How to start a home daycare

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How to start a home daycare

Do You Love Working With Children?

NO, this isn’t an advertisement for a multi-level marketing scheme.   

Have you been searching for business ideas that you can do from home while looking after your own young children? 

How to start a home daycare website is designed to show you how to open your own daycare in your home. The difference between our daycare website and others is that our focus is on the business side of starting home based daycare.  

Because as a child care provider, you will be running a small business.

And you need to have a business plan.

At home daycare businesses typically cost far less to start-up compared to traditional daycare centers, but without a plan, you can easily find yourself working for free.

We are here to help child care providers get started with their home daycares as well as support them throughout their journey. 

Starting a home daycare may seem like a great idea, but it’s not without its challenges. However, if you ask any provider why they do what they do, you’ll find out that most don’t do it for the money. We encourage you to read this blog post on What To Consider Before Opening A Home Daycare to make sure operating a home daycare is really what you want to do.  Or even a financially feasible option for you. 

Then get started on the first steps below.  

How To Start A Daycare In Your Home

Here are five steps we recommend you begin with before diving into your home daycare business plan.  We recommend you start with these because some of them might take a few weeks to complete.  You will need to know the home daycare regulations, required certifications and licensing requirements for your local area to complete your business plan.  We don’t cover the exact regulations for each country, state or city. 

Step 1: Home Daycare Regulations

Start by researching your province, state or country’s regulations for starting a home daycare. 

Our Home Daycare Resource Page offers links to specific USA state requirements and Canadian regulations for home daycares. Use these links as a guide, but always check for the latest regulations. 

 Also, ask around in local childcare provider groups on Facebook about available resources. You never know your city might have amazing business resources that could save you a ton of time.

Licensed vs. Private Home Daycares

The next big question is to decide if you are going to be a licensed or private home daycare. If you want to be licensed, you will need to research what is required for your province, state or country. These requirements can be vastly different, so make sure you are by following your local requirements.

Some of private home daycare requirements can include:

Why bother being a licensed home daycare, if it’s not required?

Depending on your location, extra resources and subsidies might be available for you. Such as additional training and/or professional development, support from qualified consultants, extra funding, including wage top-ups. As well as help with the placement of children in your home daycare.

Home daycare Licensing Questions To Ask

Here’s a list of questions you should find out regarding licensing for your local area.  

  1. Do I need to have a license to open a home daycare in my province, state, or country?

  2. What are the home daycare requirements for my province, state, or country? (For both licensed or private)

  3. How many children can I care for at one time?

    1. Infant:

    2. Toddler

    3. Preschooler:

    4. School-age:

  4. Do I need any certifications?

    1. First Aid/ CPR

    2. Food Safety

  5. Do I need to get a background check?

    1. How much does it cost?

    2. How often will I need to do a police clearance?

    3. Will the other people who live in my home need to have a background check?
  6. Is there a cost to becoming licensed?

  7. Are there any extra benefits/resources available to me if I become licensed?

Step 2: Required Certifications

In most places, you don’t need any special education to open a home daycare. Yet, you should be over 18 years old, have a police security clearance. And be well versed in first aid and CPR.  You do not need a background in childhood education to become a childcare provider.  However, if you are a teacher or have early childhood education certificates you may be entitled to a wage top-up.  

Police Clearances

You should apply for your security clearances right away. These can take a few weeks to get approved. Even if you plan on only being a private home daycare is important to have these clearances. It’s good practice to have security clearances completed for all adults living in the house.  In the USA these are called background checks.  In Canada, these are called criminal record checks and vulnerable sector checks. Parents do ask to see a copy, so make sure you have your security clearances up to date and handy.

First Aid & CPR

You should be at least certified for basic First Aid and CPR. Look for a class that specializes in infant and child CPR. Or be sure to ask your instructor to cover these topics.  

Step 3: Home Daycare Business License

You’ll also need to find out how to apply for a business license in your city. You can usually do this online or in person at our local city hall.  Keep in mind you may need written consent from your landlord to open a home daycare if you rent your home.

