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Unregistered 11:07 AM 07-21-2014
We are in the process of looking for a space for our new center in the Chicago area. Any advice on the pitfalls of starting new? What were the unexpected things that came up? How long did your center take to open? Any directors / owners who can chime in would be great! Thanks!
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Michael 12:46 PM 07-21-2014
Some helpful threads: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.ph...ting+a+daycare
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Unregistered 07:09 PM 07-21-2014
Be sure to have a good architect and make sure your contract with the architect includes a clause related to major mistakes.

My architect didn't have the correct fire response system which cost an extra $14,000 at the very end of our project.
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missy 08:50 PM 07-21-2014
My main advice would be whatever you estimate to spend....triple it. And definitely have an experienced attorney review the commercial lease first if you are new to commercial leases. I spent over $17k on rent before I even opened my doors, so if you can negotiate to not pay until construction is done, or negotiate a lesser rent amount until then, that would help tremendously. If the space has been vacant for awhile they may go for it. You just never know how long it will take to get it all done--it took me 5 months to open, but another member on here nearby it took her 14 months! That's a lot of money getting eaten up on rent before you even get rolling.

And start marketing asap. Flood the market with your name and logo (I had my logo designed by someone on Etsy for $250 and love it). Buy tshirts with your center name boldly and clearly printed on them, and have everyone locally that you know wear them--family, friends, church goers, you name it. Hand out fliers at every local event. I have spent a good bit of money on marketing and I can confidently say that word of mouth and local marketing will be much more productive. I did the whole vistaprint mail campaign and I got one call from it.

Good luck!!
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Tags:chicago, starting a daycare
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