Your Step-by-Step Guide to Opening a Day Nursery

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Opening a Day Nursery

If nurturing children in those all-important early years sounds like your dream business, you may be thinking of opening a day nursery.

Demand for high-quality childcare has never been higher, so there is plenty of scope for financial success in the childcare sector. But more than that, running a day nursery is also personally rewarding, as your business can positively impact the lives of the next generation.

Opening your own daycare nursery can be a complex operation with various regulations that you will need to meet. That makes it essential to plan your new day nursery business carefully to avoid missing anything.

This guide will take you step-by-step through the factors you’ll need to consider when becoming a daycare provider. It covers everything from legal matters and creating the perfect day nursery space to planning the best childcare courses for your staff.

What is a Day Nursery?

A day nursery is the most common type of early years childcare setting and usually cares for children between six weeks and five years old. You can choose the age range that your day nursery cares for.

Many daycare nurseries are run as private businesses, but they can also be run by volunteer groups and local authorities or be attached to a primary school. This last type of daycare nursery is also known as a nursery school.

Day nurseries cater for working parents, so they generally open on weekdays between 6.30 am and 8 am, and they close between 5.30 pm and 7 pm. While nursery schools usually only open during term time, a day nursery will stay open during the school holidays and only close for bank holidays and the Christmas break.

How to Open a Nursery Business

Setting up a day nursery business is expensive, so a solid business plan will be essential to the success of your nursery. You will need to create a budget to cover every aspect of your business and ensure that you stick closely to this.

Here’s a quick look at some of the main headings in your plan:


Buying or renting premises for your nursery will be one of the most significant areas of expenditure. Remember to include costs for renovations and decorating the premises to look attractive to your clients, as well as the cost of all the equipment your business needs.


Insurance will be another essential expense, so include costs for the necessary business insurance policies, including public liability and employers’ liability. You will also need to take out cover for your equipment so that it can be replaced in the event of theft or accidental damage.

Legal Compliance

You’ll need to ensure that your nursery meets Ofsted’s 14 national standards for daycare and childminding. You must also follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework that outlines the standards for learning and care for children under five years.

Running Costs

Your plan must account for recurring costs, including utilities (electricity, water and gas), food and drink for the children in your care, staff salaries and childcare training costs.


Finally, allocating part of your budget for marketing and advertising costs is essential. While you may benefit from word-of-mouth when your nursery is well-established, a well-planned marketing strategy will help grow your business in the early days.

Staffing and Training for Day Nurseries

Every successful day nursery has a team of dedicated, qualified and well-trained staff. Here’s what you need to focus on:

Hiring the Right People

As well as a nursery manager, nursery assistants and room/team leaders, you will also need to employ kitchen staff and cleaners. Depending on the size of your nursery, you may also need to hire additional administration staff and someone to handle the business finances.

The current legal guidelines require at least 50% of your staff to have a childcare qualification. There are several suitable qualifications, such as the Level 2 Certificate in Childcare or the BTEC National Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development.

All of your staff and volunteers must hold a current DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate to ensure they can work in a nursery.

Training for Nursery Staff

Implementing a training program will ensure your staff are up-to-date with the latest regulations, guidance and best practices in childcare and education.

It can be challenging to schedule off-site childcare courses around the demands of a day nursery. This is where Caredemy’s Skills For Care endorsed online childcare training courses give you an advantage.

Online childcare courses allow learners to complete their training at the most convenient time and without needing to book expensive travel and accommodation. This also makes online training courses a cost-effective way to develop the skills of your staff and volunteers.

Suitable childcare online courses could include:

Employees and volunteers can keep track of their progress through their Personal Learner Dashboard, which makes it easy to find where they left their last study session. Your nursery training manager can book courses, monitor progress and collate records for inspection time through the Caredemy Learner Management Dashboard.

If you’d like to discuss how Caredemy childcare training courses can support your day nursery business success, please contact our expert Sales Team.

Creating the Perfect Space

As a prospective day nursery owner, you’ll need to create a safe, engaging space that fosters both fun and child development.


Buying or renting a space for your day nursery will be a considerable investment. Finding a suitable space may take some time, and you might need to plan some refurbishments to ensure the room layouts are ideal for the age ranges you will be caring for.

Facilities and Equipment

Your day nursery will need to be equipped with age-appropriate toys, furniture, and outdoor equipment that encourages learning while keeping safety in mind.

Remember that parents, your prospective clients, will scrutinise your facilities to ensure that their children will be happy in your setting. So, make your nursery bright, cheerful, and conducive to learning.

Safety Measures

The safety of the children at your nursery must be your top priority. Every aspect must be addressed meticulously, from safety-proofing the premises to conducting regular risk assessments.

Don’t forget to implement a robust cleaning policy to maintain hygiene levels and appoint trained first-aiders to handle accidents and emergencies. Your policies should be clearly documented, and any incidents must be reported accurately.

Becoming a daycare provider requires careful planning and adherence to regulations and guidelines. But the reward for your hard work will be a successful day nursery business in a nurturing space where children can thrive, learn and have fun!

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