Tips on finding the right place to open a new childcare
The Sector > Provider > General News > Thinking of opening your own ECEC service? Some tips on finding the right location

Thinking of opening your own ECEC service? Some tips on finding the right location

by Freya Lucas

June 05, 2024

Many established early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals dream of one day opening their own service, something which would allow them to implement best practice and have greater opportunities to shape programs and pedagogy. 


Recently property development consultants Mollard Property Group listed some ‘hints and tips’ about choosing the perfect location for an ECEC service for those who are thinking of making this transition. 


These tips have been condensed below. To access this information in its original form, please see here


Why location matters


The decision about where to place an ECEC service can significantly impact the ultimate success of an ECEC business. A service with a strong focus on nature play, but located in a high rise building may not appeal to some parents, while a service which is located in an isolated area may not appeal to busy city based parents. 


Failing to find the right location can influence enrollment rates, the efficiency of the business operations, and overall growth. 


Who is who in the neighbourhood? 


Understanding the demographics of the place where you intend to operate is a vital first step. It’s not a financially smart decision to open an ECEC service in an area with a large number of retirees, for example. 


Ideally, a service would be opened in a place of high demand, and in a community where birth rates are strong, and projected to grow. 


To learn more about demographics, consult the Australian Bureau of Statistics, reports from local government, and ACECQA snapshots. 


Reviewing can also identify services already available in the area. Opening a new service in a saturated market, where multiple other vacancies are available is not a prudent financial decision. 


Before moving on a property or piece of land it can be useful to engage with the local community to gauge their interest and needs. This can be done by attending local events, conducting surveys, and connecting with local organisations to build relationships and trust.


Is it accessible? 


For an ECEC service to thrive, it needs to be easy for families to get to. When seeking a potential location, think about the journey families go through to get to it – is there public transport? A main road nearby? 


Is there space for parking? 


What is the legislative environment like? 


Some local governments are more receptive to development and change than others. Understanding this can save time, money and energy. Before considering a location, also consider if there are any aspects about the chosen location which may not comply with legal requirements under the National Quality Framework (NQF), or relevant state and territory legislation. 


Is it safe? 


When families are sending their child or children to your service, first and foremost they want to know that they are safe. If they have to walk through a space which is shared, do they feel safe with the people who are using that shared space? 


What are the crime statistics for the area you are considering? Is the general environment surrounding the service clean and healthy? 


Building a service near a park, recreation area, beach or other natural space can also make it easier to offer programs such as bush kinder or nature play. 


Place yourself where the workforce is 


When considering opening a new service, consider what the workforce in the community is like. Teachers, nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, retail workers and many other professionals need care for their children. 


It makes sense to position your service close to services like local shops, hospitals and schools because it is convenient not only for the people who work in them, but also for families of enrolled children who may wish to use those services.  


Major capital cities, like Sydney and Melbourne, benefit from large population bases, and therefore increased demand for ECEC. 


Understanding the costs 


Major capital cities often come with higher price tags for land and for existing properties which can be redeveloped. As well as the cost of the property itself, there are other considerations like rent, utilities, renovations, demolitions, outfitting the service etc. 


All of these costs should be considered and factored in when developing a business plan. It’s a delicate balance between the desirability of a location and the financial viability of purchasing it. 


Understanding the broader sector 


As well as your segment of the sector, it’s useful to consult with trusted information sources such as The Sector to maintain a broad picture of what’s happening in ECEC and the broader geopolitical landscape.


Aspects such as shifts in population, changes to immigration policy, the economic conditions, urban development planning and many other avenues can influence the desirability of a location. 


Working with experts in the ECEC space who offer specialised consultancy can offer valuable insights and support to guide you through the process, ensuring you select a location that maximizes your service’s potential.


Finding the right location for a childcare centre in Australia is a multifaceted process that requires thorough research and strategic planning.


Learn more about the work Mollard does in the space here. For the original coverage of this story please see here

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