Home – New Forums Starting your journey Play Centre owners/operators, please help! Reply To: Play Centre owners/operators, please help!

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Hi Helen,

Many years ago I worked at a play centre (not as any sort of manager – purely as a worker) but hope I can give some response from that perspective at least on some of your questions, and generally on others –

Legal fee’s – what sort of legal issues (and associated fees) will I encounter when setting up/opening my centre? For a play Centre, are these fees normally only at start up or will they be on going over the years?

I would think you need to consider your council’s regulations on the type of business being operated – if you need permits etc, which could be yearly or ongoing; plus in set up of all businesses you will face a cost of registering a company or business, both of which have ongoing requirements to stay registered – your accountant would be best to advise on proper structure etc.

Accounting – im hoping to do as much as the book keeping as possible myself, but will obviously still need an accounting for certain things, at least initially. What will I need my accountant for initially? Do they set up a book keeping system for me to keep myself? Do I just go back once a year after that at tax time? On the topic of book keeping systems, any recommendations? MYOB or different? Just take what my accountant advises or are some really better for play centres then others?

Initially your accountant can help determine the best structure for your business, so I would speak to them about that; they can also help set up your book keeping software – although a lot of them (eg: MYOB, which personally I use and find it quite user friendly etc) come kind of set up anyway and not too difficult to continue on with from there – if, however, bookkeeping is not in your usual comfort zone, may be worth them setting up first; some matters (income/expenses) pretty straight forward but ensuring any set up capital and loans; assets/liabilities etc might seem trickier if it’s not something you do all the time. Plus, again if not entirely comfortable/fluent in book keeping, you may also want your accountant to look after your BAS reporting for the business. If you are, or plan to be, GST registered you will need to lodge a BAS (business activity statement) to report GST collected/paid etc, plus any PAYG on employee wages etc.

Bills – again, I know this will vary greatly on the size of the centre, but what would a medium sized centre pay for power, water, telephone etc over a year? Or how would I estimate this if noone can give me figures?

Have you tried asking the providers? i.e. if going to have Electric and GAS through TruEnergy – ask if they can provide an estimate; Are you renting premises or purchasing? If renting, some leases will include outgoings of this nature, or, the Real estate may be able to provide a rough guide also based on previous occupants usage etc.

Insurances – i know a few are required; worksafe injury insurance, public liability insurance, fire and perils, any others recommended? Can I get general quotes for this from insurance companies without my business registered or an exact address (only have an idea of the suburb i would like). Can anyone share some very general figures?

Can’t really help on this one.

Also, any tips on staffing levels would be appreciated. I am thinking I probably need 5 staff through the week (1 register, 2 kitchen, 1 serving/tidying, 1 parties/where required), and 5 again on weekends (but with 2 serving/tidying) and an extra 3 as party hosts for 3 party rooms…. Does this sound about right for a medium sized and (hopefully) busy centre? Part time staff best, or a mix of full and part time?

From my experience working at one – we had 3 (on occasion 4) full time during the week, plus extra casuals on the weekend depending on the number of parties and number of children for each party. The centre I worked at didn’t have a ‘cafe’ though; we had a kitchen specifically for party related food and other than that just did tea/coffee during the week for parents that brought their kids in.

We would generally have no more than 2 large parties, or 3-4 smaller ones at any given time – with 1 person dedicated to looking after one party basically – this included getting food prepared (all pretty basic/standard party food)/serving etc and then cleaning afterwards; we allowed 30 mins between 1 finishing and next one starting so that there was time to clean up; all parties on weekends started/ended at the same times so was easy to manage in that sense.

I am not sure that a separate person is required for the register. We found it quite easy to manage the register between us whilst there. During the week less parties took place, obviously with kids at school etc so easy to handle walk in traffic during the week and whoever was available at the time would handle the register or phone bookings etc. Between us there was plenty of time during the week most of the time to deal with the admin side of things, handle register (we also made up and provided lolly bags etc) and keep cleaning up to scratch etc.

Just my 2c, but hope it helps… all the best with it! :)