How to start a daycare business in Kenya


Many women are now pursuing career goals in the hope of providing a better future for their children. As a result, children are either left at home with house helps or are taken to a daycare center where there are left to be taken care of and  are picked at the end of the day.

In recent times, this institutions have come in handy because of the huge turnover of house helps who leave after a short while in search of greener pastures.

A major factor that a mother considers when deciding on a daycare ,is whether their little one will be taken good care of. They expect their children to be looked after, fed, entertained  and their diapers changed .

Another factor that parents consider is cost. Although mothers want a facility that offers quality care, affordability is also a critical factor in determining where to take their little one.

To start and run a successful daycare, below are the steps you ought to follow;

Register your business

To operate legally in Kenya, first begin by registering your company .To do this, log in the e-citizen portal, do a search for the proposed business name and then make a payment of Ksh 100 per suggested name. If the name is available, you will get a confirmation of the same and then you can go ahead and register it as a sole-proprietorship.

As your company grows, you can later on register it as a company or limited partnership.

Raise capital

Starting a daycare can be a high or low capital intensive venture .It all depends on whether you are starting a high end ,middle level or a low end institution.

Below is a table that shows the average capital required for each type of daycare

Type of day careCapital Injection)Ksh)
Low end  50,000-100,000
Middle level  150,000-500,000
High end  Above 500,000

Please note that the above figures are not set on stone as there are various factors that will determine the amount of capital required to set up one.

Some of these factors are;

  • Rent of the premise-In High end neighborhoods, houses cost more.
  • The type services that you offer.
  • Marketing and advertising services.
  • The type of day care equipment’s that you want to purchase.

Analyze demand

Before establishing your facility, do a survey in your neighborhoods to find out if there is sufficient demand for the service. To guide you, seek to answer the following questions;

  • What is the lifestyle of the residents in the neighborhood you want to set up your business?
  • Do they need a daycare or do they prefer to employ house helps to take care of their kids?
  • Are the parents in that area willing to pay the amount you are hoping to charge for your services?
  • Is there a large number of parents willing to take their kids to a daycare?
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Analyze competition

Competition in this business is increasing at a fast rate mainly because of its low bar of entry and the rise of demand of this type of services.

Before settling on a location, research if there are existing daycare centers around, what services they offer and how much they charge per day so that you derive ways to outwit them.

If a place is overpopulated with many centers, there is a high chance you will have a hard time establishing it there because of high competition.You can only be successful if you differentiate yourself from the crowd either through branding or offering services that aren’t available in other facilities.

Identify a suitable location and premise

If you are starting with little capital, you can convert a spare room in your house to be a daycare. But if that’s not feasible, look for a location that is safe and has ample space preferably with an outdoor space where children can go out and play.

It is wise to analyze the demand and the level of competition of an area before deciding on a suitable location.

Branding

In an area where there is high competition, it is prudent you stand out from the crowd. Some of the ways you can differentiate yourself is by;

  • Having better facilities than the day cares around.
  • Have a variety of toys that are age appropriate.
  • Have uniformed staff instead of casually dressed staff.
  • Have a compound installed with swings, slides or bouncing castle where the children can play.
  • Have various activities such childhood games, face painting to keep the children entertained.
  • Have various educational materials such as story books that are grouped according to age to help children develop the intellectual skills.
  • Paint and decorate the rooms in bright colours and patterns that suit the ages of the young children.

Do housekeeping

Children’s safety should be your number one priority. To ensure your day care is safe for the kids;

  • Remove all sharp objects and put in some safety precautions such as installing baby proof doors and drawers.
  • If there are stairs block them with a baby gate.
  • Ensure there are no small objects around that toddlers can choke on.
  • Cut long grass that may be home to reptiles such as snakes.
  • Fumigate the premise to get rid of any rodents and insects.

Acquire the necessary licenses

There are 4 types of licenses that you need  to get when registering a day care business;

  1. Single permit license

This is a trading license granted by the local authority in your county. Its costs vary from county to county and the type of business .However, from a survey carried out, we found out that its average cost is Ksh 10,000.

  1. Fire safety license
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The local county government is in charge of inspecting all facilities in the county to ensure they meet the fire safety standards.

