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Opening New Preschool


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hi I have been working for a large company as a manager for 4 years and have decided to branch out on my own.

I am thinking of starting a playgroup in a church hall could anyone give me their advice about start up e.g questions to ask the church, start up costs, pitfall my questions go on and on.

I thank you for any advice Im very excited about the prospect but scared as well as i wont be getting reg wages!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Guest Wolfie

I think that if you contact your local Early Years Unit there should be someone there whose job is to advise people who are considering opening new provision - I think their job title is probably Childcare Co-ordinator? There should also be someone who specialises in the "business" aspect of starting up and they could help you with business plans, budgets, securing finance, etc.etc.

 

Good luck...I've done it in the past and it IS very exciting! :o

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Wolfie's right - you should contact your early years team - there should be a development team or sufficiency/sustainability/business officer who can help you.

 

You should do some market research in the first instance to find out if there is demand for such a provision. You can contact your Children's Information Service to find out what existing provision there is in the area (childminders, daycare, school-based childcare) so you wouldn't be stepping on anyones toes.

 

LAs have an obligation to 'protect' existing childcare and although they can't stop new developments they won't be able to offer you much support if you decide to go ahead anyway. It may be that you are the only one offering that type of care and they are grateful for someone to work with!

 

Sorry, that sounds really negative and I don't know what is happening in your area - it does sound very exciting though!!

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Sorry can't help with that Runningbunny, but another good group to contact would be the Pre-School Learning Alliance.

Do you have an Early Years Qualifications already?

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Hi, i am also in a church hall. Talking from past experience i would check the rent and ensure it is in line with others, also our rent increases during the winter to pay for heating. If no one else uses the hall ask if you can leave out your equipment over night. Storage ahh!!!! can they offer you enough? (no one ever has enough!) will they limit the space? if so think of how else you could store ride on toys etc. Check how tidy things have to be when put away.Who else will have access to your storage or can you lock the cupboards. Also discuss the fact that you can not have church members wandering in and out even if they have done so for many years!!! Will the entry/exit doors be suitable, we have just had a door bell fitted, would they help you in such matters? Will you be able to attach posters and displays to the walls? It took me years to get display boards. One last thing!! be prepared for people who are stuck in their ways, i attended the church that we hire the hall from as a child and many of the members are still there from years and years ago, many of the church members are under the old fashioned school of thought (Children should be seen and not heard) they are quite happy for me to pay good rent but moan about little things most of the time. Anything i would like to change eg display boards etc has to go before the elders of the church and they have the last say regarding the building. After all said and done we have a great church warden, excellent huge hall, lots of storage, clean loos, a well equiped kitchen and support from most of the church.

Best of luck!!! please let me know if there is anything i can help you with!

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i also work in a church hall check on, heating, cleaning of the hall, displays and if you can keep them up, storage, sole provision whilst you are using it...those are our main issues.

 

Good luck and as the others say contact your EY for help and advise :o

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all of the above, plus make sure that you will earn something each month, however small!! I have had several months where there just isn't enough to pay myself and it's not pleasant! Also, work out in advance how parents are to pay their fees........it's been a huge headache for me and i am about to take two sets of parents to court over non-payment, so i'd suggest a month in advance, a deposit and a signing on fee( you could give them a 'free' tshirt or sweatshirt in return for the registration fee......good advertising!)Good luck!

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Just wanted to add start up costs could amount to quite a lot I did a inventory today for insurance to see how mcuh it would cost to replace all of our stuff and we worked it out to be about £20k! I know that you can buy second hand and stuff but you are going to need basics like low level furniture. Filing cabinets etc. you will need a computer to do any online filing for the inland rev (this is a good idea cos the give you £250 for online filing) you then need to buy all of your toys and craft stuff etc. It could be a huge outlay initially.

 

I agree with the others as well. If you are moving into somewhere that already has an established pre-school in the area then you might find it hard going most parents are quite loyal and if older siblings attend then they will probably want to send their children back as they already know the staff. I would do market research to find out what other provision there is in the area and try to provide something they don't we are in an area of deprivation and although we do charge for 2 1/2 year olds once children are funded they are totally free - no one else offers this and mums on low incomes appreciate this.

 

I took over a pre-school that only had 6 children on the role 3 years ago there is 47 now and we have just moved into a church hall but our experience is very different to some of the others. They are absolutely lovely been really accomodating and we have huge storage space can leave loads of stuff up all over the walls and our equipment out on most nights and even most weekends!

 

Good luck it will be very hard work but fun.

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How exciting, I started my preschool nearly 7 yrs ago ( and the time has flown by) in a scout hall, although it was purchased from someone who had already set it up ( 30 yrs previous xD ).

Agree with others comments re: negotiating space, expectations ie: flexibility to develop. I have found that if I want to change something, even a minor thing like re arranging posters etc the 'other users object, basically they find change difficult and they feel that as it is a scout hall it should look like one, and not look like a preschool. Some of the 'other users' are positive ( mainly the younger scoiut leaders) and actually comment on how the preschool has livened up a dull hall with all our displays etc.

 

One thing I still haven't got yet is a lease agreement ( they say I can't have one :o ) . This is quite important, one to ensure security of tenancy and two it is often required to have one if you are applying for ay sort of funding.

 

A few years ago I attended the surestart 'Business success for childcare' training, very useful but no longer available, however the publication to support this training is. You can find it HERE

 

BIT OF A PAIN THE DOWNLOADS ARE IN SECTIONS BUT WORTH THE TIME IN GETTING THEM ALL.

 

I have consistently referred to this publication years after attending the course, I am using it now to support my marketing planning.

 

I must admit I would still love to have my own premises,

Pro's and cons are debatable. The hall I use is large, I have gradually and assertively got a better deal for my money re: doing most things that I want to ( they also really need my income). The local community can see what I offer as others use the hall when I don't.

 

If you do need to put things out and away again every day be prepared for staff to moan about it ( although I actually prefer it, it like a mini workout moving furniture etc, :( and it helps to keep items organised and maintained) Moving equipment does tend to cause more damage than usual. Also it costs me about £100 in 'man hours' for setting up and clearing, so make sure this is costed into your fees structure.

 

I have put example invoices in the resource library which you may find useful. I now get all parents to pay fees by standing order, cheques and cash incur more bank charges.

 

As for banks, shop around, they want your custom, because fees are paid in advance we do have 'good' account status. Banks should offer incentives such as 1st year free charges, 2nd year 50% charges, 3rd Year full charges rates.

 

Maybe you could start a blog to diary your experiences which will be great reading for you in a few years time. :( I am excited for you, you will not become a millionaire ( or maybe you will) the freedom of having your own business, I feel far outways all the hassle which beleive me you will get. Give me a room full of children everyday to manage and I'm happy as Larry, it's the parents and staff that drive you to drink.

 

Ooh is it Friday already, how quick my week has gone, must be time to go up the pub :wacko: xD:(

 

 

Let us know how you get on, and any more specific queries just ask.

 

Peggy

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p.s. Forgot to ask, has the church had previous experience of having a preschool in their premises? If yes, could you contact them to see how they managed?

 

Peggy

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What fantastic news- a new pre-school possibly opening!

Look at some of the online banks. I bank with the Royal Bank of Scotland online business direct and it is free of charges as long as I stay in the black. I obviously can't bank cash so I ask that parents, where possible, pay by cheque. Any cash goes into petty cash to pay for snacks etc. It's a great saving.

Good luck with it all.

Linda

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