Best Ways in Developing a Childcare Portfolio
Having more than one childcare centre can open many new options in the future, but knowing how best to choose can become overwhelming. When it comes to selling the centre later, it is better to do so individually or to hand over the full portfolio? Both have their advantages and there are so many details outside your control that there’s no way of knowing the better choice until you’re ready to sell. It’s best to keep your options flexible to get the most out of your childcare centre portfolio.
Ultimately, the way to remain flexible is ensuring each centre could be extracted from the group without having a detrimental effect overall on your portfolio. That’s not to say your centres need to be entirely independent, but they should have a line drawn between them. Childcare Concepts asked four experts in different fields the best ways to accomplish this.
Jane Toohey, a marketing director recommends considering how you want to brand your childcare centre portfolio. Will they be under one umbrella, or will they be individualised to each location? An important detail to keep in mind is that not only should your company have a website, but each centre should also have a separate site to allow for future independence. Hyperlinks can usher audiences from one site to another, but if your digital media is too integrated then a sale will mean you have to start from the beginning. Similarly, remember to give each centre their own social media through which to market.
Our financials/banking consultant, Paul Barbagallo advises you to keep track of each centre’s costs separately and know the difference between set-up/one-off/ongoing costs. Never try and subsidise a new centre with the profits from a mature centre, unless you have a detailed grasp of every cost. Paul also suggests discussing your financials with a professional to understand the next step in arranging new centres or a portfolio.
According to Chris Morris at Advivo Accountants and Advisors, any overlap between centres should be recorded. As a business consultant, Chris advises that having a somewhat merged childcare centre portfolio is great for everyday business, as long as everyone has a clear understanding of the situation. Certain resources can be shared between centres, such as maintenance staff, while other tasks like marketing can be centralised to a corporate headquarters. It can be convenient to trade staff between locations, especially to fill in for someone calling in sick, but in these situations, the roles and responsibilities must be firmly set to avoid any future confusion.
Each centre needs separate financial and management reports. Simon Fox of Herron Todd White, Childcare Concept’s valuation consultant for the topic, explains that each centre would be valued independently of parent/sibling businesses. The valuer would need to determine how much the centre relies on other areas of the portfolio and whether it would crumble without them to create an accurate number. Having a choice between selling the set or individual centres comes down to the intertwining of your childcare centre portfolio. To hold flexibility, you should aim for distinct centres with solid records. When you’re ready to sell, it’s far easier to sell the several independent centres as one full portfolio than it is to try and separate centres that are joined together.