In every facebook group, forum, contact form and unconference- Coworking and childcare comes up. While most of us agree that it is needed and the next step in the “co” nich movement- there is a real lack of information around it.
Out of our own curiosity, we polled some of the founders in our international circle that have or are building spaces with child care offerings to get there take on it all. Keep reading to see what they have to say.
*note: I received so much good feedback from the spaces and women I spoke with that this will be a multi part series so it didnt end up being the length of a short novel. Keep an eye out for the other two parts and make sure you give them a read too.
When my children were very young (an infant and one year old), my husband travelled quite a bit. I am a freelance graphic designer and didn’t need full-time care for my children but there were not many options for last-minute or part-time childcare needs. After many hours of research, and other parents confirming that it was most definitely needed, I started my crazy journey! 2 years later The Hive opened its doors.
Our facility is a bit of an multi-faceted venue. We are a coffee shop, with coworking rooms, and on-site childcare. It is an old house on an acre that we converted. The main area of the house is the coffee shop, the bedrooms were turned into the coworking rooms (private and semi-private) and we converted the garage into the childcare area. Childcare is included in the coworking desk rentals (a certain number of hours with availability to purchase more at a very reduced rate) but is also available for coffee shop customers for $10/hr drop-in rate.
There is also an $80 recurring monthly membership that includes 10 hours of childcare ($8/hr).
We started with coworking and childcare from the beginning, our target market is families with young children in the South Austin area. Our buildout was converting a residential house built in1962 into a commercial building.
My husband and I were lucky to be able to bootstrap / finance it on our own and avoid investors.
Marketing and explaining the concept in order to gain new customers..
How many people come into our space and don’t use the childcare, they are just there to work. Our area of Austin is under-served in the family-oriented spaces in general, as well as the coffee shops and cafes in our area of the city, which is a large part of our customer base.
Do your research!! Take surveys, really research the area. Also make sure to have plenty of working capital and know that you won’t make a profit for a while. Though that is just general business advice, not specific to coworking/childcare.