pay for the first two weeks up front even if on assistance. Once assistance kicks in I'll gladly refund the extra money or keep it to cover co-pays. The most annoying thing is that county pays slowly and irregularly until you get in a good rhythm and they pay after the fact so you can't demand that they pay for care in advance.

I hope this helps. I had lots of support from friends and family and that helped the most. One friend did not support me and so I ended up dropping her as a friend.
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Moni_Momma 10:49 PM 08-11-2010
Originally Posted by kidkair:
1. I think I would not be able to handle the amounts of kids that would come through a center vs home based. I had 16 kids come through my home based DC last year when I allowed for drop-ins and irregular contracted hours. It was a mess.
2. Most Rewarding: the kids' laughter! I love having them laugh and be happy. Worst aspect: not getting the respect I deserve
3. It took me nearly a year to get as full as I wanted to be
4. I didn't save up too much ahead of time. I saved for the house and then got help on the bills from my boyfriend (now husband). I had 2 kids right way so that helped a bit.
5. I have accepted county payments from a few different clients. I had really bad luck with one but the others (3 other families) were fine. I made it part of my policy that everyone has to pay for the first two weeks up front even if on assistance. Once assistance kicks in I'll gladly refund the extra money or keep it to cover co-pays. The most annoying thing is that county pays slowly and irregularly until you get in a good rhythm and they pay after the fact so you can't demand that they pay for care in advance.

I hope this helps. I had lots of support from friends and family and that helped the most. One friend did not support me and so I ended up dropping her as a friend.
Thanks Kidkair! I'm looking for a raw and realistic look into what it takes to be a provider, I won't be doing it by myself and I definately have a lot of support from my friends and family and spouse. My brother is willing to help with funding, and everyone else is offering a hand too. Is it overwhelmingly stressful having daycare in your home, do parents come by after hours? I didn't want to do a home daycare because I wasn't too comfortable with strangers knowing where i lived!
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QualiTcare 11:03 PM 08-11-2010
Originally Posted by Moni_Momma:
Thanks Kidkair! I'm looking for a raw and realistic look into what it takes to be a provider, I won't be doing it by myself and I definately have a lot of support from my friends and family and spouse. My brother is willing to help with funding, and everyone else is offering a hand too. Is it overwhelmingly stressful having daycare in your home, do parents come by after hours? I didn't want to do a home daycare because I wasn't too comfortable with strangers knowing where i lived!
you'll be doing well if the parents show up to drop off and pick up when they're supposed to. they won't drop by after hours - trust me.

as far as having a center - i've never heard of needing an ECE degree. when i worked in a center as an employee, i was the only one who had one. the director had a GED.

if you want a center, and you've never done childcare before - i'd reccomend starting at home just so you know what it will REALLY be like and learn to budget. the idea you have in your head isn't always reality.
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Moni_Momma 11:42 PM 08-11-2010
Originally Posted by QualiTcare:
you'll be doing well if the parents show up to drop off and pick up when they're supposed to. they won't drop by after hours - trust me.

as far as having a center - i've never heard of needing an ECE degree. when i worked in a center as an employee, i was the only one who had one. the director had a GED.

if you want a center, and you've never done childcare before - i'd reccomend starting at home just so you know what it will REALLY be like and learn to budget. the idea you have in your head isn't always reality.
That is true, dreams and reality can be much different, and it would be helpful to start off on a smaller scale and then expand! Do you think it would provide enough money for me to rent a small home (because i don't own, and don't plan on it, and my apartment isn't big enough at all!) and run it from there? Thanks QualiTcare! You gave me an aha! moment!
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MyAngels 07:06 AM 08-12-2010
Some of the best resources I used when researching whether to open a center or home based daycare were the Child Care Resource and Referral Network, the Department of Children and Family Services reps, the University of Illinois (they do a lot of research in this area and I found their salary information helpful in projecting costs), and local ECE professionals. I ended up opening a home based daycare after doing extensive research because my goals at the time were to be able to have the best of both worlds - being available to my young children and still contributing to the family budget. I felt that running a center would end up with my being essentially the same as working outside the home.

That being said, I still treated my home based daycare the same way I would have treated running a center. I set my policies for my daycare families and re-examine them every year to see if any changes need to be made. I respect my daycare families and in turn I expect them to respect me as well. I've been very lucky in the 18 years that I've been doing this to have had few problems, either with the kids in my care or with their parents. I've never had anybody actually stop by after hours unless I've invited them to do so. My goal has always been to provide the kind of care that I would want for my own children if they had been in daycare - a loving, nurturing environment where they felt welcome and cared for. Thankfully I've been able to achieve this.
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kidkair 12:52 PM 08-12-2010
Originally Posted by Moni_Momma:
Thanks Kidkair! I'm looking for a raw and realistic look into what it takes to be a provider, I won't be doing it by myself and I definately have a lot of support from my friends and family and spouse. My brother is willing to help with funding, and everyone else is offering a hand too. Is it overwhelmingly stressful having daycare in your home, do parents come by after hours? I didn't want to do a home daycare because I wasn't too comfortable with strangers knowing where i lived!
I will admit that occasionally it has been a bit uncomfortable knowing that strangers know where I live. However, I have gotten better about screening parents so that the ones who will misbehave are not even given paperwork. I have been lucky in that I can be very selective of who I admit to my care rather than just trying to get anyone who has any interest. I only see a few parents during non-daycare hours but they are friends and family and our get togethers are often planned ahead of time. I agree with QualiTcare that you are doing well when parents are following the rules you set forth.
The most stressful part for me is that we had a leaky roof problem in 'my' room and for a year I haven't been able to use 'my' room in the way I want to. That was stressful on my husband too as he and I had to share 'his' room. So with my room unavailable I had a harder time just relaxing and doing my own projects and having me time outside of the rooms used for daycare.
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Crystal 02:39 PM 08-12-2010
1.) what's your take on owning a center before having a home daycare?
I think having some experience working with a small group can be beneficial before taking the plunge into a larger sized group. It would be a very costly "mistake" to open a center, only to find out that you don't REALLY like working with children and families.

2.) what's the most and least rewarding part of your job?

most: knowing that I am contributing to the appropriate development of young children and the daily hugs and love I recieve from "my" kids.
least: changing diapers.

3.) How long before you were full?

a couple of months...but that's not typical

4.) How many months of bills (payroll, rent, utilities, food, etc.) did you save in case enrollment didn't meet your bills?

You should have a minimum of 6 months to cover all costs saved....preferably one year for a center. I have researched opening a center EXTENSIVELY and a year is pretty standard for filling up, AND even then you should only base your income projections on 80% of capacity.

5.) How do you feel about accepting county vouchers? (mainly those who come with it, haven't heard too many good things)

Never have had a problem, but it helps if you are able to be direct and "forceful" when needed.

Even though this is geared for California, this website has an abundance of information about all stages of planning and developing a child care center:

http://www.buildingchildcare.org

Good luck!
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Tags:new business, owning a center
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