When looking for the location of your business, there are many factors to consider. Finding a location that is 100% perfect can be extremely difficult, and so your final decision will typically come after weighing the pros and cons of a number of different criteria. Below are some of the main factors to consider when choosing your location.
There are many questions that you will be asking as you tour properties in your area:
Does the physical building meet your requirements?
Is it a brand new facility or a 100 year old building with old plumbing and no air conditioning?
Is there enough natural light?
Does it have the number of rooms that you will require?
What does licensing in your area require? How many square feet outside and inside do they require?
Does the building you are looking at enable you to have enough children to make a profit?
Considering the operational requirements that you will need at a basic level will help you determine whether a building will be suitable. You may also prefer an older building with a unique history compared to a unit in a strip mall. The best way to find out is by scheduling viewing appointments at locations available to see what “feels” right.
Does the location have enough potential customers in the neighborhood? One option is to limit your options to neighborhoods with larger numbers of young families with daycare and preschool aged children. This works particularly well for parents who work relatively near their home.
Alternatively, if parents in your area have long commute times, they may want their child care near their workplace instead of their home because otherwise it will be harder to be on time for pick up and drop off.
Will children, parents and staff with special needs be able to access your facility? Ensure that you are selecting a location that everyone will be able to access.
Will busy parents on their way to work be able to easily park in a large lot or need to double park on a busy downtown street and risk getting a ticket every morning? If you are located in an area where most people commute by car, consider how your customers will get to your location every day.
If you are looking to open a home daycare, consider how your customers will park in your neighborhood daily. Is there room in your driveway? Is there room on the street? How will this extra traffic impact your street?
Proximity to Transit
Will your location be in a convenient location for those who take public transit? Pickup and dropoff is done on the way to and from work, and ideally your location will be on a popular transit line that will be convenient for their daily commute.
Are there other child care centers close to the location that you are considering? Although this does not necessarily mean you cannot set up shop here, you will likely have an easier time attracting customers when you are the only option in a certain location.
What other businesses are in the area? Being in between a coffee shop and pharmacy will make for a convenient stop for parents, whereas a liquor store and run-down motel might not make parents feel at ease when dropping off their little ones.
Ordinances or Zoning Restrictions
Check with your local government to see if there are any rules around opening a child care business in the area you are considering. It may be that the location you are considering is not even a viable option. For example, in Toronto, Ontario, a day nursery in an apartment building must be only on the first story of the building.