Before you invest money in a child care business, you need to determine if your community needs another child care center or family child care home. The following is a list of questions for you to consider. Section 2, Preparing a Business Plan, has resources to help you answer these questions.

  • Who else is providing child care in your area?
  • Who are your main competitors?
  • How many families with young children live in your area?
  • How many of them will need child care?
  • What are the ages of the children?
  • Is there a need for child care for a specific age group?
  • Is the need for child care in your area likely to change in the next 5-10 years?
  • Where do parents work?
  • How long is the typical commute?
  • What are the typical hours that parents work?
  • Is there a need for child care during specific hours?
  • What are the typical fees (the market rate) for child care in your area?
  • Do parents in your area typically get help (subsidies) to pay for child care?
  • Will your program be eligible to accept subsidies?
  • How much will it cost you to start a new child care business or purchase an existing child care center?
  • How much will it cost you to operate a program on an ongoing basis?
  • Based on the number of children you plan to enroll, what is your per child cost?
  • What fees do you need to charge parents in order to have a profitable program? Can parents in your area afford those fees?
  • How will your program attract parents?
  • What will make your business special?
  • Is there a family child care provider network you can join that will help with marketing, billing and curriculum?
  • Is there a center director support group where you can get information about issues such as marketing, staffing, curriculum and billing?
  • Can you partner with other child care programs? Are there providers that offer part-day programs? Are there other groups that sponsor child care programs?

Sources for data:

  • Your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency (CCR&R)
  • County growth projections
  • School census from local school district
  • Local library reference desk
  • City or county health or social services agencies
  • Local service organizations - Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.
  • Colleges or universities
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • Kids Count

Additional Resources