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  1. #1

    Buying a Daycare in Vancouver

    I am prospecting a few existing day care businesses and would like to know the thoughts and experiences of those who own day cares in Vancouver and rest of Canada. I'll be honest, I don't know much about this industry, except that it's growing, and is a high demand sector for years to come, particularly in my city. I have many questions to ask, and if some of these can be answered, that would be very much appreciate it. So, here goes:

    If I do wish to take part in this venture, I will be solely an absentee owner. Is that possible in this industry?

    What is the difference between a preschool and a day care? Besides the difference in operation, does one's service cost more than the other?

    In Vancouver, there is a restriction on class sizes of 20 pre-school children, how can I increase capacity to meet future demand? (I suppose this is a question for those who run day cares in Vancouver)

    What are the goods and bads of being a child care operator?

    What is your personal outlook of the current and future of this industry? Do you foresee a demand in growth or decline in enrollment?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    I will weigh in my my 2 cents

    Quote Originally Posted by misterchew View Post
    If I do wish to take part in this venture, I will be solely an absentee owner. Is that possible in this industry?!
    I do not know Vancouver so my advice may be inaccurate - however here in Ontario there is a very large push for 'not for profit' childcare ... childcare is already seen as expensive and clients begrudge the idea of people many 'absentee' profits off their childcare fees. The government, at least here in Ontario, prefers to fund the 'non profit' model and as a result it is EVEN HARDER for a for profit centre to compete with this model ... because you can both only charge what the market will bare - however non profit organizations can access government start up grants, government wage enhancement grants and ALL stakeholders drawing a salary are actually 'working' in the program and any profits made go back into the program to allow for better wages, resources and well bottom line 'service' to the clientele.

    In Ontario 'private for profit childcare centres' are closing left right and centre at the moment with the introdcution of government funded full day early kindergarten taking the 4 and 5 year olds out of childcare and leaving 'infants and toddlers' only in childcare centres .... this age group is EXPENSIVE to offer care for because the ratio of child per adult is currently much higher and they take up more 'space' in environment needing separate sleep rooms and so forth ... traditionally, at least in Ontario, it costs a centre to offering infant care even at the high fees due to the ratio and space occupied and toddler programs would 'break even' because their ratio is slightly higher and they do not need separate sleep areas - the loss of the 'older age groups' is resulting in programs not able to make a viable budget without raising FEES to a cost that the market cannot bare because infant and toddler care is already upward of $200 - $300 a week in most areas of Ontario ... which sends clients looking more for either a nanny if they have multiple children or a home childcare provider who can offer care at a lower price for the same ratio because they do not have the 'overhead' a centre does!

    Quote Originally Posted by misterchew View Post
    What is the difference between a preschool and a day care? Besides the difference in operation, does one's service cost more than the other?
    A preschool is typically defined as a 'half day program for children aged 2.5 years - 5 years' that runs either 9:00-11:30 or 1:00 - 3:30 and runs from September - June like the 'school system' ... it is designed as a program to prepare this age group for 'school' and tends to be used by Stay at Home Parent who wants their child in a social setting with access to things they might not have at home ... this style program is MUCH CHEAPER to offer and therefore ore 'proifitable' if the demand is there in your community ... however IME the demand for this style program is slowing diminishing because of the rise in 'single parent's where they MUST work and the fact that MOST households with both parents present still tend to have both parents working and so need longer hours of care - aka daycare

    Daycare is typically seen to be offered year round and offerings early learning programming and care for children aged 0 - 12 years of age for the hours typically 6am - 6pm Monday - Friday however more centres are offering 'extended hour weekend care' in some regions ... they offer an array of options for programing from full day everyday to part time a few days a week, they offer infant care, toddler care, full time preschool programs, partial day kindergarten programs around the school boards kindergarten programs still offering '1/2 day' and before and after school care for the 6-12 age group.

    This model has a HUGE start up investment to meet the Day Nursery Act requirements, zoning and b-law requirements and so forth depending on your area - again not sure about Vancouver but in Ontario you would have to HIRE an Registered Early Childhood Educator who was approved by the Ministry who licenses childcare programs to DIRECT/SUPERVISE your business with you - you cannot do this yourself unless you are an RECE certified...so being able to pay a 'salary' to someone before you even have revenue coming in and it can take 1-2 years for your program to be 'licensed' and ready to accept children depending on if you have to do a 'new build' or renovate an existing space.

