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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Large License vs Small: Pros and Cons?
sophiamartinez 06:34 AM 02-21-2018
Good morning. I am pondering which license to ultamatly get. And how long does it take for them to issue a large license? Once you already have your small is there Is there a wait period for a large? And do I even want a large lol? Aside from having the space and staff what are the business and emotionally taxing complexities of a large license? I want to do this long term - I don't want burn out in 5 years. But I also want to make a good living doing it. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate any and all direction.
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hwichlaz 06:43 AM 02-21-2018
You can't skip straight to a large without first having a small for a year, or working at another daycare. You have to prove you have childcare experience.

Now, profitability is going to depend on where you live.

I live in Lake County. My rates are on the high side of average. And the additional 4 kids I could get with a large license would just barely cover an assistant when you figure in worker's comp, payroll taxes, etc. In fact, it might put me in the red on those four additional kids. In other areas of California, where the rates are higher, I'd be able to afford to pay someone...but how much would depend on the area.
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sophiamartinez 06:06 AM 02-24-2018
Ahh ok got it. Good to know and food for thought. Looks like I'll be having a small license first then. That should help to give me a good idea of what I'm capable of longterm. Thank you
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CityGarden 10:58 AM 02-25-2018
I am in Southern California and my rates are on the high side for my area. I think doing the small license for the first year is best as you are able to really learn and define your policies, etc.

I have been open a year this month and though I felt I had the perfect contract and handbook before I opened once I interacted with my clients the need for revisions were apparent. I have had three different versions of my contract and two versions of my handbook in one year.... I am thankful for opening small so I had the ability to make those changes in a smooth manner. Also this work is physically demanding in ways I had not thought of so I am glad I was able to build up to that. There are ways to have a large license in the beginning in California (past history working with children, etc.) but there are also hoops to jump thru like having fire clearance, not having another large daycare within a certain radius, etc.

For me IF I want to stay in the business long term I know I will expand to the large license but it is less so for the money and more so for the type of program I want to offer my community and the companionship of another adult for myself. Crunching numbers quickly since I only take 2+ and not school age expanding would only allow me to go from having 6 dcks to 10 dcks and it would cost me the income of 2-3 dcks for the assistant and it would also cost more in materials, supplies and wear and tear on the items so I might make slightly more but it would not be something to do for an increase in income for me.

One piece of advice when opening to not burn out is to start small, be mindful when setting your rates and offerings and specialize in something

I personally see providers in my area do best when they specialize age wise i.e. focusing on Infant Care 0-2 or preschool age 2-5 (note with infants you can have less children but can charge significantly more and there is a HUGE demand for infant care.)

Another path is to focus on offerings i.e. is your program "green" "organic" "RIE trained" "Montessori" "Playbased" "Media Free" etc. Are you "all inclusive" etc.

Best of luck!
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