Barnsley Early Start and Family Services

Identifying demand

Market research is essential before you set up your childcare business. Without it you could start providing something that isn’t needed in one area and miss out somewhere else. You should think about:

  • Who are your potential customers and how many of them are there?
  • How much and how often will they use your services?
  • How much are they willing to pay for quality childcare?
  • Who else will be competing with you for their custom?
  • Is there a gap in the services already available?
  • How much will it cost to provide the services you are planning and can you afford it?
  • Where should you be based?
  • What will your premises need?
  • How much will it cost to employ someone?
  • What do your sales need to be to meet you expenses and break even?

Childcare sufficiency

Under the Childcare Act 2006, we have a legal duty to make sure that we have enough childcare available in Barnsley to meet demand so that parents can work or get back into training. A Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) is an analysis of existing childcare provision in the borough, which maps the demand and supply of childcare.

Early education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities requires us to produce an annual sufficiency report on the availability and sufficiency of childcare in our area. You can read our latest and previous childcare sufficiency assessment reports below.

Childcare sufficiency assessment (CSA) annual reports

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) profile analysis

Research methods

We hold information about areas which can be very useful to new childcare providers. This includes:

  • the number of children in an area and their ages
  • household incomes
  • rates of unemployment
  • types of schools in the area, their age range and location

You'll need to consult with a wide range of parents with children of various ages. You'll also need to gain the views of the schools in the area and speak with professionals that work in the community such as family support officers, health visitors, social workers and other community officers. You could also speak with larger employers in the area as they may know of a childcare need within their workforce.


Whether constructing a dedicated building or refurbishing an existing one you'll need to consider the location and cost. You'll also need to think about:

  • Is the service accessible to customers?
  • Will it be attractive to families and be visible in the community?
  • Is it going to be affordable?
  • Can it offer a variety of activities and have a flexible layout?
  • Does it have good heating, lighting, ventilation and enough floor space for your intended size?
  • Is it close to schools and have you considered session times to compliment these?

We can offer a premises visit as soon as you identify the premises you want to use, or support you to finalise your plans for a new build.


You'll need to consider the cost of each step you need to take to get you to opening day and beyond. Careful research of each aspect to identify and keep track of finances is essential in all new businesses and cash-flow projection is an ideal way of recording it.

Carrying out research

You can carry out market research in an area using our example questionnaire, as well as at public meetings, focus groups, and online using a survey or social networking site.

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