To prepare for inspection, ensure you have a fire extinguisher, a designated fire assembly point, a fire exit and an evacuation plan in case of a fire.

Once you pass inspection, you will be issued with a fire safety certificate which costs around Ksh 3000.

  1. Public health license

Cleanliness and hygiene are of paramount when it comes to children as they are susceptible to diseases due to their low immunity.

The local county public health official is responsible for inspecting facilities to ensure they meet the required hygiene standards. Some of the key things they look for ,is to confirm there is proper disposal of waste and there is a presence of functioning toilets, to prevent the occurrence of water borne disease such as typhoid and cholera.

Once you pass a health inspection, you will be issued with a public health certificate which roughly cost Ksh 3000.

  1. Individual medical certificate

This is a mandatory requirement if you are handling food that is to be consumed by other people. When you hire personnel, ensure they obtain a medical certificate from the local government hospital since they will be preparing food for the toddlers and feeding them. If they pass the health inspection, they will be issued with a health certificate. The certificate cost Ksh 1000.

Purchase equipment

Kids get bored very easily therefore you ought to equip your facility with a variety of items to keep them entertained.

Some of the equipment’s you ought to purchase for your daycare are;

  • Baby dolls and puppets.
  • Paints ,paint brushes, crayon and colors.
  • Nap mats or mattresses.
  • Play houses.
  • Play pens.
  • Board games.
  • Lego sets.
  • Toddlers slides.
  • Baby rockers.
  • Swing sets.
  • Balls.
  • Changing tables.
  • Feeding chairs.

Determine services you will offer

Satisfied clients are the key to the success of your company therefore you have to go above and beyond to please them. One way of doing this is by offering a variety of services that the kids can benefit from such as;

  • Offering break and lunch.
  • Offering extra-curricular activities to keep the children entertained.
  • Offering transport services for parents who are unable to drop and pick their kids.
  • Offering a mix of educational activities that are age appropriate.

Determine price to charge

There is no blanket price when it comes to determining how much to charge for daycare as this is affected by several factors .Some of this factors are:

  • Where the day care is located- Is it a high end, middle income or low end neighborhood?
  • How much is the rent of the premise?
  • How much wages are you paying your staff?
  • What type  of services are you offering?
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It is worth noting that the social cultural economic habits of an area, heavily determines the amount parents are willing to pay . A high end day care set in an environment where parents can’t afford to pay for the services will surely fail.

Before starting your company, conduct a survey in your surrounding area to have a rough idea of how much parents are willing to pay for your services.

Determine whether you are going to charge on an hourly basis, daily or monthly basis .Be flexible when it comes to model of payment so that you can boost your revenue by attracting more customers who otherwise could not afford the monthly payment all at once.

However from a survey conducted, below is the average price that day cares in Kenya charge per day.

Type of daycareCost Per day(Ksh)
High end 500 – 1000
Middle level 200-500
Low end 50-100

Advertising will determine the success of your business. There are several ways to market your services but the best way is by referral. Target to offer exemplary services and parents will surely spread the word around.

Another way you can advertise is to visit your neighborhood and letting them know of the existence of your facility. Publish fliers, brochures or pamphlets  and drop them  around your area.

Be consistent in marketing as this helps you grow and expand your company at a fast rate.

Hire personnel

Qualified staff help parents trust you and thus feel comfortable leaving their kids in your day care. When hiring staff, there are some key considerations you need to take account of;

  • Ensure the staff have training in first aid, CPR and other emergency procedures.
  • Employ staff who know how to take good care of children. Consider ECD teachers as they have this kind of training.
  • Request your staff to provide a certificate of good conduct. This should be mandatory as children can be very entrusting. You should take ample time in investigating the background of your personnel this includes calling their referees.

Get insurance

It is prudent you obtain insurance to cover yourself from any liability that may occur within your day care . Get a liability cover that covers the children, personnel and the facilities from burglary and fire.

A public liability cover safeguards your business against third party injury and property damage claims so that you can confidently run it knowing you are protected if something goes wrong.

Conclusion

If you have a passion for kids, then this type of business is the right fit for you.

Just follow the above steps on how to register and run a successful daycare business and you will sure be on your way to success.

To your Success!

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