Bylaws

Does your city have any bylaws on home based businesses that may affect you? Cities often have regulations on the number of parking spaces needed for a home business. And the number of visitors allowed in your home at one time.  You can find this out on your cities website or by calling city hall.  

Calculating the square footage of your home daycare

You could be asked to calculate the square footage of your home daycare for your business license. Some people contain their home daycare to a certain number of rooms or entire basement. Be sure to include all the rooms you plan on dedicating to your business. This will also be important for your taxes.

Step 4: Naming Your Business

Think about what you’re going to name your business. You will need a business name before you apply for a business license. Make sure no one in your area has a similar business name. You want to be unique, so people don’t get your business confused with related companies.

Here are some business name ideas to get you started

  • You can use your name. For example Sally’s Home Daycare.
  • The city/area you live in. Like Westbrook Home Daycare
  • A cutesy name. Such as Ladybugs & Friends Home Daycare
  • Incorporate a niche element. Such as Hillcrest Bilingual Home Daycare. Or if you plan on opening a Christian Home daycare, you could incorporate that into the name.

Website / Domain Name

While it is not required, check to see if a domain name matching the daycare business name is available. A website will set you apart from other daycare centers in your area. And will save you time answering questions about your policies and prices. A website will also provide an effortless way for new clients to find you.  Plus you could even make extra money by blogging about your daycare activities, crafts, and meals.

Social Media

Also, check to see if your home daycare business name is available on popular social media channels.  A Facebook page is an absolute must.  Parents often will ask in local Facebook groups for recommended home daycares.  A Facebook page will provide prospective clients easy way to connect with you and see general information about your daycare.

Step 5: Daycare Insurance

Call your home insurance company. You will need to increase your liability insurance. This will protect you against any accidents that occur on your property. Such as a parent slipping on your driveway while dropping off a child. Some home insurance companies don’t cover home daycare, you may need to shop around. Also, be sure to find out if there is any restriction to your policy.  Different plans cover different things.  

If you plan on transporting children in your vehicle, you will also need extra auto insurance.

You can also buy Business Liability Insurance.  This is more popular in the USA than in Canada but is always a good idea.  Find out more about home daycare insurance below. 

Here are Ten Questions to Ask Before You Purchase Family Child Care Business Liability Insurance.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

A home daycare can be a great business for someone who enjoys working with kids. Also, running a family home daycare is a convenient way to add to the household income while staying home with your children. However, being a home daycare provider is not without its challenges. We suggest reading our blog post of What to consider before starting a home daycare to see if running a home daycare is a good choice for your family.

The start-up cost of fairly minimal for a home daycare. The following are some typical start-up costs:

It depends. There are a few factors that go into how much money you are going to make running a home daycare. First, the number of kids your jurisdictions allow in your home daycare. Some areas allow six children others only allow three. The next factor is the competitive rate in your area. You need to have a competitive rate to attract customers. See the section Home Daycare Financial Plan in the Home Daycare Business Plan

Check out the Resource Page to get you started in the right direction. Also, ask around in local parent groups on Facebook about available resources. You never know your city might have amazing resources that could save you a ton of time.

It depends. Every country, province and state have different regulations. Check out our Resource page for more information on your area.

There is no official age but you should be at least 18 or the age of majority in your country.

Yes. You run the show but you should give your clients plenty of notice of when you plan to take a vacation. Check out the operation section of the home daycare business plan for more details on vacations. If you are a licenced home daycare your agency might provide backup care for your clients. If not your clients will have to find their own care for your vacation days.

No, but it could be beneficial.  Some areas will give extra benefits for teachers who open home daycares.  

Absolutely!  But here are a few things to consider.  You need to have a safe space for eating, playing and napping.  While these areas don’t have to be big, they do have to be safe.  See How To Childproof Your Home Daycare Home daycares can be noisy.  If your walls are thin or you are on the top floor, your neighbours might complain about the noise.  Also, if you rent your apartment, you may need to have written consent from the landlord to get a business license. 

Yes, but pet food and litter should be inaccessible to the children and vaccines should be to be up to date.  Check out our post on Pets in Daycare Settings for more information. 

Next Steps

Now that you have got started, you need to work on you home daycare business plan.  A business plan with help you work out all the little details for running a successful business.

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