Depending on your location, it may be an option to run your center with or without a license. That being said, it is always a good idea to license your business. Just think of it from the parent’s point of view: When evaluating options, would you rather send your child to a location that has passed health, safety and quality requirements or do you not care about those important details?
Although the rules will vary depending on your state or province, licensing requirements generally pertain to the size of your center. Looking after a few children in your home may not need a license, but having a considerable number (roughly 3 or more) will require you to obtain licensing.
By licensing your business, parents will know that your program meets all of the standards established by your local authorities. Doing so will also likely make you eligible for different funding and professional development opportunities, which can have a significant impact on the success of your business. Plus, by meeting all of the requirements to become licensed, you may be able to charge a “peace of mind” premium on your rates. Many parents will also only consider a licensed child care center for their child.
Another advantage of becoming licensed is that it can serve as a blueprint for what it takes to set up a child care center. Your local government likely has a licensing guide which will provide detailed information about things like teacher/student ratios, inspections, first aid, nutrition and other requirements that can be easy to overlook when planning the many elements that go into launching a center.
Keep in mind, however, that licensing manuals can be very different from location to location. Once you have become licensed, be sure to promote this achievement wherever possible. Place a badge on your website and brochures, mention it in conversations with prospects, and ensure that your business is listed in online directories of licensed child care providers.
After you have become licensed, your center will be inspected regularly in order to maintain your licensing status. Although this can be a stressful experience at the time, they are incredibly helpful for your center to maintain a high standard of excellence, which is exactly what parents are looking for when it comes to their child’s care.