Once you have taken the time to talk and think about the benefits and drawbacks that come with owning a daycare franchise, you can decide if it’s what you want to do. The next thing you will want to do is focus on understanding the requirements for a daycare franchise in your state. This will help you see what it will take to make your dreams of owning a childcare franchise a reality.
The first thing you will want to look into is the regulatory committee for the state you want to open your daycare franchise in. Your franchisor should help you to find this information and they can usually tell you more about it. However, it is still a good idea to find the committee and research it yourself in order to have have a better understanding of what will be expected. This is the best way to ensure that you are acting within the law in every aspect of your business. Doing this will also ensure that there are no issues when it comes to securing the proper licenses for your facility.
If you plan on opening your facility in a specific area, keep in mind that you will have to follow the guidelines of that particular area. This becomes far more important if you open up around a military base. Make sure you talk with the local chamber of commerce to better understand the expectations of each area. One of the biggest things to keep in mind for daycare franchise requirements is that you will need to have the information including social security numbers of any person at your daycare franchise that will come into contact with children. You will also need to run an extensive background check completed by the FBI. This is for the protection of the children and something you cannot overlook.
There are different types of inspections that will need to be performed on your daycare franchise. The type of inspections will depend on several factors, one of which is the type of child care center you’ve chosen to open. Let’s look at some of the different options and a sampling of what will be looked at during the inspections:
With these generally a state representative will come to your home to inspect it just sa a home inspector would. Their goal is to look for unsafe conditions in the integrity of the home as well as around the home. Some of the aspects they will look at include:
Keep in mind that these are just some of the things that will be looked at during an inspection. The requirements for a daycare franchise inspection will vary depending on the state and local area. The goal is to make sure that the children will be safe in the facility and well cared for. Requirements may even include required testing for certain medical conditions that are highly contagious like tuberculosis and hepatitis depending on where you are.
Before you can get any licensing for your daycare franchise, you will need to have an inspection done. Just as with home daycares, inspections are done by an inspector sent out by the state. The checklist of things that will be looked at is generally several pages in length. Since this is a long list which can vary between states, we will simply look at some of the general things that will be required so you can get a better understanding of what is expected. Some of the aspects that will be looked at during the inspection include:
In many ways, the inspections for large day care centers is no different than the home child care facilities. If for some reason you do not pass the inspection the first time, the inspector will give you citations which will be reported to the state department that handles this. They will also give you a similar list of appropriate changes for your daycare franchise. Keep in mind that some of the citations may be written for minor infractions and you may be allowed to open as well as you are in the process of fixing these issues within a certain time frame. Usually you will be given up to 90 days to make the changes. When it comes to major issues, you will have to make the changes before the child care franchise will be allowed to open.
You will get a notification from the state that will tell you when and if they will be coming back to inspect the facility again. You will still need to have the staff in place so that they can be ready and properly screened. For each employee you will need a complete file that includes proof of their background check, physical exam from a doctor, contact information, and social security number. Keep in mind that the background check will need to be cleared before any potential employee will be able to work for you daycare franchise. Depending on your state you may also need to have employees fingerprinted.
Discipline procedures are another aspect that may be required by the state. This will go over not only what is expected of children, but how you will discipline them in the event that there is an issue. Notice of disciplinary policies should also be given to parents when they register their child so they will be able to understand how your daycare franchise handles problematic situations.
A fire escape plan is essential in any business for the safety of the employees and building inhabitants. You will need to have these in writing and properly posted throughout the daycare franchise for easy reference. The plan should include how people can get out of the building, where they should go, and who will need to be contacted. You should also perform regular fire drills to ensure that not only your staff, but the children understand what to do. This will make a huge difference in the event of an actual fire.
When creating the fire escape plan, you will need to have a diagram that outlines the escape route for the building. Even if the daycare franchise facility is small, you will still be required to show a written plan and floorplan. The written plan can be narrated in either first or third person as the state does not usually mandate escape plan perspective.
Depending on your state, you may not be required to have health and safety procedures in place. However even if they are not required, you should still have them. Posted safety policies will help your staff to understand how they can stop the spread of germs and illnesses, which is a huge issue in any daycare franchise.
One of the things you will want to include in your health and safety policy is a sick policy. You will need to have a policy in place for employees stating when they will not be allowed in the facility. With this, you may want to include the number of acceptable sick days for workers as well as the policy for paid and unpaid time off for illnesses. When you establish this in the beginning employees will know what to expect and can take the appropriate measures to stay healthy.
You will also need to have a policy for children. This generally includes all aspects such as no fevers above a certain point, no diarrhea or vomiting, no rashes without a diagnosis from a doctor, no green runny noses and no croupy coughs. You will also want to implement a policy for children that states they must stay home for a full 24 hours minimally if they have been sick. If the child is on medication, some facilities will also require that the child is home for the first 24 hours after the medication is administered before they can return.
It is also a good idea to put into place a list of highly contagious conditions that children should not come to the daycare franchise and how long they should be out in the event that they have one of these. Some of these conditions include strep throat, chickenpox, bronchitis or other bacterial or viral conditions that can be easily spread.
Hand washing is something you do not want to overlook in the interest of your safety policy. You want to make sure that employees are aware that they should wash their hands after using the restroom or whenever they are exposed to bodily fluids from the children. This includes putting in the policy that hands must be washed after every diaper change. They should also wash their hands before handling food and throughout the day. While regular hand washing should be common knowledge for your employees and your children, it is good to state it official for your daycare franchise anyway so your staff is aware and fully informed.
Once you have been approved for the license and are able to open your daycare franchise, the next thing you will want to do is be prepared for the (re-)inspections. Keep in mind that an inspection can happen at any time as the inspectors can make unscheduled appearances throughout the year. The purpose of this is to ensure that the policies and practices required for the safe management of a daycare facility are being adhered to throughout the year.
The first thing they will look at is the ratio of staff to children to ensure that it is appropriate according to your state mandated levels. If there are too many children per staff member you will be written up. They will also check the paperwork for all staff and children at the facility. If you do not have the correct paperwork for a child, the state can force you to stop caring for the child until the correct paperwork is acquired. This is especially true of medical paperwork.
You can also expect that the inspector will look at your fire alarms to ensure they are working properly. You may need to do a fire or tornado drill. You will need to have the drills done properly and in an organized manner or you can be written up for not providing adequate training.
The inspector that comes to your facility may also examine any and all equipment for wear and tear. This can be done with both the indoor equipment and the outdoor equipment in the play areas. Toys that are broken will need to be thrown away or removed from the premises. If the majority of toys that you have available for children need repairs you will be given a warning and a set number of time to repair or replace the items in order to adhere to safety guidelines.
You should know that all offenses that are incurred by your daycare franchise are kept on file with the state. If you accumulate too many warnings or offenses, your license to operate may be in jeopardy. Your facility may be placed on probation if the number of violations is minor and if they are not minor your license can be revoked. Some examples of serious infractions include staffing issues and having seriously harmful conditions, such as filthy rooms or unsafe equipment.
This is why it is important to not only know the local and state laws regarding child care facilities when you open, but to keep up on the rules as they can change over time. You will want to look into what your area is zoned for as well as this can change over time.
If you pass the inspection, then you will be able to go a certain number of years before your daycare franchise will have to go through this process again. This may be one year or even three years depending on where your location is.