Daycare center hours: usually long, but you get a say!
Since daycare revolves around kids and their parents, you want to build your daycare center hours around them.This means that you want to open before they leave for work and after they come home, giving them enough time to navigate the traffic and safely pick up their kiddo.
However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get some choice. Everything depends on your location, age of children enrolled and your business model. And yes, there’s even 24-hour childcare available in some places.
Learn how to decide your daycare center work hours:
Typical hours: early to rise, late to close!
A typical daycare center is open from something like 6 or 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Sometimes it’s even open on weekends, although at reduced hours.
The point of this is to offer a valuable service parents can rely on. There’s even benefits for staff, as they will have higher morale if they can depend on consistent hours and are offered shifts at similar times of day every day rather than switching between early and late shifts.
Try to pace out your staffing so that you can focus on the managerial aspects as the owner. Having dependable staff and dependable daycare center hours also helps you market effectively and build a healthy relationship with parents. Parents will rest easy knowing they can count on you to be consistently open when you say you will.
Things that might affect hours
Maybe you’re in a location where the average workday starts a bit later. Perhaps your daycare center is religious and has reduced or no hours on religious holidays. Maybe you have opted to run only partial hours as a business strategy after seeing which days had the most demand. There’s a lot of reasons that can make your daycare center hours differ from those of a daycare close by. Don’t let that worry you; a lot of parents may have similar schedules.
However, if your daycare partial hours only because it’s not running at full capacity, it may be time to look into Hopping In which makes it easier for parents to book vacant spots. It works for part-timers and drop-in kiddos, and it’s easy and effective to use.
Another thing affecting daycare center hours is industry in the area. If you are in an area where a certain industry dictates that parents work later nights or earlier mornings, it’s good to adapt. You should always try to work around your customer base, rather than your own preferences.
That said, if you’re opening super early but not really seeing a rise in enrollment, consider cutting back. There’s no shame in opening an hour later and closing an hour earlier if it doesn’t hurt your daycare center’s popularity. If a rise in enrollment isn’t happening because parents aren’t well acquainted with your hours, consider using Hopping In and its booking calendar. You may know your empty spots and work hours, but parents don’t.
In general, though, early to rise late to close is the daycare center rule to live by!
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org