    Quote Originally Posted by misterchew View Post

    In Vancouver, there is a restriction on class sizes of 20 pre-school children, how can I increase capacity to meet future demand? (I suppose this is a question for those who run day cares in Vancouver)!
    I do not know about Vancouver but in Ontario class size is determined by the Day Nursery Act - the only way it would change is if the government decided it was 'best practice' to do so and changed the act in your area to reflect that. Outside of that to meet future demand you would have to add additional square footage to your premises and create new seperate classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by misterchew View Post
    What are the goods and bads of being a child care operator?

    What is your personal outlook of the current and future of this industry? Do you foresee a demand in growth or decline in enrollment?
    I have never 'owned' a centre - however I worked for 20 years in licensed childcare both on the front line and the last 8 years in administration working for 'centre owners/operators' who did not have their RECE and could therefore not run their own programs ... I left this model because it is LONG HOURS, STRESSFUL dealing with clients with varied parenting values within your program and attracting and retaining STAFF in a work environment that pays LOW WAGES, has LIMITED RESOURCES and growing demands in their work and very little 'appreciation' from society as they have to constantly listen to people complain about how much their service costs while they often work TWO JOBS to make ends meet

    My personal opinion is that 'licensed centre care' is not a sustainable industry – unless of course as a society we decide to FUND IT like we do the EDUCATION SYSTEM where it is offered for either very little ‘fee’ to clients or FREE !
    There are too many 'head chefs' in the kitchen in the licensed industry who draw a wage but do not ADD VALUE to the service clients receive on the other end… from the licensing officers, to the owners, to the many levels of ‘management’ and so forth when in fact it is the FRONT LINE STAFF who are doing all the actual ‘work’ of offering the care and they receive the least amount of wage.
    Personally I left centre care to work from HOME because for years I have watched them slowly RAISE RATIOS of the classrooms to try to create more spaces without it costing MORE MONEY … which meant ECE are expected to do more and more work with LESS WAGE and often work for organizations who offer no extended health care benefits or pension or any other ‘professional consideration’ for the work they do! Which is why less and less people ENTER the field of Early Childhood Education or those who do use it as a stepping stone to get a job within the school boards where they can make a decent income and have benefits and pension for the SAME WORK they would do in a centre!

    I left ‘centre care’ because IMO can offer clients a much higher quality personalized program for children that is truly child centres and emergent in nature to meet their individual learning styles and needs and I can do that with smaller ratios, closer attachment for children with having a PRIMARY caregiver from the start of the day to the end of the day AND at a LOWER FEE to clients while making a FAIRER INCOME for myself for the amount of work and responsibility I hold in my day!

    Personally I think if the government were truly fiscally responsible and wanted a true BEST START for our children they would promote a longer parental leave so that parents can stay home and raise their KIDS or if they cannot do that than they should shift their support to promoting more HOME BASED childcare programs … because the older I got and the more experience I gained in centre care the more I realized that societies wee infants and toddler treasures do not belong in little ‘sterile classrooms’ with a warehouse of 10 other infants and a bazillion staff coming in and out of their lives daily and changing all the time on them … the amount of ‘crying’ that goes on in infant classrooms because people do not know their ‘needs’ or do not have enough HANDS to meet them all at the same time - is well just SAD and in my experience not healthy
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  3. #3
    Hi Misterchew,

    I just read your post. I am just wondering have you opened a daycare? I live in Vancouver as well, and I am interested in opening a daycare.


  4. #4
    Hi Cocota and Misterchew,

    I have been successfully running a licensed family childcare for the past 12 years (www.komelsdaycare.com) and my advise for you is that their certainly is demand, however, be careful in selecting the area your looking to open your daycare at and start thinking about marketing early as competition is increasing as more people come into the childcare industry.

    If you have more question, feel free to ask!

    Warm Regards,

    Please visit us online at http://www.komelsdaycare.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    3 Times in 3 Posts
    I lived and worked in Vancouver for 4 yrs and my son was born on the North shore where we lived (had wanted to live there prior to moving over), loved the North shore!

    I used enough minders and did it myself away from home as didn't own my home at that time. Preschool has ECE teachers so they get some learning geared to their age group, there are a good handful of staff too to ensure safety and the legal child-staff ratio, for safety more than anything of children.

    Day care can be similar but not always as much learning if any, can be more play than learning, my son has done both I've seen the differences. Children learn through play though.

    Fees were around $35 a day when I had licensed childminders for my son when on subsidy at that time, and even when I paid the odd minder to have my child in between, didn't find many good licensed ones to be honest! I found unlicensed to be more caring from my personal experience even now too in Ontario I've found that.

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