If you’ve been contemplating the idea of opening a daycare center, there are a few things you should know before proceeding. Maybe you’re new to this realm of work, yet you have a passion for taking care of little ones. Or perhaps you have years of experience working with children, and you’re simply seeking out more necessary expertise. Either way, these five informational tips will help you start your new company without any complications.

1. Child Care Can Be Demanding

Opening a daycare center sounds like a fun idea for someone who loves kids— and it can be. But you have to understand that this is a demanding profession. You’ll need to make sure you’re ready for any obstacles or drawbacks that might cross your path. Creating an outline of your short term and long term goals will assist you in taking all of the essential preparations.

2. The Basics of Licensing Requirements

Learning about the licensing requirements that come along with opening a daycare may sound boring, but they are a critical step in the process to opening the doors to your center. You will be deemed as a new business owner which means you’re required to follow the rules and regulations set by your local government.

You can consult with an attorney if you feel inclined to do so. Conversely, you can begin by checking out the “Child Care Aware of America” licensing guidelines for owners of child care or daycare organizations. Additionally, performing some quick online research, based on the city and state you plan to conduct business in, will provide you with local laws that may not apply elsewhere.

3. Hire Quality Staff Members

This is not a fast-food chain—employees will be working with young children. You need to be sure they are fit for the job. Administering random drug tests (and a drug test prior to hiring) is a must. Also, you will want to run background checks, comprehensive interviews, and hold a thorough screening process.

When reviewing all of the applicants, you will likely want to hire child-friendly, sociable, silly, and experienced folks. You know, the best of the best. They should be capable of interacting with children, keeping daily stressors under control, and knowing their personal life is not a part of their work life. If you want to call them back in for a secondary interview, feel free!

4. Comparing Your Daycare to Competitors

Once you’re officially licensed and ready to go, you can research daycare centers in your general area. Compile a list of important information, such as tuition costs, hours of operation, and how many children are enrolled.

When you compare your daycare to your competitors, you can assess the information you’ve gathered. Then, you are able to determine how to manage your place of business. It’s important to remember to set your prices accordingly to your competition. If you’re charging a significant amount more per year or month, you’re less likely to enroll as many children as you’d hoped.

5. Offer Innovative Services

You’re more likely to prosper if you can set your daycare apart from all of the rest. Get creative! Put yourself in a young child’s shoes—what services would they enjoy? Maybe a rooftop garden with flowers and veggies. Painting the inside walls (and outside) with bright, fun colored paints will attract potential parents to set up an appointment. You can even hire a mural artist. You may want to offer an after-hours program for parents that work late; this is huge. Offering innovative services and getting creative will make your center stand out.

Once you’ve handled the business aspects, now it’s time to have fun. Play hopscotch, build LEGO creations, draw pictures, read kids’ stories. Most importantly, have faith in yourself when some days become a bit overwhelming. You can do this!