The Process: Broken Down into 9 Easy Steps
Begin with the end in mind. Gather a collection of examples of ideas you like and don’t like. Tour other childcare centers and make note of ideas you want to incorporate into your own facility. List all of the rooms that you think you will need and list rooms that are optional as well. Take inventory of the items you will be using in each room. Before hiring a designer, be clear about what features are most important to you and why.
A company brand is like a person’s personality, no two are ever completely alike. When developing a brand it is best to look to the value you are bringing to your childcare community. Branding includes the company name, logo design and colors, website design, building design, and interior design. A strong brand will be able to communicate graphically on letterhead as well as verbally in the form of your story of your business model.
Speak with your banker and learn about the types of funding available to you. Do your research and know how much out of pocket money you will need versus how much you can afford to finance. Create a realistic budget and get approved for an amount that is larger than you think you will need. Plan for the unexpected, and budget with the highest estimated amounts than you think are necessary. Using higher budget amounts will prevent the likelihood of going over budget and will reduce the financial stress felt during construction.
Location, location, location. With any real estate purchase, location is always the most important decision. Is the land parcel large enough to accommodate future growth? Is it located in a young and growing community? Is it located on a popular commuter path? There are so many aspects that go into good site selection, we have developed a site selection chart to help you evaluate and compare multiple locations while conducting a property search with your Real Estate agent.
Selecting and working with a design team is a very personal decision. You should interview multiple people and find someone you communicate well with and who will complement your strengths and weaknesses. Hiring an Architect who is experienced in childcare centers will absolutely save you time and money. Many significant decisions go into the initial building sizing and layout. Without knowing these key items through experience, an inexpensive designer may save you money in design fees but then cost you ten times as much in construction costs without even realizing it
Construction is the most stressful part of the childcare development process because this is when the bulk of your funding is spent. You should also interview multiple contractors and have at least three bid on your project. Communication with the construction team is imperative and how they communicate with your design team is equally important. You will be working together as a group with a common goal for the next six to nine months. Select an experienced team that you trust to have your best interests in mind.
Each state has different building and health codes that you must be aware of that you must be compliant with. Each individual state has their own childcare licensing agencies that have different regulations. To help our clients learn as much about their local building codes and childcare licensing requirements, we have created a state compliance map that has an extensive amount of researched and collected data. The information we share is focused on property development and building design compliance and regulations.
Placing the building entrance and exits to flow with the commuter path will make it easy for parents dropping off and picking up their children. To maximize visibility, facing the building toward the street will connect it well to the surrounding community. The building entry should be far enough away from the street to allow children to safely enter and exit without fear of passing cars. If the lot is larger than your current needs, plan an area of expansion ahead of time. Playground areas should be as far from vehicular traffic as is practical.
The general contractor for the construction of your childcare center will be available and responsible for any defects in construction for the first year after the building is completed. Any item, however, that needs servicing or repair beyond that first year warranty is the building owner’s responsibility. Maintaining your childcare facility is very similar to maintaining your home. Servicing items on a regular basis to ensure that they are in their proper working order is the best defense against repair and replacement. Keep your service records organized with our building maintenance log book downloadable document.
Want more detailed information about each of these steps?
Wondering how long all of this will take?
We’ve developed a Project Scheduler for you to download.
This Gantt chart allows you to put in hypothetical dates and generate a practical time-line for how long each step in the property development process will take. This is a great resource for working the timeline backwards.
Want to be open in August?
Check out when you need to be started on each step along the way. Knowing how long to expect each step to take will take the guesswork out of your project and allow you to move forward with confidence.
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