Nursery Management

Should I sell or should I grow?

  • Should I sell or should I grow?

“Due to the lack of quality childcare in my local area, I decided that I would make a difference. As I wanted my children to have the best start in life, I decided to open a day nursery.

“It wasn’t easy but after getting through all the red tape and finding a suitable property, searching long and hard for the right staff and getting the word out, we were open. Since that day, which now seems a long time ago, we have gone from strength to strength and what started as a project to make sure my own children had the right childcare has now turned into a fully fledged business.

“From the first small setting, we now own and operate five nurseries. We pride ourselves on the level of service we provide and our reputation is second to none, which is why we boast one of the highest levels of occupancy amongst our competitors. We have been nominated and won several industry awards and I sometimes think about how much we have achieved since those very early days when there were my kids and a handful of others on that first day.”

Does the story above sound familiar to you? I suspect it, or a version of it at least, may bring back memories for many operators. Whilst initially it was all about providing care for children, it has now grown into something different, with almost 100 staff, demanding parents and rules and regulations that can test the best of us at times. If your business reaches this position, you may ask yourself, what’s my best next step?

The situation

You’re at a size where an area manager is probably your next port of call, and your back office infrastructure may also need bolstering. You’ve noticed that the paperwork has increased and the time you actually spend with the children has reduced. Your kids, who were the driving force behind you doing all of this back in the day, have now grown up. Your partner wants to start going away more and enjoying some of the fruits of your labour – and why not! A bigger management team may free up some more time for you and your family, but there’s always that niggle at the back of your mind: if something were to happen, the buck stops with me, so I always need my phone close to hand.

After spending over 17 years in the industry, this is a crossroads I see many people reaching and the advice I give is twofold: if you have the desire to carry on then we can help with finding new challenges through new settings, and you can continue to build your empire and expand into new areas, taking your expertise and reputation with you. Your other option is to decide that you’ve done your bit; you’ve succeeded and made your mark on the local community, and feel very satisfied that all your settings provide the highest level of childcare – but the time has come to bow out gracefully. With nurseries across the country in such high demand and premium prices being achieved, you will be able to take a step back and get rewarded for all the hard work you put in over the years.

As market leaders in the sale of children’s day nurseries, we would be delighted to help and advise on both avenues. If you are growing, we have one of the largest selections of highquality nurseries for sale across the country and if you’ve decided to sell, we have access to the most active buyers in the market worldwide. Do get in touch.

Christie + Co has provided valuable advice to clients within its specialist sectors for over 80 years. The business was established in London in 1935 and has successfully expanded to provide professional brokerage and advisory services throughout the UK and across Europe. As well as deal brokerage, structuring and financing, its professional services include: valuations, consultancy, insolvency services, investment guidance, feasibility studies and advice on rent reviews, building surveying, dispute resolution, rating and development.