What should I consider?
You need to check out the competition, says John Smith, business finance manager at Lloyds TSB in Romford, Essex. Your local council will have a list of all registered childcare providers. But you should look at playgroups, mother and toddler groups - anything that could be your competition. including nannies.
Next check the population figures in your chosen area. Ideally it should have a growing or stable population and should be heavy on the settling down age groups of 25-40. An area with a predominantly young or old population or a shrinking population is best avoided. The picture of your dream nursery may look lovely in it's idyllic village setting but if the average age is 60 and the only new people moving there are retirees then avoid it like the plague. The census can tell you local birth rates, the number of nursery-age children and the general economics of an area. Not only will this give you information on how many children there are but should allow you build a profile of your typical customer.
You should think about how many children you want to look after in your nursery, as this will also affect the property, staff and pricing. If this is your first venture, don't try and compete with the chains that offer places for over 100 children. But to be viable, you will probably need to have at least 25-30 places.
When you come to buy you have two choices lease or buy. Either way check that the building is in a good state of repair and that it meets all the current and future fire and health and safety regulations. A change in the law could mean a big bill just when you're just getting established.
A major issue is car parking. For a medium-sized nursery, the council will stipulate there needs to be as many as 17 car parking space for parents, as well as provision for half the staff.
Equipment is an ongoing and expensive outlay. Children and toddlers are possibly the most destructive force known to man. Children and toddlers are possibly the most destructive force known to man, so you should also budget for a few thousands worth of toys and equipment. Parents also like to see the latest range of working (and clean) educational toys on display. Equipment can include anything from books to tricycles, and puzzles to bean bags.