How to start a home daycare

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First Steps

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 and required certification for your local area to complete your business plan.  We don’t cover the exact regulations for each country, state or city.

1. Home Daycare Regulations

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

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 the 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

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?

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.

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. It’s good practice to have security clearances completed for all adults living in the house.  In the USA its call a background check.  In Canada it’s called a criminal record check and vulnerable sector check. 

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.

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.


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 their entire basement. Be sure to include all the rooms you plan on dedicating to your business. This will also be important for your taxes.

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 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 business name is available. A website will set you apart from other home daycares 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. And you could even make extra money by blogging about your activities, crafts, and meals.

5. 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. Also, be sure to find out if there is any restriction to your policy.

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

You can also buy Business Liability Insurance.  

Here are Ten Questions to Ask Before You Purchase Family Child Care Business Liability Insurance. uses affiliate links to connect you to the best home daycare resources. We may receive a small commission if you click on the link.

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.