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Old 01-05-2010, 12:22 PM
 
8 posts, read 60,032 times
Reputation: 17

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I've noticed that all of the full time daycares seem like glorified babysitting efforts or way too expensive for a family to afford.

I'd like to start a small preschool - 60 to 100 children and use a combination of higher reach and tools of the mind curriculum (if you don't know what that is, it is very learning oriented and has proved results that are simply amazing).

I think the overcharging is ridiculous and would under charge and keep my hours open longer. I'd also give a bit of ownership to any teachers who worked for me in the form of bonuses, full benefits to keep them retained.

I've done the math and I think I'd be profitable in about 5 months.

Can you tell me what you think would make a center stand out from the crowd? My ultimate goal is to open several centers and some nonprofits in inner city/at risk areas. I'm not in this for the money (though it is lucrative) I really want to make an impact so anyone with real comments on how I can proceed/which areas to focus on (I've got Morningside and Buckhead in mind to begin) - and I even have the potential to use an area right near Piedmont Park (on the Monroe side).

So I'm excited but thought I'd ask if any of you have thoughts.....

Having recently gone back to work I had to quit when I realized that my son was so miserable at one of these centers (I wouldn't be surprised if he was ignored all day)....and the great places (Suzuki, and others) all seem to be full or get awful reviews.

Thanks in advance for anyone who is kind enough to read all that and reply!!!
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:48 PM
 
133 posts, read 581,910 times
Reputation: 94
Do you have any type of experience or certification?
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:52 PM
 
1 posts, read 9,918 times
Reputation: 10
I totally agree with you - I'm in the middle of searching for a preschool for my son to attend in the fall, and I'm so frustrated I've thought several times about starting a center myself. I am frustrated by the small number of quality preschools in the intown area - and the places that do seem to have everything I want for my son are either too expensive or don't even have a remote possibility of having openings. Every preschool in the area also boasts about being "play-centered" because children learn through play - I agree, and this is important, but my child isn't even two and has been speaking full sentences for three months now...knows his entire alphabet and can count to 23. I would like a place where he can play and socialize with other children, but I would also like a place where he will be stimulated and challenged intellectually - and where he can communicate and interact with other children who are as verbal and into learning as he is. I don't feel that should be too much to ask. I would also like my son to be in a preschool where the teachers have some type of background - preferably a bachelor's degree - in early childhood education or child development. And if they don't, then the preschool needs to be upfront about that instead of simply not listing their staff bios on the website, or instead of claiming their teachers all have backgrounds or degrees in ECE...but when you dig deeper, the teacher has a cosmetology degree, etc. I have an incredibly sensitive child and honestly the most important thing to me is finding a kind and nurturing teacher who he can connect with - and when I look at it that way, a degree doesn't matter at all...but then just call it a daycare center, not a preschool. And don't even get me started on the fact that all the preschools have a ridiculously high non-refundable application fee...but when you press the directors about how many openings they actually anticipate, they all admit there are "very few." So frustrating! I think a huge consideration for opening up a quality preschool is being able to pay your staff a decent salary. I am a counselor who works at a public middle school - I absolutely love my job, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but the amount of money I make is insulting - and I have a Master's Degree. If I were single, I would never be able to have the job I love. There are so many people out there who love children and who would be amazing preschool teachers but are simply not able to make it on a preschool teacher's salary.
Whew...I have so many thoughts on what would make a center stand out from the crowd...and I really love your idea of opening up a center in the inner city for at-risk children and children who might not be able to afford quality preschool. I also think you should look into starting a school in Decatur..I live in Decatur and we have one of the highest concentrations of families with young children in the entire metro area. All the good preschools in our area are maxed out...and all have waiting lists...many seem impossible to get into because there are so few spaces available. Good luck - if you're looking for a potential partner/collaborator, I honestly might be interested!
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:54 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,291,392 times
Reputation: 3565
So help me understand this- you plan to offer a better education, give the teachers a piece of the business, stay open longer, and charge less, and you think you'll be "profitable in 5 months"? I think your math is flawed.

Think about it- most folks who go into the preschool business do it because they love kids- not because it's some sort of huge cash cow. If it was really so easy to provide a great education at a low price, don't you think they'd be doing it?
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:21 AM
 
Location: ATL suburb
1,366 posts, read 3,762,269 times
Reputation: 1563
Quote:
Originally Posted by sssmith View Post
I've noticed that all of the full time daycares seem like glorified babysitting efforts or way too expensive for a family to afford.

I'd like to start a small preschool - 60 to 100 children and use a combination of higher reach and tools of the mind curriculum (if you don't know what that is, it is very learning oriented and has proved results that are simply amazing).

