A Guide to Starting a Daycare Center in Seattle

A Guide to Starting a Daycare Center in Seattle

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There are all sorts of reasons for wanting to start a daycare center. Perhaps you have a passion for a child’s early development or you’ve sensed a gap in the market where you live. Most will possess selfless character traits and a willingness to help and care for others as well as, of course, a love of children. But it’s a very challenging profession that requires as much of an emotional investment as it does time and money. Here we look at some of the things to think about if you’re considering setting up a daycare center in Seattle.

Are YOU ready?

Are you ready on a personal and professional level? You must consider the implications of being your own boss as well as the challenging needs of the children that will inevitably come under your care. If your motivation and ambition embrace the selflessness of the job, you’re halfway there.

Washington State regulations and your qualifications

In Seattle, child daycare providers must abide by Washington State regulations. This enforces rules around such things as the ratio of children to staff dependant on the age of the child, and whether you’re running your business from your own home or from a dedicated facility. It also stipulates the minimum training and qualifications needed to operate child daycare services including obtaining a license to practice.

Market research

Is there a need for a child daycare centre in the area you’ve identified? Who are your competitors? What are competitors charging? How will you market your business? How will you stand out from the rest? Researching the market and developing a service that families in the area will be attracted to means your start-up isn’t a shot in the dark.

Preparing to open for business

Once you’ve identified the location of your daycare centre, you’ll need to do a few more compliance checks before you can start kitting it out. For example, do you comply with the city’s zoning laws and have you ensured you have enough space for the number of children you plan to care for? You’ll also need relevant insurance to run your business such as daycare insurance which is specific to the industry’s varying risks. A general and professional liability insurance is not only essential from a parent’s perspective to know that you’re covered in case an accident happens, but also gives you peace of mind to confidently do your job.


Getting the right personnel is fundamental to the success of your business. Your passion for childcare should be mirrored in your staff. Depending on your initial needs, you may not need many staff but you’ll need to identify requirements based on the ages of the children in your care. For instance, in Seattle, you’re allowed 1 carer to four children between one month and 11 months old, and one carer for seven children aged 12 to 29 months. And, while minimum qualifications are a must, those with extensive experience and additional qualifications will inevitably benefit you.

Getting started

Once you’ve transformed your daycare center into a safe and accommodating place fit for children, you’ve got your curriculum prepared, and you’ve added staff if necessary to look after cleaning and catering, you’re ready to open the doors. Now it’s about standing out from the crowd and attracting more customers. A big way to do this is by securing a QRIS qualification which rates your suitability and standards.

If you’re thinking of starting your own daycare center, much of the preparation is about considering your own motivations and goals. That will determine your readiness to pursue this very challenging but rewarding career. And being as prepared as possible for all eventualities will ensure your success on both a personal and financial level.



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