I think the overcharging is ridiculous and would under charge and keep my hours open longer. I'd also give a bit of ownership to any teachers who worked for me in the form of bonuses, full benefits to keep them retained.

I've done the math and I think I'd be profitable in about 5 months.

Can you tell me what you think would make a center stand out from the crowd? My ultimate goal is to open several centers and some nonprofits in inner city/at risk areas. I'm not in this for the money (though it is lucrative) I really want to make an impact so anyone with real comments on how I can proceed/which areas to focus on (I've got Morningside and Buckhead in mind to begin) - and I even have the potential to use an area right near Piedmont Park (on the Monroe side).

So I'm excited but thought I'd ask if any of you have thoughts.....

Having recently gone back to work I had to quit when I realized that my son was so miserable at one of these centers (I wouldn't be surprised if he was ignored all day)....and the great places (Suzuki, and others) all seem to be full or get awful reviews.

Thanks in advance for anyone who is kind enough to read all that and reply!!!
If you are going to start a "pre-school" vs a "daycare", and plan to use an educational curicculum, you will have to either train your employees, or require them to already have the training. You will have to pay them more for that. Will you require them to have degrees and certification, or will you hire anyone with a pulse? There will be salary differences their.

So, how will you keep your prices "affordable" while paying for top notch employees? If you're going to be open longer, you will have to pay more for heating/air conditioning, lights, and your workers. Do you plan on feeding these children? Will you have kitchen staff or just serve the kids processed foods? Good quality food costs money too.

You say you will undercharge clients and stay open longer. Is this how you plan to break even? By either working your employees to death or hiring part-time/temp workers? Your turn-over rate might get very high.

So, what makes a center stand out? For me, the most important things were location, price, full-time (or sometimes part-time), but regular employees, cleanliness, and activities for my child. Whether or not an education method was used was irrelevant to me because "I" did it with my child. There's a lot more I could say, but this is getting to long.

Seriously, I'd like to see your math. I don't see how you could break even, much less remain viable for more than 3 years.
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:08 PM
 
214 posts, read 547,731 times
Reputation: 130
I applaud the OP's desire, and willingness to put the dreamgoal (my word) out there. I hope the realities presented are not taken in the "You'll never make it, give up now" tone some of them have been presented in.
The fact is many people do get into daycare businesses, especially franchises, for the money. I'm sure a lot of the teachers, cooks, etc. at preschools don't (many do it for the free daycare, love of kids, or just to have a job, like any other field).
There were MANY naysayers that told Ron Clark that his school idea would make him homeless. Thankfully he used their negativity to plug any holes in his plans, instead of cowering away like so many do with their own dreams.
Metro Atlanta is in dire need of more quality preschools, as all the waitlists prove.
And thank you, OP, for introducing me to the Tools of the Mind curriculum. Best of luck to you.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Woodstock
214 posts, read 845,935 times
Reputation: 83
I just RIPPED my son out of a Goddard b/c the director/owner had zero knowledge of running a "preschool." She was Goddard parent that just "loved" the Goddard curriculum so much that she decided to own one. In 9 months my son had 6 teachers b/c she could not keep anyone on staff!

I really, REALLY hope you are highly educated in early childhood education before taking on such a responsibility.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:25 PM
 
8 posts, read 60,032 times
Reputation: 17
I am - BA in education, mother has MA and 30 years of experience.

I just finished my certification to be a director, found a space and met the most amazing preschool owner looking to expand - so here I am about to start my school.

Dreams have wings and mine are flying.

I plan to offer great benefits, bonuses if we do well and affordable not "creme de la creme" pricing.

So I am entirely excited. It is about the kids. Money is important but that keeps the doors opened, employees well looked after and my mortgage paid.

I just came back to read this and glad I didn't for the most part as most of you were quite negative.

I am so excited nothing can bring me down - and to kbram124 (email me). Thanks to all for your supportive words!

I'm off to work - and loving this completely!!!!
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:08 AM
 
1,516 posts, read 6,225,019 times
Reputation: 521
Good for you. The one thing I truly think is missing from daycares is a language program. How amazing to have little kids learning french or spanish or italian while playing games. I think this would give your daycare an added bonus, especially if you're focused on a learning experience and not just babysitting. Just a thought! Good luck! Definitely check out Bright from the Start to get a handle on competition, regulations, home vs. center daycares, etc.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:31 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,732 times
Reputation: 10
I am reading Nurture Shock and just learned about Tools of the Mind. I am so intrigued by it and plan to implement a lot of the concepts in my home. I hope that you can do this because I believe that more schools around here should be familiar with these concepts.
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